Winter is of course not the most popular time to visit Paris, but that certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. I always say that whenever you’re in Paris it doesn’t matter when or what the weather is like… because you’re in Paris!
Winter in Paris is quieter and less crowded than spring or summer in Paris. And of course, if you visit in late November or December, it is also a more festive time to visit. Today I am sharing all the great things you can do in Paris when you visit in Winter.
21 Things To Do In Paris In Winter
As the founder of Paris, Perfected I have been to Paris during every season. If you need help planning your trip to Paris, I would love to work with you!
Visiting Paris in the winter is definitely worth it and can be a great option if you’re trying to visit Paris on a budget, too. Hotels and flights will be cheaper in Paris in the Winter. The weather in Paris is never too, too cold in Winter – rather it just takes packing a good wool coat and winter accessories like a hat, gloves and scarves to endure the weather. Winter days are short on light so you’ll also want to plan accordingly with your days.
What is the weather like in Paris in Winter?
From December through February, Paris averages around a high of 45 degrees with a low of 37 degrees. You may get some snow and you’ll likely get some rain but you will also experience some awesome bright, sunny days with gorgeous winter weather light. It very rarely snows in Paris.
When I was in Paris last December it was very cold – much more so than expected. So just be sure to check the weather for your exact days.
There’s so much to see and do in Paris in the winter and I’m excited to share with you what I think is worth doing during this time of year.
Shop at Les Grands Magasins
Shopping in Paris is a must and visiting Les Grands Magasins – Paris’s three legendary department stores – Le Bon Marché, Au Printemps and Galeries Lafayette – is a great way to enjoy some time indoors. And they are not to be missed during the holidays either when they are all decked out with Christmas decor.
And the Christmas tree under the coupable at Galeries Lafayette is always worth seeing! You can get up close and personal by visiting the Glasswalk at the store, too.
Enjoy Chocolat Chaud
Hot chocolate in Paris is often extra thick and extra chocolate-y making it divine. I have a few favorite spots that I think are worth it that I share with Paris, Perfected clients. (Including the one with the best whipped cream I’ve ever tried!) Because let’s be honest, not all hot chocolates are created equal.
See a show
Even if you don’t speak French, you can enjoy a show in Paris. Take in the ballet, a show at the insanely beautiful Opera or you could consider doing Crazy Horse or Moulin Rouge.
Take a tour
If you want to learn a lot about Paris history or Paris food (or a variety of other niches) you can take a walking tour. Not up for a few hours in colder temperatures? Consider taking a museum tour with a private guide! They can also help you skip any lines if that’s an issue.
I have a variety of wonderful tour guides I recommend for my Paris, Perfected clients who often are also treated to promotional pricing.
Enjoy a cooking class
If it is going to be extra cold, you can be cozy and warm inside a kitchen by taking a cooking class for a few hours! Learn to make croissants, do a wine and cheese tasting, bake macarons or another myriad of classes.
I work with one of the top cooking schools in Paris and give my Paris, Perfected clients a discount if that’s of interest!
Take in the Christmas lights
Paris really does it up with the Christmas lights in November and December. There are thousands that adorn the trees of the Champs-Élysées so while I don’t usually recommend strolling that main street, I do in Wintertime.
Drink Mulled Wine
I love warming up in wintertime with mulled wine at the Christmas markets throughout Paris.
Did you know there are ice skating rinks in Paris in Winter? The Hôtel Plaza Athénée does one in their courtyard that’s great for kiddos. And this year you can also ice skate along the Seine in front of the Eiffel Tower as the Compagnie des Bateaux-Mouches has set up a skating rink with amazing views. Between sessions you can head to the bar, open midday to midnight for tartiflette, oven-baked Mont d’Or and mulled wine.
Peruse the Christmas Markets
Get in the festive spirit when you wander the Christmas markets or Les Marchés du Noel throughout Paris. The most popular ones are the ones located in the Tuileries gardens where you can even ride a ferris wheel to see Paris from above and the one in Saint Germain.
Booking a wine tasting is such a fun way to spend a cold afternoon in Paris. You can learn about French wines and even see whether you’d like to bring back a bottle or two as a souvenir.
I have several amazing wine tasting experiences in Paris that I recommend for my Paris, Perfected clients.
Raclette comes from the French word that means “to scrape” and is a cheese that gets super melty and can be added to sandwiches, vegetables like potatoes or a variety of other vehicles to enjoy this divine pastime.
Stroll the Passages
The covered passages throughout Paris are the best little escapes from the cold weather. You can shop in darling stores or even enjoy dining in some of them as well! Visiting in November or December? Many of the Passages get decked out for the holidays with beautiful lights and garland and other decor.
Enjoy a Special Exhibition
Many of the best exhibits at Parisian museums kick off in early Fall and then carry on through the Winter season. So when it is cold out, I always recommend you look up the exhibitions happening at the museums across the city and head to the one that sounds most interesting to you.
And given how crowded the Louvre always is – definitely plan on spending a morning getting lost in its walls as it’ll be less crowded than usual in winter and therefore far more enjoyable!
Get a spa treatment
Winter is a wonderful time to enjoy a spa treatment in one of the luxury spas across Paris. I love to get facials or massages when in Paris.
I share my favorites with my Paris, Perfected clients.
Watch the Eiffel Tower Sparkle
No trip to Paris is complete without enjoying the Eiffel Tower sparkling on the hour every hour after dusk. In the Winter because the sun sets early you actually get even more opportunities to see the hourly sparkles!
Enjoy a Cruise down the Seine
Bundle up and book a Bateaux Mouche ride down the Seine. I love to do this an hour before the sun sets so you can enjoy the city as it basks in the glow of dusk. Then, as you return to the dock, the Eiffel Tower should be starting its first sparkle, too!
Pro tip: If you plan to be snapping photos bring along a pair of gloves!
Go to the Moulin Rouge
Spend the night in Montmartre by enjoying a show at the iconic Moulin Rouge! Get drinks at Lulu White afterwards and enjoy an evening walk around the charming neighborhood before or after seeing the dancers.
Spot Notre Dame Cathedral
While the cathedral remains. closed following the devastating 2019 fire, you can still stroll past it in order to get a glimpse of the famed towers.
See a Christmas Concert
In Paris during Christmas? You can go to church and see a Christmas concert on Christmas Eve at a variety of houses of worship in Paris.
Enjoy Café Life
Even there are no more heat warmers on Parisian terraces, I still love to bundle up and take in people watching at my favorite cafés. I order a glass of red wines and fries or have coffee and a croissant while watching the world go by.
Eat Onion Soup
One of my favorite dishes to enjoy when it is cold in Paris – onion soup topped with bread and delicious cheese.
Paris Winter Events
- New Year’s Eve Fireworks: December 31st every year at midnight you can enjoy fireworks around the Eiffel Tower to ring in the new year.
- Les Marchés du Noel: Enjoy the Christmas markets throughout Paris every winter. You can enjoy festive fare to eat and drink and also shop for holiday gifts. Don’t miss having mulled wine.
- Atelier des Lumières: This popular exhibit puts on several events during the year dedicated to different artists.
Is Paris Worth Visiting In Winter?
I think Paris in winter is so special. The lack of crowds due to less tourists ensures you can really enjoy soaking up the city. I love to wander the emptier streets in winter and I also enjoy the fact that you can get reservations at some of the restaurants that are more competitive to get bookings at in the spring and summer.
For even more guidance on enjoying Paris in Wintertime, be sure to check out my What to Pack for Paris in the Winter post.
Have you been to Paris in the winter?
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