Paris is widely considered the most romantic city in the world. Numerous movies, books, and TV shows have used the city as an inspirational setting to portray a story of love and romance.
For example, a picture of a couple kissing in front of the Eiffel Tower is one of the most popular symbols of love, romance, and companionship.
However, most people only consider visiting Paris in the summer or spring months. It’s when the weather has a reputation for being the most romantic. It brings to mind flowers in full bloom and the feeling of liveliness in the air.
Fortunately, many travelers to Paris in winter find that they enjoy their stay more than they’d expected. In this article, we cover everything you need to know about visiting Paris in winter, from weather and packing lists to the activities that will make a winter in Paris unforgettable.
Weather Conditions and Temperature
If you’re thinking about taking a trip to Paris in winter, the first thing you need to know is what the weather is going to be like so you know what to expect, what to pack before you leave, and which activities will be the most enjoyable.
Paris is by no means an inexpensive city to stay in, and if you travel during the holiday season, it will likely increase the total cost of your trip.
That’s why it’s a good idea to pack everything you’ll need before you leave instead of waiting to make many purchases in Paris. If you come from a warm country where temperatures never touch freezing, you will need to come prepared for the cold in Paris.
Averages temperatures during the winter months in Paris range from highs around 11 degrees Celsius to lows near 3 degrees.
- November’s average high temperature is 11 degrees Celsius, while the average low temperature is around 6 degrees.
- This drops in December, where the high is 8 degrees, and the low is 3 degrees.
- January can be even colder with highs of 7 degrees and lows of 3 degrees.
- February has a temperature range comparable to January.
Furthermore, you should also expect rainfall almost every other day on average, making Paris a pretty damp and chilly destination to be at in the winter months.
You can learn more about the winter weather by checking out this article on the climate in Paris. If you’re planning to visit Paris around Christmas, make sure that you have everything you need to be able to withstand the cold.
Now that you know what to expect with the frigid winter temperatures, it’s time to explore what you’ll need to pack for a wonderful winter trip to Paris.
What to Pack for Your Trip to Paris in Winter
As we discussed, Paris can get extremely cold and damp during the winter.
This means that you will need to pack clothes for both the rain and the snow. Make sure that your tops are thick, and pack enough sweaters and jackets to last throughout your trip.
It is certainly a plus if your jackets are waterproof, as there tends to be a 50% chance that it will rain or snow on any given day.
When it comes to pants, make sure you pack jeans and heavier items. Just a pair of trousers will not provide enough protection in the cold seasons. You can also pack a pair of inners that will help keep you warm, especially if they are fleece-lined.
When it comes to footwear, make sure you pack a pair of waterproof boots for walking around in the city. The cold weather is especially severe on your extremities, so make sure that you pack thick woolen socks and boots to ensure that your feet stay warm.
If you get easily cold and are not used to single-digit temperatures, it wouldn’t hurt to pack a pair of gloves as well. Hats and scarves are also a good idea to protect your head and neck, which is where you lose most of your body heat in cold temperatures.
To review, be sure to pack:
- Sweaters and thick tops
- Waterproof jackets
- Long, warm pants
- Waterproof boots
- Gloves, hats, and scarves
Ultimately, as long as you come properly-dressed and well-prepared, you’ll be sure to enjoy your winter trip to Paris regardless of the weather.
Reasons to Visit and Things to Do
If the previous sections have discouraged you from visiting this beautiful city in the winter, hold on. Though the temperatures are low, you won’t want to miss out on the unique, festive atmosphere in the city when you visit during the winter months.
Most tourists would have gone back home at this point, so the city won’t be as crowded as it is in the warmer months. If you visit around Christmas, you can also experience the entire culture of the city as it lights up for the popular religious holiday.
If you prefer a more personal, quiet holiday where you can actually get to experience the city for what it truly is beneath the glamour and the large number of people, winter is one of the best seasons to visit and take in the essence of the city.
Besides these reasons, there are many fun activities to consider adding to your itinerary during your trip to this magical city in the winter.
Christmastime brings with it a surge of new items throughout the market, discounted rates on items because of the festive offers, and a newborn spirit in the streets that accompanies the joys of generosity.
If you visit Paris around Christmas, you will see markets flooded with new and exciting items, not limited to just wine and sweets. These markets not only give you great gift items for your loved ones, but they also come with a great view and contagious feelings of merriment!
Many of these markets are open next to the most popular sites in Paris, including the Eiffel Tower and the Church of Notre Dame.
Do you enjoy the speed and smoothness that ice skating offers you? If you’re used to doing it on your local ice skating rink or just on frozen lakes, imagine how exciting it would be to experience in Paris! On your next winter trip, you could be zooming across the ice in this beautiful city, with the Eiffel Tower as your backdrop.
You won’t even just be doing it in any spot in Paris. The city caters to people’s wishes to feel like they are truly part of one of the prettiest cities in the world, so ice skating rinks and courts are set up all over the city.
Paris is home to the Louvre, which is where you can find the Mona Lisa, among other infamous paintings. It is widely considered one of the most important museums in the world.
Apart from this, you can also check out Le Grand Palais, Le Petit Palais, the Musee Rodin, and Musee d’Orsay. Besides being behemoths in the historical and cultural scene, these museums themselves are extraordinary works of architecture and art, offering an exquisitely beautiful experience.
Museums are not the only places of extreme cultural significance in the landscape of this city. Opera is one of the world’s most diverse art forms, incorporating elements of spoken theatre, acting, scenery, dance, and costumes into it.
Because of the indoor entertainment option during cold months, operas in Paris are at their busiest in winter. This means that the very best shows will be presented at this time. You owe it to yourself to watch at least one opera performance in Paris, and the colder months will be the best time to do so.
Paris is famous for its perfumes all over the world, and some of the world’s most renowned scents originate from this city. As a visitor, you can not only check out the large collections of perfumes in the city, you can also take a winter perfume workshop to learn more about this industry and how it all works.
Shakespeare and Company
For those of you who do not know about these world-famous bookstores, Shakespeare and Company is an English language bookstore that has existed in Paris for several decades.
Even if you’re not an avid reader, this bookstore is like stepping into history itself. Another interesting thing is that the second floor of the bookstore has a welcoming seating arrangement, so you can actually use the library facilities upstairs to curl up with a good book on a lazy afternoon if you do not feel like stepping out into the cold. This is an experience within itself in this city of light.
You can learn more about Shakespeare and Company by checking out this article.
Shopping for Fashion
As you probably know, Paris is one of the primary fashion hubs in the world. Designer brands and France have always gone hand-in-hand, and you should definitely plan one of your next trips in a way that lands you in Paris around January.
The government of France regulates the fashion industry due to the explosive success of fashion in the country. This means that there are only two sales during the year, and one of them is in January. =
If you want to stock up on designer wear at an affordable price, January in Paris is as excellent a time as any.
Did you know that Disneyland is not just an American experience? Disneyland Paris is real, and you can enjoy every aspect of this experience in winter with a slight twist: the lines will be much shorter.
Disneyland Paris is one of the most popular venues in the city, and tourists flock there in the warmer months. If you visit during or after Christmas, you will not only get the benefit of the experience of the beautiful lights and decor of the place, but it will also be much less crowded, making the whole experience much more enjoyable and convenient for you.
This might seem like an unusually simple addition to this list, but Paris is known for its breathtaking streets. Just taking a walk down a Paris street with your significant other can be a magical and romantic experience, and it will be extra special and intimate in the winter without your fellow tourists flocking around you.
If you ever decide to visit Paris, no matter what season it is, you owe it to yourself to take a long walk through the city and soak in the culture and history that the city has to offer.
The famous river that flows through Paris is called the Seine, and it has influenced and inspired countless pieces of art, literature, and music because of its beauty. You can take a slow cruise down the river, enjoying the calmness of the water and the beauty of the city along the shores.
Cruises along the Seine River are extremely popular and booked well in advance, so make sure that you speak with your hotel staff when you arrive about booking one so that you don’t miss out!
Wine and Cheese
For people who appreciate the finer things in life and have a taste for fine wine, there is no better place in the world to be than Paris. There are multiple indoor wine cellar options you can choose from to enjoy a warm, cozy, elegant evening of wine tasting.
Besides wine and cheese, Paris is known for a unique variety of French foods. Crepes, croissants, baguettes, and macarons are all yours to explore. Here, you can taste and eat to your heart’s content.
Some tourists to Paris have coined the name of a condition called Paris Syndrome, which describes their feelings of disappointment after traveling to Paris because it did not live up to their expectations.
That’s why we began this article with realistic expectations regarding the cold, wet weather familiar to winters in Paris.
As long as you aren’t deterred by needing to pack a few extra layers to stay warm in the colder temperatures, it’s obvious that the good far outweighs the bad.
The overall culture of the city, the food, the perfumes, the museums, and, of course, the places of interest will live up to your expectations, not to mention the delightfully low number of your fellow tourists who will crowd the stress in warmer months.
Should you decide to visit Paris in winter, your travels are sure to be enjoyable and unforgettable in this magical city!