Visiting Paris in winter is a magical and memorable experience you won’t soon forget. Winter in Paris means Christmas decorations and Valentine’s Day treats and the chance of snow and fewer crowds to fight. Winter in Paris is generally defined as December to February, but months such as November and March can experience winter weather in Paris as well. The weather will be a bit cold [Paris has an average temperature of 41*F in January and 38*F in Feburary], but that doesn’t mean you should write off visiting Paris in the winter all together! With a few tips and this handy guide by your side, you will be off to an enjoyable trip to the City Of Light!
The Ultimate Guide To Visiting Paris In Winter
Table of Contents
How To Get To Paris
Getting to Paris in winter is quite easy! Transportation prices will be at a yearly low during the majority of the winter, so you will save a lot of money by booking your trip to Paris in the winter! Charles de Gaulle is the main airport in which people fly into and the Paris Orly airport is secondary and a bit further out of town. Once you land, you can take an Uber or Taxi into town or take public transportation, which is easy and affordable. If you live in Europe or you are already traveling there, you can take one of the many high-speed trains that go in and out of Paris every day! The main train stations in Paris are Gare du Nord, Gare de Lyon, and Gare de l’Est. Spending winter in Paris has never been easier or more affordable!
Book transfer here: Charles de Gaulle And Orly Airport Transfer
How To Get Around Paris In The Winter
If you are in good fitness, consider taking the Paris Metro! The Metro is a fast, affordable, and easy way to get around, even in winter! The Paris Metro will run rain, shine, snow, and sleet, so it is pretty reliable! You can purchase a metro ticket for 1.90 Euros, a booklet or 10 tickets, or a weekly metro pass, depending on your needs. If you are not able to walk up and down a lot of steps [elevators are rare] or you are in a wheelchair, we recommend taking an Uber as it may be easier and safer.
Walking around Paris in winter is quite enjoyable because the city will be decked out for the holidays and then may be blanketed in snow during the early months of the year. Paris is actually quite a large city, so if you plan to walk, remember to wear good walking shoes and to dress appropriately. Finally, depending on the weather, you can also choose to rent a bike and bike around Paris. Biking is very popular among Parisians and there are many local bike stands you can rent from.
Book here: Discover The Heart Of Paris By Bike
Average Paris Winter Weather
The average Paris winter weather is a bit rainy and chilly. It does snow in Paris but you won’t find it every year and it won’t snow until the end of January or February. December weather in Paris [and in France in general] is actually more on the rainy and warmer [for winter] side, so there is less chance of snow because it is too warm and wet for the snow to form. Even if it does snow in Paris, it is usually just a dusting or 1-2 inches.
Since Paris observes Daylight Savings Time, the sun sets quite early during the winter. If you are visiting Paris in winter, understand that the sun will set by 5 pm at the latest. Sure, this gives you shorter daylight hours, but it offers more time to explore the city by night and the rain and cold allow you a unique way to enjoy what the city has to offer.
Average Winter Temperatures In Paris
If you are looking to visit Paris in the winter, rest assured that it is no colder than any other large northern city. You won’t show up to your Paris winter trip and be shocked by the temperature change, especially if you already live in a place that experiences winter. We are from Florida and have visited Paris during the winter twice and survived just fine so if we can do it, you certainly can!
The temperature of Paris in the winter is actually relatively reasonable, especially for a northern city. The average temperature of Paris in December is 42*F, the average temperature of Paris in January is 41*F, and the average temperature of Paris in February is 38*F. As you can see, these temperatures are not entirely freezing and are actually more enjoyable than similar cities such as New York City, which averages in the mid-to-low 30’s during January.
What To Pack For Paris In Winter
If you are heading to Paris in the winter, there are a few packing tips we suggest you adhere to! Visiting Paris in winter is quite enjoyable and magical, but you need to stay warm and dry. Since it is Paris, you will also want to do all these things while looking a bit fashionable too! Dressing in layers is key! This way, you can easily go from warm out on the streets of Paris to comfortable inside a building. If you get too warm or too cold, simply add or take away a layer until you feel better.
Both times we have visited Paris in winter, we packed our entire wardrobe in carry-on luggage! If you want to pack in a carry-on, know that it is totally doable! If you want to bring a checked bag, that is even better as you will have more space!
- Fleece lined leggings. We don’t care if you are a guy or girl, if you are packing for Paris in winter, you need to bring fleece lined leggings! We actually bring two pairs each so that you can double them up if you want to wear a dress! Fleece lined leggings are the perfect thing to add to your winter packing list for Paris because they don’t take up much space and they keep you warm under slacks, jeans, or dresses!
- Warm winter dresses. Jeans and pants only go so far! Make sure to pack at least 3 winter dresses [if you are the dress-wearing type] for your winter trip to Paris! Warm winter dresses pair well with doubled up fleece lined leggings, boots, and a warm hat keeping you comfy and stylish on the streets of Paris! Add a few of these affordable ones to your Paris packing list and strut your stuff in style!
- Thin Long Sleeve Thermal Tops. Whether you are a guy or girl packing for Paris, we recommend bringing 2-3 thin thermal tops. These tops are affordable and pack up very small all while keeping you extra warm! They are perfect for layering and can be worn underneath other tops as a base layer or under dresses with shorter sleeves to transform them from summer to winter wear.
- Comfy Knit Hat. Simple knit hats or beanies are a staple to add to your Paris packing list. Not only do cable knit hats make any outfit a bit cuter, they also keep you warm and protect your ears from the wind. You really only need to bring one, but we won’t blame you if you pick up a few! The best part? You probably already have one lying around the house!
- A Solid Pair Of Waterproof Boots/Shoes. Although you can probably get away with bringing canvas or lighter shoes to Paris in winter, we do not recommend it! We brought these Hunter Boots on our last Paris packing list for a winter trip and it was the best decision ever! They are a little pricey, to begin with, but you can find cheaper versions like these that just aren’t the brand name. Unless it is snowing, you really don’t need snow boots but shoes or boots that are waterproof really do help. By having waterproof boots, we were still able to have fun outdoors in a light drizzle in the middle of winter without worrying about getting cold or wet.
- A Winter Jacket. Do not think that you can visit Paris in the winter and NOT bring a winter jacket. Bonus points if that winter jacket is waterproof! Last trip, Terrence brought one waterproof winter jacket and layered up on hoodies and long sleeve shirts. Victoria brought two winter jackets, one waterproof, which she only wore a few times, and one more stylish but not waterproof, which she wore more often. We recommend looking at the weather for when you go to Paris and then packing accordingly. You can’t go wrong with a jacket that is stylish AND waterproof like this one here!
- Warm Gloves. Don’t forget to add warm gloves to your list of what to pack for Paris in winter! Since you will be sightseeing, you will be on your smartphone a lot and your fingers will get super cold if you don’t protect them! Even walking the streets of Paris in winter without gloves will make your hands freeze! Make sure to buy touch screen gloves so that you can still access your phone without taking them off!
- A Balaclava. Winter weather in Paris can get windy and blow your scarf all over the place! Cut down on chasing your clothing around and add a Balaclava to your Paris packing list! A balaclava is perfect for both men and women and is often unisex. They fit neatly under your clothing and are barely noticeable but you notice the benefit that they provide! By protecting your neck from the elements, you will stay much warmer during your time exploring Paris in winter!
- Dark Denim Jeans. Darker Colored jeans are perfect to add to your packing list for Paris because they fit in instead of standing out. Use them as a top layer and add fleece lined leggings as your base so you can stay warm. Then accessorize as you see fit, for men, with a flannel or sweater, and for women, with a stylish jacket or cute sweater.
- Pull-Over Sweaters. Pair a pull-over sweater with jeans, leggings, or slacks and you are set for winter in Paris. Sweaters make for the perfect Paris packing list accessory for both men and women and keep you warm and cozy while looking stylish. We recommend picking sweaters that are in neutral tones for your winter trip to Paris so you can mix and match with other pieces.
Top Things To Do In Paris During The Winter
Visiting Paris during the winter presents a unique opportunity to explore parts of the city that you may have otherwise passed up. While the weather is cold and possibly inclement, head indoors to one of the many things to do in the city! If the weather is great, you can take to the streets and explore, all while being dressed appropriately! Whether you are looking to spend a long weekend in Paris or have a week or more to visit, there is plenty to see and do!
Bundle Up And Explore Paris By Bike
You can rent bikes at the Velib Bike Stations in Paris for very little money. It costs $8 to rent for a week and the first 30 minutes of each ride is free. Even if you end up having to pay by the hour, it will still be cheaper than renting from a bike shop. Biking is a wonderful way to explore the city, even in winter! Make sure that you are dressed in warm clothing and make sure it is windproof, if possible. Wear gloves to keep your hands warm and a hat and get ready to explore what winter in Paris is like by bike! You can also ride your bike across town and drop it off at any Velib bike station and simply take the Metro home if the weather gets bad!
If you would prefer, there are many guided bike tours that you can take around Paris in winter! That way, you can enjoy the sites without worrying about getting lost!
Book here: Electric Bike Tour Of Paris’ Hidden Gems
Check availability: Paris 4-Hour Bike Tour: Off the Beaten Path
Go Window Shopping Along The Champs-Elysées
There is nothing more magical than a walk along the Champs-Elysées during the winter! Winter in Paris means stores decked out for the holidays, Christmas trees galore, and maybe even a little snow if you are lucky! Parisians love to window shop, especially around the holidays! Take the Metro to either end of the Champs-Elysées and window shop your way up and down the streets! There are plenty of good places to eat if you need to stop in to warm up during your walk!
Head Indoors And Enjoy One Of The Many Parisian Museums
Museums are a highlight to explore in Paris during the winter! Millions of people travel to Paris from all around the world to visit museums and there is no better time to enjoy them than when visiting Paris in winter! If you are visiting the Louvre, make sure to buy a timed entrance ticket so you aren’t stuck waiting over an hour in line to buy a ticket! You can buy a Louvre Entrance Ticket here and choose your time that you want to visit. Make sure to budget at least 4-5 hours at minimum for exploring the Louvre. It is the perfect activity to do in Paris in winter if the weather gets bad because it allows you to spend a great deal of time indoors without ever getting bored. You can even book a cool guided tour about Louve Scandals or you can try and find the best butts at the Louvre! How entertaining, right?
If you have already seen the Louvre, check out one of the other fantastic museums to explore in Paris such as the Musee d’Orsay, the Musee de l’Orangerie, the Holocaust Museum, Musee Rodin and many many more! Click here to book your Musee d’Orsay tickets in advance!
Book here: Louvre Skip The Line/Timed Entrance Ticket
Book here: Skip The Line/Louvre Scandals Tour
Go Underground And Visit The Parisian Catacombs
The catacombs are the perfect activity to when visiting Paris in winter because they are underground which means they are sheltered from the elements! The Parisian catacombs are home to over 6 million bones, so get ready for the experience of a lifetime. You can book your Catacombs ticket online so that you can skip the line and get an included audio guide. If you are visiting Paris in winter and want to head to the catacombs, make sure to wear warm clothing, as you will be underground and it may be cold. Discovering the dark side of the City Of Light has never been more fun!
Book here: Catacombs Skip The Line Ticket
Warm Up With A Cooking Class During Winter In Paris
Paris is home to some of the best food in the entire world! From delicious crepes to fluffy Macaroons, the food is truly out of this world. Taking a cooking class when visiting Paris in winter is the perfect way to head indoors and learn about your favorite French food while staying warm and dry. There are so many options for cooking classes, from learning the secrets of French pastries to learning how to cook an authentic Christmas dinner, there is truly a Parisian cooking class for everyone!
Book now: French Macaroon Baking Class
Book here: 2-Hour French Bread Making Class
Go Ice Skating For Free Around The City
Ice skating is the quintessential winter activity and it can be found in Paris! Ice skating during winter in Paris is actually free, all you have to do is rent ice skates which will run about $7. We can’t think of anything more magical than strapping on a pair of skates and Ice skating around Paris in winter! The most popular Paris winter ice skating locations are in front of Hôtel de Ville and at the base of the Montparnasse skyscraper. Make sure to dress warmly so you don’t spend your whole time skating wishing you had worn a hat!
Go To A French Christmas Market In Paris
If your trip to Paris in winter falls around the holidays, you are in for a real treat! Head to one of the authentic Christmas markets in Paris and shop at the stalls, eat delicious food, and enjoy the holiday cheer. We love Christmas markets and there are some fantastic ones in Paris during the winter! Try the mulled wine as a way to warm up while browsing the handcrafted goods and homemade cookies. There are multiple Christmas markets around Paris in winter so make sure to visit a few, if you have time. Each one has its own little twist!
Take In Paris From Above On Top Of The Eiffel Tower
Just because it is winter in Paris does not mean that you should forgo a trip up the Eiffel Tower. If you have never gone up the tower, don’t skip it just because it is winter. Going up the Eiffel Tower in winter is actually more enjoyable than in the summer because you won’t be fighting with long lines of people and you will have more open space to take in the view without the crowds. That being said, going up the Eiffel Tower in winter can be quite cold so be sure to dress in your warmest clothing so you have an enjoyable trip! We highly recommend gloves, a hat, and layers!
Book here for discounted entrance: Eiffel Tower: Second Floor Priority Access or Summit Ticket
Check availability here: Dinner at 58 Tour Eiffel with Priority Lift Tickets
Where To Stay In Paris During The Winter
Where to stay during your winter trip to Paris will depend on what you plan on doing. We prefer to stay near the Eiffel Tower as we like to be able to walk a few blocks and see it in the distance. Perhaps you are looking to explore the Montmartre District or spend a lot of time in certain museums. If you find a hotel you love, do not worry! The Paris Metro goes to every corner of the city and makes it quick and easy to get around!
If you are truly looking to get a feel of how the posh locals live during your winter trip to Paris, we suggest that you consider renting an Airbnb! An Airbnb allows you to live like the locals do in the heart of bustling neighborhoods! You can experience everything from grocery shopping in Paris to walking home from the metro to cooking with local ingredients in your own kitchen! Airbnbs in Paris also allows you to stay in a nicer area for a lot cheaper than many hotels! You will also save money on eating out in the event that you want to try your hand at creating authentic French dishes at home!
Redeem Now: Get A Free $40 Airbnb Coupon
Our recommended areas to stay in Paris in winter would be near the Eiffel Tower, near the Arc De Triomphe/Champs Elysees, and near the Louvre. There really is no “bad” area to stay in Paris so we can really only give our personal recommendations for areas, hotels, and Airbnbs that we love.
Hotel Recommendations In Paris:
- Hôtel Elysées Bassano, Paris. This four-star hotel is located in a fantastic area in between the Arc De Triomphe and the Seine river! It is moderately priced, for Paris, and the rooms are spacious and modern! It is also 0.8 miles away from the Eiffel tower which is an easy walking distance for most. Check price and availability here!
- Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel, Paris. If you are looking for a hotel in Paris that is right next to the Eiffel Tower, this is it! Just steps away from the base of the famous Eiffel Tower, this four-star hotel delivers Parisian charm. If you are visiting Paris in winter, be sure to walk along the Seine and share some delicious crepes under the Eiffel Tower! Check price availability here!
- Hôtel Eiffel Petit Louvre, Paris. If you are looking for a more affordable Eiffel Tower hotel in Paris, check out this one! It is only a few blocks further from the tower than our suggestion above, but it is a bit cheaper. The rooms are clean and modern and pretty luxe for the price! Check price and availability here!
- Sofitel Paris Baltimore Tour Eiffel Hotel, Paris [Luxury Option]. There are many luxury hotels in Paris you really can’t go wrong! As we said, we love a good Eiffel Tower location and the rooms are well done. You are also close to a Metro if you need easy access to transportation! Check prices and availability here!
- District République, Paris [Budget Hotel]. If you are in the market for a good budget hotel, we like this one located in the 10th district. It offers free wifi and is located near metros and bus stations so you can easily get around. The rooms are clean and many attractions are within walking distance! Check prices and availability here!
Airbnb Recommendations In Paris:
We have stayed at many Airbnbs in Paris, but sadly, some of the listings are not up anymore or are only rented for a month or year-long contracts. That being said, we are going to share some Airbnbs that we would personally book, along with some we have stayed in to make things easier for you! We are only going to recommend “entire home” Airbnbs where you will get to stay in the entire home by yourself, without sharing with anyone! You can also use our code and get $40 off your booking in Paris!
- Charming Studio near the Canal Saint-Martin. This adorable studio is oh-so-cute and so very affordable! We love that Airbnb in Paris are affordable yet allow you to live like a local. This one has many reviews [over 200], is in a good location, and has great ratings! Plus, it has the cutest street view! Check prices and availability here!
- 5 minutes near Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Mars. This is our very favorite location in all of Paris! Walking distance from the Eiffel Tower and the Seine as well as near more shops and restaurants than you can count! It is so cute and colorful we can’t resist this listing! Check prices and availability here!
- Charming Parisian Studio. This little studio offers the best of both worlds between a hotel and an Airbnb. It comes with a full kitchen and is comfortable and clean with a couch, TV, and separate bed! It is quite cozy if you are spending winter in Paris! Check prices and availability here!
- L’Etoile du 7éme – 2-bedroom, sleeps 4 [Luxury option]. If you are on the hunt for a luxury flat in Paris, this one will not let you down! It is stunning, romantic, massive, and in a fantastic location! If you are looking to go all out on your winter trip to Paris, consider booking a luxury Airbnb location! Check prices and availability here!
- Lovely & bright studio 10 min from Moulin Rouge [Budget Option]. If you are looking for a budget Airbnb option in Paris, head to Montmartre! It is a haven for lovely affordable Airbnbs without sacrificing the authentic Parisian charm! This one is so cute and has a whole kitchen and is located in a great area that we have stayed in before! Check prices and availability here!
Best Places To Eat During Your Winter Trip To Paris
Paris is a true foodie city! From authentic French food to international fare, there is truly something for everyone! When visiting Paris in winter, you can choose to eat outside one of the many cafes like a true Parisian, or you can opt to eat inside, which is what we usually choose. Parisians sip their coffee outdoors, no matter what the weather is like! We were shocked how many people were sitting outside during winter in Paris, so do so at your own risk! Here are some of our favorite places to eat in Paris!
- Breizh Cafe Breizh Cafe offers galettes and crepes along with local ciders and beers. They have both an indoor and outdoor sitting area, in case you want to try eating outside in Paris in the winter! The food was delicious and the drinks were great! We recommend a galette for dinner and a crepe for dessert!
- La Catrina Taqueria. If you are looking to experience some Mexican in Paris, this is the place for you! Their tacos are out of this world and the location is right next to a Metro stop and a Velib bike station. Their Hibiscus juice is a highlight!
- Papelli. Authentic Italian in Paris? Why not! As we said above, Paris is an international city so it makes sense to try all different types of food! The pizza at Papelli is so amazing and their appetizer of bread and olive oil is scrumptious! There are multiple locations around Paris to make getting around easy.
- La Taverne de ZHAO. This Chinese restaurant is our all-time favorite restaurant in Paris! We go every time we visit! It is the perfect place to visit when traveling to Paris in winter because the food just warms your soul. Try the tofu with egg of a thousand years. It looks weird, but it is one of the most delicious things ever!
- Les Fondus de la Raclette. We went here for Victoria’s birthday and it is literally the perfect spot for a Paris winter dinner! Raclette is a cheese dish that came from the French Alps and skiers eat it after coming in from the slopes. This restaurant mimics a ski chalet and the food is so delicious! Come hungry because they give you a ton of food and so much cheese you have enough to take home!
There is so much to see and do when visiting Paris in winter! We could write an entire novel on our favorite things to do and where to eat and stay, but we have to narrow it down to the suggestions above so we don’t completely bore you! If you read this far, congratulations! You are well on your way to planning your dream trip to Paris in winter! If you have any questions about planning your winter Paris vacation, make sure to let us know in the comments and we will try and answer the best we can!
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