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Winter in Paris – The Ultimate Insider’s Guide

Ready to experience the very best that winter in Paris has to offer? If so then you’ve come to the right place.

Because I’m about to reveal my expert picks for all of the very best things to do in Paris in winter.

After all, I’ve visited Paris more times than I can count and know all about the ethereal magic of Christmas in Paris.

Sure, the weather may be a bit cold. But, you’ll soon forget about that as you go ice skating beneath the Eiffel Tower, explore enchanting Christmas markets, and sip on decadent hot chocolate from Angelina’s.

So, get away from the crowds and use my Paris travel guide with insider tips to experience some of the best things to do in winter in Paris – a season that typically lasts from December to February, with November and March being shoulder months too.

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Average Paris in Winter Weather

Winter in Paris with the Eiffel Tower covered in show and flanked by Christmas trees.

I’m gonna be straight with you – winter in Paris is not entirely dry. There will be plenty of days of rain and possibly (or hopefully!) snow. After all, this is Europe people!

Anyway, on average Paris has 10 – 14 wet days per month during the winter. So, while you should definitely pack warmer clothes, it’s also a good idea to plan for rain and wet ground conditions.

Paris is also mainly flat, with only a few higher-ground areas around the Montmartre district. So if you’re planning on spending a lot of time there, the temperature may be a little lower due to the increase in wind chill.

However the weather will probably be fairly similar to the rest of Paris, but it always pays to be prepared.

Pairs December – High of 46 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 37 degrees Fahrenheit

Paris in January – High of 45 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 37 degrees Fahrenheit

Paris in February – High of 46 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 37 degrees Fahrenheit

It’s worth remembering that there will also be some shorter days in Paris in winter. In fact, the sun will rise around 8:20 am at the start of December and will be setting around 6:30 pm at the end of the winter season in February.

However, throughout the middle of the Paris in winter season, the sun will rise around 8:40 am and set around 5:05 pm in early January.

That makes for an average of around 8.5 hours of daylight per day, which isn’t much. But, this also means that you’ll get more time to enjoy the amazing Christmas lights and evening ambiance of this cultural wonderland!

How to Get to Paris in Winter

View of Notre Dame at dusk with a Christmas tree out front.

The most straightforward way to get to Paris is by flying. And there are three different airports in the city:

  • Charles de Gaulle (CDG) – This airport is northeast of the city center and is by far the most popular airport in Paris. It is well connected to anywhere you need to go in Paris.
  • Orly – This airport is in the south, and while I know it exists, I’ve literally never met anyone who flew into it. However, it is also well connected to the rest of the city.
  • Beauvais – This airport is really far north of the city and it’s not all that easy to get into Paris in winter from here.

But, unless you’re flying a super low-budget airline from elsewhere in Europe, you’ll probably be arriving in CDG.

Of course, if you’re traveling to Paris in winter from within Europe, you can also arrive via bus, train, or private vehicle since Paris is incredibly well connected to the rest of Europe by bus and train.

So, if coming in by bus, you’ll likely arrive at Gare Routière Internationale, and from there you can easily access anywhere in the city.

Now, if you’re coming by train, stations will vary depending on your departing destination. However, Gare du Nord is the most popular train station in Paris, especially for international arrivals.

That being said though, all of the major train stations in the city are well connected to the rest of Paris so you should have no problem getting to your hotel this winter in Paris.

Getting to and from the Airport This Winter in Paris

Boats on the Seine with the Eiffel Tower in the background this winter in Paris.

If you plan on heading to Paris in winter via plane, the good news is that getting from most major airports to central Paris couldn’t be easier. And for two of the three, it’s actually pretty affordable.

So just how do you do it, you ask? Strap in because I’m about to tell you!

  • Charles de Gaulle (CDG) – As the biggest and most trafficked airport in Paris, it’s no surprise it’s the most straightforward to get into and out of. So, if you’ve never been to Paris before, it’s pretty common to book an airport transport service that will take you directly to your hotel without the hassle of navigating the public transport systems with your luggage. These can sometimes be booked via your hotel, online, or at the airport (but you might have to wait up to an hour for pick up), but are an often costly option. Your other options include the RER, local buses 350 and 351, the Roissybus or a taxi.
  • Orly – Similar to CDG, it is possible to book an airport transport service from the airport. However, both the airport transfers and taxis often cost more from here as it is a little further from central Paris. Other options are local buses 183 or 285 to connect with the metro and train systems, respectively. It is possible to get from Orly to central Paris on the RER, but you must get to it via the Orlyval or the bus to Paris par le train. Lastly, the Orlybus goes directly between the airport and the Denfert-Rochereau train station in Montparnasse and is a great option if you’re traveling to Paris in winter on a budget.
  • Beauvais – Although airport transfers are the most convenient way of getting to central Paris from Beauvais, they will cost you upwards of €130, nearly double the cost from other airports in Paris. Taxis are even more expensive (though Uber or Bolt might be slightly more affordable). There is an option to get a train from Beauvais train to Gare du Nord, but unfortunately you will NEED to take a 15 minute taxi ride to the train station from the airport. Alternatively, you can take a bus from the airport to Porte Maillot station where you can catch a train to Gare du Nord.

Pro Tip: Since most of you will be traveling to Paris in winter via plane, I HIGHLY recommend catching the RER from CDG. It’s super simple to use and A LOT cheaper than either a taxi or a private airport transfer.

How to Get Around When Spending Winter in Paris

Sign for the metro in Paris

Paris is an incredibly easy city to get around with transportation methods to suit any type of traveler.

Not only that, but all of the main transportation methods in Paris use the same ticketing system (with a few exceptions if traveling to and from the airports or Disneyland Paris).

So, all you have to do is choose between two ticket types that tourists can use on the metro, bus (including the nightbus), RER, the Montmartre funicular, and the tramway (you’re unlikely to use this last one as a tourist since it only really goes to the outskirts of the city).

And they are:

  • T+ Ticket – This is a one-way ticket that is good for 90 minutes. However, there are a few limitations as you can’t switch from metro to bus (or vice versa) or use the same bus twice. A t+ ticket costs €1.80, and can be bought one at a time, or in a pack of 10. You can also buy them directly from bus drivers, but will have to pay an additional €.20.
  • Paris Visite – If you plan on traveling around the city alot via transportation, then this pass it. The pass allows for unlimited travel across all eligible public transportation methods for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days periods, and can include zones 1-3 or 1-5. One benefit of this pass is that if you opt for the zone 1-5 option, it includes travel to and from the CDG and Orly airports as well as Disneyland at no additional cost. Prices for the pass start at €12 for one day in zones 1-3, and go all the way to €25.25 for one day in zones 1-5.

Now, with all that said, some of the best methods of travel around Paris in winter are:

  • Walking – Paris is large, but an easy city to walk around. So, even though you certainly can’t get everywhere by foot, most hotels will be located within easy walking distance of a handful of major attractions. And who wouldn’t want to see the magic that is winter in Paris by foot?
  • Metro – With 300 stations and 136 miles of track, the Paris metro is the third longest in Europe (after only London and Madrid). Supposedly, there are no areas of Paris without a metro station within 500 meters (1640 feet) walking distance. So, as you can imagine, it’s an excellent way to get around the city, and a popular one with locals and tourists alike as it’s quick and efficient. There are also 16 different lines that run throughout the city, with each metro station marked by a large sign with an ‘M.’
  • Bus – One popular method of travel in Paris is by bus since the city has 60 different bus routes during the day and 40 at night. So, it’s easy to use the bus to get around 24/7. Like the metro, pretty much everywhere in Paris is connected by bus. However, you might want to avoid this method during rush hour since traffic jams can can increase travel times quite a bit.
  • RER – Short for Réseau Express Régional, this train system has 5 lines that connect central Paris with the suburbs and, most importantly for visitors, to Charles de Gaulle Airport, Ory Airport, Disneyland and Versailles. The RER runs on over 365 miles of track across more than 250 stations, and features trains that are faster than the metro. In other words, if you can get where you’re going via RER, it’s probably the best option available to you.
  • Taxi/Uber/Bolt – Taxis are literally everywhere in Paris, and are great option for direct travel if you can afford it. They’re also not the cheapest way to travel since the minimum fare for standard taxis in Paris is €2.50. BUT the minimum service fee is €6.20 (I don’t understand it either). It doesn’t matter, though, because you’re unlikely to ever need a taxi for a trip that costs that little anyway. Also, like most major cities in Europe, Paris now has various ride share servies like Uber and Bolt that you can use. Both can be booked via an app on your phone, are reliable, and provide you with the full cost of your trip upfront.

What to Pack for Winter in Paris

A Parisian coffee house covered in snow.

Sometimes packing for colder climates can be a bit of a challenge. The same goes for working out what to pack when you’re going to be spending winter in Paris.

Unlike the changing weather of spring or fall, at least you know what you’re going to encounter the most: it’s gonna be cold!

So, packing some essential winter gear for warmth should come first. You can also think about accessories and other useful items once your body is taken care of.

Because, let’s be real – you can’t enjoy winter in Paris if you’re freezing to death!

So, when considering what to wear in Paris, some comfortable footwear will (literally) go a long way towards your enjoyment of Paris.

If it’s warm and durable and can withstand any puddles that Europe can throw your way, even better.

Also, simple and sensible black leggings will not only help fight the cold, but they will make you look stylish and not like you’re heading home from the gym. And looks are slightly more important in always fashionable Paris!

With that in mind, rocking a distinctive winter hat will help you stand out in the Christmas market crowds, especially when paired with a color-coordinated scarf.

Throw on a pair of sunglasses (because the low winter sun can be blindingly bright) and you’ll look and feel like a catwalk model in no time!

It should be noted that, even in a capital city like Paris, not everyone speaks English. In fact, Parisians pride themselves not only on their French-ness, but on their Parisian-ness.

So, in case of emergency (and by that, I mean your phone running out of charge) it can be a lifesaver to have a guidebook for Paris, complete with maps and some helpful French phrases. You don’t want to find yourself in an unfamiliar area and unable able to get back on track.

Lastly, bringing a water bottle with you is a good idea. Plenty of tourist spots and landmarks will have bottled water available but at very inflated prices. So, beat them at their own game and use a water bottle to hydrate yourself!

  • Winter Boots – With a big city comes lots of walking. So, this winter in Paris, you’re going to want your feet to be warm, comfortable and dry. So, get yourself a pair of Polar Women’s Winter Boots.

Wait, hear me out! I know it looks like overkill, but trust me, these shoes are amazing! They’re super comfortable, they definitely keep your feet warm AND dry, and they’re really easy to get on and off. You’ll be ready for anything, and feeling stylish to boot (See what I did there?)!

  • Black Leggings – No one wants cold legs. There, I said it. So, if you’re out in the city for a day of shopping and sightseeing, the last thing you need is to slowly freeze to death from the waist down.

Therefore, I personally swear by these black leggings from American Apparel. They’re low cost, fit really well, last for a long time, and look great too. Are they perfect? Well, almost.

  • Warm Hat – If you’re on vacation, you’re going to see new things. To enjoy them, you’ll need to use your brain. Your brain is in your head, so you’ll need to keep your head warm. It’s called science, people.

But seriously, humans lose most of their body heat through their heads in winter. So keeping it covered up and warm in a PAGE ONE Winter Beanie is a great choice.

Honestly, this hat is in the top 10 of all the things I’ve ever bought. The interior fleece keeps your head warm, it’s very durable, and the pom-pom is so cute!

  • Warm Scarf – Winter is scarf time. And winter in Paris is stylish scarf time. For me, that means something that will do the job but that also has a natural flair.

And that’s where this winter infinity scarf comes in mighty handy. It will add an extra layer to both you AND your look!

So, when you’re all bundled up in one of these, there’s no way that you’ll feel anything other than cozy as you stroll the streets of Paris in winter.

  • Backpack – Paris is a lot of things, but small isn’t one of them. So, you’ll be doing a lot of walking around during your visit. Therefore, being able to effectively and comfortably carry everything you’ll need for the day is a definite plus.

And this Kenneth Cole Backpack does all that and more since it’s my go-to bag for practical purposes. It’s big enough for your laptop, water bottle, accessories, and anything else you might need while out in the city.

Plus, it also has fantastic anti-theft features that make it perfect for when you find yourself in a touristy area that might be targeted by pickpockets.

  • Water Bottle – Gotta stay hydrated, yo! And while this is something people definitely remember when packing for summer, many of us forget that the we’re gonna need to drink water when it’s cold too.

Luckily the Nefeeko Collapsible Water Bottle is everything you could ever want or need for keeping your hydration levels healthy.

It’s stylish, it’s great for the environment, it collapses down into a very portable size once it’s empty, and you’ll save a bunch of money from not having to pick up expensive bottled water every day.

Tips for Visiting Paris in Winter

1. Know When it is Winter in Paris

Technically, December, January, and February are winter months in Paris. Therefore, if you plan to visit Paris in winter then this is when you should plan your trip.

2. Avoid Visiting During Winter Holidays in France

Like a lot of places, schools have winter holidays in France. They generally start around February 18th and end around March 6th.

So, during this 2+ week period, many families travel and check out family-friendly spots like Disneyland Paris.

Therefore, many attractions around the city become quite crowded, with hotel and flight prices rising significantly when compared with the previous month.

As a result, if you are planning to spend winter in Paris then it’s best to avoid the city at this time of year.

3. Remember that Christmas in Paris is High Season

While winter in Paris is off-season – beginning on November 1st – the exception to that rule is the Christmas season.

After all, the wealth of beautiful decorations and fun seasonal events that pop up around the city entice people to visit.

So, Christmas is a very popular time to check out the City of Light. Therefore, do not expect to save money on your trip if you visit between December 18th and January 6th.

Instead, book hotel rooms and tickets to top attractions (like the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Catacombs, Versailles, and the d’Orsay Museum) well ahead of time.

Pro Tip: Christmas decorations typically start getting set up during the second half of November.

Therefore, if you want to enjoy Christmas in Paris without the high price tag and insane crowds then be sure to visit at this time of year.

4. Stay Somewhere Centrally Located

Because temperatures in Paris in winter can be quite low, it’s important to stay somewhere well-located within the city.

This way, you can save time/money on transportation and can reduce the amount of time you spend in the frigid cold.

And some of the most well-located districts in the city include the 1st, 7th, and 8th Arrondissements, among others.

5. Travel in January to Save More Money

On the whole, flights to and from Paris are about 29% cheaper in January (thanks Skyscanner) when compared with the yearly average.

So, try to fly or take the train to Paris in winter during the month of January. And if you want to save even more on transportation to/from the city then reserve tickets a month or two in advance.

This is especially true when it comes to train tickets, which can soar in price at the last minute.

6. Pack Well for Winter in Paris

Paris in winter is cold, but not frigid. Therefore, you’ll want to pack warm clothes but don’t need to go over the top and wear a full-on snowsuit.

Instead, opt for lots of layers. This way, you can add or subtract clothes as needed since you’ll be moving from the outdoors to warmer, heated indoor areas.

Additionally, it rains quite a bit during winter in Paris. As a result, be sure to pack plenty of waterproof layers so that you don’t have to deal with cold, wet feet (the worst).

Top Things to Do this Winter in Paris

1. Walk amongst the Champs-Elysées Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights on the Champs-Elysées leading up to the Arc de Triomphe.

The Champs-Elysées is THE place to take a stroll this winter in Paris. Because if you’ve ever seen a movie set in Paris, chances are you’ve seen the main boulevard in this super chic district.

It’s so elite, it ends with the Arc de Triomphe – not the worst ornamental building to have at the end of your street if I do say so myself!

And throughout the Paris in winter season, this beautiful boulevard is lined with colorful lights and decorations that make the city sparkle with Christmas cheer.

Plus, all the cafes and stores here will look extra sweet and cozy, like something straight out of the most romantic movie that you ever did see.

And it’s not just the streets and trees that will be lined with bright and shiny lights! In fact, each of the stores along the Champs-Elysées will have their most jaw-dropping and eye-catching displays set up, with each business trying to outdo their neighbors in a competition to see who can be the most extra.

So, wrap up in your most festive scarf and make your way to the Champs-Elysées this January in Paris!

2. Go Ice Skating at the Eiffel Tower

People ice skating in the evening on the rink at the Eiffel Tower this winter in Paris.

What? Kelly, isn’t that insanely dangerous? It’s so high up!

Don’t worry – the ice rink will be safely on the ground, right near the Eiffel Tower! So, can you really think of a more picturesque backdrop to dancing on the ice than the freaking Eiffel Tower? It’s pretty darn spectacular, y’all!

It’s not just at the Eiffel Tower either – that’s just one of the many places you’ll be able to get out on the ice in Paris in winter.

Because when it’s winter in Paris, these ice skating arenas pop up all over the city. And the best part is, it’s free to use…at least If you bring your own skates, that is.

Ok, so not many people will be bringing their own ice skates on their winter vacation in Paris. But, you will be able to rent them from nearby vendors for (on average) $7 per pair, making this one of the best things to do in Paris on a budget.

3. Take a Seine River Cruise

View of the Seine River in Paris

The Seine river passes all the way through the heart of Paris, and is one of the most romantic waterways in the world.

Therefore, taking a cruise along this hictoric and picturesque river is one of the best things to do in Paris in winter.

As you follow the flow of the water, you’ll pass by all manner of beautiful and iconic landmarks. Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, the Louvre, Ponts des Arts bridge, Place de la Concorde, the Eiffel Tower … need I say more?

Seriously, the amount of world-class architecture on display here will fill your Insta feel like you wouldn’t believe!

Seine river cruises also come with the option of lunch or dinner, depending on when you choose to cruise (I’m a poet, I swear), which is perfect for those on a couple’s vacation.

Because, let’s be real, there aren’t many things more romantic than having dinner on a luxury boat as you drift down the Seine in Paris in winter!

And if you’re worried about feeling the chill of the air on the water, there’s no need – you’ll be comfortably warm inside these modern river cruisers. You might even forget that you’re not in a restaurant on dry land!

4. Visit some of the museums in Paris

View of the Louvre in Paris

Did you know that Paris is known for its art? Shocker, I know. But seriously, if ever there was a list of cities to hit up museums in, Paris could be number one on that list.

But there are more than you might think, each holding all kinds of interesting collections and Parisian hidden gems!

Plus, they’re all indoors. And sometimes one of the best things to do in Paris in winter is to get out of the cold, amirite?

First of all, you’ve got The Louvre. Gotta check out that Mona Lisa, yo! It’s like the world’s most famous painting!

Right across the river from the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Rodin Museum, the Cluny Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art are all within walking distance of each other.

Continue east along the river, and you’ll find the National Museum of Natural History. Head west and you’ll find the Paris Museum of Modern Art.

Just around the corner from there, anyone wanting to get their fashion fix should head over to the Musée Yves Saint Laurent.

And for anyone into Asian arts and treasures, the Musée National Des Arts Asiatiques Guimet has got you covered, especially if you can pronounce it like a local!

So yeah, throw a rock in Paris and you’ll probably hit a museum. Just make sure not to hit anything priceless!

5. Drink Some Hot Chocolate

I'm sorry but there really is nothing quite like a hot chocolate from Angelina's in Paris.

Sometimes the simple pleasures can be the best. And a cup of hot chocolate on a winter’s day can hit the spot like nothing else IMO.

But people – the chocolate in Paris is off the charts amazing. Like, your tastebuds will be happier than they’ve ever been!

Because there’s a reason why plenty of children in France drink a whole bowl of hot chocolate along with their breakfast every day.

I mean, if I had access to Parisian hot chocolate, you better believe I’d have one every morning all winter long!

So, drinking hot chocolate is a huge part of Christmas in Paris celebrations. Whether you pick some up from a street vendor or get some to go from one of the many cafes in Paris, having one of these delicious chocolatey beverages will send you into a festive mood.

If you want, you can also try some chocolat à l’ancienne (old-style hot chocolate), which can come as a spicy version with cardamom and cinnamon. Delicious!

Pro Tip: One of my favorite places to sample hot chocolate this winter in Paris is Angelina’s.

6. Experience French Christmas Markets

Christmas markets this Paris in winter.

Seasonal snacks. Bespoke crafts. Handmade ornaments. And all of it Christmas-themed!

After all, winter in Paris wouldn’t be complete without a Christmas market or three.

And these seasonal retail gatherings typically appear all over the city as December 25th draws nearer.

So, whether you’re looking for Christmas cards for your family, sweets for the kids, or mulled wine for yourself, these markets are the place to be this winter in Paris.

Because each Christmas market has a different specialty. So, some are geared more towards crafts while others are more food-based. One thing’s for certain though, they’ll all have traditionally roasted chestnuts!

And one of the biggest Christmas markets to pop up each winter in Paris is the one in La Defense – the business center of Paris.

It doesn’t have much available for tourists normally, but when the weather outside is frightful, the Defense Christmas market is so delightful!

One thing to remember though is that schools in Paris will be on vacation. So, these markets are likely to be extremely busy.

Therefore, If you want to avoid the crowds, make sure to plan your Christmas market shopping spree ahead of time!

7. Grab a bargain at the winter sales

Vibrant decor inside the Galleries Lafayette in Paris

Everyone loves a discount, right? That sweet, sweet feeling of getting something amazing for a fraction of the cost? I love it, I’m sure y’all do too!

Well, you’ll be able to enjoy all that and more if you spend winter in Paris, particularly around mid-January when it’s the sale season.

Because believe it to not, there are only two sale seasons each year in Paris, and this is one of them. So make sure you don’t miss out this winter in Paris!

In fact, stores will be preparing for the sales – les soldes as they’re known in France – a few days before they begin.

And if you check in on the places where you want to buy your ideal items, you should be able to find an epic bargain.

I mean, all the sale merchandise should be grouped together in one place, either hanging or piled near one other.

And from personal experience, I can tell you that getting there early is key to getting some of the best souvenirs in Paris. Also, be sure you have plenty of room in your suitcase!

8. Warm-up in the Jardin de Plantes Botanical Gardens Greenhouse

Greenhouse and gardens at the Jardin de Plantes in Paris.

Sometimes it can be refreshing for the soul to get back to nature in a big city. So, if you’re in Paris in winter, you’ll also want to go somewhere warm from time to time.

Fortunately, you can combine both of these things into one by visiting the Jardin de Plantes Tropical Rainforest Greenhouse!

See, the Jardin de Plantes is the main botanical garden in Paris. It’s an astounding green space that has been in operation for almost 400 years.

It began its life as a garden for medicinal plants for King Louis XIII and is now open to the public, with four large (and warm!) greenhouses that showcase plant life in natural environments from around the world.

So, this is the perfect place for anyone who wants to learn more about the natural world by getting an up-close and personal look at it.

There’s also truly something for everyone here since over 8 million different plants are on display. Plus it’s right next to the National Museum of Natural History for added convenience this winter in Paris!

9. Curl up with a book at Shakespeare And Company

Shakesepeare and Co bookstore store front in Paris.

If crowds are not your thing then you might want to slow things down while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate and reading a good book at Shakespeare And Company.

Because this English language bookstore with an adjacent cafe is just across the river from Notre Dame cathedral and is a great place to take a break from the outside world with some literary retail therapy this winter in Paris.

I mean, the coziness of this store cannot be overstated. From comfy bespoke chairs to pictures and drawings all oer the walls, this place is guaranteed to make you feel at home.

Also, there are books stacked high from floor to ceiling in every corner of the store. So, you’ll probably feel smarter just from wandering through the shelves!

And once you’re done picking out your reading list for the year, definitely head next door to the Shakespeare And Company Cafe for a hot drink.

Make sure to pick up some homemade bagels and cakes to snack on later!

10. Marvel At The Holiday Concerts

If you have done your research about Paris, you know that the city has gorgeous churches that date back centuries. Christmas brings a whole new level of festivities to the area. So as the cold sets in and the festival draws near, you will find that one of the top things to do in Paris in winter is to head out to the numerous holiday concerts!

The Caville-Coll organ from the Eglise Saint-Sulpice in the 6th arrondissement is a historic monument and you can hear it sing on Christmas day. While you are in the area, don’t forget to check out the Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Pres which has a concert scheduled on every Christmas day!

If you are closer to the 5th arrondissement then head to Eglise Saint-Ephrem which has Concerts by Candlelight or as the Parisians know it, “Concerts aux Chandelles”!

Every single venue will pull you in different directions. The best thing to do is find the one nearest to you and head there to enjoy the festivities. 

Aside from the churches, even the Theatre des Champs-Elysees gets into the spirit with Le Grand Concert de Noel. As you can imagine this features all the popular Christmas carols both in French and English! 

11. Make your dreams come true at Disneyland Paris

Pink building that marks the entrance to Disneyland Paris.

Disneyland what now? That’s right – there’s a Disneyland right here in Paris!

Ok, full disclosure, it’s not like it’s right next to the Eiffel Tower (but how amazing would that be?). Yeah, Disneyland Paris is actually about 40km east of Paris.

But, that’s only half an hour by car, and there are multiple trains running there all day long from the center of Paris.

So, what can you expect to enjoy at Disneyland Paris in winter? Uh, only all the Disney events you could ever wish for!

Because on top of all the rides and attractions, there will be parades, fireworks, Christmas decorations, and so much more, all with that added splash of Disney magic.

That’s why, having this literal wonderland right next to door will have you in a real dilemma because you’ll be wanting to spend all your time in both places this winter in Paris!

Other Fun Things to Do this Winter in Paris

12. Ride the waves at the indoor swimming at Aquaboulevard

Catching some surf might not be the first thing you imagine thinking of “Paris in winter”. And you probably wouldn’t think of it at all unless you wanted somewhere to go and warm up.

But, if you head to Aquaboulevard, you can do both! After all, it sits just on the outer side of Boulevard Périphérique which encircles central Paris.

It’s also an all-season indoor/outdoor water park that has everything you could want for all kinds of family fun in the water.

Plus, there are a ton of water slides to choose from, in addition to a super snazzy rope swing that will have literally flying into the pool in style.

And if you’re looking to do some surfing, they have a fantastic wake box for beginners, in addition to more advanced activities for true water sports enthusiasts.

Additionally, Aquaboulevard has an indoor artificial wave machine that can whip up anything from small calm waves to full-on tsunami-level monsters. Just make sure you don’t get swept away!

13. Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower

Pairs in winter with Christmas trees surrounding the Eiffel Tower.

I mean, were you not going to do this?

After all, the Eiffel Tower is easily the most recognizable symbol of Paris or even the whole of France!

So, going up to the top should be on any traveler’s bucket list this winter in Paris. In fact, some might even say that you haven’t really visited Paris until you’ve climbed this ICONIC landmark.

And regardless of whether you go up during the day or in the evening, the view. Is. AMAZING.

See, Paris is very flat. So, looking out across the city from any height gives you a decent view. But when you’re standing over 1,000 feet above the ground, it’s literally next level!

By day, if you’re spending winter in Paris, you’ll get to see all the streets and parks dusted in a layer of crisp white snow, just like a postcard.

And by night, the streets will come alive with lights PLUS all the vibrant Christmas decor that bedazzles Paris in winter. Either way, Paris is super Instagrammable, so start snapping pics!

14. Visit The Château de Versailles

A little off the beaten path is the Château de Versailles. But isn’t it the wrong time of the year Kelly?

It is and it isn’t! Winter is the low season when it comes to the Chateau de Versailles largely because the gardens aren’t as green and beautiful as they are during the rest of the year. 

On the flip side, this is brilliant because the inside of the palace is heated which means that you will remain toasty. Instead of elbowing people out of your way to catch a glimpse of the different parts of the Chateau de Versailles, you can wander through at your own place. You may even be the only person in the room!

Despite the cold, I would still recommend doing a quick stroll around the gardens. If you get a chance to catch some snow, you will see the complex in a whole different view compared to the thousands of tourists who visit it during the peak months every year. Trust me, it is not less magical! Braving the cold is worth it!

15. Venture into the Parisian Catacombs

Skulls in the Paris catacombs

It doesn’t have to be Halloween for you to enjoy this spooky experience in Paris in winter!

I mean, do you like bones? Like, lots and lots of bones? I sure hope so, because Paris has SIX MILLION bones collected underground in the Paris catacombs.

So, even if you’re not into creepy stuff, you gotta admit that’s pretty impressive!

See, what was originally a limestone mine a couple of hundred years ago eventually became a repository for bodies when the local cemeteries became overcrowded.

And now, thanks to some typical Parisian artistry, the bones that are leftover have been turned into an experience you won’t want to miss – including a whole wall of human skulls!

However, the catacombs can only hold about 200 people at any given time. So, if you’re visiting Paris in winter then there might be fewer people looking to enter the catacombs.

But, it’s always a good idea to get there early to avoid waiting too long. You can also pre-book your tickets online and skip the wait completely, plus you’ll even get a nifty audio guide!

Just make sure to remember that the Paris catacombs are chilly even in summer. So, if you’re visiting Paris in winter then you’ll want to bundle up against the cold!

16. Enjoy the Christmas decor in Notre Dame

Christmas tree outside of Notre dame in Paris in winter.

Notre Dame cathedral is one of the most famous and beautiful buildings in the whole of France. it’s also somewhere you should definitely check out if you’re spending winter in Paris.

In fact, the building itself is 800 years old and has some insane history behind it. I mean, did you know that Napoleon was crowned the Emperor of the French here in 1804?

And that it was the tallest building in Paris for 600 years? I swear you could spend days just wandering around and reading about this place alone!

Notre Dame is also hella gorgeous all year round, but the Christmas decorations at winter time take it to another level, yo.

The lights, the stained glass windows, the nativity scenes. It all comes together to make this place highly Instagrammable and super festive. Or super romantic, depending on who you’re with – Paris is the city of love, amirite?

Sadly, after a fire in 2019, the inside of Notre Dame is currently under reconstruction. But if you’re a fan of architecture, history, literature, or even Disney movies (y’all know I love that Hunchback of Notre Dame!), make sure you don’t forget to make your way down to the center of the city to check out this chef’s kiss monument!

17. Dive into the Paris Aquarium

Ah, Paris, you city of opposites. You make some of the tastiest fish dishes, and you have some of the best fish houses! Fish houses? Y’all know what I mean – aquariums!

See, the Paris Aquarium (or the Aquarium de Paris) sits in the Trocadéro Gardens, just over the river from the Eiffel Tower – right in the center of Paris.

Here you can see all manner of sea life, including lobsters, crabs, seahorses, coral, urchins, and even jellyfish. In fact, there are 10,000 fish here in total!

They also have the world’s largest shark tank, which can hold 3 million liters of water. Which is perfect for the 38 large sharks that live here. Just don’t tell me Jaws is one of them!

And in addition to the fish themselves, there are all kinds of exhibitions to be seen here. So, you’ll learn a ton about the ocean and can even explore fun artistic exhibits for kids and uber-creative people.

I mean, can you make a jellyfish lantern? If not, then you can find out how here this winter in Paris!

Where to Stay this Winter in Paris

Exterior of Hotel Parister in Paris.
Image sourced from

Exe Panorama (budget) – Eve Panorama is a great budget option within close walking distance of Gare du Nord train station and Poissonière Metro Station.

Plus, every room includes a comfy bed, private bathroom, satellite TV, free WiFi, and a desk (which is great if you need to do a bit of work this winter in Paris).

Plus, you can start every morning off with a banging buffet breakfast filled with delicious French pastries (duh!), yogurt, fresh fruit, and waffles!

Le Relais Montmartre (mid-range) – Located in the heart of Montmartre, this is a great place to stay throughout the winter in Paris.

Not only is the hotel less than 15 minutes walk away from the stunning Sacré-Cœur, but it’s less than a 5-minute walk from the Blanche metro station, the Moulin Rouge, and the famous Le Chat Noir.

The rooms here are also charming and cozy, with perfect winter vibes. Every room also has a flatscreen TV, free WiFi, a private bathroom and a seating area and/or desk.

Plus, you can even get breakfast delivered right to your room if you don’t feel like eating in the vaulted cellar (which is as cool as it sounds).

Hôtel Odyssey by Elegancia (mid-range) – With the Louvre just 10 minutes away, it’s hard to beat the location of Hotel Odyssey!

Plus, the colorful minimalist decor will make you feel like you’re in the future, immediately elevating your stay. Truly, there’s nowhere else quite like this place.

Each room also comes with a private bathroom, WiFi, flatscreen TV,s and ALL THE COLORS. Several of the more upscale rooms even have a comfy seating area where you can opt to eat your tasty buffet breakfast upon request.

Hotel Parister (luxury) -For a luxury stay during your winter in Paris vacy, the Hotel Parister is hard to beat.

After all, this gorg hotel is equidistant to the Louvre and Sacré-Cœur, with both being about 20 minutes away by foot. Alternatively, the Cadet metro station is literally just around the corner from the hotel.

Each room also comes with private access to the hammam and fitness center, as well as your own in-room Nespresso coffee machine, minibar, and speaker system.

Of course, free WiFi is available throughout the hotel and each room has satellite TV access. Rooms also feature private bathrooms which come with a bathrobe, slippers, and complimentary luxury toiletries.

Heck, some rooms here even some with spa baths and private terraces too!

What to Eat This Winter in Paris

Paris has a wide range of food options to choose from, and no matter what you’re looking for, you’re likely to find it. Of course, delicious French food is abundant and not to be missed!

But with so many options to choose from, deciding where to go – especially if you only have a few days in Paris – can be daunting, to say the least.

Luckily for you, eating is one of my favorite activities in any city I visit. So yeah, I’ve got you covered! Therefore, here are some of the best places to try during winter in Paris, with a wide array of cuisines from all around the globe.

French toast in Paris

1. Rivié at The Hoxton Paris

The Hoxton is an excellent choice for a winter in Paris meal, or even just a drink.

Truth is, this swanky AF spot is great year-round, but during the colder months, it’s one of the few places where you can enjoy the atmosphere of sitting in a garden without the deep chill.

See, they have an indoor garden area that makes for a wonderful winter garden cafe. The food here is also super tasty too, though the portions are a bit small.

But if you’re looking for a relaxing winter cafe or the best brunch spots in Paris, you can’t go wrong with The Hoxton.

2. Crêperie Little Breizh

I don’t know about you, but to me, crêpes are quintessentially a French food. Therefore sampling some is a must when visiting Paris in winter, spring, summer or fall!

And this cozy cafe serves some of the best crêpes I’ve ever had in Paris – and trust me, I’ve tried a lot of them!

In fact, I’m particularly fond of the sweet ones which they top with a generous helping of ice cream and whipped cream. And if for some reason you’re not in the mood for crêpes, they also have galletes too.

3. Le Potager de Charlotte

If you’re looking for the best vegan food this winter in Paris then Le Potager de Charlotte will NOT disappoint.

I mean, they serve some of the best vegan food I’ve had anywhere. Big statement, I know, but the two brothers who founded this place definitely know their way around food.

Everything I’ve had here has been melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Just don’t get too attached to any particular meal since they change the menu semi-regularly!

4. Chez Pitou

This is a super popular French diner, and trust me, it’s popular for a reason! They serve simple, classic French meals that are so good you’ll be sad to finish the last bite.

Don’t forget to check out the desserts and their impressive wine menu too.

5. Bonjour Vietnam

As you might have guessed from the name, this place serves Vietnamese food. And if you think that’s an odd choice for winter in Paris, then just trust me on this and order pho.

And just in case you’re not in the know, Pho is a traditional Vietnamese soup that is one of the most comforting winter meals you’ll ever have.

6. La Jacobine

Speaking of warm, comforting soups to try while in Paris in winter, La La Jacobine has THE best French onion soup ever.

Yup, another bold claim, but you can’t judge it until you try it yourself. They also have plenty of other tasty French dishes too, but definitely don’t leave without trying their French onion soup.

7. Le Cinq

Looking for something fancy, or maybe planning a romantic date night out in Paris in winter? If fo then Le Cinq is perfect.

Just treat yourself to an unforgettable night out at this Regency-style fine dining restaurant. And like most fine dining establishments, the portions are small, but PACKED full of flavor!

8. Les Fondus de la Raclette

Raclette is an amazing cheese dish from Switzerland – but super popular in France, and you’ll know why after visiting here.

It is the ideal winter in Paris meal as it warms you up from the inside, oh, and it’s yummy AF. Also, while at this bistro, you can choose from a set menu with several ways to eat your raclette, including an equally delectable dessert too.

Just don’t blame me when you find that your pants are getting infinitely tighter.

9. Les Deux Magots

One of the most famous cafes in Paris, Les Deux Magots is one of my favorite places to get hot chocolate during the winter in Paris. Pair your hot chocolate with a croissant and you’ll be in foodie heaven in no time flat.

10. Berthillon

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Kelly, why would I want ice cream in WINTER in Paris?” But I promise you want THIS ice cream.

And one of the benefits of visiting in winter is that you’re a lot less likely to have to stand in line to get it (it’s worth it if you do, though).

Just do yourself a solid and eat inside if you can, because they really go all out with the toppings. They also do sorbets for those who can’t have dairy.

Paris in Winter FAQ

How Cold Does it Get in Winter in Paris?

As you might expect, Paris in winter can be quite cold. However, temperatures usually don’t dip below freezing and reach a daily high of 44 F (7 C) and a daily low of 33 F (1 C).

Additionally, winter means quite a bit of rainfall in the French capital. Therefore, expect to encounter rain, and sometimes snow, during your visit.

What is Paris like in Winter?

Paris in winter can be very wet, cold, and dark. But, not to worry since you’ll encounter many sunny days where you can walk along the Seine.

Just remember that on average, you’ll encounter between 10 and 11 days of rain per month during winter in Paris.

What months are Winter in Paris?

Winter in Paris officially starts on December 21st and ends on March 21st.

Is Paris Expensive in Winter?

Paris is not as expensive in winter. In fact, you’ll enjoy deep discounts on hotels and flights during your visit.

Just avoid visiting during major holidays like Christmas and New Year and you can easily save a lot of money on a trip to Paris in winter.

Map of the Best Things to. do This Winter In Paris

Map of the best things to do this winter in paris.
Click here for the full map.

Additional Paris in Winter Resources You’ll Love

There you have it! That just about wraps up this epic guide to Paris in winter!

Tell me, did your favorite Christmas in Paris activities make the list? If not then let me know in the comments below!

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