If you are headed to Paris this year or you are dreaming of booking a trip, this post will help you with what to expect during each season with weather, and what to pack, along with exhibitions/festivals are happening.
There is always something happening in the city, between new restaurant openings and art exhibitions. I travel to Paris often and in just a few months new shops have opened and others have closed. The city continues to be exciting to me after 10 years.
You can see what to do in Paris this January here including fun exhibitions, cocktail week, and fashion week dates.
The big question I have been getting lately is what the weather is like in January. I have experienced the flooding of the Seine a few years ago and constant rain and now in 2020, they are having sunshine and 50-degree weather. You honestly never know with the weather but I always expect rain at some point and dress warmly in layers. A scarf is a Parisian accessory that is a must. I love my Blondo boots because they are waterproof. I have ruined so many shoes in years past by being caught in unexpected downpours. These are great to pack in January.
I have experienced snow in the Winter in Paris. It is rare but they have had some significant snowfall over the past few years. All I wanted to do was see snow when I moved to Paris and they had some in January and I moved on February 1st. Everyone was doubtful it would happen more than once in a season but sure enough, I got my wish. I have to tell you it was everything I wished for and more!
My first trip to Paris back in 2003 was over Valentine’s Day weekend. The French don’t really celebrate it as a holiday like they do in the US. 17 years later, it has become more of an Americanized holiday which they are starting to adopt. You will find heart-shaped pastries for sale on the day of Valentine’s Day but that is pretty much it. It is cold in February and the weather is a damp cold. The terraces will still be open but enclosed with thick plastic and it is open to smokers. For more ideas on what to do in February you can check out this detailed post.
On the 28th of February, The Atelier des Lumières will open an exhibition highlighting Monet, Renoir, Chagall. You may remember the Van Gogh one was a huge hit in 2019,
Fashion Week runs February 24th – March 3rd.
In March, there are hints of warm weather and blossoms. This is a great time to visit because the city is still a little quiet. I have seen snow in March so you just never know. Magnolias are the first to blossom and you can find them outside of Hôtel de Ville, Palais Royal and in The Tuileries outside the Louvre. You can refer to this blog post to get an idea of where to see Paris in bloom.
Last March had some warm days followed by my visit which was colder and wet. Prepare to bring a warm coat and scarf. I had a leather coat that worked for the weather we had but make sure to look before you pack.
April happens to be my birthday month and one of my favorite months to be in Paris. The city is in bloom and there are pops of pink (my favorite color) everywhere! The cherry blossoms can start to blossom from the end of March to mid-April and last about two weeks.
The Paris Marathon is April 5th, expect streets to be closed off in some areas.
Man Ray is the highlight at Jardin du Luxembourg starting on April 9th.
May is the rainiest month in Paris. Here are a few ideas for rainy days in Paris.
May 1st is a holiday so be prepared to check ahead on spots being closed.
One thing to look forward to in May is the start of peony season. It isn’t very long in the US but it goes from May – June in Paris. The vendors stack them high at the markets in different shades of Pink.
Fête de la Musique is June 21st. I have been in France for the last two years during this celebration and it is so much fun. I was in Nice and Antibes and both were so lively until the late hours.
In June of 2019, Paris had a severe heatwave and I was there for part of it. If you don’t have air conditioning which is not that uncommon, it was pretty brutal. I remember sitting in Place des Vosges at 10 pm for a picnic and it was still light outside and extremely hot. Make sure you take this into consideration when planning travel. Check with your hotel/apartment rental to make sure they have air conditioning.
Bastille Day is July 14th. Grab a spot on the Champs de Mars for a picnic and a fireworks display.
The city empties in August of locals as they escape to the beaches in the south of France. Restaurants, shops, and coffee spots will close during this time. Make sure to check ahead for planned closures during the August break. What is open in August by Paris by Mouth.
The city becomes alive again with the rentrée as people return to school and work at the start of September.
September 19-20 is Heritage Days in Paris and other parts of France. You will have access to buildings that are normally closed to the public. You can see my post on a previous Heritage Days Here.
The weather starts to turn to sweater weather in October. I have had warm Octobers but by the end of the month, there is a chill in the air and it is time for boots and scarves. This is one of my favorite times to be in Paris. The colors in of Fall in Paris are stunning against the blue and grey backdrop.
The light in the months of October and November is a soft golden hue that is so stunning. Sunrise is closer to 8 am and the days start to get shorter.
The city quiets down after the end of October and the tourists leave. It is a great time to visit the city when it isn’t in peak season. Remember to dress warmly in layers with boots and a scarf.
Holidays to remember All Saints Day November 1st and Armistice Day November 11th.
Christmas in Paris was something I always wanted to see. I finally made it happen in 2019 at the end of November I saw the start of Christmas in the city and it was better than I imagined. The Paris strikes took away a lot of the Christmas magic in December but I was lucky to catch the city just before. Place Vendôme is not to be missed. I went in the early morning to see the lights hanging and to have the city to myself.
Photos of me by Katie Donnelly Photography
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