Paris in the winter can be cold, damp, and rainy with the chance of an occasional snow shower. It isn’t the most popular time to visit for tourists but it shouldn’t be overlooked. You will find fewer crowds, cheaper airfare, and better hotel rates. You can even score a much better hotel room during this time because of the low season. Don’t let the weather or time of year steer you away. Here are the top 5 things to do in Paris in the winter.
The Christmas markets start in Paris towards the end of December and wrap up the first week of January. Even if you go closer to New Year’s eve, you will still be able to experience some of the Christmas magic. There are markets in the city’s center at Hôtel de Ville, The Tuileries, and Saint Germain des Près.
I personally love seeing the different parts of Paris dressed up for Christmas. If the markets aren’t your thing, pop into Galleries Lafayette to see the tree or experience the Christmas windows at the major department stores. Bon Marché on the Left Bank and La Samaritaine also have holiday display windows and indoor decorations.
The streets will be covered in festive Christmas lights and decorations up until mid-January. Walk the streets and feel the Christmas magic.
One of the big perks of visiting Paris in the winter is the sales after the holidays. You will find signs in the shop windows big and small announcing sales. The best merchandise starts at the beginning of the sales and gets picked over. Discounts start small and get bigger as the merchandise goes. I have gotten some great deals on bedding items and clothing. This is a great time to shop for your favorite brands and find bargains at the higher-end shops.
Typically Parisian parks can be filled with tourists and locals which can be a bit overwhelming on the weekends. The parks are filled with locals and fewer tourists in the winter months. Make sure to bundle up with a pair of gloves, a hat, and a scarf. You will need it! Temperatures can get quite cold in the winter months and the damp air makes it feel colder.
This is a great time to buy tickets to your favorite museum or explore a new exhibition without the crowds. I would love to see the Dior exhibition which I missed during my last visit. You can grab tickets here. If you are looking for a great place to eat before or after Dior, I recommend Chez Savy which is an iconic French bistro. I just popped in there recently and the service is so friendly and they have a classic menu. You can also book a reservation online.
The colder weather is a perfect time for French onion soup, hot chocolate, aligot one of my personal favorites (which is a cheesy mashed potatoes dish), and boeuf bourguignon. Duck into a café to warm up and order one of these delicious French menu items.
The weather will surprise you in the winter. There will be days that are cold, dark, and rainy and ones filled with sunshine. Don’t forget sunglasses and sunscreen even in winter.
I hope you enjoyed this top 5 post! If you have any requests for other top 5 Paris-related post ideas, drop a comment below.
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