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Winter in Paris: A Guide to the City's Coziest Things to Do

Updated: Feb 22

Winter in Paris showing a sparkling Eiffel Tower and Parisian apartments ©AlonzoWright
Winter in Paris often means a shimmering Eiffel Tower under misty skies. ©AlonzoWright

Sure, you’re used to seeing the grassy green photos of the Parc du Champs de Mar with its unobstructed vistas at the Eiffel Tower, picnicking Parisians cooling off along the Seine, and the glorious leafy canopies of Le Jardin du Luxembourg. But have you ever seen the magic of Paris in the winter?


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The city transforms into a winter wonderland with its twinkling lights and fancy storefronts, creating a festive atmosphere that is impossible to resist. The cooler months may bring lower temperatures, but Paris answers with a plethora of ways to keep warm. Steaming cups of vin chaud (mulled wine) and chocolat chaud (hot chocolate), plenty of heat lamps on café patios and cozy patisseries and boulangeries lining nearly every block. This is the time of year when Paris really turns up the charm because with much fewer tourists, it belongs to the Parisians once again.

But not everybody wants to be outside that time of year, so the winter is a great season to experience the indoor activities that are usually packed come summertime. Famed museums like the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre see less crowds and shorter lines; the frosted storefronts shine with twinkling lights and sprays of holly and greenery and it’s easier to clinch a reservation at those highly coveted restaurants. But if you’re not afraid to brave the winter temperatures, which average between 46°F and 48°F (7°C to 9°C) during the day and 37°F to 40°F (2°C to 4°C) at night, there are plenty of things to do outside too. If we’re being honest, anyone who lives in a place with harsh winter conditions will consider these temperatures pretty mild.

Paris has something for everyone; but Paris in the winter offers a festive enchantment without the crowds. If you're planning a trip to Paris in the winter, keep reading.

Winter in Paris: A Guide to the Coziest things to do:

Visit the illuminated Christmas markets

If you’re in Paris during the holidays, the Paris Christmas markets are equal parts festive and fun. The scent of freshly baking bread, roasting chestnuts and spiced wines are enough to lure you in; but once you see the lavish displays of specialty gifts and antiques, you’ll spend a few blissful hours wandering through the stalls.

Artisans sell everything from custom art pieces and gourmet foods, to infused liqueurs, leather bags and cashmere. It’s a real treat for the senses. The good news is, Paris is famous for their markets so even if you missed the holidays, you'll be sure to find an excellent one nearby. Can't seem to understand why anyone would want to travel during the holidays? We've got you covered.

Winter in Paris indoor champagne river cruise down the Seine.
Spend your winter evenings on a champagne river cruise down the Seine. Photo courtesy of Kazuo Ota via Unsplash.