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Paris in the Winter
Wondering what to do in Paris in winter? This evergreen article is the result of many fun winters in Paris, despite the cold temperatures and sometimes bad weather. We’ll share 30 awesome things to do in and around Paris in December, January, and February, and our best tips to have fun in town!
Weather in Paris in Winter
How bad is the weather in Paris in the winter? To be honest, winters in Paris are not harsh if you compare it with other cities in Northern Europe. Temperatures are between 13 Cº and 7 Cº during the day and 2 – 5 Cº at night. Rain is common in Paris throughout the year and it is not an exception in winter, with a 15% of average rainfall.
Snow in Paris is rare but not unheard of. Paris under the snow is as beautiful as chaotic and it is nice to walk around the city and admire its main sights and parks covered with a blanket of snow.
READ MORE- Europe in Winter is a good idea
December in Paris and Christmas in Paris
Paris is a beautiful city at all times of the year but there’s no time like winter in Paris. Paris is one of the most amazing European cities on the planet around Christmas with the Christmas lights, Christmas Markets, and beautifully decorated shop windows. Paris in December is also the time for ice skating, small museums with the kids, winter festivals, and cozy cafes with a hot chocolate or a cup of tea.
1) Ice Skating
Parisians love to skate in Paris during Christmas and the city proposes some pretty ice-skating rinks (patinoires in French) options. Our favorite skate rinks in Paris are the ones at the Champs de Mars Christmas Village and on top of the La Grande Arche. Prices usually range between 10€ and 15€, and rinks normally remain open from late November until early January.
2) Christmas Markets in Paris
Every December, a number of Christmas Markets open in Paris, with an array of wooden cabins selling Christmas decoration, handcrafts, hot wine, typical French products, and cheap eats. These markets are usually surrounded by winter-themed activities for the whole family, including ice-skating. The most famous Christmas Market in Paris is the one located at Champs Elysées. However, this year (2018) the traditional Christmas Market of Champs Elysées is moving to Tuileries Gardens, surprise! Other Christmas Markets in Paris that you may want to visit are the following:
- Christmas Market at Quai Branly, from Alma Bridge to Bir Hakeim Bridge, in Paris 7
- Christmas Market at Suffren Bridge, also in Paris 7
- Christmas Village at La Défense
- Noël dans les étoiles – Christmas Market at Les Halles
- Christmas Market at Paris Notre Dame
- Christmas Market at Saint Germain des Près in Paris 6
- Alsacian Market at Paris Gare de l’Est
- Christmas Market at Abesses in Montmartre
3) Festival du Merveilleux (Festival of Wonder)
Le Musée des Arts Forains, in Paris 12, is a museum dedicated to ancient fairground artifacts, theater and music-hall objects and other curiosities. This museum is usually open for private events, with a couple of exceptions during the year. Le Festival du Merveilleux (the Festival of Wonder) is opening to the public for ten days during Christmas in Paris (between Christmas and the end of the year) so don’t miss this fabulous museum if you are around!
4) Festival of Lights at Jardin des Plantes
Jardin des Plantes hosts this winter its very first Festival of Lights, named Espèces en Voie d’ Illumination (Species in the Process of Enlightenment). This is a magical stroll lit by monumental lanterns set in the alleys and pitches of Jardin des Plantes and Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes. The exhibition aims at raising awareness about the importance of protecting the endangered species and the environment in general and it is great for kids and adults. This festival lasts until 15th January 2019 so hurry up!
5) Salon Noël Gourmand
Salon Noël Gourmand, in Paris 2, is a Paris Food Festival dedicated to all those products which are somehow linked to Christmas and New Year celebrations: traditional French food, French pastries and of course lots of wine and champagne. Next Dates for this salon are from 14 to 17 December 2018.
6) The Best Christmas Windows in Paris
Another thing we love doing in Paris at Christmas time is looking at the Christmas displays in the windows of the most famous department stores in town: Galeries Lafayette, Printemps Haussmann, BHN Marais, and Bon Marché are the most popular ones but, in general, all the shop windows in Paris have a nice decoration during Christmas. This is definitely worth the visit, even if of you’re not buying anything.
January in Paris /February in Paris
After New Year’s Eve, when the crowds are gone, thinks get definitely quieter in Paris. January in Paris is an excellent month to explore the big museums, like the Louvre Museum and Orsay Museum, or to enjoy a French Food Festival.
7) Main Events
If you are visiting Paris in February, you’re in for a treat! February in Paris comes with the New Chinese Year and the New Year’s Parade and Chinese New Year food in Paris 13 is something not to miss.
The Carnival is another fun event much awaited in the city while the most romantic couples will prefer to celebrate Saint Valentine’s in Paris with a romantic Paris getaway.
8) Food Festivals
Foodies and Paris food culture lovers, in general, will be happy with cool events like the Crêpes Day or the Paris Cocktail Week (see the dates of these events here)
Indoor Activities in Paris all Winter (our Winter in Paris Bucket List)
This is our proposed list of Paris activities, mostly indoor activities in Paris, that you can do all winter. Most of them are also a good “plan B” during a rainy day in Paris.
10) Drink the best “chocolat chaud” (=hot chocolate) in Paris at Angelina’s.
11) Enjoy the fascinating world of model railroading at Gare de l’Est‘s underground halls (only on Saturday afternoon).
12) Treat yourself to a steamy Hammam at Mosquée de Paris.
13) Curious to know how locals do in Paris? Book the hilarious one-man show “How to become Parisian in one hour” (all in English), the funniest show in Paris ever!
14) Explore the Covered Passages of Paris for a beautiful architecture, cute cafes and nice vintage shopping.
16) Swim some laps in the beautiful “Art Déco” pools of Paris.
17) Get ready for summer rock climbing at Blocbuster CNIT, La Défense.
18) A platter of aphrodisiac oysters + wine, sun or rain, is always a good idea (well, only from September to March!).
20) Visit one (or two) of the FREE Museums in Paris. Some of them are not well known but they are very cool!
21) Need to warm your heart? Head to La Rhumerie (Paris 6) for the best rum in Paris and a beautiful atmosphere.
22) Spend a quirky half day among the beasts at Galerie de l’Evolution, in Paris 5.
23) Attend a free reading session at Shakespeare & Company (check their upcoming events).
24) Wrestling in Paris, anyone? Tequilas and Open ring (with a funny Sumo foam suit) at La Lucha Libre.
25) If you live in Paris or you have rented a Paris furnished apartment, invite your friends for a fondue dinner: it is easy to prepare and always fun.
Best Fondue Sets in the Market
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26) Discover the world of perfumes, and buy your next favorite one, at little Fragonard Musée du Parfum.
27) Enjoy a night at the Opera at Palais Garnier or Opéra de la Bastille.
28) Not very original but, why not? Most of the films at Bercy Village are in the original language, with subtitles in French.
30) Eat your weight in macarons, viennoiseries and other Paris sweet treats.
What to Wear in Paris Winter
Paris in the Winter, what to wear? If you need some help with your Packing List for Winter in Paris click on the links here below: whether you are a man or a woman we have you covered!
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READ MORE – Paris Packing List Fall /Winter for Women
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READ MORE – Paris Packing List Fall /Winter for Men
Have you visited Paris in December, January or February? What is your favorite activity in Paris in Winter?
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