The Unexpected Best Time Of Year To Visit Paris, France

With as many as 44 million tourists per year, Paris consistently ranks among the world's most visited cities — and for good reason (via The Brussels Times). The French capital has been a hub for all things fashion, cuisine, and even international politics for centuries. The influence of Paris can be seen everywhere from Las Vegas to Tokyo. 

Like most of the United States and Europe, summer sees the most tourists in Paris. The gardens are in bloom at this time and summer weather temperatures in the City of Lights averages pleasantly in the high 70s Fahrenheit. The daylight hours are long as well, with the solstice in June reaching over 16 hours. Lastly, walking through Paris is one of the best ways to enjoy the city. For these reasons, it may seem like a bad idea to visit during a colder season. However, Paris is beautiful all year long and the advantages of going there in the winter can make for a unique visit to the ever-alluring city.

The drawbacks of visiting Paris in the summer

As previously mentioned, Paris sees the highest volumes of tourists during the summer. This makes the city rather crowded — so crowded that in 2023, French Tourism Minister Olivia Grégoire urged tourists to visit some of France's lesser known gems than Paris's main attractions, per The Times. Aside from overtourism concerns, many locals leave Paris for vacations that sometimes last weeks during August. This can mean closing their businesses and leaving tourists without an authentic feel of the city. 

Unfortunately, the rise in tourists in Paris during the summer also usually means a rise in prices. Airlines and accommodation providers can often get away with charging more because people will always want to visit Paris in the hot weather, regardless of how much they have to pay to do so. By visiting in winter, you can take advantage of fewer crowds and lower prices, among other season-specific advantages. If beating the crowds and avoiding the annual August exodus sounds appealing, check out what Paris can still offer during winter.

Paris offers winter activities and Christmas markets during winter

Though museums and art galleries remain open during the winter, the colder months bring idyllic seasonal activities to Paris. There are many ice skating rinks open to the public, including in front of the Champs-Élysées, which is arguably the most famous street in Paris. At the Eiffel Tower, there is an ice skating rink nearly 200 feet above the ground!

While German Christmas markets are famous the world over, Paris does Christmas quite well, too. Christmas markets run from the end of November through December, and even into January. The Christmas tree housed in the Galeries Lafayette (pictured above) is immaculate and the building's rooftop lookout offers views of the entire city at no charge. This time period does see quite a few rainy days, but rarely any snow days as the temperature usually does not drop below freezing. 

Paris draws in all of your senses no matter when you visit, and in winter, many restaurants bring out heat lamps that emit not only heat but also a lovely orange hue to the streets once the sun goes down. Why not live out your City of Lights dreams during the winter? The locals might even thank you for helping offset the busy season.