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11 Best Things To Do in Paris in the Winter


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Regardless of the weather, Paris is a gorgeous and wonderful city. Paris is undoubtedly the ideal spot to travel to at any time of the year because it is home to some of Europe’s most famous structures, like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the weirdest places, including the Catacombs.

Although many people choose to visit Paris in the summer, some believe that winter is the greatest time to go because it is the off-season for tourists. The least crowded months are particularly January and February.

Wintertime travel to Paris provides an opportunity to discover the city’s true ambience. No matter where you travel, you will usually encounter Parisians rather than foreigners. You won’t have to wait in line to see some of the city’s other top tourist destinations, like the Eiffel Tower, and you can have the Louvre all to yourself.

With this list of the top things to do in Paris during the winter, you can get ideas and plan your trip to the best locations to visit during the colder months.


1. Explore The beautiful Paris’ Christmas markets

Exploring the numerous Christmas markets is surely one of the things you must do while choosing how to spend your winter afternoons in the city.

A walk through the Paris Christmas markets will undoubtedly put you in the holiday spirit thanks to the vibrant wooden chalets decked out in sparkling lights, amusing activities, music, and savoury dishes sold on numerous stalls.

The Eiffel Tower Christmas Market, Montmartre Christmas Market, Tuileries Garden Christmas Market, La Defense Christmas Market, Notre Dame Christmas Market, etc. are just a few of the Christmas markets you shouldn’t miss during this time of year in Paris.

Additionally, if you have the opportunity to take a weekend excursion from Paris to another area of France, you can consider going to Alsace, which is renowned across the world for its magnificent Christmas markets.

Activities

2. Go Ice Skating in Paris

What could be more thrilling than donning your skates and spending the chilly winter at a skating rink? It is without a doubt among the top things to do in Paris during the winter.

There are numerous skating rinks available across the city. Popular ones include the Galeries Lafayette rooftop ice rink, which guarantees an unforgettable experience.

The other is the Boulogne-Billancourt Olympic Ice Rink, where the ambience shifts from serene in the mornings to joyous in the afternoons, and party-like in the evenings!

If you’re feeling daring, you may skate with a bird’s eye view of Paris on the first level of the Eiffel Tower and have a hot chocolate break!

However, the Trocadero ice rink is a fantastic option if you want to go skating in Paris but are on a tighter budget.

3. Attend The Paris Festival of Lights

Attending the spectacular Festival of Lights, which is held every year in the vast Jardin des Plantes – one of Paris’ most stunning parks – is one of the must-do activities in the city during the winter. It is now regarded as one of the fun things to in Paris in winter.

The festival charms people of all ages with its massive light sculptures that illuminate the Jardin des Plantes and Menagerie du Jardin in Paris’ 5th arrondissement.

The second edition, titled OcĂ©an en Voie d’Illumination (Illuminated Ocean), aims to raise awareness about the value of preserving the environment, the ocean, and its endangered species.

You may treasure the garden, the setting for the famous festival, which is a celebration of nature, art, science, and other things, as you take in these lovely sights.

Since it is a popular attraction to visit during the long winter nights in Paris, it is preferable to buy your ticket online to avoid the lines.

Activities

4. Take a Cruise on the Seine River

One of the most romantic waterways in the world, the Seine River runs straight through the centre of Paris. So, one of the most romantic things to do in Paris and one that has no seasonal constraints is taking a cruise along this iconic and scenic river.

There are several stunning and well-known locations that you will pass by as you cruise along. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, Sainte-Chapelle, the Ponts des Arts bridge, Place de la Concorde, and other attractions.

Depending on the time you choose, Seine River cruises also provide the choice of lunch or dinner, making them ideal for a romantic time in Paris. You can choose between a 3-course lunch or a 4-course dinner as you take in the breathtaking views.

You can choose to join this lunch seine cruise, however a dinner seine cruise is ideal if you want to see all the sparkling lights from Paris’ magnificent sites.

Activities

5. Witness The Christmas Lights of Paris

‘The City of Lights’ moniker truly comes to life during this wintry Christmas season in Paris, which puts on the most spectacular light show you’ve ever seen.

You will be treated to magnificent displays of festive Christmas lights if you visit during Christmas. The great landmarks and expansive boulevards of Paris are decorated with Les illuminations de Noël (Christmas illuminations, which give the city a beautiful atmosphere).

A journey along the famed Champs-ÉlysĂ©es, which is usually decked out with the most amazing display of lights, year after year, is one of the pleasures of walking through Paris during Christmas and the period that follows.

Place VendĂŽme, Le Village Royal, Bercy Village, Avenue Montaigne, among many others, are additional areas to take in the Christmas lights.

Go on this Christmas lights Night bus tour, which will take you around the best-illuminated streets in Paris.

Paris Christmas Market
Photo © olgacov | depositphotos.com

6. Visit The Parisian Museums Without the Crowds

Even though Paris’s museums are a delight to explore all year long, the lack of foreign visitors during the winter allows you to take your time admiring the artwork and learning from the exhibits without feeling rushed or waiting in line!

There are several museums that you might spend hours exploring, but the ones you must visit include:

…and a plethora of other places.

The Paris Museum pass is highly advised if you intend to visit several museums because it will help you save a lot of money and grant you quick access to attractions.

As an alternative, you can purchase individual skip-the-line tickets to well-known Parisian museums.

Activities
Louvre Museum in Paris - Exterior
Image by @mikecleggphoto

7. Relive Your Childhood at Disneyland Paris in winter

In Disneyland Paris, relive your childhood and lose yourself in your favourite fairy tale. One of the best day trips from Paris in the winter is to Disneyland Paris, which is always as enchanting as ever despite the winter weather.

The princess’ castle will become even more enchanting and seem like a real fairy-tale out of a book that is a picture-perfect postcard if you’re lucky and happen to visit when it has snowed.

When visiting Paris in January or any winter month, take a trip to Disneyland where you can watch mind-blowing performances, go on exciting rides, chow down on delectable cuisines, meet your favourite Disney characters, and purchase attractive souvenirs.

What else will you find at Disneyland Paris during the winter? Carnivals, Christmas decorations, fireworks, and much more will be available in addition to the rides and attractions, all of which will have a touch of Disney magic.

Activities

8. Experience The Magical Festival Du Merveilleux

Festival Du Merveilleux, also referred to as the festival of wonder, is one of the numerous wonderful celebrations that take place in the city during the winter.

This festival, an homage to the art and culture of the period from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, is held at the Pavillons de Bercy and is open to the public for ten days after Christmas.

You can enjoy delicious carnival cuisine as well as amusing carnival games, rides, and shows by aerial silk dancers, tap dancers, musicians, and magicians. A stroll through the town is possible to take in all the Christmas lights that glitter in the fantasy village of Bercy, in addition to appreciating the craftsmanship of the complete show.

A wintry evening spent here won’t let you down – it’s a classic funfair with Parisian touches!

9. Beat The Cold with Hot Chocolate or Vin Chaud

It can get chilly in Paris during the winter, especially in the evenings and at night. What better way to stay warm than to sip on hot chocolate or vin chaud (hot mulled wine), which you can buy at most Christmas markets or cafés in Paris.

Angelina is a popular spot to try hot chocolate in Paris in the winter. The luscious ‘L’Africain’ chocolate chaud is a specialty of Angelina.

A few more places in Paris that serve hot chocolate the old-fashioned way are – LadurĂ©e on the Champs-ÉlysĂ©es or on Rue Bonaparte, La Maison Rose, one of Paris’ loveliest cafĂ©s, Jean-Paul HĂ©vin Chocolatier on Rue Saint-HonorĂ©, and Bread & Roses on Rue Madame next to the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Don’t miss out on the hot chocolate because it’s a big part of the Christmas celebrations in Paris!

Hot Chocolate in Paris
Photo © anyaberkut | depositphotos.com

10. Visit Some Elegant PĂątisserie Boutiques

Enjoy the best pĂątisserie shops in Paris as you celebrate the season. In Paris, bakeries and pĂątisserie shops make elaborate window displays themed around the holidays during the month of December, and the pastry cases are stocked with unique seasonal treats.

Ladurée, Des Gùteaux et du Pain, La Maison du Chocolate, Pierre Hermé, Chambelland, and artisanal chocolatier Patrick Roger are a few of the top pastry and chocolate establishments to check out. In their storefront windows, these upmarket boutiques display ornate holiday decorations.

If you’re interested, go for the 3-Hour Chocolate & Patisserie Walking Tour to know more about pastries and chocolate stores as well as to hear from your guide about the neighbourhood’s history and its craftsmen. Explore Paris with a sweet tooth when you book this delectable tour.

Activities

11. Attend the Christmas Classical Holiday Concerts

Holiday festivities are best enjoyed in Paris. The city’s calendar of Christmas concerts and cultural activities is appealing to tourists.

On Christmas Day, you may hear the Caville-Coll organ from the Eglise Saint-Sulpice in the 6th arrondissement, a historic landmark. Don’t forget to stop by the Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Pres, which hosts a concert every Christmas day, while you’re in the neighbourhood.

If you are near the 5th arrondissement, go to Eglise Saint-Ephrem for Concerts by Candlelight, or ‘Concerts aux Chandelles’, as the Parisians call them.

You will be drawn in different directions by every single location. The best course of action is to locate the one closest to you and go there to take part in the celebrations.

Along with the churches, the Theatre des Champs-Elysees hosts Le Grand Concert de Noël to get everyone in the holiday spirit. As you might expect, this includes both French and English translations of all the well-known Christmas songs as well as other classical music pieces.

Summary

There is a plenty to do both indoors and out in Paris in the winter. Museums, eateries, and shops remain open as usual, and the music and arts seasons are in full swing.

Go local, pull out your warmest coat, buy a warm scarf, and be ready to enjoy every bit of your time in the city of lights in winter as you discover its culture, art, gastronomy, and cutting-edge fashion from a new angle!

Author

Written by

Arunabha Chakraborty

Arunabha is a travel writer and digital marketer located in Kolkata, India. He is passionate about writing and photography and enjoys documenting his wanderlust experiences through his blog, encouraging others to travel and create unforgettable memories. He found a passion for travel writing right after his master’s degree. You can follow his travels on Instagram and his blog. [Read full bio]

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Image credits
Some photos via depositphotos.com where mentioned. Read more.

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