The Best Time to Visit Paris: Weather, Events, Activities and More
That’s a fact, Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. France’s capital attracts millions of visitors annually with its beautiful architecture, delicious food and lively atmosphere.
And one question we often hear from our American visitors is: What’s the best time to visit Paris?
But really, is there such a thing as a bad time to visit the City of Lights? Yes, the weather might affect your decision, but with so many things going on year round, you’ll never be bored in Paris!
From festivals to fashion shows, from opera performances at the Palais Garnier to sport events, there are endless opportunities for exploring one of Europe’s most beautiful cities!
The best time for visiting Paris depends then on what type of weather you rather visit the city under but also, what you want to see or do while you’re here.
To help your decision, have a look at our blog post to know the best time to go to Paris.
Tips to define the best time to visit Paris
Check the weather in Paris prior to your trip
The French weather can change drastically by season: summer is hot and humid with occasional storms. Fall presents sun-drenched days but chilly evenings. Winter brings snowfall and bitterly cold temperatures. And finally Spring offers milder days but chilly nights.
Also note that the daylight hours will vary all over the year. In winter, your days will be shorter and end early, whereas in summer, you may have a lot more time for activities after dark.
It’s always better to know what you’re getting yourself into before booking and packing for your trip!
Explore the events and activities you could do while in Paris
When it comes to Paris, the best time of year is not only determined by weather.
There’s always something going on in the city! We recommend that you check the popular events happening while you’re there so that you don’t miss out on any of them.
If you don’t know where to start looking for this information, we’ve got your back! We’ve compiled a list of highlights for each month in Paris so you’ll always be prepared. Read on below to know more.
Look out for crowds
Another tip would be to look out for tourist crowds. You don’t want to spend your entire vacation in Paris fighting through crowds of people or waiting in line to enter a museum!
There are a few months of the year that international travelers should avoid to have an optimal Paris experience, and knowing them can make for a more pleasant and stress-free trip.
Just check below what months are the busiest and the emptiest, so you can make your decision accordingly!
Check the major holidays and closing opening seasons
We also advise that you check out the major holidays and closing / opening seasons in Paris. There are certain times of the year when some attractions, shops or restaurants will be closed for annual vacations or holidays for instance.
Knowing this can help you plan ahead!
Consider your budget
Finally, you should consider your budget. Flight tickets and hotel room prices evolve during the year depending on the demand, so do not hesitate to look for the best travel deals available.
If you’re on a tight budget, high tourist seasons like Summer and December are probably best to avoid!
January to February: For a non busy but cold trip
Paris in January or February could be a good option for those who don’t mind the cold weather.
It’s a great choice for a quiet holiday, as it is low tourism season. No lines, the city will feel a lot more free and it will be easier to get reservations in restaurants too! If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, these months of the year are your best options!
The only downside is that by January all of the Christmas decorations come down, meaning there’s less of a festive atmosphere than at the end of the year. But you’ll still be able to see the Christmas lights on some monuments if you travel to Paris in early January.
What’s Paris weather like in this season?
In the winter, the weather in Paris is usually cold. Parisians are used to dealing with this temperature so you shouldn’t have any problems walking or driving around town either – as long as you come prepared!
Keep in mind that January and February in Paris have an average daily high temperature of about 46°F (8°C) and the average low is 42°F (6°C). It can be very windy and rainy too, so what you pack should reflect this.
We are talking gloves, scarf, your fluffy coats and boots. Bring along the full package!
Be aware that the days are short, and the sun will go down around 5pm for January and around 6pm for February days.
Major holidays and events in January
If you’re traveling to Paris during the first month of the year, here are some dates to note and activities you could do in Paris:
- 1st of January – Day off
- Parade of the 1st of the Year in the Champs-Elysées
- Winter Sales – ideal for those who want to go shopping in the best boutiques of Paris while enjoying the Winter offers!
- Ice Skating – The different rinks all around Paris we’ll still be set up, so enjoy a glide!
Paris in February
A few events and activities can animate your trip in the city of Paris during February such as Valentine’s Day, or Carnival for instance. Here are the main events:
- 1st of February – Start of the Chinese New Year Celebration
- 14th of February – Valentine’s day – What can be better than spending the lovers day in the city of Love?
- Carnival of Paris – Head out into the streets and enjoy the colors and disguises of this traditional parade from the 16th century!
- Week of the French Agriculture – Discover French agriculture, try the traditional products and enjoy the best of French gastronomy!
- Paris’ biggest Fashion Week – Big fashion event with numerous designers and brands, and it’s the best chance for the brands to present their new collections for Fall/Winter. There are often many events around fashion in town, but beware of prices during this week!
January and February are also the perfect months to enjoy winter sports in France if you have the time to go further than the capital. The best way to experience this is by visiting one of the French ski resorts during a long weekend or week-long stay in a typical mountain cabin!
March to May: Beginning of the Spring shoulder season with sunny days and smaller crowds
The period from the end of March to May is a good shoulder season to travel to Paris.
Less crowds, reasonable prices and moderate weather compared to the first months of the year, make this a great time to visit France’s capital.
Days are also a bit longer, meaning you can enjoy more out of your days. And Spring is when Paris wakes up from winter allowing you to enjoy the indoors as much as the outdoors!
What’s Paris weather like in Spring?
Spring in Paris can be nice, depending on what you’re looking for. Typically, the weather is cool with occasional warmer days and some rain.
It’s almost like a transitional season before it starts truly warming up and can have varied conditions such as cloudy or sunny but definitely more pleasant than the cold of winter.
The average low temperature during this time of year ranges from 43-45°F (6-7°C) while the average high ranges from 54-61°F (12-16°C).
The height of spring doesn’t usually arrive until March and April, when trees start to bloom again in green colors that can freshen your mood!
Parisian events in March
- Cinema’s Spring – La Fête du Cinema – At the beginning of Spring, many movie theaters offer discounted tickets. It’s the perfect occasion to go see one of those French movies with Marion Cotillard or Jean Dujardin!
- Banlieues Bleues Festival– Nothing else like a Jazz Festival in Paris!
- Color Run – Participate in this crazy and fun short race. Have fun with locals and see a different side of Paris.
Activities and events in April
- International Paris Marathon – What can be better for a runner to discover the city running with the excitement of this huge event? For those who don’t run, hop on the sides of the race, enjoy a fresh beer, meet locals and cheer for others!
- Horse riding Sundays – Les dimanches au Galop – The opportunity to visit the Paris Longchamp racetrack, with loads of activities for adults and kids!
- The oldest Fair of Paris – La Foire du Trône – Fun activities and games guaranteed!
- E-Prix de Paris – Electric Grand Prix of Paris with a track directly across the city… Motorsports’ fans welcomed!
Paris in May
- 1st of May – Labor day – Day off
- 8th of May – Victory Day – Day off
- European Night of Museums – Visit many city museums by night, and most of the time for free. In collaboration with UNESCO.
- Tennis French Open – Head to the Roland Garros Stadium and enjoy a wonderful tennis game.
In the spring, Paris is buzzing with life. The parks and gardens are an excellent way to get your daily dose of Vitamin D while enjoying the beautiful flowers and foliage. If you go at that time, don’t forget to include those in your itinerary!
June, July and August: Hot Summer months and vacation season in Paris
If you’re planning to travel to Paris during Summer, expect crowds, expensive rates, warm days but also loads of outdoor events!
We don’t especially recommend this season as this is one of the high tourist seasons for Paris. You might have to wait some time if you want to go up the Eiffel Tower, visit the Louvre Museum or any other important landmark.
If you don’t fear those crowds, then you’ll be able to see a lively Paris with so many outside events, like the Bastille Day celebrations, parties and concerts on the quays, plazas or streets until the sun goes down.
There is just an incredible energy at that time of the year!
What’s the weather in Paris like during summer?
Paris’ Summers are hot with average low temperatures of around 68-70°F (20–22°C) and highs averaging 86-90°F (30–32°C).
The peak of summer is usually in July and August, when the air is humid. This can lead to a lot more rainfall than during the rest of the year but no worry, if a storm comes, it will usually be during the night.
Paris’ Summers can then be hot and humid. The best way to beat this heat? Visit one of those beautiful big fountains or relax on one of the Paris Plages – artificial beaches installed on the riverbanks of the Seine for Summer! You’ll feel refreshed while watching Parisian kids playing around.
The daylight being much longer in Summer, will allow you to stay outside late and feel like you lived 2 entire days in 1, every single day! Anyone else want to double their vacation time?
Parisian events in June:
Paris in June welcomes a few fun events, with great weather, whereas the flow of tourists remains reasonable. This makes it an amazing month to visit Paris.
- 21th of June – World Music Day – The Fête de la Musique, as they call it in French, is a day that celebrates music! Keep your afternoon and night free for this one, as you can find free concerts all over Paris with orchestras, jazz bands or street musicians coming together for an evening in town!
- Pride Parade of Paris – If you found yourself in the city for this day, enjoy one of the most colouful and animated parades in Paris, the Gay Pride, while celebrating and supporting important rights.
- Solidays – This famous Music Festival takes place in June in Paris Longchamps and donates its proceeds to organizations helping to fight against AIDS.
- We love the Green Festival – This growing festival is the opportunity to enjoy French music, healthy food, art and talks about the environment. Some special days for those who are environmentally conscious or want to know more!
Paris in July: Events and days off
In July, even though there is a peak of tourism in Paris for foreigners travelers, there are also plenty of activities and events organized.
If you’re more into visiting Paris walking down the streets, parks and gardens, and enjoying the fresh air and sunny days, then you might prefer this time of the year than other months.
Here are a few events organized in Paris in July:
- 14th of July – Bastille Day – This is the equivalent to American Independence day, as it celebrates when French were able to enter the Bastille, showing the beginning of the French revolution in 1789. This date is celebrated country-wide with fireworks at the Eiffel Tower, parades, firefighter balls… Don’t miss out on the celebration!
- Summer Sales – Summer version of the bi-annual sales in France.
- Paris Plages – Artificially built beaches on the quays of the Seine.
- Paris Jazz Festival – Enjoy outside Jazz concerts!
- Tour de France
- Cinéma en plein air de La Villette – Every year, in the cultural park of La Villette in the North of Paris, some outdoor movie events are organized. Check those out, it can be a fun activity!
What to do in Paris during August?
In August, Paris is very busy with tourists from all around the world coming to experience “La Belle Vie” – or the good life – in France.
But you need to know that Paris in August is kind of special. Many locals leave the city for their holiday break, and this also includes restaurants, bars etc.
If you come in August, know then that many establishments might be closed, as well as you won’t find many opened temporary exhibits, artistic performances, ballets, or sporting events. But this is to note:
- 15th of August – Assumption – Day off
- Rock en Seine – A Rock Music Festival usually programmed for the end of August around Paris.
Throughout all summer, you will be able to enjoy many outdoor Concerts in Paris, music festivals, the night fountain shows in the Palais de Versailles, but also make sure to visit the parks and gardens of the city. At this time of year, flowers are still at their best!
September and October: Shoulder season of Fall
A great time of the year to visit Paris could be September and October, during the tourist mid-season of Fall. This means smaller crowds which should ensure a more pleasant time to visit the city in comparison to July and August.
Furthermore, the weather is still warm enough for sightseeing. You may want to bring with you some warmer clothes as nights can get chilly at this time of year.
What are the main events and activities to do in September?
In September, there’s no end to what you could do in Paris. Below we listed a few, but note that many of the temporary museum exhibits start around this period, so you’ll have much more than this to complete the classical must-sees of Paris.
- Paris Beer Festival – For all those who want to try French artisanal beers in local bars!
- Techno Parade – A fun parade to cheer and enjoy if you like techno music!
- European Heritage Days – These days allow people to visit some of the best historical and architectural buildings for free.
- Jazz à la Villette – Another Jazz festival taking place in the large park of La Villette. Note that the artists are not only Jazzy. This year for instance, Hip Hop, Soul and Funk artists will come join the party!
- Paris Fashion Week – During this second fashion week of the year dedicated to women’s fashion, the new collections for Spring/Summer will be presented.
Events and activities in Paris during October
Other than enjoying the changing warm fall colors of the trees of Paris, you can also enjoy a few fun events in October, such as:
- Grape Harvest Festival in Montmartre – Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre – Since 1934, the 18th arrondissement celebrates the end of the harvesting of the grapes located in the Clos de Montmartre. Parties, parades and more!
- White Night – Nuit Blanche – Enjoy different artistic events all night in Paris, with free entrances to museums and other public and private cultural places.
- FIAC International Contemporary Art Fair – If you’re an Art lover visiting Paris in October, make sure to go to this incredible modern and contemporary art fair which reunited more than 200 artists in galleries of the Grand Palais!
- Tasting Week – It is a week during which the French gastronomy is honored. Workshops, events, high-priced restaurants made accessible. If you’re a foodie, you will want to see this!
- 31st of October – Halloween – A few parties shall be organized for this special October date, that we all love!
November, December and early January:
If you don’t fear crowds and want a special season to visit Paris, then a Winter trip is your best bet.
This is when its nickname “City of Lights” makes sense. All streets will be beautifully lit up to join the charming Eiffel Tower at night; the Big Wheel is set up and all lit up too; Christmas markets open their doors; and finally, all boutiques and shop windows glow up with their amazing Christmas decorations.
There surely is a special vibe in the city that will give your trip to Paris an unforgettable feeling.
What’s the weather and temperature in Paris during November and December?
If you fear cold weather, then avoid this time of the year to visit Paris.
For November, the temperature average is around 9°C (48°F) in November, with possibly many rainy and cloudy days.
In December, the average temperature is around 6°C (42°F), with a lot of rain and snow. If you travel to this French city at this time of year, you better come prepared and bring your raincoat!
A few dates to remember for November
- 1st of November – All Saints Day – Day off
- 11th of November – Armistice Day – Day off
- Release of the New Beaujolais – The third Thursday of November released at midnight is the new popular red wine all over France. Many parties and events celebrate it, don’t miss it!
- Installation of the Big Wheel in the center of Paris – In the Place de la Concorde.
- Installation of many Christmas Markets, including the most important one in the Champs-Elysées – It might also begin next month.
December events and activities
- 24th of December – Christmas Eve – Many shops and restaurants close early to spend time with family. You can find concerts and ceremonies in the churches of the city.
- 25th of December – Christmas day – Day off – Many stores and food/drinks places closed.
- 31st of December – New Year’s Eve Ceremony with a beautiful light show and fireworks on the Arc de Triomphe, where all locals and tourists watch from the Champs-Elysées.
- Window shopping with the incredible Christmas lights and displays in boutiques and department stores
- Ice skating rinks all over the city
In conclusion, when is the best time to visit Paris?
What are the best months to visit Paris, France?
Considering tourist seasons, weather, budget and activities, we do believe the pre-summer months of May and June and the post-summer months of September and October are the most suited.
Less crowds, pleasant weather, cheaper hotel and flight prices, and many activities allow you to visit and enjoy this beautiful city the most!
When should you not go to Paris?
It is not recommended to travel to Paris, France, in summer, and more precisely in August if you want to avoid crowds and enjoy the full Parisian life. Many places might be closed for yearly vacation. Hotel rooms and flight tickets are also more expensive at this period.
If you fear cold weather, you should also avoid the months of November, December, January and February. The temperature can be very low, making it uncomfortable for travelers to walk across the city as they might experience cloudy, rainy or snowy days…
What is the cheapest month to go to Paris?
The cheapest months to visit Paris are usually the months of January and February.
In these periods, there is less foreign tourism, which makes hotel rates and flight prices cheaper.
What is the rainiest month in Paris?
Even though, to be honest, it can rain in Paris all year around, December is the rainiest month in the city.
How many days do you need in Paris?
The duration of a stay in Paris will depend on the amount of activities you plan to do.
To see and visit most attractions, we recommend at least three days. Four or five days should be enough if you would like to explore the city by foot.
Best thing to do would be to stay for one week. This way you enjoy the city, do as many activities as you want but also have the time to relax and enjoy simple things like having a coffee in a café, or walking in the gardens of Luxembourg.
We hope that this blog post will help you find the best time to explore one of the most, if not the most wonderful city in the world.
And you, what are your thoughts about when is the best time to visit Paris? Have you ever traveled to Paris and at what time of the year? Let us know your experience and if you would recommend it to other travelers!
While we’re on the subject of organizing a trip to Paris, if you’re looking for an original tour of Paris, you’re in the right place. At Woyago, we organize authentic tours of Paris with locals, at any time of the year! 😉 Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to know more, we would be pleased to advise you.