Annually, Paris, France is the most visited city in the world. Known as the City of Lights, it has a magic all its own that can’t be replicated anywhere else. It’s famous in film, art, theatre, and more, and has been captivating people for centuries. So, when is the best time to visit Paris, though?
In the classic 1954 romantic comedy film Sabrina, Audrey Hepburn uttered the immortal line, “Paris is always a good idea”. And this is absolutely true to a significant extent. All year there are incredible things happening, from specific festivals and events to all of the almost always open attractions.
With that said, however, different times of year cater to different types of interests. Depending on the kind of weather you seek or specific activities, the best time to visit Paris can alter. The following article is our guide to help you making that decision for yourself! The best time to visit Paris is what’s best for you!
Is Winter the Best Time to Visit Paris?
If you aren’t a fan of harsh weather, winter may not be the best time to visit Paris for you. Like a lot of northern hemisphere cities, there’s a lot of snow, rain, and haze this time of year. At the same time, however, Paris is a magical time at Christmas and on New Year’s.
There’s nothing like walking the streets of Paris during the holidays, taking in the lights and the enchantment. It’s also fun to cozy up with a good book and fine French cheese and wine, soaking up the atmosphere.
Let’s take it month by month, so you can see what Paris is like each time of winter.
In December, the City of Lights is lit up even more than usual, with gorgeous Christmas lights and decorations. The holiday season transforms the city into an enchanted wonderland. If you want to experience Christmas magic, this is the best time to visit Paris.
With that said, that goes hand in hand with it being cold. Average temperatures this month are 4C (40F). This also means that you might get a little snow around Christmas. A properly white Christmas isn’t likely, however, as it just melts away.
Paris can also be quite crowded in December, which for some people may be a mark against it. The city fills up with tourists eager to experience the Christmas magic. There are also lots of scheduled holiday events and celebrations. This may make it the best time to visit Paris for you.
Through most of December, hotel prices remain reasonable, although they spike closer to the actual holiday dates. Plane tickets, on the other hand, will be pricey.
If you like a lot of sunlight, this won’t be the best time to visit Paris for you. The sun sets early, but that also means you get more time to experience the beautiful lights everywhere.
We recommend you check out the famous window displays of such iconic department stores as Printemps and the Galeries Lafayette. Meanwhile, ice rinks are set up around the city for skating. There is famously one at the Eiffel Tower.
The city is also full of Christmas markets, such as the one at Montparnasse Tower and the one at Saint-Germain-Des-Près. There you can buy Christmas treats, gorgeous gifts, hot chocolate, and more. Trocadero’s Christmas Village is also a festive delight.
If you want to save on both airfare and accommodation, January is the best time to visit Paris. Due to it still being cold but Christmas being over, it’s a very tourist light season. If the 3C (37C) temperatures, rain, and snow don’t scare you off, there’s still a lot to do!
While it may be cold, you can always cozy up inside a lovely warm café or museum. Or go to a patisserie and try out some delicious French pastries. And if you do love winter weather, this is the time of year snow tends to stick on the ground.
It’s also the time of year that the world-famous Fashion Week is on in Paris. It’s a great time therefore to come and soak up the glamor and spectacle of this incredible event. The city fills up with celebrities and fashionistas, and it’s a wonder to see.
There’s also many winter sales at the department stores you may want to take advantage of! If you’re a shopper, this may be the best time to visit Paris!
Paris is known as being one of the romantic cities in the world. And due to Valentine’s Day being in February, this is the best time to visit Paris with your lover. As you may expect, Paris goes all out for the day.
You’ll find special desserts prepared by many confectioners and pastry chefs. You’ll also find all sorts of romantic meals at the countless restaurants, often with special deals. It’s a one of a kind celebration.
And in addition, February still has lower tourist traffic, which means the lower airfare and hotel prices continue. The temperatures are actually coldest this time of year, often hitting 0C (32F). At the same time, it means you can explore without the crowds if you can handle the weather!
Is Spring The Best Time To Visit Paris?
Spring might just be the best time to visit Paris for you. The temperatures rise to a more comfortable level. The flowers blossom in the gardens, dousing the city in color and natural beauty. The crowds still tend to be lower, and there are even some music festivals, not to mention Easter!
If you hate Winter but you also want fewer crowds, March may be your best time to visit Paris. The weather is much more temperate than the previous month, and the crowds are still down. It’s more active than in January and February, and prices rise a little. But it’s still far from peak tourism season.
Nature also really starts to flourish in March, so there’s lots of beauty all around. The weather is usually around 8C (46F), so it’s still on the chillier side. But it’s also getting warm enough to enjoy the outdoors fully without having to bundle up.
If you’re a sporting fan, you’re in luck this time of year, particularly if you love running—watching or participating. The Paris Half Marathon happens in March every year at the Bois de Vincennes. And not long afterwards is the even more famous Paris Marathon, as well as the Color Run!
Because the ground is clear of frost, ice, and snow, people also tend to do more biking around Paris. You can rent bikes all over the city thanks to a service called Velib. It’s very affordable, and available at all hours, every day of the week.
And if it’s still a bit too chilly for you, stay indoors and check out the museums! Given the lower crowds you’ll have more time to get up close and personal with the artwork.
It’s April, and that means Spring is finally fully here! Average temperatures tend to be about 10C (50F), although they do still fluctuate a bit. You might have a full on 20C (68F) day followed by an extremely chilly one. So you’ll still want to pack various layers of clothing. But overall, a light jacket will do.
For many, April will be the absolute best time to visit Paris. Again, it’s not fully packed with tourists, but the city’s more active, and the weather’s generally mild. It’s a great time to check out things such as La Foire du Trône, France’s oldest funfair! It’s been running since 1805 and has a whopping 350 attractions!
And speaking of funfairs, Paris also has one of the world’s most famous amusement parks. It’s a great time to visit Disneyland Paris. Immerse yourself in all of the magic of Disney while avoiding the holiday and summertime crowds!
And if you want a more French-specific park, you simply must check out Parc Astèrix. It’s a full theme park designed around the world-famous French comic book characters Astèrix and Obèlix!
You can also tour the city’s countless gorgeous gardens and parks. If you’re a nature lover, the majestic trees of the Jardins des Plante are unmissable.
To explore all that the city is famous for, May is the start of the best time to visit Paris. With that said, it’s also when the tourist season is really getting going. That means you will have to deal with a lot of crowds. But it’s also when the city is starting to get to its most lively, which many people love.
Therefore, it’s really up to your tastes and desires. As far as weather, it can be a bit unpredictable. It is definitely the very start of summer but it can also be surprisingly rainy. So arrive with a light jacket and umbrella! The temperature is generally around 20C (68F), though, so when the weather’s clear, you’ll be fine.
This is the perfect time of year for sightseeing. We recommend a tour boat down the Seine to view the city and its glorious architecture from an ideal perspective. Many of these tours come complete with meals.
The Parc Montsouris is also a great place to visit. It has a beautiful lake that attracts many different bird species, and countless breathtaking trees. Stroll around and soak up its atmosphere, and admire its iconic statues. They also often have live performances at their bandstand in May.
May is also famous for the European Night of Museums. On this one night a year, all Paris’ monuments and museums can be visited at night for free! It’s a truly magical experience.
Is Summer the Best Time to Visit Paris?
If you’re looking for absolutely perfect Parisian weather, Summer is the best time to visit Paris. This is the time of year in Paris that people write songs and poems about. Many of the museums also put on special exhibitions only available then.
On the other hand, it’s also the height of tourist season, so you will be sharing this space with a lot of people. Prices are also incredibly high, for both planes and hotels, due to demand. So keep that in mind. But if you can afford and can handle crowds, it’s an iconic time of year in one of the world’s most beloved cities.
June has a decidedly celebratory feel in Paris. The students’ holidays are beginning. People are flooding into the city thanks to the great weather. There’s a feeling of joy in the air.
It’s also traditionally when some of Paris’ best sales happen, so it’s a great time for fashionistas as well. People come swarming to arguably the world’s most famous fashion city for great deals on top-quality clothing.
It’s also the time of year when the Grand Slam tennis tournament happens. Thousands of tennis fans from around the world come to watch it every year.
Meanwhile, there are also just so many celebrations. For example, they hold the Tropical Carnival of Paris, which is basically a delayed Mardi Gras. Whereas other places like New Orleans celebrate it in winter, it’s much too cold in Paris for that. So you get all the Caribbean costume and floats you’re expecting…but in June!
Paris also holds two massive festivals every June. There’s Solidays, whose proceeds go to fighting the AIDS crisis, and the We Love Green Festival, celebrating Mother Earth. They’re full of music, food, and life, while also helping good causes.
Meanwhile, June 21st is Fête de la Musique, or Music Day. That day, the city is full of free concerts celebrating the music of Paris!
For many people, July won’t be the best time of year to visit Paris. This is because Parisians themselves tend to leave the city to avoid all the tourists! So in July not only is it crowded with tourists but there’s less authentic Parisian atmosphere.
You’ll often have to get up very early to line up for places you want to go. The queues are that long and endless. Also, while average temperatures are 20C (70F), there can be much worse heatwaves. And when they happen, there’s very little air conditioning anywhere in the city.
With that said, there are some perks to visiting in July. The 14th is Bastille Day, which includes the world-famous annual parade on the Champs-Elysèes. And it of course culminates in fireworks, making the City of Lights shine even brighter.
It’s also the month of the famous Tour de France bicycling race. Or you could stop at the Parc de la Villette and take in a film at their Open Air Cinema Festival for free! Or dip your toes in the water and sand at Paris Plages!
August is very similar in Paris to July. As with the previous month, it’s possibly not the best time to visit Paris. The weather is still warm but can get extremely hot with no air conditioning. The city is still swarming with tourists. Additionally some of the restaurants and boutiques close so the owners can go on holiday.
On the plus side, most of the major shops do remain open. And there are also a lot better deals on hotels in August. This is partially due to the heat, and partially due to lots of business being closed. The hotels therefore have fewer people staying there on business trips.
At the same time, however, there’s also, again, far fewer Parisians here than usual. So you won’t necessarily be getting the fully authentic Parisian experience. However, there’s much less traffic on the streets. You can even rent a car and explore the city from that vantage point! You can even find parking!
Is Fall the Best Time to Visit Paris?
Fall in Paris is an extremely cozy time of year. The leaves begin to fall, and the wind starts to get a bit chiller, though not yet biting. The city’s weather fluctuates between warm and cold, giving it all a mysterious feel.
It’s a fun time of year due to things such as the wine harvest. People also love talking walks in the yellow cemeteries to enhance the Spooky Season feel! It’s definitely a unique time in the City of Lights. And possibly the best time to visit Paris.
September may not be the best time of year to visit Paris, but it certainly isn’t bad! Most of the Parisians have returned home from their holidays at this point. The tourism also dies down a bit. So it’s not as hectic as in July and August, and it’s also a more authentic Parisian experience.
With that said, the hotel prices are still quite high, so it’s not a cheap time of year to go. But if you want to experience similarly good weather, it could be a good choice. Additionally, there’s a much lower chance of getting an awful heatwave. Temperatures tend to be around 15C (60F).
You can feel the summer slowly shutting down around you and the first stirrings of autumn beginning. We highly recommend you go on European Heritage Days. These are days that all of the major monuments, museum, are absolutely free. You can even go into usually closed buildings like the Palais de l’Elysèe!
You can also attend the La Parisienne race, which is run and organized by women! Proceeds from this thrilling event go to help research into breast cancer to help cure this deadly disease.
October is the beginning of Paris’ off-season. The weather is chillier but still warm enough to enjoy, especially if you like this time of year. It tends to be about 11C (52F), so we recommend a light jacket!
The city is also much more peaceful in this month. There are far fewer tourists, so you can enjoy this gorgeous place while actually having room to breathe! And the atmosphere is absolutely breathtaking. The fall colors in the trees give the city a whole new kind of magic.
The Jardin du Luxembourg is a great place to observe them. You can also take your kids to see puppet shows there, or to a playground. For kids, this is amongst the best time to visit Paris.
For adults, there are also cultural events like the Nuit Blanche. On this night, artists stay up throughout the night to display their art. There’s also the Grape Harvest Festival located in Monmartre, and the International Contemporary Art Fair.
In November, the winter is really starting to close in, and the final leaves are falling from the trees. There are far fewer tourists, and the sun starts setting early. But this also means you can find good hotel deals before the Christmas holidays set in.
It’s certainly colder, with temperatures of 6C (43F). But it may be the best time to visit Paris for you if you don’t mind that. Especially if you hate crowds and want to spend less on travel and accommodation.
And again, there are so few tourists, it’s possibly the best time to visit places like the Louvre. It may take you only 15 minutes to see the Mona Lisa there, rather than hours! You don’t need to wake up at the crack of dawn or line up for hours. You can just step in wherever you want and see what you want to see!
For these reasons and many more, we may recommend November as the best time to visit Paris. We personally don’t mind it being a bit chilly and are happy to wear a light coat. November means cheaper prices and fewer crowds, and the chance to experience Paris on your own terms. In other words, a dream!
Conclusion On the Best Time to Visit Paris
Now that we’ve gone over how to select the best time to visit Paris, we hope you have a better idea of when you want to go! It’s a city full of so many amazing things to do any time of year. And we recommend you begin exploring your options ASAP!