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Six reasons to visit Paris in winter | Insight Guides Blog

Six reasons to visit Paris in winter

Under a crisp, white frost or a light dusting of snow, Paris looks every bit as charming as it does under the bright summer sun. And there are plenty of reasons to go to the French capital during the colder months. Here is our guide to the top reasons to visit Paris in winter.
Paris in winter. Photo:  Ekaterina Pokrovsky/Shutterstock
Paris in winter. Photo: Ekaterina Pokrovsky/Shutterstock

Paris is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, with its wide boulevards and stunning architecture, atmospheric restaurants and manicured gardens. World-famous icons shape the cityscape: the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, the Pompidou Centre, Notre Dame and the Louvre. Then there’s the indescribable romance in the air, the bohemian spirit and the alluring café culture. Here are six good reasons to explore the French capital in the fresh and invigorating winter months. 

1. Escape the crowds

With landmark buildings, a thriving cultural scene and one of the world’s most recognisable cuisines, it’s little wonder that Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world. Travelling to the city in December, January or February will allow you to escape the crowds and discover a whole different side of Paris. You may be surprised to find that the French capital is equally romantic in winter, with its fresh air, white frosts and dazzling lights. The added bonus is that it’s refreshingly free from tourists. However, there’s still plenty to see and do, with an added touch of authenticity. 

2. Spend Valentine's Day in Paris

Where better to celebrate Valentine’s Day than the City of Love? True romantics will want to head for Paris on 14 February, to celebrate their love in style. A whole host of gourmet restaurants offer impeccable service and excellent French cuisine; alternatively, enjoy a dinner cruise boat trip on the Seine or head to a cabaret show for something a little different. Whatever you decide to do, knowing you’re among the lovers and poets in one of the world's most romantic cities is sure set your heart fluttering. Discover the the dreamiest spots in the metropolis as part of Insight Guides' Romantic Paris City Break trip

3. Savour vin chaud

Mulled wine – vin chaud – is an art in Paris. The traditional drink of the festive season, vin chaud is actually served at bars and cafés throughout the city until early Spring, so there’s plenty of opportunity to try it. Prepared with cloves, cinnamon sticks and star anise, and garnished with berries or a fresh orange slice, this fragrant warming drink is sure to keep that winter chill at bay. 

Vin chaud in Paris. Photo: VK Studio/Shutterstock  

4. Get your skates on

For some winter activity, put on your skates and make for the magical Grand Palais and its ice rink – the largest of its kind in the world. The architecture of the palace is stunning, especially in the dark of the evening, when illuminated by thousands of twinkling lights. From 8pm onwards the rink becomes a disco, with a resident DJ, mirror balls and a funky light show. Another ice rink set up on the roof of the Grande Arche de la Defense, provides the opportunity to enjoy skating while taking in sweeping views over Paris from a height of 110 metres above the city.

Ice skating in front of Hotel de Ville, Paris. Photo: Kiev.Victor/Shutterstock

5. Sip hot chocolate in a cosy café

In summer, Paris’ café tables spill out onto the street, with city residents and visitors alike sipping coffee or cool drinks in the sunshine. The delight of winter is in exploring the opulent interiors of the city’s traditional cafés, bars and brasseries. Once frequented by artists, poets and musicians, holing up in an old café and sipping a chocolat chaud in lavish surroundings is all you need to warm your bones at the end of a chilly day of sightseeing. 

6. Source bargains in the winter sales

Shopaholics will want to take advantage of the best of Paris chic in the winter sales, which grace the city from 9 January to 19 February 2019. There are fabulous bargains to be had during les soldes – designer items at slashed-down prices, with 30–70 percent off brands such as Prada, Hermès, Gucci and Chanel.   

Galeries Lafayette Paris. Photo: Vladislav Gurfinkel/Shutterstock


Ready to take a trip to Paris?

Our local experts can help plan fantastic trips to the French capital for you. To get started, simply get in touch letting us know when you would like to travel and your ideas for the trip. We will then create a tailor-made itinerary especially for you, which can be amended until you are fully satisfied with every detail before you book. You can browse our existing itineraries for inspiration, and remember that all of our pre-planned itineraries can be personalised to suit your specific requirements.