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When is the best time to visit Paris?
Well…summer is fantastic thanks to the long and warm days plus beautiful flowers growing everywhere. But the crowds can be insane! Winter is fantastic because there are fewer crowds, it’s much less expensive, and there are tons of cozy restaurants to enjoy in order to warm up. But it’s pretty cold and rainy!
Basically, the answer to this question is it depends! Yes, this is a frustrating answer, but hear me out: the best time to go to Paris is actually dependent on what your goals are for your trip!
So to help you narrow down the best time to travel to Paris, this guide is broken down with helpful tips for each season including events, weather, how crowded it is, and more!
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Time to Visit Paris
- 2 My Opinion on the Best Time to Visit Paris
Best Time to Visit Paris
So when is the best time to visit Paris? Let’s break it down by season!
Best Time of Year to Go to Paris: Winter
Winter travel always seems to be a great idea when it comes to becoming a snow bunny in the mountains or chilling on a tropical beach. So why would someone even want to come to Paris in the winter?
Fun fact: my first ever trip to Paris was in January! And the best part is I loved it! Why? It is far less crowded than it is during the summer, especially if you visit during January or February! Fewer crowds are great for visiting more tourist attractions, and it also drives the cost of visiting down!
Second, there are so many cool things happening around the city even in the doldrums of winter. There are the amazing Christmas markets around the holidays, the amazing sales (called soldes) happening at stores everywhere, and there are plenty of great places to grab a soul-warming cup of hot chocolate (Les Deux Magots) or eat all the French hearty comfort foods.
Here are some details on the best time to visit Paris on a budget (aka winter)!
Weather for Paris in Winter:
December through February are easily the coldest months of the year, so be prepared to dress warmly for walking around outdoors and for inclement weather. However…maybe it is my northeast Ohio blood, but it really doesn’t feel that cold all the time. It also rarely stays below freezing for a long period of time! Here are the averages for Paris in winter:
- December: Average high is 45ºF (7ºC) and the low is 36ºF (2ºC). The average precipitation is 2.3 inches (5.8 cm). December also has the least amount of daylight of about 8 hours per day.
- January: Average high is 43ºF (6ºC) and the low is 34ºF (1ºC). The average precipitation is 2.1 inches (5.3 cm). At about 9 hours of sunlight per day, this is the coldest month of the year.
- February: The average high in February is 45ºF (7ºC) and the low is 34ºF (1ºC). The average precipitation is 1.7 inches (4.3 cm). February starts to see longish days of 10 hours.
Honestly, Paris doesn’t get a lot of snow this time of year. However, it is rainier during the winter months.
When I visited Paris in January, it was chilly and it definitely was cloudy and rainy most of the time. That isn’t to say it rained the whole time, but be prepared for the shorter days and not so great weather in the winter.
Crowds in Paris in Winter:
Honestly, this is the best time to visit Paris to avoid crowds! Aside from the holiday season and New Year’s Eve, January and February are actually not that crowded! The lines to get into several museums like the Louvre or Orsay aren’t that bad at all, especially on weekdays!
If you are coming to Paris to go to museums and see a lot of tourist attractions, the winter is a great time to go to see everything quicker without the long lines.
Paris Winter Events
- Christmas markets! Enjoy visiting the Christmas markets and witness the stunning light displays across town in the month of December as well as early January.
- Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants. Sip on wine from several independent wineries throughout the country at this amazing event! The dates change yearly, but is it around December and/or January each year!
- Soldes. If you love shopping and dream of shopping in Paris, then you need to visit in January for soldes. The deals are incredible! Like Black Friday, find deals for clothes, shoes, accessories, and basically everything.
- Paris Fashion Week. January is a great time to enjoy the famous Paris Fashion Week! Check out the dates here!
- Valentine’s Day. I mean what better place is there to celebrate than in the city of love?
- International Agriculture Show. This takes place in February and has lots of great food. It is kind of like a state or county fair in the US.
- Paris Carnival. Celebrate carnival in style in Paris before Lent begins so typically around February.
- Chinese New Year. Celebrate Chinese New Year in the winter with week-long celebrations happening across the city. Some spots to check out include the 13th, 3rd, 11th, and 8th arrondissements as well as under the Eiffel Tower and at the Chinese Cultural Center.
Pros of Visiting Paris in Winter:
- Fewer crowds. I’m not saying you won’t encounter any crowds but compared to the long lines and hoards of tourists on their summer holiday this is nothing. Aside from the Christmas markets and big events like Paris Fashion Week, you won’t find many crowds during January and February.
- This is the cheapest time to go to Paris. Again, aside from the holidays and fashion week, you’ll find great hotel deals so whether you want to splurge on a nice hotel or are visiting Paris on a budget, this is a great time to find cheap rates. Plus this is great for shoppers on a budget!
- Enjoy the Christmas markets! Seriously, the Christmas markets in Europe are a dream to visit, so if you want to come and enjoy holiday lights and delightful Christmas market fare, then December is a lovely time to visit Paris.
- Spend time at many museums. Seriously, with the not-so-great weather, this is a great time to explore some of Paris’s best museums. We’re talking even more off-the-beaten-path museums.
- Eat all the gooey, French comfort food. Seriously, this is the best time to tuck into warm and hearty French stews, pastries, cheeses, and more!
- Less sunshine=more Eiffel Tower lit up! Yup, with fewer daylight hours you have plenty of chances to see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night! Perhaps a dinner cruise on the Seine for the ultimate effect?
Cons of Visiting Paris in Winter:
- Weather. Okay, if it isn’t drizzling it is probably overcast. This is pretty normal for the winter months. And it is definitely chillier outside so long walks along the Seine aren’t nearly as enjoyable.
- It isn’t crowd-free. Okay, this is a given. There will still be people traveling during this time as they know it’s the cheapest time to go to Paris. There will be study abroad students taking a long weekend trip to Paris. There will be childfree couples traveling without coordinating school schedules. There will be locals taking advantage of the fewer crowds to enjoy afternoons exploring too. But it is still better than busier months.
Winter is easily up there for the best time to visit Paris! If you can handle the bad weather it is a great time to go!
Best Time of Year to Visit Paris, France: Spring
Paris in the spring is a dream. Flowers are blooming across the city, crowds are still far fewer than in the summer, and the weather is pleasant enough for long walks around town.
You can actually enjoy those sidewalk cafes, and while it does see some rain this time of year, the sun is also starting to show itself more! My second visit to Paris was in May, and it was seriously so lovely!
Here are some great details on visiting Paris in the spring!
Weather For Paris in Springtime:
Prepare for more daylight hours and some rain, but other than that, amazing springtime weather and lots of gardens around the city bursting with life!
- March: Average daily high temperatures are around 51ºF (11ºC) and lows are around 38ºF (3ºC). The average rainfall is 1.9 inches or 4.8 cm. Expect longer days than winter with 12 hours of sunshine.
- April: Average daily high is around 57ºF (14ºC) and the low is 42ºF (6ºC). The average rainfall is around 2.1 inches or 5.3 cm. Paris gets about 14 hours of sunlight in April.
- May: Average daily high is around 64ºF (18ºC) and the low is 49ºF (9ºC). The average rainfall is around 2.6 inches or 6.6 cm. Days are getting longer at 15 hours per day of sunlight.
Spring in Paris is an absolute dream. The weather is far better than in winter and flowers start blooming all around the gorgeous parks. When I visited Paris in May, the weather was actually very warm and we saw parks flooded with locals having a drink and catching up with friends as they sat in the sunshine.
It truly is a lovely time to be in Paris!
Crowds in Paris in the Spring:
Will there be as sparse of crowds as in the winter? No. Will it be a heck of a lot better than in the summer? 100%!
People realize that springtime in Paris is the stuff people write books, movies, poetry, and more about. Of course, people want to see Paris this time of year! But you’ll certainly avoid many crowds especially summertime vacationers and families with kids in school.
So enjoy this fantastic time of year with a moderate amount of people.
Paris Spring Events:
- Paris Marathon. In April you’ll see thousands of runners on the streets of Paris hoping to win (or at least finish) this race!
- Foire de Paris. This international trade show is a showcase of cultures around the world. It typically takes place in April and May.
- Taste of Paris. In May, you can sample amazing food from world-renown chefs in one area! There are also live shows, cooking workshops, and plenty of great food.
- Saint-Germain-des-Pres Jazz Festival. Visit stunning theatres throughout the city for incredible jazz concerts in May.
- Grand Steeple Chase. Watch horse racing at this fun event in May.
- Night at the Museum. This is a must for those on a budget! Enjoy free admission to various museums across the city. It takes place on the 3rd Saturday in May.
- Paris Street Art Festival. In late May you can peruse art and enjoy live music, theatre, and dance performances around the city.
- French Open (Roland-Garros). Tennis fans will love this big event that takes place in late May.
Pros of Visiting Paris in the Spring:
- Several events. If you are visiting Paris and searching for fun local events, the spring has several! From the jazz festival to foodie events, there is a lot going on in Paris in the spring.
- Crowds aren’t unbearable yet. Unlike the height of tourist season in the summer, you’ll still not have nearly as many crowds. However, expect prices to increase again and for more crowds than in winter. I’d book tickets for busy museums like the Louvre and Orsay in advance.
- Better weather. It isn’t too hot yet like in summer. It also isn’t as chilly as the winter. This is a great sweet-spot and amazing for lounging around outside.
- Longer days. More sunshine is great for exploring! And the sunsets at a reasonable hour meaning you can still catch the Eiffel Tower lit up at night without staying up late.
Cons of Visiting Paris in the Spring:
- Costs go up. Yes, hotel and flight prices will increase the closer you get to summer.
- Crowds are still there. There will start to be more crowds in more popular tourist attractions throughout the city.
- Prepare for rain. I recommend having an umbrella on hand, but if you don’t mind Paris in the rain, then you’ll be fine!
Overall, spring is a pretty fantastic time to visit Paris! There is so much going on and while prices and crowds are increasing, they are still much better than in the summer.
Best Time to Visit Paris: Summer
It is time to talk about summer in Paris! Paris when it sizzles is a lot of fun too! The Paris beaches along the Seine are open, the parks across the city are full of life, and people watching at sidewalk cafes is incredible.
Chris and I visited Paris in July 2019 and spent 4 lovely days there. We skipped crowded museums in favor of smaller less popular spots, we avoided big bus tours and wandered neighborhoods by ourselves, and we took a great day trip to the Loire Valley! So if you are decided on visiting Paris in the summer, here are some details to know.
Paris Summertime Weather:
Paris in the summer can be a hit or miss. You can have warmer days with a nice breeze, or you can end up in Paris in the middle of a heatwave with no A/C. It’s really a toss up. Here is the monthly weather for Paris in the summer:
- June: Average temperatures reach 70ºF (21ºC) during the day and 54ºF (12ºC) at night. The average precipitation is around 2.2 inches or 5.6 cm. Enjoy long days with 16 hours of sunlight!
- July: Average temperatures reach 75ºF (24ºC) during the day and 58ºF (14ºC) at night. The average precipitation is around 2.5 inches or 6.4 cm. July also has 16 hours of sunlight per day on average.
- August: Average temperatures reach 75ºF (24ºC) during the day and 57ºF (14ºC) at night. The average precipitation is around 1.7 inches or 4.3 cm. Sunlight hours drops a bit to 14 hours per day.
While these averages certainly sound pleasant, it can get really hot in Paris mid-summer. And many buildings don’t have A/C meaning it can feel even hotter indoors (hint: get a hotel with air conditioning)!
Now, of course, there are several beautiful days with perfect temperatures and moderately cool evenings, but be prepared for really hot weather as well. Drink plenty of water and definitely take time to cool off in museums too.
Crowds in Paris in the summer:
I’m not going to lie, this is the worst time of year to go to Paris if you hate crowds. There will be a lot. Popular museums like the Louvre and Orsay will be packed. Lines will be long. Reservations will be necessary for popular restaurants, wine bars, and more.
You’ll even spot a few annoyed Parisians at the number of tourists in the city. I mean… I can’t blame them. Paris is amazing, the weather is great, and people have more time off in the summer. It makes sense that the city fills up.
So I wouldn’t expect every local to be thrilled to help you if you’re lost, and expect to see a lot of crowds in the summer.
However, you can avoid crowds too! Skip the big and popular museums for smaller museums like the Rodin Museum or the Montmartre Museum. Or you can take advantage of longer hours at the Louvre on Wednesday and Friday nights. They are open until 9:45 pm those nights, and on Wednesdays especially, it’ll be far less crowded then.
Yes, the crowds are dang near unbearable in the summer, but during our last visit to Paris, it really wasn’t that bad at all if you know how to avoid the main touristy spots!
Paris Summer Events:
- LGBT Pride. This takes place in June and is a huge party around the city!
- Bastille Day. This is France’s national day of celebration in remembrance of the Storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution. Join the celebration on July 14 each year with fireworks, concerts, and a parade!
- Fete de la Musique. Dance the night away with ample live music performances across the city. This happens in June typically.
- Fete de Tuileries. This family fun fair has so many attractions and rides throughout the summer.
- Paris Beaches. AKA Paris Plages is when Paris creates sandy beaches along the Seine for those not escaping to the beaches of Normandy or the South of France.
- Festival Paris l’Ete. The Paris Summer Festival takes place from July-August and you can see live dance and theatre performances as well as live music throughout the city and region.
- Soldes. Just like in January, save money on shopping in July.
Pros of Visiting Paris in the Summer:
- Sunshine and long days. There is so much sunshine. So much so that the sun rises before 5 am and sets around 10 pm. You can run around the city all day and catch a beautiful sunset right before bed.
- Pretty good weather. Aside from those unbearably hot and sticky days, the weather is pretty good for the most part. It still does rain, but not all day for the most part.
- Fun events. Enjoy the parades, firework shoes, and fun at many summertime events. I also loved checking out the Paris beaches and farmer’s markets in the city.
- Sidewalk cafes are a dream. Seriously, people-watching is prime in the summer.
Cons of Visiting Paris in the Summer:
- The heat. Yes, it gets HOT some days. The sunshine can be unbearable. Like definitely wear sunscreen and take it with you. Drink tons of water.
- The crowds. Everyone wants to be in Paris in the summer. People from around the world, and then people from all over the EU show up during their summer holidays. A lot of Parisians leave in August, making it a little less crowded. Again, you can definitely find places to escape the crowds, though.
- Fewer sunsets. Okay, the sun still sets each evening. Maybe we’re getting old, but we love waking up early and exploring. So staying up late to watch the sunset and Eiffel Tower light up at night wasn’t something we wanted to do.
- Many shops and restaurants close in August. Locals clear out in August, and many smaller shops and restaurants close up so be prepared for that.
If you are looking for the best month to visit Paris, the summer months aren’t it. However, the summer is still great for a visit to Paris, whether you have a week or 1 day. After having visited Paris in the summer I still highly recommend it.
Paris Best Time to Visit: Fall
Fall is a good time to visit Paris. The weather is cooling down, the crowds are beginning to thin out, and the vibrant fall colors dot the city from ivy overgrowth on buildings to several city parks.
If you are planning a trip to Paris in the fall, here are some details to consider.
Paris in the Fall Weather:
Early fall is still nice and warm while the end of fall is a bit chillier, especially in November. Check out the monthly weather in the fall in Paris:
- September: Average daily temperatures reach about 69ºF (21ºC) during the day and 52ºF (11ºC) at night. Average rainfall is 2.2 inches or 5.6 cm and hours of sunshine is about 13 hours per day.
- October: Average daily temperatures reach 59ºF (15ºC) during the day and 46ºF (8ºC) at night. Average rainfall is 2.4 inches or 6.1 cm. Daylight hours begin to decrease to 11 hours per day.
- November: Average daily temperatures reach 49ºF (9ºC) during the day and 39ºF (4ºC) at night. Average precipitation is 2.0 inches or 5.1 cm. Daylight decreases down to 9 hours per day.
Fall in Paris will see a gradual decrease in both daylight hours and temperatures. So you’ll find that this time of year is really pleasant in Paris. My parents visited back in September 2019 and were very warm during the day, but it was much cooler at night.
If you don’t love super hot or cold weather then this is the best time of year to visit Paris for you!
Crowds in Paris in the Fall:
While there are still some lingering crowds in September, the city starts to become like spring again as far as crowds go. You won’t have as long of lines for museums, places are far less crowded, and you may actually be able to get a seat at a good restaurant without a reservation.
As long as you avoid early September and Fashion Week, you’re likely to have a pleasant, not-so-crowded time.
Paris Fall Events:
- European Heritage Days. Taking place in September, you can visit several Parisian monuments and museums for free.
- Paris Fashion Week. Also in September, take in the latest in fashion.
- Techno Parade. Dance through the streets of Paris during this fun September event.
- Nuit Blanche. This takes place in October and the City of Light gets decked out in art installations, sensory experiences, and lots of light shows.
- Salon du Chocolat. Enjoy lots of chocolate at the Paris chocolate show in October.
- Art Fairs. Throughout the fall there are tons of art fairs like the International Contemporary Art Fair, Art Elysees, and more!
- Christmas markets. In November the Christmas markets begin again!
Pros of Visiting Paris in the Fall:
- Fewer crowds. Yes, the crowds start dispersing in the fall leaving more room to enjoy the city!
- Cheaper to visit. September still sees higher prices, but you’ll find great deals in October and November on flights and hotels!
- Great for art. There are art fairs galore this time of year.
- Fall Foliage. Head to any park (hint: there are SO many) and admire the beautiful fall foliage.
- Christmas markets. If you want to visit the markets before it gets crowded around the holidays, then this is a great time to visit in November.
Cons of Visiting Paris in the Fall:
- Weather can be hit or miss. It can be really hot or pretty cold depending on the day. Also, daylight fades again and the days become a bit more overcast and rainy.
- Crowds aren’t non-existent. True, you’ll still spot some crowds, but again far better than summer.
Really, fall is a great time of year to go to Paris! And it can be argued that October is the best month to visit Paris.
My Opinion on the Best Time to Visit Paris
I mean is there really a bad time to go to Paris? Not really. Even in the middle of summer, it is still amazing to be in Paris. In the midst of winter, it is great to travel to Paris.
But, if I had to choose I would pick either May or October to visit. Both of these times have fewer crowds and decent weather. It is still warm enough to enjoy sitting outside at cafes, picnicking in the parks, and walking around this delightful city.
Also, prices are a bit cheaper than at other times. Plus, October has some incredible events!
However, if you are planning to visit Paris for specific events or want to come during a certain season then that is great! You’ll love it!
Where to Stay in Paris
No matter when you’re visiting Paris, you’ll need a place to stay. For great apartment rentals, I love checking out deals on Airbnb. I have a whole guide for hotels and which arrondissement to stay at in Paris too!
Here are a few great options based on your budget:
Budget: Hotel Comete Paris
Staying a bit outside of downtown will save you a ton of money. This hotel is lovely, affordable, and near some great restaurants. Prices start around $80 per night.
Mid-Range: Le Relais Saint-Honore
This is perfect for first-time visitors for its location. Just steps from the Tuileries and the Louvre, you’ll love the beautiful rooms and charm. Prices start around $160 per night.
Luxury: Grand Hotel du Palais Royal
This is luxury within steps of Paris’s best attractions. The hotel also has a Turkish bath, beautiful terraces, and amazing rooms. Prices start around $350 per night.
Check out more Paris content to help plan your trip!
- What to Wear in Paris (Plus What NOT to Wear)!
- How Much Does a Trip to Paris Cost?
- Paris Podcast Episode
- Paris Day Trips Podcast Episode
- Do This NOT That Paris Podcast Episode
- 7 Days in France Itinerary