Hesitating to visit Paris in winter? Yes. Winter in Paris is cloudy and damp. Nevertheless, There's no such thing as a bad time to visit Paris. In winter, the city is bathed in beautiful light, creating a fantastic and romantic atmosphere. Trees and Haussmannian boulevards gleam with twinkle lights, restaurants glow with red heat lamps, and department stores go all out with lavish holiday decorations. And that's not all. Prices are cheaper than in peak season and there are fewer tourists, so you can feel the local atmosphere better. Isn't it exciting to imagine the holiday season in Paris? Whether you're looking for festive activities to fill up your holiday itinerary, here's everything to know about how to make the most of your trip to Paris in winter.
Paris has some of the most beautiful Christmas trees in Europe. If you want to take great photos in front of the Christmas tree, we recommend going to the iconic department store in the center of Paris. Even if you are not interested in shopping, seeing the large tree combined with the Art Nouveau architecture will be a pleasant experience that can only be done in Paris. Their Christmas show windows are also worth looking around. Every year during the Christmas season, French children fill the show window of the Lafayette department store. There are various activities for travelers, instagrammable brunch cafes&restaurants, massage&spa salons, etc., so it is recommended to include them in your travel itinerary.
The fairytale lights in the trees lining the Champs-Elysées are probably the most famous images of Paris at Christmas. More than 26 million strollers visit the Champs-Élysées each year to admire the Christmas lights. On the evening of the 31st of December, the Champs-Elysées is closed to traffic. This creates a wide space for pedestrians to celebrate the coming New Year. Check it out if you want to spend New Year in Paris.
Escape the rain and the cold with a stroll through the covered passages. Most of them are close by, so it’s really a good-themed walk through Paris on a wet day. Built for the most part in the 19th century, these arcades covered with glass roofs, created by piercing through other buildings, are a typically Parisian architectural feature. These façades were shopping and meeting places for ladies and gentlemen of the Belle Epoque. Galerie Vivienne next door to the Palais-Royal is one of the most iconic covered passages. A façade with fewer tourists and a collection of shops loved by the locals is Passage Jouffroy. Inside this façade is a souvenir shop called Paris est toujours Paris. With guidance from friendly staff, you can buy high-quality souvenirs or gifts, such as French berets and Saint James striped T-shirts. Click here to download a 10% discount voucher.
A visit to the Christmas market is probably one of the most European things you can't easily experience on other continents. Visiting the city’s Christmas markets is simply magical, and a mainstay of any Paris Christmas! Who doesn’t want to wander brightly-lit stalls, eat delicious hot food, and buy loads of Christmas presents? The most popular market is probably the one in Jardin des Tuileries. You can taste winter specialties such as vin chaud and raclette, and an ice skating space is also inside. If you are interested in Christmas ornaments, you could get many cute and unusual decorations in this market.
More than any other five-star hotels in the world, Parisian luxury hotels stand out with their luxurious architecture, interior décor and top-notch service. The Ritz Paris is a hotel in central Paris, overlooking the Place Vendôme. Because of its status as a symbol of high society and luxury, the hotel is featured in many notable works of fiction including novels like F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is The Night and Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. Eating French pastry with prestige service in a historic hotel is an experience not to be missed while in Paris. Let's be the main character in Hemingway's novel for a while on a cold Parisian afternoon. Reservations for tee times are available at the following link.
Another experience that can only be had in winter in Paris is watching a ballet or opera at the end of the year at Opera Garnier. It is considered one of the top five opera houses in the world thanks to its splendid architecture and interior. In the winter, the National Ballet de Paris opens with iconic works such as Swan Lake. Art-loving visitors from all over the world gather here at this time of year, so make reservations months in advance. Even if you cannot see the performance, it is highly recommended that you take a look at the magnificent opera's interior architecture. To visit, please refer to the official site.
When you come to Paris, you can't delay tasting soft bread or drinking warm tea and there is probably no other season to enjoy warm bread and tea as deliciously as winter. In fact, there are several traditional French tea salons on the façade, such as the Passage Jouffroy or galeries vivienne introduced earlier. If you are looking for a cozy place to enjoy dessert and tea, Violetta et Alfredo, located near the Opera, is also recommended. Upon entering you will feel like you have turned back in time to a 19th century tea salon. You can get a discount through the O'Bon Paris voucher. Angelina, a famous and Instagrammable tea salon, is also worth a visit. It is a famous place where Coco Chanel often visited. hey are running a few tearooms in Paris, but usually, it’s quite popular. Think about reserving a table in advance.
If you don't like crowds of tourists, take a walk along the Avenue Montaigne just off the Champs-Elysées. This street is the 10th most expensive property in the world and is home to many luxury boutiques. Pass by the first Dior store and Chanel store, and go to the iconic Hotel Plaza Ateneza, which has often appeared in movies and TV shows, like Emily in Paris or Sex and the city. Fantastic winter decorations and lights captivate you. The view of the sparkling Eiffel Tower will be a bonus.
During the winter season, the cold weather can weaken your immunity and cause sensitivity for your skin. To prevent it, boosting your immune system and having a special skin care are definitely needed. French nutritional supplements and skin care products are famous for their good quality for an accessible price. Pharmacie Monge is proposing the best French health & beauty care solutions at reasonable price. Click here to get a discount on Pharmacie Monge’s the most prime items for taking good care of yourself.
The Santons are a central element in the culture of Provence. During Christmas time, it’s frequent to display “Nativity Scenes” in Churches, made of big statues representing the birth of Jesus. The representation of the Nativity scene made of Santons is called “crèche”. For more than 200 years, all the family of Provence keeps this tradition to make a “Crèche” at home in December. Crèche is prepared carefully in Provence by children as well as adults during the month of December. As background, people usually use colorful papers or elements that they pick up in nature. As we mentioned, the santons are part of the Catholic tradition. However, with time it became more cultural than religious. It's a Provence tradition, but you can also find it at the Christmas markets in Paris.
The weather in Paris during winter often increases physical tension and mental depression. The Wellness Galerie is offering a range of programs for Parisians’ inner and outer wellbeing. Various services such as spa, traditional massage, yoga session, and consulting are available in a completely personalized way. Experience Parisian self-caring routine to tune in to yourself calmly and relax your body. Click here to learn more about the Wellness Galerie’s special care.
Luxury shopping is the highlight moment of your travel in Paris. What if you can get famous designer masterpieces at a much lower price? The biggest European shopping outlet La Vallée Village suggests best shopping deals. Especially, when the winter sales take place from January to February, it is the perfect occasion to purchase your favorite high fashion brand’s pieces for a ridiculous bargain. On top of that, you can use O’bonParis’ extra discount coupon for guilt-free spree.
The average weather in Paris in winter is a bit rainy and chilly. It does snow in Paris in winter but you won’t find it every year and it won’t snow until the end of January or February. Be sure to bring a warm scarf, gloves, and a small umbrella. The road is often slippery and wet, so it is better not to bring too many high heels.
Winter is also the period of the year when you can shop at the lowest price. If you actively use O'Bon Paris coupons, you will be able to use department stores and beauty shops in Paris at even better prices.
Despite shorter days and decidedly wetter weather, winter is truly a special time of year in Paris. Staying true to its City of Light moniker, Paris sparkles under the glow of festive holiday lights. We hope you will have an unforgettable end of year memories in this beautiful city.
Text and photos : O'bon Paris Team