Last Updated on 5th February 2022 by Sophie Nadeau
Each and every season, I declare that ‘now’ is the best time to visit the city. And the simple truth of the matter is that the city of light is always worth a visit, even when it’s raining or cold. But when should you visit Paris? When is the best time to visit Paris?
Well, here’s your complete guide on when to visit Paris, and a season by season guide to spending time in the French capital depending on what you like doing, and your favourite kind of weather. After all, with each season comes new things to do, various activities, and when you should visit Paris depends entirely on personal preference!
- The case for visiting Paris in the shoulder seasons (spring and autumn)
- When to visit Paris by season
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The case for visiting Paris in the shoulder seasons (spring and autumn)
I’ve said it before and no doubt I’ll say it again: my personal preference when it comes to choosing a time to visit Paris is in the shoulder seasons. That is to say late spring or early autum, i.e. just before or just after peak season, which is the summer.
There are fewer Tourists!
The majority of tourists visit Paris in the summer, believing that the weather will be better, and therefore their visit will too. However, although the temperature may be marginally warmer, there will be swarms of people surrounding popular tourist hot spots like the Louvre and Trocadéro. Visiting in the Spring will ensure that you get many of the usual tourist hot spots to yourself!
Everything is open!
It’s a little-known fact that many establishments actually close in Paris over the summer period. Each year, for the month of August, many a Parisian pack up shop and head somewhere else, often seeking warmer climates and shelter from the swarms of tourists descending on the city. Visiting Paris in the spring or autumn, will ensure that everything will be open
When to visit Paris by season
Paris in the Spring
If you only need one reason to visit Paris in the spring, then make it spring blossoms. After a leafless winter, the city comes to life and the capital is bursting with colour. Cherry blossoms are everywhere in Paris.
From underneath the Eiffel Tower, to the undiscovered parks like Parc Monceau, the city is awash with swathes of pink. And everything is prettier in pink, right? Though not quite warm enough for picnics along the Seine, or wandering around without a jacket, the weather is much better than that of the winter months.
Some of my favourite Parisian spring activities include searching for cherry blossom around the city and taking a day trip to Sceaux (where you’ll find an entire cherry orchard!) Other highlights of Paris in the spring include days long enough to enjoy your coffee en terrace and all of the museums and galleries being open for full days following the winter months.
Paris in the Summer
Paris in the summer is simply busy. And there are no two ways about it! But, if planned right, Paris during the hotter months of the year is one of the best times to visit the city if you love warm weather, long days and picnics outdoors.
In the summer months, you can sit outside for hours on end, watching the last of the pastel skies fade away and sipping on wine en terrace, or even along the Seine.
After all, this is the perfect time of the year to visit sites like Paris Plages, a series of man-made beach opened in several locations across the city. In Jardin des Tuileries, an annual summer funfair is held and the temperature often soars into the late 20s and above. Other summer highlights of the city include various festivals and every museum is open!
Paris in the Autumn
If you’re looking for the best time to travel to Paris, then I may well suggest taking a trip to the French capital in the fall. Make sure to head to Paris in the autumn if you love golden leaves, crisp evenings and shorter queues, not to mention cosy cafés and quirky bookshops.
Fall is actually one of my favourite seasons to visit Europe, and not just Paris. The days are still not as cold as in the winter months and the daylight hours are slightly longer too. In fact, Paris in September and October may well be the best time to visit Paris!
Everything is open (unlike in the month of August when many Parisians close up shop and head out on summer vacation) and there are fewer tourists around. Autumn is the perfect time to take day trips from the city and experience all of the fall foliage first hand. Still not convinced about visiting Paris in the autumn? Here’s why you might want to consider visiting Paris in fall.
Paris in the Winter
The winter months in Paris are obviously the chilliest of the year. That being said, with the shorter days and colder nights comes the promise of the holiday season and Christmas Markets can be found throughout the city.
There’s a festive feel in the air, and if you absolutely love boutique markets, ice skating, vin chaud (mulled wine) and fewer tourists, winter is definitely the best time to visit the city.
Winter is also one of only two seasons of the year where you’ll find sales in French stores. French law mandates that obligatory sales are held twice a year- and only then.
Once in the summer and then in the winter. Just after Christmas in Paris each year, you’ll find some of the best deals if you love shopping and picking up a good bargain!
Alice @ Girl with a saddle bag
Saturday 16th of September 2017
Lovely post! I've only visited Paris in mid-summer and like you say, whilst it's beautiful it was extremely busy. I think you've convinced me that my next trip must be in the spring - last year I visited Madrid in April and the parks were spectular. I can only imagine they'd be at least as stunning in Paris.