As Aubrey Hepburn once famously said, “Paris is always a good idea.” Paris is at the top of most travelers’ bucket lists—and it’s easy to see why. Known as the City of Lights, Paris is home to iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe among others. Whether you prefer the simple pleasures of a flaky, buttery croissant at an idyllic sidewalk bistro or a candlelit dinner on a leafy garden terrace overlooking the Seine river, anyone who visits can find their own special place in Paris.
But when exactly is the best time of year to visit Paris? You can never really go wrong, but it depends on what you want to get out of your trip. There are a variety of factors to consider, from weather and crowds to holiday events and seasonal activities, to find the season that best aligns with your travel preferences and interests. Rest assured, however, that no matter when you decide to visit, the magic and romance of the city will blow you away!
There are pros and cons to visiting Paris in any season. Below you can find some information to help decide which time of year is right for you.
Spring – Best Time to Visit Paris
If you’re looking to stroll through city parks without freezing while avoiding the crowds of summer, spring is the perfect time to visit Paris. This is when the city comes into full bloom!
Enjoy the city as the fresh air welcomes you and the streets become livelier with locals and tourists alike. As the city of lights awakens from its chilly slumber, its residents emerge to sip wine at sidewalk bars and bask in the gentle sunshine.
Spring Weather and Crowds in Paris
Breezy days and quick temperature changes are typical of springtime in Paris. Sunshowers in the mornings give way to bright afternoons, while evenings and nights can still carry a winter chill. Rainfall is pretty common during the afternoons and evenings, so be sure to pack your waterproof gear just in case!
March – 37 degrees F ( 3 degrees C) to 54 degrees F (12 degrees C)
April – 45 degrees F (7 degrees C) to 60 degrees F (15 degrees C).
May – 50 degrees F (12 degrees C) to 68 degrees F (20 degrees C)
With the warming of the weather, Paris attracts more crowds in spring than it does in winter, but it still isn’t considered the high season. March is a good month for short wait times for attractions and cheaper fares—especially during the beginning of the month. If you’re looking for some beautiful spring weather with the least possible amount of crowds, you should visit Paris at the end of March or the beginning of April.
By the end of April, the weather will become increasingly pleasant, and the crowds will ramp up. The high tourist season has officially started. Gone are the days when the streets were deserted except for a few locals rushing to and fro. Instead, you’ll find both locals and tourists picnicking in the parks and enjoying coffee at outdoor cafes.
What to See and Do in Paris in Spring
Dine at a chic cafe in Montmartre
This beautiful neighborhood thrives during spring weather, plus the view from the top of the hill will be much more rewarding on a clear, sunny day. Take a leisurely stroll through Paris’s steepest quarter and indulge in some local wine from the vineyards—in spring the weather will be fine enough to sit outside while you drink it!
Stroll through the Tuileries Garden
The oldest park in Paris, the ‘Jardin des Tuileries’ literally springs to life this time of year. Tulips open and the park’s Cercis trees burst forth in a riot of pinks and purple blossom. The park is best enjoyed while lounging in one of its iconic green deck chairs. What better way to enjoy the sun?
Find your scent at the Perfumeries
A trip to Paris in spring is all about stopping to smell the flowers— and you can even take some of their scent home with you. Paris is one of the perfume capitals of Europe. A visit to a perfume house like Guerlain on the Champs Champs-Élysées is a real sensory experience.
Summer – Best Time to Visit Paris
Summer is the most popular time of the year to visit Paris — and with good reason. Summer is the perfect time to visit Paris if you’re feeling sociable and energized. In summer Paris is truly at its most vibrant. The warm weather makes this an ideal time to explore the river Seine and its canals.
The days are longer, the sun is brighter, and at night the bars and cafes overflow with locals and tourists alike.
Summer Weather and Crowds in Paris
June – 57 degrees F (14 degrees C) to 73 degrees F (almost 23 degrees C).
July – 60 degrees F (15 degrees C) to 77 degrees F (25 degrees C).
August – 60 degrees F (15 degrees C) to 77 degrees F (25 degrees C)
Once summer in Paris officially begins, it brings all the tourists with it. Schools are out of session and families are taking advantage of the holidays. This means prices will be higher than usual and you’ll have to wait in significantly long lines to get into some of the attractions. The upside is that as summer rolls on spending time outdoors is a pleasure.
July is the hottest month in Paris, so if you’re visiting at this time be prepared to sweat. It’s the peak of the tourist season and the crowds are about as heavy as it gets. But this is when Paris is at its liveliest! It’s rare that you would need a jacket in July, even after dark. August generally sees fewer crowds than June and July—and that’s simply because this is when most Parisians take their vacations. But don’t be fooled, this mass exodus is domestic only—this is the last month of summer vacation for many countries and people are rushing to get their trips in before school starts up again.
What to do See and Do in Paris in Summer
Climb the Arc de Triomphe at sunset
One of Paris’s most iconic landmarks, the top of the Arc de Triomphe offers 360-degree views of the city. The wait-times are a little less hectic than those at the Eiffel Tower, plus your pictures will include a full view of the Eiffel. The view from the Arc is most beautiful on a summer’s night, just as the sun is setting.
Wine and dine on the Seine River
After a full day of sightseeing, cap it all off with a gorgeous dinner cruise on the Seine. As you float leisurely along the river, enjoy a three-course gourmet French meal and admire the sunset. As if this moment could get any more perfect, many river cruises offer live music.
Cheat the crowds at the Fontainebleau Palace
If you want to escape the hoards of summer tourists at the Palace of Versailles, a day trip to the Fontainebleau Palace makes an excellent alternative. Once home to Napoleon Bonaparte, and featuring a lavish decor, Fontainebleau is historically compelling. After your tour, you can roam the palace’s charming English gardens and cool off by the pond.
Fall – Best Time to Visit Paris
With both the heat and the high tourist season winding down, and the city relaxes. Golden leaves drop from the Poplar trees lining the Seine, and Parisians wrap up in wool coats and sweaters. Fall is a poetic time of year to visit Paris. Some even say the city is at its most beautiful during these months.
Fall Weather and Crowds in Paris
September – 55 degrees F (13 degrees C) to 70 degrees F (21 degrees C).
October – 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) to 61 degrees F (16 degrees C).
November – 41 degrees F (5 degrees C) to 50 degrees F (10 degrees C)
In early September, Paris gets the last of the summer crowds, but by October, the tourist season is officially over! Although there can be some final hot days, nights are cool and crisp, and the sky can be cloudy. So if you’re looking for fewer crowds and bearable weather, October is the perfect time to visit. As the colors of the leaves turn, the parks and gardens take on a dreamy, romantic mood.
November is one of the least expensive times of year to visit Paris, as summer is long gone, but it is not yet time for the holiday season. Especially if you book in advance, prices will drop, and you will be able to get good deals on hotels and airfare. The streets will be much less crowded for exploring. Just be sure to pack waterproof items as this month can be rainy and windy.
What to See and do in Paris in the Fall
Bathe in the colors at Monet’s Giverny
If you love color, the house of the Impressionist artist Claude Monet is a must-see. A short day trip outside Paris, Monet decorated his home and landscaped the gardens himself. October is a great time of year to visit, as the garden’s dahlias explode with late-season blooms. If you are familiar with Monet’s paintings, you will instantly recognize the water lily ponds.
Descend into the creepy catacombs
While it’s Halloween season, walk deep into the underbelly of Paris to see the ossuary decorated with skulls and bones taken from overcrowded cemeteries during the 18th century. Although there is usually some wait-time at the catacombs in fall, the queues are drastically reduced compared to summer.
Can-Can it up at the Moulin Rouge
If you’re looking to escape the evening chill of fall, visit the Moulin Rouge. Arguably the most famous cabaret in the world, there is an original production for you to enjoy every night. Just be sure to dress appropriately for the event.
Winter – Best Time to Visit Paris
Ahh, winter! The coldest time of year but also one of the busiest and most exciting. If you’re looking for night strolls through fairy-lit streets, hot sweet wine, and Christmas markets galore, this is the time to visit Paris, when the city of lights truly glows. Even after the holiday season ends, the romance of Paris will keep you warm through the winter months.
Winter Weather and Crowds in Paris
December – 39 degrees F (4 degrees C) to 46 degrees F (7 degrees C).
January – 35 degrees F (2 degrees C) to 41 degrees F (5 degrees C).
February – 37 degrees F (3 degrees C) to 47 degrees F (8 degrees C)
Early winter in Paris is marked by Christmas festivities, the popping of champagne bottles and New Year’s Eve fireworks. Although the city streets are not nearly as busy as the summer high season, there is certain merriment in the air. The grand avenues teem with Christmas shoppers, and ice-skating rinks open all across the city. The weather can be rather gray at this time of year, but this makes the Christmas lights sparkle all the more brightly.
Come January you’ll find Paris at its most serene. The bustle of the holidays has gone, everyone has gone back to work, and its low-tourist season, so the city is basically deserted. The upshot is, if you’re looking for the most authentic Parisian experience possible, you’ll find it in January. Just be sure to bundle up—the nights can drop below freezing. In February, the weather remains damp and cold—but don’t let this dissuade you. If you’re lucky enough to experience a rare snowfall in Paris, this month is your most likely chance.
What to See and do in Paris in Winter
Ice skate around the landmarks
In December, ice skating rinks open all across the city. Some of the most popular are at Parisian icons like the Champs-Elysees, the Eiffel Tower, and the Grand Palais. After you twirl on the ice, sip on a hot chocolate or even a hot wine.
Feel the season at the Christmas markets
Paris has some of the best and most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe. With Christmas lights and markets dotted across the entire city, you won’t be able to go anywhere without running into these cheery little popups selling seasonal pastries along with holiday gifts. The most popular markets are at the Cathedral of Notre Dame and in Montmartre.
Snap up a bargain in the January sales
In January Winter Sales or “les soldes,” pop up all over Paris. Sales start with small discounts that grow larger towards the end of the month. Get lost in grand old department stores like Printemps and Galeries LaFayette or browse cute boutiques in the Marais.
No matter what time of year you choose to visit Paris, having the perfect itinerary will ensure you experience the most of what this glamorous city has to offer. Plan your custom trip to Paris with help from an expert at Go Real Travel.