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Five Reasons to Visit Paris in Winter

Recently updated on July 5th, 2023 at 03:59 pm

Paris in Winter is full of unexpected magic. The morning sun hits the Seine with a warm glow, and at night the city’s sights twinkle with Christmas light displays. You won’t be short of things to do – there are festive markets, al fresco ice rinks, and the world-renowned museums and galleries make the perfect escape from the cold. Here’s our pick of five reasons why Paris in winter is a must-visit destination.

See the city light up for the festive season

Paris in winter Christmas-Paris-www.istockphoto.com_gb_photo_christmas-in-paris-gm510272157-46177698-FelixCantanaParis isn’t known as the City of Lights for nothing. From November to the beginning of January, the capital is decked out for the festive season with coloured bulbs, glowing arches, and spectacular light shows. Catch the best on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, and on and around Place Vendôme. Luxury department store Galeries Lafayette outdoes itself year after year with its giant glowing Christmas tree. One year it was studded with giant Swarovski crystals – you have to see it to believe it!

Soak up the sights without crowds

Paris in winter Skating-Paris-www.istockphoto.com_gb_photo_paris-winter-skating-france-gm157399699-7980960-benedek Woman-on-a-Bridge-Paris-www.istockphoto.com_gb_photo_woman-on-a-bridge-in-paris-gm540961674-96683001-spoohThe chillier weather means fewer tourists, making Paris ideal for winter exploring. Guaranteed, you’ll be spoilt for choice with photo opportunities from the Eiffel Tower, and bag some quality time with the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. At this time of year, you can take a stroll along the River Seine without the summertime crush of people and take in the elegant views at leisure.

Pick up some goodies at the Christmas markets

Paris in winter Paris-Christmas-Market-Decorations-www.istockphoto.com_gb_photo_decorations-on-a-parisian-christmas-market-gm529368697-53988726-encrierFrom late November, the twinkling mini villages of Christmas Markets start to pop up all across Paris. Head to the foot of the Eiffel Tower or La Défense for the big fairs; Notre Dame and Montmartre for quainter offerings. Stock up on some special presents for loved ones back home and, when all that shopping makes you peckish, take the opportunity to sample some French delicacies. Cheesy, creamy tartiflette and a plateful of sugary beignets will fill you up nicely, and you can wash it all down with a cup of mulled vin chaud.

Curl up in a café with a hot chocolate

Paris in winter Coffee-Paris-Cafe-www.istockphoto.com_gb_photo_coffee-at-paris-pavement-cafe-gm155385072-19464969-nicolamargaretAfter a morning of exploring in the crisp winter air, there is little more enticing than ducking into a cosy café to put your feet up. Paris is packed full of them – and the hot chocolate they’ll serve you is second to none. Forget the milky cocoa stir-ins, the Parisian chocolat chaud is rich and velvet-thick. For the quintessential experience, head to the lovely tearoom at famous Champs-Elysées patisserie, Ladurée.

Take to your skates on the ice rinks

Paris in winter Skating-Paris-www.istockphoto.com_gb_photo_paris-winter-skating-france-gm157399699-7980960-benedekSkate off the crepes and foie gras on one of the city’s ice rinks. The open-air ones are your best bet for making the most of the festive atmosphere. Facing the Eiffel Tower, a short walk from the Christmas Markets, Trocadéro On Ice offers seriously scenic skating to a festive soundtrack. Head there in the evening to watch the city’s famous monument sparkle. The rink by the grand Hotel de Ville (City Hall) is a tad larger and almost as pretty.

Captivated by the thought of visiting Paris in winter? Click here to discover an enchanting Trafalgar trip.

Image credits: Main image © iStock/SERGEY-ALESHIN. Lights © iStock/FelixCantana. Coffee © iStock/nicolamargaret. Christmas market © iStock/encrier. Skating © iStock/benedek © Woman bridge © iStock/spooh.

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