Paris je t’aime – Paris I love you – yes I have to admit that I ultimately fell in love when I visited Paris. It was not the love at first sight thing when I went there 20 years ago on a school excursion. But 20 years later, I travelled there alone and indulged the entire city for two weeks and it hit me! It was winter time and just before Christmas. And what should I say, Paris is so beautiful in its winter coat! The Christmas decorations are just outstanding, the Christmas Markets a dreamy experience and overall it is less crowded with tourists. And even more great activities are on, you would not consider them doing during summer time. Let’s see what you can expect from your travel to Paris in winter season girl and how to find the winter chic in the Parisian City of Lights and Love.
Note: COVID-19 pandemic might affect the activities described below. They might get cancelled or do not take place at your time of visit. Please check the providers’ pages carefully and regularly as things might change on short notice. Check out the government’s website from your home country for the latest immigration updates that apply to you when visiting Paris.
01 Visit museums & historical sights
When it gets cold outside, museums are the perfect place to keep you warm while enjoying beautiful art or history. I suggest you to wave ‘hi’ to Mona Lisa who is home at the Louvre museum. Or enjoy historical art at the Petit Palais (small palace) for free. Besides you can visit the Palais Garnier / Opéra Garnier (opera) in Paris, where artists and ballet dancers are performing since 1875. And the opera itself marks an incredible photo spot with its breathtaking stairways.
02 Indulge Christmas decoration
Oh yes! Christmas decoration is on in Paris this winter! And it’s absolutely massive. The best spots are inside Galeries Lafayette Haussmann with the biggest Christmas tree with changing decor themes every year. The windows of the big department stores in general, Place Vendôme and around Le Village Royal – Cité Berryer with beautifully decorated luxury shops and anywhere else on the many Christmas Markets in Paris (see idea 07) are perfect to suffer from Christmas vibes babe.
03 Go Christmas shopping
Especially in December, Christmas shopping is just the best! Special prices and promotions will pop up literally everywhere and yes the Parisians love to spend their money on beautiful new items. The best places to shop are Galeries Lafayette Haussmann (and any other of their locations in Paris), Le Marais district, Bercy village and the many amazing covered shopping passages (see idea 23).
04 Participate in a macaron baking class
French pastries are just the best sweets I have encountered so far: from éclairs to tartlets, madeleines, and mille-feuilles, and the one and only macarons. I tried them so many times and wanted so deeply to make my own ones. Thus, I suggest you also to participate in a baking class, learn how to prepare the macarons’ halves and the ganache fillings and take your handmade ones home with you. And if you want to try the all time best macarons in Paris head to Ladurée.
Ready for a baking class? Here’s the link to the class I did with wonderful pastry chef Noémie, a powerful she who opened their own cooking studio.
05 Watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle
The Eiffel Tower truly is one of the most iconic and most often visited sights in Paris. Every full hour for 5 minutes the Eiffel Tower sparkles at night. So lucky that the sun sets already between 5 and 6pm in the evenings during winter, so no need to stay up all night to see it! The best spots to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle is from Jardins du Trocadéro gardens or on a Seine cruise (see idea 09).
Get up to the top of Eiffel Tower with pre booked tickets faster without waiting time – book your tickets here.
06 Visit to the Paris opera
Apart from just visiting the Palais Garnier / Opéra Garnier (opera) and indulging the magnificent history of this ancient building, you could also come there as a visitor of any of their amazing opera performances. Taking one of their super cozy red seats and getting impressed by the outstanding performances of the artists on stage will blow your mind away. So don’t miss out on their play schedule girl!
07 Attend Christmas markets
For me, Christmas markets mark the ultimate way to feel Christmas and get yourself in a happy winter mood. One of the largest Christmas markets is located in Jardins des Tuileries with a ferries wheel, champagne igloos, and so many food and activity options. There is another market in front of the city hall called Hôtel de Ville. It features a beautiful vintage carousel, food stalls, and the city hall illuminations are just magical. And the best, the Christmas markets are still open in January!
08 Treat yourself in a hammam spa
Wellness is nothing that has to be excluded from your travels to Paris in winter babe! Instead going to a spa is the perfect choice for a cold winter day. Across Paris you’ll find many amazing hammams, these are traditional Moroccan spas. They come with steam rooms and offer massages that will make you feel reborn. Always remember, it is important to take care of both your body and soul!
09 Hop on a Seine boat tour
Hopping on a boat tour along the Seine is just magical and even more special when it’s dark outside. Passing along Paris’ marvellous architecture, the lighted buildings and the most iconic highlights such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame cathedral and so many more. During winter you can still enjoy the open air deck, but also get more cozy inside or hop on a dinner cruise while tasting great French food paired with a glass of wine.
10 Walk along the Seine and enjoy moody Paris
Apart from exploring Paris from the water, by foot is also one of my favorite ways to explore while traveling. Grab yourself a hot chocolate or a mulled wine (fr. Vin Chaude) and just start walking and exploring Paris! It will not be hard as Paris comes with incredible architecture that will still catch your eyeballs in winter season: beautiful french balconies, the Louvre museum, and the Eiffel Tower are year round highlights that will wait for you.
11 Attend Moulin Rouge cabaret show
Another amazing institution that comes with history is the Moulin Rouge theatre. Opened in 1889 it nowadays hosts the world famous cabaret show. Loose yourself in this brilliant way of entertaining, grab one of their menu or champagne tickets and have an amazing evening out in Paris in winter season. You will love it!
12 Create your own perfume
The French people love perfume so do I! The main City of Perfume is the city of Grasse located in southern France. However, even in Paris you can create your own and unique perfume. How does this sound? Come to one of the famous perfume workshops, learn more about the perfume composition and leave with your own perfume to your next adventure in Paris.
13 Indulge cozy French bakeries
The smell of freshly baked bread is unbeatable. And especially the delicious tastes of freshly baked croissants and baguettes from Paris are so yummy! An uncountable number of suchlike French bakeries (fr. Boulangeries) are located in Paris. I personally prefer local ones compared to chains, but anyways, French bakeries are simply the best. Are you team croissant or baguette?
14 Stroll along picturesque Montmartre
When I think about all the different districts in Paris, Montmartre is my favorite. I love the creative vibes and how artists show their work in their galleries. Montmartre was also the home of Van Gogh, Picasso, and Dalí. Besides, the Sacré-Cœur basilica is just incredible and once reached the very top you have an amazing view over entire Paris. Why not getting a new painting in Montmartre for your home or a new portrait of you from great artists at Place du Tertre?
15 Loose yourself in the Catacombs of Paris
At bit spooky might appear the Catacombs of Paris, a 20 meters underground ossuary keeping the remains of several million people of Paris. This is true history you are about to explore right under the normal street life. Get yourself underground and escape from any bad winter weather. Are you ready? Book your ticket below to skip waiting time:
16 Enjoy a wine tasting session
Good wine is always connected with France, isn’t it? For dinner wine is served and even for lunch. That being said, French people love to have slow lunch and dinner and enjoy eating to the fullest. So why not getting to know more about wine in general and tasting a few of their best Frenchie ones? If you agree, a wine tasting session will be perfect for you which can happen year round.
17 Get impressed by the Festival of Lights Paris
Every year in winter The Festival of Lights (fr. Festival des Lumières) takes place as an impressive night exhibition. Beautiful installations illuminate the Jardin des Plantes in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. Loose yourself in those beautiful lights and be surprised what will await you just around the next corner of the garden. I am sure you will enjoy your travel to Paris in winter!
18 Go ice skating
Only in winter season, the ice rinks in Paris open their doors! The best and biggest ice rink is located in the Grand Palais (big palace). Skating in this ancient building is just magical. Regularly, they organize illuminations and music events making it also a great activity in the winter evenings in Paris. Further, there are other ice rinks available throughout Paris, e.g. included in the Christmas market setup at Tuileries Gardens and close to the Eiffel Tower.
19 Sit in a warm café
I love those little cafés in Paris where you can enjoy a great coffee creation and watch the street life. Even in winter you can sit outdoors as the Parisian restaurants and cafés have installed outdoor heaters to keep you warm. My recommendations include Café de Flore which truly belongs to the most instagramable cafés. Les Deux Magots pretty close to it is another great option in Saint-Germain des Prés district. At Le Café Marly you can enjoy a coffee with an amazing view of the Louvre in front of you. In Montmartre district there is beautiful La Maison Rose, Chez Eugène, and Le Vrai Paris.
20 Enjoy parks & greenery
Even in winter, there is no need to skip the parks and greenery in Paris. For instance, garden Jardin du Luxembourg is perfectly integrated in the city concept making it pretty easy to visit next to the main sights. Why not combining it with the picturesque district of Quartier Latin and Saint-Germain des Prés? Another great one is garden Jardins des Plantes in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. Or the Jardins des Tuileries which is pretty close to the Louvre museum. And of course you will meet many locals in these parks and you can grab yourself some yummy crêpes (pancakes) and enjoy a winter stroll.
21 Savor the French haut cuisine
When I think about France I recall their amazing food culture. The slow rather than fast restaurant visits, the multiple course menus and not to forget the incredible tastes of high class food! At least once you should try suchlike French haut cuisine. Message me if you need some restaurant recommendations as there are literally thousands of restaurants available in Paris that will fit every taste.
22 Get yourself a new Parisian winter outfit
Winters in Paris are not that cold as you would expect it from other European countries. Snow can happen, you just have to be a bit lucky enough though. However, a coat, scarf and cap is required on some of those colder days. So why not getting yourself a brand new winter outfit that holds the Parisian chic?
23 Explore covered passages of Paris
Since the end of the 18th century, a labyrinth of covered commercial passages has been created in Paris. Small boutiques, shops, and cafés moved in there surrounded by beautiful mosaic and glass art in the passages inviting the Parisian to stroll along. Therefore, the covered passages are such an amazing alternative to the department stores and are perfect for your winter travel to Paris. The best covered passages are e.g. Galerie Vivienne, Passage des Panoramas, Passage Jouffroy, and Passage du Grand Cerf.
24 Attend Paris Fashion Week
In February/March it’s time for the Paris Fashion Week. The city will change into a tribute to fashion and design (apparently even more as Paris loves fashion already). As the fashion shows are held at various places across Paris and often the exact dates and locations stay a mystery until very late, you have to be lucky and do some research beforehand. Especially at the shows of small designers some seats stay empty as multiple shows take place at the same time and invited guests cannot attend the show. So those seats sometimes get filled with random people from the street.
25 Meet Mickey Mouse in Disneyland Paris
I guess, thinking of Paris is so often directly connected with dreaming about Disneyland! The theme park and its attractions are open to visitors all year round. Visiting this attraction in Paris in winter comes with the benefit that it is less crowded than in any other season of the year. Get a picture together with Mickey Mouse while watching the breathtaking fireworks above the Disneyland castle. Grab your tickets right below:
Want to know the best boutique hotels in Paris that come with this ultimate Parisian chic? Continue reading my blog post, check the rates and book your stay in Paris! Interested in other great activities for a great date or a romantic getaway to Paris? Hop onto my post and grab my tips for free.
And if you want to catch those Paris vibes right away, hop over to Netflix series ‘Emily in Paris’ and you are good to go!
Have you been to Paris yet? Came up with any questions about traveling to Paris? Anything that I can help you out with? Please leave your comments and thoughts below or on Instagram @storiesoutofthesuitcase. Happy Traveling ♥