Paris is a city that has it all: stunning architecture, world-class museums, delicious food, and a romantic atmosphere. It’s no wonder that it’s the second most-visited city in the world and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
But with so many people vying for a spot in front of the Eiffel Tower, how can you make sure you have the best trip possible? The answer is simple; knowing when is the best time to visit Paris. With a little planning, you can avoid the crowds and experience all that the City of Light has to offer.
I remember my first trip to Paris like it was yesterday – and how disappointing it was because I didn’t think about when I should visit while planning.
I spent months before leaving imagining myself enjoying the sunny days of spring while strolling down the Champs-Élysées.
Soaking up the warmth, perusing shop windows, and eating all my favorite foods while on a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower…only to arrive in Paris and find the city blanketed in slushy snow, with most of the outdoor cafés and attractions closed for the season.
It was even too late for ice skating. Sad face.
It’s important to do your research before booking your Paris trip (or a trip anywhere, really) so that you can avoid any disappointment and make the most of your time in the city.
Luckily for you, I’ve put together a comprehensive guide on when is the best time to visit Paris, complete with insider tips on what to expect during each season.
Table of Contents
- When is the best time to go to Paris?
- Best season to visit Paris
- Winter (December-February)
- Spring (March-May)
- Summer (June-August)
- Fall (September-November)
- What is the cheapest month to go to Paris?
- When should I not visit Paris?
- Important annual events in Paris
- New Year’s Eve (aka le Nouvel An)
- Carnival (aka le Carnaval de Paris)
- Womens Carnival (aka Carnaval des Femmes)
- Easter (aka Pâques)
- The French Open
- The Paris Marathon
- May Day (aka le 1er mai)
- Bastille Day (aka le 14 juillet)
- Paris Fashion Week (aka la Fashion Week)
- The Tour de France
- Paris Jazz Festival
- The 2024 Paris Olympics
- Final Thoughts
- What are the top tourist attractions in Paris?
- Where should I stay in Paris, France?
When is the best time to go to Paris?
The best time to visit Paris will ultimately depend on you and what you’re looking to get out of your trip.
Are you looking to avoid the summer crowds?
Then you’ll want to travel during the low season.
Or are you hoping to see the city in all its splendor?
Then spring or fall might be the best time for you.
Paris is a city that can be enjoyed year-round, but generally speaking, the best time to visit Paris is in the off-season (between April-May and September-October), which offers the most ideal weather conditions and least expensive prices.
Paris weather is notoriously unpredictable, but you can usually expect mild temperatures and sunny skies during these months. However, if you’re looking to score cheaper flights and accommodation, then traveling during the low season might be a better option for you.
The best month to visit Paris will also depend on your travel style and what you’re looking to get out of your trip, but if you’re looking for the best weather, then May is typically the best month to visit Paris. It’s not too hot, not too cold, and the weather is generally fair throughout the month.
See Related: Best Lakes in France to Visit
Best season to visit Paris
Unless you’re a fan of cold weather, winter is probably not the best time to visit Paris. Although you might be lucky enough to catch a few snowflakes falling on the city, more often than not you’ll just be dealing with gray skies, wet streets, chilly temperatures, and 4 pm sunsets.
Winter is arguably the worst season when it comes to Paris weather – February is typically the coldest month, with temperatures averaging around freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit).
You’ll also want to be aware of the increased risk of strikes during winter, as this is when the French labor unions tend to protest. While most strikes don’t affect tourists, it’s always best to be prepared for potential disruptions to your travel plans.
One upside to visiting Paris during winter is that there are significantly fewer crowds than in the summer months. If you’re looking to enjoy the city’s attractions without having to fight your way through hordes of people, then winter might be the best time for you to visit.
Just keep in mind that many of the outdoor attractions will be closed during this time, and sometimes even under construction.
You’ll want to take advantage of the city’s many indoor activities, like visiting one of the world-class museums or going for afternoon tea at a cozy café. Paris is also known for its Christmas markets, which are worth checking out if you’re in the city during December.
December is also known for being the rainiest month of the year, so it might not be for you if you’re not thrilled about the idea of cold weather and wet conditions.
But I must admit – even in the pouring rain, there is truly something magical about seeing all the Christmas lights and holiday celebrations that fill the city streets at this time of year!
January-February is the time of year when stores all over France launch “les soldes”; their huge winter sales on all clothing, furniture, and countless other items!
So if you’re looking for a bargain and don’t mind the chilly temperatures, late January/early February is the best time to take your Paris vacation. Book now and celebrate Valentine’s Day in the city of love!
PRO TIP: If you’re planning on traveling to Paris during winter, I recommend booking your accommodation and flights well in advance. Prices usually start to go up as the months get colder (and closer to the winter holiday season), so it’s best to lock in a good deal early on.
Also, if you do decide to travel to Paris during winter, make sure to pack your heaviest coat and some warm, waterproof boots – snow is somehow much wetter in Europe than it is in the US.
And don’t forget to buy travel insurance! Winter is the peak season for travel disruptions due to weather conditions, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. World Nomads is my favorite travel insurance company – I’ve used them for years and have always been happy with the service (and the price).
See Related: Does it Snow in Paris, France?
After a long, cold, wet winter, Paris comes alive in the springtime. From early March, the weather will start to turn and by May, it is simply glorious.
Though it starts to become a bit warmer than the winter months, the weather in Paris during Spring is still notoriously unpredictable: it can be sunny and warm one day, and cold and rainy the next.
However, overall, the temperatures start to rise in late March and April, making it a great time to visit if you’re looking to avoid the summer heat.
You can expect milder temperatures during this time, with an average temperature of around 57 degrees Fahrenheit in March and 68 degrees Fahrenheit in May.
If you’re hoping to see the city’s many parks and gardens in bloom, then April or May might be the best time for you to visit Paris in the Spring. This is also when you’ll find the most affordable accommodation and flights, as prices start to go up during the peak summer months.
Just be aware that many of Paris’ major tourist attractions will be open during this time, so you can expect large crowds at popular tourist spots. Though still not as big as the summer crowds, the most popular tourist attractions in the city will be buzzing with people.
PRO TIP: Many of Paris’ attractions, like the Louvre and Notre Dame, offer discounted admission for students. If you have a valid student ID, make sure to take advantage of these discounts!
See Related: Off the Beaten Path Things to do in Paris
As far as the weather goes, Summer is probably the best season to visit Paris. The days are long, the temperatures are warm (but not too hot), and there’s a festive atmosphere in the air as locals and tourists alike take advantage of the good weather.
However, summer is also Paris peak season, which means that accommodation and flights will be more expensive than usual – Paris hotel prices around this time can skyrocket to upwards of 300+ euros per night or more, depending on demand and the events going on around the city.
If you’re planning on traveling during the summer months, I recommend booking your trip well in advance.
June and July are typically the best months to visit, as the weather is warm and sunny but not yet too hot. There are tons of festivals going on in the city, like La Fête de la Musique, the Paris Jazz Festival, and the Festival Paris l’Été, where you can enjoy live music and free concerts all around the city.
Summer is also when the French Independence Day or le 14 juillet takes place, where you can watch parades and a fireworks display in front of the Arc de Triomphe.
In the summer in Paris, you can cool off by taking a dip in the Seine at Paris Plages, spend the day at the many outdoor events and cultural events held around the city, or grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants Paris has to offer.
August is also a popular time to travel, as many Parisians take their summer holidays then and the city can get quite crowded.
Some stores will even close down for the month as the shop owners all take their vacations, so you might want to keep that in mind if you’re planning on doing any shopping during your trip.
PRO TIP: If you’re visiting Paris during the summer, be sure to pack some light and airy clothing.
The temperatures can get quite hot, especially in July and August, so you’ll want to be comfortable – Air conditioning is not as common in Europe as it is in other parts of the world, so you’ll probably be doing a lot of sweating!
See Related: Top Most Beautiful Squares in Paris
When it comes to weather, cost, and crowds, Fall is the best time to visit Paris in my opinion. The weather is pleasant (similar to spring), the crowds have thinned out from summer, and prices are starting to go down as we head into the low season.
The leaves also start to change color in mid-September or early October, making for some beautiful scenery around the city. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower peeking out from behind a blanket of orange and red leaves.
Of course, Fall also brings with it some downsides – though the weather is usually pretty mild, it can be a bit unpredictable and you might experience more rain than usual. As we head into November, the days also start to get shorter, so you’ll have less time to explore during the daytime.
Be sure to pack a light jacket, as the evenings can start to get chilly towards the end of the season.
See Related: Père Lachaise Cemetery: What to Know When Visiting
What is the cheapest month to go to Paris?
If you’re looking to visit Paris on a budget, I recommend avoiding the summer months. Prices for accommodation and flights go up during this time, as it is high season. Instead, try visiting in the shoulder season during the spring or fall when prices are more affordable.
The cheapest month to go to Paris is early January. Prices for hotel rooms and flights are at their lowest during this month, making it a great time to visit if you’re on a budget. Just be aware that many of the city’s attractions will be closed during this time, as it is the low season.
Depending on what part of the world you’re visiting from, you can usually find super affordable flights to Europe in mid-January – sometimes as low as $300 for a roundtrip ticket from the US or Canada.
See Related: Top Monuments in Paris to Visit
When should I not visit Paris?
There are a few times of the year when I would not recommend visiting Paris. The first is during the winter months from December to February. This is the low season, so many attractions and stores will be closed and the weather will be cold and gray.
If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, I would also avoid coming here during Paris tourist season in the summer. This is when the city is most crowded, so you’ll have to deal with large crowds everywhere you go. Prices for accommodation and flights also go up during this time.
If you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing trip, I would recommend avoiding Paris during peak season or major holidays.
The city can be quite chaotic and loud during these times, not to mention hot and crowded, so it’s not the best place to unwind. If you’re looking for a more low-key trip, I recommend visiting during the shoulder season in Spring.
Important annual events in Paris
There are a few important events that take place in Paris throughout the year, so the answer to your question of when to travel to Paris will largely depend on what you’re interested in seeing.
Some of the city’s most popular events include the French Open (a tennis tournament held in May/June), Bastille Day (July 14th – a national holiday celebrating the French Revolution), and Paris Fashion Week (held in February and October).
Keep these events in mind when planning your trip, as they can affect both the cost and availability of accommodation in Paris. If you’re planning on visiting during one of these times, I recommend booking your trip well in advance to get the best prices and availability.
Some of the most important events in Paris include:
New Year’s Eve (aka le Nouvel An)
This is one of the biggest holidays in France (and everywhere else in the world), and many people travel to Paris to celebrate. Like in most big cities, it’s usually celebrated with a big party and fireworks.
If you’re planning on being in Paris for New Year’s, I recommend booking your hotel room and flight tickets well in advance, as prices will be higher than usual and availability will be limited.
This festival takes place every year in February or March. It’s a great time to visit if you’re looking to experience some of the city’s vibrant culture and tradition! You’ll usually find people dressed up in costumes and there are often parades and street parties.
See Related: Is Paris in France or Italy?
This fun street carnival is held in March, originally known as the Fête des Blanchisseuses’ (or the Washerwomen’s Festival), in honor of the ladies that originally organized the festival. This combo of parades and street parties is dedicated to the women of Paris.
Easter (aka Pâques)
Like New Year’s Eve, Easter is a major holiday in France. During the Easter holidays in Paris, many of the city’s attractions will be packed with families and children, as it’s a popular time to travel with kids.
The French Open
The French Open is one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments in the world and an important event on the calendar for any tennis nut. It’s held between late May and early June – be warned; tickets can be kinda expensive.
See Related: Best Desserts in Paris to Try
The Paris Marathon
This marathon takes place every year in April and is one of the most popular events in the city. If you’re interested in running, be sure to sign up early as spots fill up quickly!
May Day (aka le 1er mai)
This is a national holiday in France that celebrates workers’ rights. There are often big parades and demonstrations in Paris. So if you’re in the city during this time, I recommend enjoying some of the festivities!
Bastille Day (aka le 14 juillet)
This is France’s national day which marks the beginning of the French Revolution. It’s a public holiday, so many businesses and attractions will be closed. However, there are often big celebrations and firework displays in Paris to mark the occasion.
Bastille Day is celebrated with large military parades, fireworks, and parties across the country. If you’re in Paris during Bastille Day, you’ll be able to join in on the fun!
Paris Fashion Week (aka la Fashion Week)
This event takes place twice a year, once in February and again in late September. If you’re interested in fashion, it’s a great time to visit Paris and see some of the latest designs.
Even if you don’t attend the event, there are usually lots of fashion shows and parties happening around the city. You never know, you might even see a celebrity or two!
The Tour de France
This is a three-week-long cycling race that takes place every July since 1903. It starts in Paris and ends in the French Alps with stages in different cities along the way. If you’re interested in watching the race you can usually find a good spot along the route to see the cyclists go by.
See Related: Most Famous Historical Landmarks in Paris
Paris Jazz Festival
Founded in 1994, this toe-tapping fest of all things jazz is hosted in the Parc Floral de Paris (right in the middle of the Bois de Vincennes, near the Château de Vincennes). It’s held during the summer months of June and July.
Music and nature fans will love this terrific live music festival that attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year. This time of year, the park is blooming with beautiful botanical life and serves as a delightful backdrop to the cool Parisian jazz wafting through the air.
The 2024 Paris Olympics
What better time to visit Paris than for the 2024 Summer Olympics?
The 2024 Summer Olympics will be held in Paris and will take place from July 26th to August 11th. This will be the third time that Paris has hosted the Olympics, and visiting this magical city during an event as notable as the Olympic Games is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
If you’re interested in attending the 2024 Summer Olympics, I recommend booking your trip well in advance. Prices for accommodation and flights will likely increase as the event gets closer, so it’s best to book early if you can.
So there you have it, the best time to visit Paris is really dependent on what kind of weather you prefer, activities you want to get up to, and which events you want to hit up. What’s your favorite time of year to visit Paris? Drop us a line!
What are the top tourist attractions in Paris?
Paris isn’t short of world-famous landmarks and attractions. Paris is home to the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre Museum, the Notre Dame cathedral, Disneyland Paris, the Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées, and of course the Eiffel Tower.
Where should I stay in Paris, France?
There are countless hotels and rentals to choose from in Paris! There’s something for every taste and budget, and frankly, I could go on for hours about hotels in Paris, but here are some of my favorite recent picks:
– For a drop of luxury and views of the Eiffel Tower, check into Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel.
– For a budget boutique experience outside the hubbub of cental Paris check into hotelF1 Paris Porte de Châtillon
– It’s a little spendy, but it was well worth a few nights in this charming 17th Century apartment in the St Germain Des Pres quarter.