Paris is widely acknowledged as both the most romantic city in the world and the most visited capital city in Europe.
But Paris has another big bonus in its favour and that is the fact that it is just as good a tourist destination in winter as it is in summer. In fact many would argue that Paris is better enjoyed in the winter months when the days are cooler and shorter and the Parisian atmosphere can be enjoyed at its best.
So what makes Paris such a good winter break destination?
To start off with, the charm of Paris is found in its cultural, architectural and gastronomic attributes, and all can be relied upon in December or January every bit as much as they can be in July or August.
Museums, galleries and exhibitions all take place in doors, so there is no requirement for good weather, let alone hot sunny days. Indeed, since Paris is very much a city to explore on foot, warm weather can be a distinct disadvantage when you are walking around and hopping in and out of shops, museums and the city’s many iconic buildings.
A walk down the Champs Elysees at dusk as the lights go on, or an illuminated boat trip down the Seine on a dark winter evening can have a magical feel that you never experience in the summer period. Equally, visiting tourist highlights like Notre Dame or the spectacular Sacre Coeur basilica somehow seem more appropriate in the off season than they do on a hot summer’s day.
The other big advantage of taking a trip to Paris in the autumn or winter is the reduced costs of flights, ferries and hotels, all of which discount for what they see as the off-season. This means that there are some great deals on weekend breaks and mid week specials. Most of these offers tend to run from September through to April, the exception to this generalisation being the two week period spanning Christmas when prices are elevated for Christmas shoppers.
What to see and do during a winter break in Paris
With so many places to visit and so many things to see, the biggest problem with Paris is trying to fit everything in. That said, there are certain sights that a first time visitor should ensure that they do not miss and these generally start with a trip to the Eiffel Tower, a walk down the Champs Elysees and at least one lunch or dinner in an authentic French restaurant – and this need not be an expensive outing.
After that the other famous attractions include the likes of the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, the Sacre Coeur Basilica, Les Invalides, the Palace of Versailles, and the Palais Garnier. There are of course many more for those with more than a short break and a couple of days in which to explore.
Culture also plays a big role in the activities of most visitors to Paris and, with galleries and museums like the Musee Rodin, the Pompidou Center and the Louvre, Paris has an amazing collection of artistic sites to explore. Many of these museums and galleries are also less formal and considerably less elitist than their British counterparts, so you do not need to be an art critic to enjoy them.
If you want to find out more about planning a winter trip to Paris you can read a collection of mini-guides to the city’s numerous sightseeing attractions at – and You will also find details of airports, ferry routes and other useful tourist information.
Always check for special offers on hotels and try to avoid flying at weekends if you want the best possible deals.