Have you always wanted to Visit Paris in Winter? Winter is a great season to do things in Paris that in other seasons are not half as much fun, as it’s super crowded and busy. Pack up your {virtual} bags and join me today on Notes From the Road to Visit Paris in Winter.

Snow in Paris

Spring, summer and fall are when most tourist flock to Paris, and the city becomes overly crowded with visitors. Chic and savvy travelers opt for wintertime, when the City of Lights has a special charm. Here are some great things to see and do when Paris is free of the huge crowds.

Visit Paris in Winter

The two least crowded months in Paris are January and February, when overcast skies, barren trees and chilly air give the city a whole different but magical feeling. The average temperature of Paris in January is 41°F and in February it’s 38°. If you pack well and bring a raincoat, a puffy warm coat, a scarf and hat, and sweaters, it’s very do-able.

Paris Rose in Winter

Walks outside in the city center under a big umbrella, or a brisk invigorating walk in one of the many parks inspire visiting cozy bistros or elegant tea rooms for a hot drink, a glass of wine, and of course some of Paris’s best food afterwards. This is the time to visit museums, shop, and join local Parisiennes rather than tourists in the daily French life style.

Paris in Winter

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU VISIT PARIS IN WINTER

 

VISIT THE LOUVRE.

Wandering the reception halls which were once the residence of French kings, and admiring the exceptional art is glorious without the bigger crowds. You can even spend one on one time with the Mona Lisa. {TIP: It’s best to either book a timed entrance, or a two day pass ahead so you can go right in!}

Visit Paris in Winter

VISIT THE LOUVRE HERE >

For a beautiful view of the glass pyramid, visit the Café Richelieu in the heart of the museum in the Richelieu Wing. Managed by Angelina, the historic salon de thé on Rue de Rivoli that is famous for its rich, dark hot chocolate. The best pastries to indulge in are Mont-Blanc, Millefeuille, or seasonal fruit delicacies, as well as the all-chocolate pyramid with steaming hot coffee or tea. For those who can never have enough chocolate, enjoy their world famous hot chocolat.

VERSAILLES WITHOUT HUGE CROWDS.

It’s magical any time, but in winter you’ll have more space to enjoy the enchanted ambience.  Versailles can feel like a crowded vacation spot in the other three seasons of the year, but in winter it is more relaxed to visit, with fewer tourists there.  Be sure to visit the Orangerie, where King Louis XIV protected his collection of orange, lemon, palm, and pomegranate trees inside for the cold winter months. Some of the trees there are over 200 years old and were bought especially for him.

Versailles gilded cherubs

Versailles

VISIT CHATEAU de VERSAILLES HERE >

 

SHOP. SHOP. SHOP.

If you love shopping, {who doesn’t, I mean it’s PARIS!!} January is a fantastic time to visit Paris. Starting in the second week of January, small boutiques and department stores celebrate Les Soldes {SALE!} and you can find incredible deals and mark-downs on tres-chic French merchandise.  One of the biggest department stores, Galeries Lafayette, is as beautiful as it is big, and has a gorgeous range of clothes, accessories and more.  You can reserve a historical heritage tour, book a shopping experience with an expert, learn how to make delectable French pastries and much there, too!

*Just to mention: even shopping in Parisian small household and grocery stores is exciting, at least I always think so. While brand clothing etc. has a pretty much global availability, the household departments offer a variety of fun things often not easily found in the states. I stock up on linens, mixes for French foods, candies and as many French interior magazines as Mr. FGH thinks will fit in our luggage. {then I buy more magazines because I can always fit in way more than he thinks!}

Galleries Lafayette

Visit Paris in Winter

Printemps on Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement is another upscale department store that you will love. A gorgeous building with golden roof tops, it’s known for the finest brands and designer clothing and accessories. A delight that includes several luxe spas {including, La Prairie, which has opened a new wellbeing space there} hair salons, personal stylists and also a historical tour can all make for a day experience you won’t soon forget. There are too many restaurants to choose just one, so maybe lunch, tea AND dinner!

Printemps shopping

Visit Paris in Winter

 

Paris Fashion Week takes place mid-January, and although the fashion shows are generally only open to trade professionals {fashion designers, journalists, and influencers} sometimes you can secure tickets to a fashion show, but it will be costly. Never mind, Paris Fashion Week actually usually last two weeks, and you will see very fashionably dressed attendees on the streets of Paris during this time, adding to the glamour of it all!

VISIT THE OPERA.

Enjoy the dazzling interior of The Palais Garnier, a lavish 19th-century Baroque monument with a grand entrance staircase, exceptional reception halls, and a gilded auditorium. The opera, ballet, and symphony season in Paris features some of the best concerts and performances in January, and February at the Palais Garnier. At the end of January, the Palais Garnier hosts an Opening Gala to showcase the upcoming ballet season, with ballet pieces performed by the Étoile dancers {prima ballerinas}. Eat at the delightful restaurant CoCo, the inside has a sumptuous art deco era feeling, the outside terraces {might be chilly!} a view that can’t be beat.

 

I haven’t actually tried to purchase any of these ballets or performances to watch online yet {around $10.00 } but it’s worth a look if you want to enjoy some culture a la Paris from home! {let me know if you do succeed!} Watch Virtual Performances of Opera de Paris.

 

 

Opera Garnier

History of Opera de Paris

ENJOY COZY MEALS

Usually booked solid in the other three more touristy seasons, in wintertime the cozy cafés and old-fashioned bistros of Paris are usually not too busy to get a reservation. More appealing in winter, when whiling the hours away inside, with ambient lighting, French wine and delicious cuisine is a luxurious treat to enjoy to the fullest.

Luxury restaurant in Paris

A stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower, on a small square refreshed by the Fontaine de Mars, La Fontaine de Mars is an institution! The most authentic Parisian restaurant, where Presidents, statesmen and movie stars rub shoulders with illustrious strangers in a chic bistro atmosphere – it’s the fantasy of an eternal chic Parisian brasserie. Favorites are chicken with morels or cassoulet, and the desserts are legendary.

French Bistro Dinner

La Fontaine Paris Dessert

A classic French bistro, Joséphine Chez Dumonet {open Monday through Friday} on the Rue du Cherche-Midi in the 6th arrondissement serves traditional French food in an intimate wood-paneled dining room. Small tables covered with white tablecloths just like you see in the movies, their chef makes a wonderful Boeuf Bouguignon and a delicious Omelette aux Truffes {Truffle Omelette}. They are famous for their delicious dessert Soufflé au Grand Marnier.

Chez Dumont Paris
Restaurant in Paris

Tea in Paris is always a good idea! You can visit Nina’s Paris Tea Salon HERE >, Angelina’s and the Proust Room at the Ritz Paris is also a favorite.

French Hot Chocolate

A Visit to Paris in Winter is certainly worth a thought! I hope you have enjoyed our little virtual trip, and are dreaming of Paris along with me. I have a few exciting packages and boxes coming from France for the shop in the next month or so, just in time for spring decorating.

Next time I’ll share an easy recipe for a cocktail rumored to have been invented in the bar at the Paris Ritz Hotel: The Paris Sidecar.

Visit Paris in Winter

 

ONE LAST THING: Thank you again for all your wonderful wishes for our holidays, and also for asking about my patient. : ) I cherish our relationship, and thank you so much for reading my musings here. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WINTER VACATION DESTINATION??

 

A BIENTOT

 

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