The Best Times to Visit Paris for Great Weather, Must-see Events, and Fewer Crowds

Not that you can ever go wrong with a trip to the City of Light.

Let us be clear, for starters, that "a bad time to visit Paris" does not exist. But if you're one to avoid crowds, chase deals, or build your itinerary around perfect weather, there are better times than others to travel to this glittering, glamorous, iconically enchanting city.

For example, although January through March are the chilliest months, they're also the quietest and decidedly the best for wrapping up in a chic coat, walking across the Pont Neuf to the Latin Quarter, tucking into a glass of red wine at a cafe, and experiencing Paris like a local. In the spring, contrarily, colorful blooms in the famed jardins are a major draw, whereas exceptionally long days come summer yield ideal conditions for sipping cocktails at an outdoor brasserie late into the evening.

For reference, the breakdown of Paris' tourist seasons are as such:

  • High season: June to August, late December
  • Shoulder seasons: April to May and September to November
  • Low season: Early December and January to April

September and October are arguably the best months to visit — brisk breeze seeps into the air, Paris Fashion Week is in full force, and turning leaves line the city's scenic gardens. Nevertheless, cases can be made for traveling to the City of Light in any season. Here's a quick guide to the best times to visit Paris depending on where your priorities lie.

Charming restaurant Le Consulat on the Montmartre hill in Paris, France
Alex Kozlov/Getty Images

Best Time to Visit Paris to Avoid Crowds

Paris receives some 35 million visitors a year. Most tourists come from May to September, and July is typically the busiest month (followed closely by June and August). There are major downsides to visiting Paris in its high season: Large crowds make exploring popular attractions like the Eiffel Tower and Louvre more time consuming, plus you might need a reservation to dine at some of the trendy restaurants. Hotel prices, too, will inevitably climb in the summer months.

We recommend visiting between October and April, making sure to avoid the jam-packed holiday season in December, if your main objective is to avoid crowds. Go at the beginning or end of that window, October or April, for a climate still comfortable enough to sit outside at one of the quintessentially Parisian cafe tables.

To see Paris' top tourist attractions with fewer people around, aim to visit on weekday mornings. Avoid booking with major tour companies, buy tickets that allow you to skip the line, and walk instead of squeezing onto public transportation. The city is best enjoyed on foot anyway.

Best Time to Visit Paris for Good Weather

Travelers are drawn to Paris in the summer because of the long days and sunny weather. It's a stunning time to see the sights, from Sacré Cœur to Versailles, and the laidback atmosphere at cafes and along the Seine is a treat. It's worth noting that Paris is not known for its air conditioning. In fact, AC isn't as common in Europe as it is in the U.S., though most hotels have them, and Paris can see heat waves that bring temperatures in the 80s and 90s. That said, summer temperatures are generally comfortable, in the mid-70s range.

Just as there are heat waves, there are also cold spells that briefly turn Paris frigid. Avoid December through February if you're averse to temperatures in the 30s and 40s. In April and May, you'll inevitably encounter some rain, but you'll also have temperate, almost-summer weather without the summer crowds. From mid-September to November, after the Labor Day and Fashion Week rushes, Paris quiets down and the weather becomes crisp and autumnal.

Best Time to Visit Paris for Lower Prices

The cheapest time to visit Paris is during the off-season — in the winter, before and after the holiday rush, which means early December, January, and February. These months see average temperatures in the 30s and 40s, but if you're willing to brave the cold, you'll likely save on flights, public transportation, attractions, and accommodation. Plus, the Eiffel Tower during winter is a magical sight.

Does it snow in Paris? Not really. The city receives a dusting now and again, but winter visitors need not pack bulky gear for extreme weather. Visiting Paris in the low season is special — not least because the restaurants are less crowded and attractions quieter — as well as easy and cheap. Some cons noted by the Paris Tourist Office include less frequent tours and fewer tour options, including an abbreviated timetable for cruises on the Seine.

Eiffel Tower seen through a train window
Gary Yeowell/Getty Images

Best Times to Visit Paris for Holidays and Festivals

Paris' calendar is packed with festivals, holidays, and traditions worth traveling for. Let's start with the biggest sporting events: The Paris Marathon is typically held in April, the French Open begins in May and ends in June, and the Tour de France starts in Paris in July.

In May, museums across the city open their doors for free perusing after hours on La Nuit des Musées (The Long Night of Museums). Then, in the summer, Paris' iconic Fête de la Musique (World Music Day) brings live music to parks and other public spaces on June 21, and Bastille Day is marked by military parades and fireworks on July 14. The Paris Jazz Festival is an ongoing event from June to September. Both fall and spring attract a couture crowd to Paris for Fashion Week, held September and February.

Early evening Place Vendome with Christmas tree in December
Getty Images

The holiday season, November through December, sees the Champs-Élysées light up with Christmas lights and holiday markets pop up around the city. Parisians wrap up the holidays with the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, which is when you'll find king cake (or galette des rois) on market tables and in bakery windows everywhere.

Worst Times to Visit Paris

Again, there is no "bad time" to visit Paris. The city is remarkable — from its vibrant culture to its world-famous food and prominent historical sites — any time of year, even when it's bitterly cold or sweltering and teeming with tourists. However, if you're easily annoyed by heat and crowds, many would advise you against planning a trip in August. August is summertime in Paris, which means it's sometimes uncomfortably warm and, what's more, at the tail end of the busy tourist season. If you happen to go during a heat wave, you could be quite uncomfortable sharing cramped space in AC-less shops, attractions, and cafes. Also, prices might still be high following the July rush.

The holidays are another chaotic (albeit magical) time in Paris. Go in December if you want to shop for unique Parisian gifts and see Christmas lights galore, but avoid this time if you're hoping for a quiet trip.

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