It’s true that winter in Paris can be a little chilly. The average temperature hovers around 7°C, so it’s important to bring sufficient warm clothing. However, the Parisian winter climate is by no means harsh and you should also bear in mind that this time of year offers distinct advantages, too. Firstly, the streets, cafés, restaurants, museums and shops are filled with far fewer tourists as Parisians regain possession of the City of Light. This means that the queues at museums in Paris, monuments and other places of interest are shorter, and hotel rooms are more affordable. And that’s just for starters.
The gloomy days of winter are brightened by the sight of the Christmas decorations and illuminations garlanding the shop windows and streets of the capital from late November until the beginning of the New Year. The Champs Elysees shimmers even more than usual thanks to the colourful illuminations festooning the rows of venerable trees that line its considerable length. A large open-air ice rink is set up in the square in front of the Hotel de Ville and you are invited to strap on your skates and join in with the fun. In what is now an annual tradition, the world-famous Parisian department stores turn their display windows into magical Christmas scenes guaranteed to enchant all ages.
Of course, no Parisian Christmas would be complete without the picturesque charm of the open air Christmas markets of the capital. Traditional wooden booths are set up in various locations across the city and open for business towards the end of November. From Saint-Germain-des-Prés to the Place de la Nation and the Champs Elysees, Paris invites artisans from all over France to showcase their crafts and produce. For Christmas decorations, gift ideas, delicious locally sourced produce and much more, the Christmas markets of Paris offers something for everyone amidst an invitingly warm and festive atmosphere.
Once Christmas Day has passed, however, it’s still not the end of the festivities in Paris. If you’re in Paris during the holidays you’ll also want to experience the sheer magic that is the New Year celebrations in the capital of France. The Champs Elysees is the place to be if you want to party on December 31st, and of course you’ll also want to ensure you have a good view of the Eiffel Tower, with its dancing lights and colourful fireworks display. Then, to enjoy an even more amazing spectacle, check out the colourful costumes, dazzling fireworks and fabulous parades of the Chinese New Year in Paris in late January or early February. A programme of events including concerts, shows and markets are scheduled over several days in various districts of Paris (Grand Palais, Hôtel de Ville, Place d’Italie, Belleville...).
The stunningly beautiful Grand Palais is the venue for an annual indoor carnival which takes place until early January. The 30 metre high big wheel casts a spell on young and old alike and gives you the chance to admire the magnificent glass roof of the Grand Palais while also enjoying a truly magical view across Paris. The carnival is filled to bursting with over 50 attractions, including perennial favourites such as dodgems, a shooting range and a lovely traditional carousel.
Finally, if it’s time to give your winter wardrobe a boost, don’t miss the winter sales in Paris! They start on the second Wednesday of January and run for a month. Bargain hunters can find stores offering discounts of up to 70% towards the end of the sales period. Slashed prices in the world capital of fashion...what could be better?