It doesn't matter how many times you've been there, because there's always something new to see or do in Paris, or a new way to visit. The truth is that depending on the time of year you go, you can enjoy a wide variety of things to do or even feel like you're in a completely different city.
There are months, such as the winter months, when the less crowded tourist season makes it look much quieter, less crowded and even cheaper, even if it's cold enough to force you to go indoors. If you want to enjoy the great outdoors, there are many more events and activities waiting for you in the spring and summer months. Which one do you choose?
The best time to go to Paris
The French capital is always a perfect holiday destination where you can plan thousands of activities, but if there is a time when you can enjoy the most, with less crowds, mild temperatures, more events and lots of light, it is springtime in Paris, between April and June. Moreover, the long days and the colour of spring flood every corner of the city, making it even more special.
Think of all the gardens and parks in Paris... with all the plants in bloom and their sweet scent permeating your walks. Also, at this time of year, when rainfall is rare and the days are longer and sunnier, Parisians start going out to the famous bistro terraces, so you can join them while sipping a good wine.
Special but more crowded times of year
Although the weather is also good in summer, you'll find more people at tourist attractions and higher prices for accommodation.
Another special time is December. Although Christmas in Paris has not yet begun as such at the beginning of the month, December is the time to enjoy the Christmas markets and the lights in the streets and shops. However, it is a somewhat more expensive time to visit Paris and I don't recommend it if you don't like big crowds or being cold.
Because yes, winter in Paris is especially harsh and, although it's charming to see the city snowed in, it's not so spectacular when you have to queue somewhere, believe me. Also, if you want to go to Disneyland, some attractions are closed for security.
Best time to go to Paris if you want to visit the museums
Paris is the city of lights, of love... And also of Paris museums. If you want to see some of the most famous works of art in history, I recommend you to go to Paris in January or February, as these are months when there is less tourism, so you will be able to access them quickly and easily. Plus, the warmth of the museums will make the Paris winter more bearable.
I recommend you make a list of the museums that most appeal to you and plan your visits to book tickets or even get them for free, as some Sundays of the month are free. Although if you want to save money on this aspect, you can get the Paris Pass, which includes priority access to almost all Parisian museums.
The museums not to be missed are:
- Louvre Museum: Some of the most important works of art in the Louvre are La Gioconda by da Vinci or the Venus de Milo. Besides, the architecture of the building and the pyramids square that gives access to the visitors are worth a visit. My advice is to get your ticket for the Louvre in advance, as it is one of the most visited museums in the world and you don't want to miss it.
- Musée d'Orsay: Although perhaps not as world-renowned as the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay is equally full of culture and art, albeit more contemporary. There may not be Roman sculptures, but there are the great paintings of artists such as Renoir, Gauguin, Cézanne and Monet.
- Pompidou Centre: Do you like modern art? Then you must make a stop at the Pompidou Centre. When you arrive you will be amazed by the slides, stairs and colours of the building, but its interior, where works by Picasso or Matisse rest, is even more incredible.
Best time to go to Paris if you want to enjoy the nature
When spring arrives in Paris, the city fills with colour and joy, so there's no better time to enjoy nature in Paris's parks and gardens. What's more, it doesn't matter what month you go, because the blooms in Paris extend throughout the spring and even into the summer months.
The natural gardens in Paris that you absolutely must visit are:
- Champ de Mars: There you could sit on the green and soft grass and have a picnic while contemplating the Eiffel Tower.
- Luxembourg Gardens: Here you can take an arboriculture course or just sit in one of the many metal chairs and relax in the sun.
- Jardin des Plantes: This is the botanical garden of Paris, where you can walk through its labyrinth and also admire the thousands of plant species it has, such as its rose garden and historical trees.
Admire the nature of the Garden of Versailles
If there is one garden you must visit, it is the Garden of Versailles. It covers many hectares (it is practically impossible to see it in its entirety!), but if there is something even more magical than strolling among its vegetation, fountains and sculptures, it is to do so to the rhythm of the music of the spectacle of the Great Waters.
Don't you know what it is? During the spring, summer and part of the autumn months in Paris there is the musical lighting of the Versailles fountains, and I can't recommend enough times that you buy a ticket to the Palace of Versailles that includes the show - it's incredible!
Best time to go to Paris if you're travelling with kids
Is your next family holiday going to be in Paris? I can imagine the excitement of the little ones at home, especially because Paris is a city with many alternatives and plans for children when they visit Paris. My recommendation is that you organise your trip for less crowded times, both in Paris and at Disneyland, which is sure to be a must-visit. How long is this? Between January and March and May and June.
Think that the big crowds at Disneyland occur when there are usually school holidays, so it's best to avoid those dates, when tickets to Disneyland Paris Park are also usually more expensive. I also don't recommend you to go in winter because many Disneyland Paris attractions will be closed and in cold weather they are not as enjoyable, don't you think?
Best time to go to Paris if you want to save money
Who says you can't go low-cost in Paris? Although Paris has always been seen as an expensive city, there is one time of the year when, because it's the low season, prices get cheaper. How cheap is this? Between January and March, because at the beginning of the year, with Christmas over and spring still in hiding, the French capital is much quieter and with it also its prices, which will allow you to save money during your trip.
Apart from finding cheaper accommodation and flights, you can also enjoy special events, such as the winter sales or ice skating, and even visit a Parisian Christmas market, as they tend to stay until the beginning of January.
Of course, winter in Paris is freezing, so wrap up warm, especially if you're going to the ice rink around the Eiffel Tower at this time of year, so a great plan is to spend the afternoon skating and then book an evening visit to the Eiffel Tower.
Best time to go to Paris if you love music
Which musical style suits you best? Don't worry because Paris is a city where jazz, techno, blues, pop... In short, all genres come together. Although there are shows like the Moulin Rouge every night all year round, if you want to enjoy Parisian music in a different way, travel in summer, when festivals and open-air concerts are at their peak:
- Festival de Saint-Denis: Classical music lovers really enjoy this festival, which takes place in June. You can listen to historical pieces in the Gothic basilica of Saint-Denis, which embraces the musical notes with its beautiful stained glass windows and bright lights.
- World Music Day: Parisians celebrate the longest day of the year (21 June) with World Music Day. Get your best dance moves ready, because Parisian neighbourhoods are filled with live bands and music. My advice is that, although the whole city is full of music, you should go to the Montmartre neighbourhood, which has always been a very artistic and bohemian neighbourhood that is sure to be even more so on this day.
- Chopin Festival: Every year (around June-July), the Polish composer receives a beautiful tribute in the Parc de la Bagatelle, where several classical concerts take place. Is there a better way to enjoy nature, music and summer in Paris than with Chopin?
- Paris Jazz Festival: You'll feel like you're in a film whose soundtrack mixes the tones of saxophones, trumpets and other instruments guided by improvisation. Plus, the concerts are free if you buy a ticket to the Parc Floral de Vincennes, where the Paris Jazz Festival is held.
- Rock en Seine: The Rockon the Seine Festival takes place in August. Three days, five stages and dozens of artists to bring rhythm to Paris.
Best time to go to Paris if you are travelling as a couple
Are you planning a romantic trip to Paris? There's a reason it's called the city of love, and there are plenty of things to do as a couple. Most of these plans are outdoors (like a boat trip on the Seine or a picnic), so my recommendation is that you choose a month like June, when the weather is nice and all these activities are available.
Of course, one of the great romantic plans in Paris is to climb the Eiffel Tower. It's always a good time to do it, but if I tell you a secret, spring is one of my favourite times, because the sky is clear and you can have a very clear bird's eye view over Paris.
Can I give you another tip? Combine the Eiffel Tower with a cruise on the Seine, which is not available in winter because of the cold, but with the arrival of the good weather it becomes one of the great plans again. I recommend starting the tour at sunset, after a long day in Paris, so make sure you book well in advance.
Best time to go to Paris if you want to save time and queues
I don't like to stand in long and seemingly endless queues to get into any museum or tourist attraction either. Although you always have the option of getting a Paris Pass and getting direct access to the vast majority of these places, you can avoid the queues by going at a less touristy time of year, such as February and March.
These months between the beginning of the year and the Easter and summer holidays are not as busy in Paris. After all, there are no common holiday periods, as there are in months such as April or July, so it is more convenient to move around Paris and not find lines and lines of people every time you want to go somewhere.
Be careful, even if there are fewer people, you will still have to wait in a queue, although it will go faster. To cut down on time, make sure you buy tickets to popular sites such as the Louvre or Versailles in advance.
Best time to go to Paris for good photos
If you're a photographer, professional or amateur, you'll know that any time is a good time to get out your camera and fill up your film. But beyond that, the best time is when the places you want to photograph are almost empty, with no people crossing in front of the lens. Although this can be tricky in Paris, my advice is that, whenever you go, get up early to take pictures.
If you want to make sure you get a clean shot of iconic places like Trocadero or the stairs of Montmartre, it's best to get up early to go. Tourist attractions usually start to fill up as early as 9am.
Another thing you might want to be aware of is that during those months, especially at the beginning of the year, when tourism is low, Parisian institutions take the opportunity to do maintenance work or clean some monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe or the Eiffel Tower, so check in advance if this is going to be the case.
Best time to go to Paris and enjoy the capital of fashion
September and March, those are the months when Paris is full of fashion thanks to the Fashion Weeks. The fashion shows of the great designers take place during the months of March (spring-summer season) and September (autumn-winter season). Both months are highly recommended if you want to see the most fashionable side of the French capital, as even if you don't get to see the shows, you can still go to the entrance to see the guests arriving.
Of course, only those with an invitation can access the shows, but many small shops in Paris take advantage of this time when fashion is all over the city to present their collections in a more relaxed atmosphere.
Comparison of the best times to visit Paris
So that you have all the information at your fingertips, here is a table of the best times to visit Paris:
- High 20º C
- Low 4º C
- Ideal for visiting Parisian gardens and outdoor activities.
- Worst: minimum temperatures can be low
- Maximum 25º C
- Minimum 13º C
- Ideal for enjoying live music and travelling as a couple.
- The worst: the heat and the crowds.
- High 21º C
- Low 5º C
- Ideal for watching the musical lighting of the Versailles fountains and visiting Fashion Week.
- Worst: rain and fewer daylight hours
- High 7º C
- Low 1°C
- Ideal for visiting the city's museums, visiting Disneyland with children and saving money.
- Worst: the cold