What to do on a winter trip to Paris

Punita Malhotra


Spring, summer, fall or winter, the enchantment quotient never dips in the City of Lights. So, here are some of the most tempting treats to look forward to in Paris during winters. Winters in Paris are about dull grey skies, street puddles and a sharp nip in the air. But winters in Paris are also about thinning crowds, flight bargains and hotel deals. So, if you're scouting for a romantic weekend destination, let the French capital sweep you off your feet…with cassoulet, cognac and chocolate chaud thrown in for good measure.

A dose of good cheer

In winter, Paris transforms into a classically European wonderland.Think snow-dusted rooftops, illuminated squares and sparkling trees. It's easy to slip into the festive mood at the city's lively Christmas markets that spring up in many quartiers of Paris starting from late November. Check out the most celebrated and picturesque Notre-Dame Christmas market, which opens in December. Other popular venues for festivities include Montmartre, Hôtel de Ville and Saint-Germain-des-Prés.There’s a lot to do, from tasting cinnamon-infused mulled wine, nibbling roasted chestnuts, making merry with traditional carols and stocking up on hand-crafted gifts. 

Music to your ears

The holiday season kickstarts a series of classical music concerts all over the city. You can look forward to brilliantly orchestrated opera and ballet shows at the Palais Garnier. For a unique experience, consider attending a few live concerts at the city's historic churches and chapels, including the grand Notre Dame. The majestic setting of these centuries-old spaces and their remarkable acoustics are guaranteed to keep your ears ringing even in your dreams. Continue the tryst with melody at the numerous candlelight concerts across Paris, throw in the Eiffel Tower concert on Christmas Day and end with the New Year's Eve concerts. Advance bookings of tickets are recommended to avoid disappointment.

Ice, Ice baby

Nothing spells winter like a pair of skates and figure-8s. Many seasonal ice rinks dot the cityscape from mid-December to late January, inviting amateurs, pros and spectators alike. The most epic location, arguably, is the Eiffel Tower Ice Rink, built on the first level of the famous monument. Glide away, then gloat over the incredible views over the capital. You can also head to France's biggest ice rink under the domed glass roof of the Grand Palais at the Jardin des Tuileries Christmas Market near the Louvre Museum. 

For the love of glamour

Winters are the best time of the year to take advantage of unbelievable shopping discounts, thanks to the January sales. Paris's famed bi-annual sale season is an ideal opportunity to upgrade your wardrobe with designer wear from international fashion labels like Hermès, Chanel, Dior, Maje, Sandro, Louis Vuitton and more. Hours will flit by picking cosmetics, perfumes, hats, coats, leather bags and evening dresses. Bookmark the major shopping precincts of the city like Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Avenue Montaigne, Avenue George V, Marais, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Rue de Rivoli and La Vallée Village. 

Become a member to join the conversation!

Become part of the world's leading travel & lifestyle community!