Spending winter in Paris is not a dreary affair. Despite the cold and the rain, the City of Lights never disappoints. In fact, it puts on a grand display during winter, perhaps to ward off the winter chill by the dazzling array of lighted Christmas decorations and warmth from the thousands upon thousands of twinkling fairy lights. The brightness of the lighted trees along Champs-Elysées is like evening sunlight in radiance and brilliance.
Parisian winter appeal
What makes Paris appealing in winter? It’s off-season, for one. Therefore there are many inexpensive airfares, lower apartment and hotel room prices and the crowd is lesser. The weather can go from rainy to cold but dressing in layers helps you cope with the changeable temperature and feel comfortable whether you are out in the cold or sipping a cup of coffee at a roadside café or brushing up on the arts inside a heated museum.
Winter in Paris gives you the chance to linger inside the city’s many museums without jostling for space. Learn the subtle difference among wines by attending a class in wine-tasting. Appreciate the architecture and art of Paris with a short course on the subject. Practice your French as you take your time having coffee, as the waiters are not that busy.
As the leaves fall
A different layer of Parisian beauty is revealed as the leaves start to fall in late October well into November. The beautiful façades of historical and ancient buildings are revealed, peeking through the bare tree branches.
The evenings become longer and the sunsets come earlier, enchanting and beckoning people to take long leisurely walks. Paris welcomes Beaujolais Nouveau with aplomb. Cafés and wine bars will be abuzz with the arrival of the new batches of fresh, fruity wines from Lyon. The celebration of the new Parisian wine vintage lasts from late November to mid-December. Salon des Vignerons Independents puts on its annual wine show for independent winemakers on the last weekend of November. For a minimal fee, you can enjoy samples of fine wines from over 1,000 winemakers.
Paris in December
As December rolls in, Champs-Elysées will be aglow with thousands of lights. The rest of the city soon follows the festive mood. About a thousand freshly-cut fir trees go up around the city fully decorated. Fantastic thematic Christmas displays at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps attract huge crowds. Père Noël is available for souvenir photos. Many ice skating rinks open around this time. There will be one near Hôtel de Ville, at the base of Montparnasse or if you are lucky, about 200 feet in the air at the Eiffel Tower’s first level! Fun rides at the city parks and several Manèges de Noël (Christmas carousels) keep children occupied.
Along the Champs-Elysées and at St. Germain-des-Prés and St. Sulpice, Paris’ famed Christmas markets go up and inexpensive or free Christmas concerts happen around the city. Christmas Eve mass at the Notre Dame can be very moving. Many restaurants remain open until late in the evening for people to enjoy many Parisian Christmas Eve treats, including raw oysters.
With everything that you get to enjoy when visiting Paris in winter, there is no room to feel cold. The hustle and bustle may be lower but the city remains alive, with Christmas and winter celebrations lasting until January.
Book your cheap flights to Paris now before it’s too late!