Travel Tips: Paris in January

Paris is a beautiful and romantic city that attracts millions of visitors every year. But if you want to experience the charm of the French capital in a different way, consider visiting Paris in January. Here are some travel tips on what to do, what to expect, and what to pack for your winter trip to Paris.

Why should you visit Paris in January?

Fewer tourists: January is considered the low season for tourism in Paris. The reduced crowds mean you can enjoy the city's attractions, museums, and landmarks without the long lines and bustling crowds typical of other months. This allows for a more intimate and peaceful exploration of Paris.

Winter charm: Paris takes on a magical and charming atmosphere in January. Many streets and squares may still be adorned with festive holiday lights and decorations, creating a cozy ambiance. It's an excellent time to experience the city's romantic side.

Cultural events: Paris is a cultural hub year-round, and January is no exception. You can attend various theater performances, concerts, and art exhibitions. The city's cultural scene remains vibrant even in the colder months, offering a chance to engage with local art and entertainment.

Gastronomic delights: French cuisine is always a highlight in Paris, and January offers the opportunity to savor hearty and comforting dishes such as coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon, and cassoulet. Warm up with rich hot chocolate or enjoy freshly baked pastries from local bakeries.

Winter sales: If you enjoy shopping, January is the start of the winter sales season, known as "Les Soldes." This is the perfect time to find excellent deals on fashion, accessories, and home goods at shops and department stores throughout the city.

Bargain accommodations: Due to the lower demand for hotels in January, you can often find more affordable accommodations, allowing you to stay in central or luxurious locations without breaking the bank.

Winter activities: You can embrace the season by ice skating at temporary rinks set up at iconic locations like Hôtel de Ville or enjoying a warm drink at one of the city's cozy cafés.

Cultural exploration: Museums like the Louvre, Musée d'Orsay, and Centre Pompidou offer an ideal indoor escape from the cold. Spend time admiring world-class art collections without the summer crowds.

Scenic strolls: While the weather may be chilly, Paris is perfect for walking. Take leisurely walks along the Seine River, through charming neighborhoods like Montmartre, or in picturesque parks like Luxembourg Gardens.

Top 8 things to do in Paris in January

Visit the Louvre Museum

Visiting the Louvre Museum in January is a fascinating experience. Beyond housing world-renowned artworks, the museum often hosts unique exhibitions and events during the winter season. These special exhibits can provide a deeper understanding of art and history, making your visit even more enriching. Additionally, the museum's indoor setting is a welcome escape from the chilly Parisian weather, allowing you to explore its vast collection comfortably.

Self-Guided Audio Tour with Entry Ticket
Louvre Museum: Masterpieces of Civilization

Celebrate Chinese New Year

Paris has a large and vibrant Chinese community, and every year, they celebrate the Lunar New Year with colorful parades, dances, and fireworks. The main events occur in the 13th arrondissement, also known as Chinatown, where you can witness the spectacular dragon and lion dances and sample delicious Asian cuisine. It's a festive and cultural experience you shouldn't miss in January.

Warm up with hot chocolate

Parisians take their hot chocolate seriously, and January is the ideal time to indulge in this delightful beverage. Numerous renowned chocolateries throughout the city serve velvety, decadent hot chocolate that provides both warmth and comfort. One popular spot is Angelina, where you can enjoy their famous "African" hot chocolate, which is thick, rich, and utterly delicious. It's a delicious way to ward off the winter chill and savor Parisian culinary delights.


Take a tour of Montmartre

Montmartre, with its historic charm and artistic heritage, is a captivating neighborhood to explore in January. The cobblestone streets and picturesque alleyways make for delightful walks. The highlight is the Sacré-Cœur Basilica perched atop the hill, offering panoramic city views. While it's a bit touristy, the area retains its unique appeal in the winter months, and you can enjoy its quieter side, away from the summer crowds.

Self-Guided Audio Tour
Artistic Montmartre: In Search for Inspiration

Enjoy winter cuisine

January is an excellent time to savor classic French winter dishes at local restaurants and bistros. Coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon, and French onion soup are hearty and warming choices for the season. These dishes are designed to comfort and satisfy, making them perfect choices for a cold day in Paris. Pair your meal with a glass of French wine or a cup of rich hot chocolate for an authentic culinary experience. Paris's winter cuisine is a treat for the taste buds and a highlight of your January visit.

Ice skate at iconic locations

One of the most fun and festive things to do in Paris in January is ice skating at one of the temporary rinks set up at historical locations around the city. You can glide on the ice with a view of the Eiffel Tower at Trocadéro Gardens or enjoy the historic ambiance of Hôtel de Ville. Some rinks even offer free admission and skate rental, making it an affordable and enjoyable activity for everyone.

Explore art galleries

January's cooler weather makes it an ideal time to explore Paris's numerous museums and galleries. Beyond the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay, you can visit institutions like the Centre Pompidou, which features modern and contemporary art, and the Musée de l'Orangerie, known for its impressive collection of Impressionist paintings. These indoor attractions provide both educational and cultural experiences, allowing you to delve into art, history, and science while staying warm and dry.
Self-Guided Audio Tour with Entry Ticket
Orangerie Museum Tour: Monet & the Power of Impressionism

Hunt for treasures on winter sales

If you enjoy shopping, January marks the beginning of the winter sales season in Paris, known as "Les Soldes." This citywide event offers an excellent opportunity to find bargains on fashion, accessories, and home goods. Numerous shops and department stores participate, including Galeries Lafayette and Le Bon Marché. Whether you're hunting for designer clothing, stylish accessories, or home decor, you can score significant discounts and update your wardrobe or living space while in Paris.

More things to do in Paris

Paris weather in January

January is the coldest month in Paris, but it also offers a unique charm and beauty. The weather in Paris during January is typically cold and damp and can be quite variable. Here's what you need to know about the weather conditions you can expect:

Temperature: The average high temperature in Paris in January is 45°F, while the average low temperature is 37°F. However, these are just averages, and the actual temperature can vary significantly depending on the day. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you go and pack layers of clothing to adapt to the changing weather.

Rain: Paris experiences light to moderate rainfall in January, with an average precipitation of 1.7 inches. While it doesn't rain every day, it's a good idea to be prepared for occasional showers. Rainfall is less frequent than in the fall months, but it's still possible. You can carry an umbrella or a raincoat with you or duck into a nearby café or museum if it starts to rain.

Snow: Snowfall in Paris is relatively rare but not unheard of in January. If it does snow, it's usually light, and the snow doesn't accumulate much. Snowfall is more common in suburban areas than in the city center. However, if you're lucky enough to see snow in Paris, you'll be treated to a magical sight of the city's landmarks covered in a thin layer of white. It's a rare and beautiful experience that you'll want to capture with your camera.

Wind: Paris experiences moderate winds in January, with an average wind speed of 9 mph. These winds can make the cold temperatures feel even chillier, especially near open areas and along the Seine River. Be sure to dress warmly and wear a hat, scarf, and gloves to protect yourself from the wind chill. You may also want to avoid walking or biking for long distances on windy days, as it can be unpleasant and exhausting.

Sun and clouds: Paris in January is known for being quite cloudy. You can expect overcast skies on many days, with limited sunshine. The days are also relatively short, with daylight lasting around 8 hours. On the bright side, cloudy days can create a cozy and romantic ambiance in the city, perfect for snuggling up with your loved one.

Despite the chilly and often gray weather, Paris in January offers a unique charm with its winter decorations and fewer crowds at popular attractions. It's a great time to explore indoor activities like museums and cozy cafés and enjoy the city's winter ambiance. Just be sure to dress warmly and carry an umbrella or raincoat for the occasional rain showers.

What to eat in Paris in January?

Paris offers a delightful array of dishes to enjoy in January, many of which are perfect for warming up during the winter chill. Here are the top five dishes to savor:

Coq au vin: This classic French dish is a perfect winter warmer. It consists of chicken slow-cooked in red wine, often with mushrooms, onions, and bacon. The result is tender, flavorful chicken in a rich, wine-infused sauce. You can pair this dish with a red Burgundy wine, such as Pinot Noir or Beaujolais, for a delicious combination.

Boeuf bourguignon: Similar to coq au vin but made with beef, boeuf bourguignon is another hearty, slow-cooked stew. It features tender chunks of beef braised in red wine, accompanied by carrots, onions, and herbs. It's traditionally served with crusty bread or potatoes. This dish also goes well with a red Burgundy wine, enhancing its savory flavors.

French onion soup, or soupe à l'oignon: Paris in January can be chilly, making this warm and comforting soup a popular choice. It features caramelized onions simmered in a flavorful beef broth, topped with melted cheese and toasted bread. It's the perfect dish to warm you up after a day of exploring.

Cassoulet: A hearty dish from the Languedoc region in the South of France, cassoulet is a flavorful stew made with white beans, duck or goose confit, sausages, and sometimes pork. It's slow-cooked until the flavors meld together, resulting in a rich and satisfying meal.

Galette des rois: In January, you can indulge in Galette des Rois, a traditional pastry served to celebrate Epiphany. It's a puff pastry filled with almond cream or frangipane, often with a hidden figurine or charm inside. Sharing this dessert with friends or family is a delightful Parisian tradition. You can also try other variations of this dessert, such as those with chocolate, apple, or pistachio fillings or the brioche des rois, which is a round cake decorated with candied fruits and sugar.

While enjoying these dishes, be sure to pair them with a glass of French wine or a warm cup of hot chocolate, and you'll have an authentic and delicious culinary experience in Paris.

What to wear in Paris in January?

Dressing appropriately for the weather in Paris in January is essential to stay comfortable while exploring the city. The weather is typically cold and can be damp, so here are some tips on what to wear:

Warm coat: A high-quality, insulated winter coat is a must. Look for one that covers your hips to provide extra warmth. Wool or down-filled coats are excellent choices.

Layers: Layering is key to staying warm and adjusting to temperature changes throughout the day. Wear thermal or wool sweaters under your coat. You can also add a scarf and gloves for extra warmth and style. These accessories are essential for staying warm and looking chic in Paris.

Hat: A warm hat or beanie will help you retain heat and protect your ears from the cold. Look for one that covers your ears for extra warmth. You can also opt for a beret, which is a classic Parisian accessory that adds a touch of elegance to any outfit.

Waterproof and windproof jacket: Paris can be rainy in January, so a waterproof and windproof jacket is practical for staying dry. Choose a versatile jacket that can be layered over your sweaters and under your coat. You can also look for a jacket with a hood, which can come in handy if you forget your umbrella.

Thermal underwear: Consider wearing thermal or moisture-wicking undergarments to keep warm and dry, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors. These can make a big difference in your comfort level and prevent you from feeling too cold.

Jeans or warm pants: Opt for jeans or insulated pants to keep your legs warm. You can also wear tights or thermal leggings under your pants for extra warmth. Avoid wearing skirts or dresses, as they can expose your legs to the cold and make you feel uncomfortable.

Waterproof boots: Paris streets can be wet in January, so choose comfortable, waterproof boots with good traction. These should be suitable for walking long distances and standing in line at attractions. You can also look for boots that are stylish and match your outfits, such as these ones.

Woolen socks: Warm, moisture-wicking socks will keep your feet comfortable and dry. Wool or thermal socks are ideal. Avoid cotton socks, as they can absorb moisture and make your feet feel cold.

Umbrella: Since rain is possible, carrying a compact, wind-resistant umbrella is a practical choice to keep dry while exploring. You can also look for an umbrella with a fun or colorful design, such as this one, to brighten up your mood on a gloomy day.

Crossbody bag or backpack: A crossbody bag or backpack is more comfortable to carry than a heavy tote or handbag. It also allows you to keep your hands free while sightseeing. Choose a bag with enough space for your essentials, such as your wallet, phone, camera, and water bottle. You can also look for a bag that has anti-theft features, such as this one, to protect your belongings from pickpockets.

Sunglasses: Although it's winter, the low sun can still be quite bright, so don't forget your sunglasses. They can also protect your eyes from the wind and dust. Choose sunglasses that suit your face shape and style, such as these ones.

Remember to check the weather forecast regularly during your trip, as conditions can change. By dressing in layers and being prepared for the cold, damp weather, you can enjoy your visit to Paris in January comfortably and stylishly.

Top 5 tips for visiting Paris in January

  • 1
    Dress warmly and be prepared for rain or snow
    Paris in January can be cold and damp, so pack warm clothing, including a good-quality winter coat, scarves, gloves, and waterproof boots. An umbrella is also a handy item to have, as there can be occasional rain showers.
  • 2
    Check opening hours and reservations
    Verify the opening hours of attractions, restaurants, and shops in advance, as some may have reduced hours or be closed for renovations during the low tourist season. It's a good idea to make reservations for popular restaurants and museums to avoid disappointment. You can use this website to check the opening hours and availability of various attractions in Paris.
  • 3
    Enjoy winter activities
    Paris offers a range of fun and festive winter activities that you can enjoy in January. You can ice skate at temporary rinks set up at iconic locations like Hôtel de Ville or Trocadéro Gardens or watch the spectacular Chinese New Year parade in the 13th arrondissement. You can also celebrate Epiphany by sharing a galette des rois, a traditional pastry with a hidden charm inside.
  • 4
    Explore indoor attractions
    Take advantage of the city's many indoor attractions, including world-renowned museums like the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay. This is a great time to immerse yourself in art and history while staying warm. You can also visit other cultural venues like theaters, concert halls, and art galleries.
  • 5
    Embrace the winter charm
    Paris in January has a unique winter charm with holiday decorations still adorning the streets. Stroll along the Seine, visit iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, and enjoy the quieter, more intimate atmosphere the off-season offers.

More things to do in Paris

  • 1
    Where to stay in Paris in January?
    Choosing where to stay in Paris in January depends on your preferences, budget, and what you want to experience during your trip. Here are some popular neighborhoods to consider:

    • Le Marais: Known for its historic charm, Le Marais is a trendy and centrally located neighborhood. It offers a mix of boutiques, cafes, and historic sites. Staying here provides easy access to many attractions and restaurants.

    • Saint-Germain-des-Prés: This historic neighborhood on the Left Bank is known for its artistic and intellectual heritage. It's home to famous cafes like Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots. It's a great choice for those interested in art, culture, and literature.

    • Montmartre: Perched on a hill, Montmartre offers picturesque views of Paris. It's famous for the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and its artistic heritage. While it can be a bit touristy, it has a unique charm.

    • Latin Quarter: This vibrant and lively area is near the Sorbonne University and is filled with cafes, bookstores, and historic streets. It's a great choice for those who want to experience the intellectual and bohemian side of Paris.

    • Champs-Élysées: If you want to be in the heart of luxury shopping and iconic landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe, consider staying near the Champs-Élysées. Keep in mind that this area can be pricier.
  • 2
    Is it a good idea to visit Paris in January with kids?
    Visiting Paris in January with kids can be a good idea due to fewer crowds and lower prices. However, be prepared for cold, damp weather and shorter daylight hours. Plan indoor activities and dress warmly for a more enjoyable experience.
  • 3
    What are the best attractions to visit in Paris in January?
    • Louvre Museum
    • Eiffel Tower
    • Notre-Dame Cathedral
    • Musée d'Orsay
    • Montmartre
  • 4
    Is January the best time to visit Paris?
    January may not be the ideal time for everyone to visit Paris. While it has its advantages, such as fewer crowds and lower prices, there are also some drawbacks to consider.

    One of the primary advantages of visiting Paris in January is the reduced number of tourists. You can explore popular attractions with shorter lines and enjoy a more peaceful experience. Accommodation and flight prices tend to be lower during this off-peak season, making it a more budget-friendly option for travelers.

    Paris also has a certain winter charm in January, with festive holiday decorations and lights still adorning many streets and squares. The city's cultural scene remains vibrant, offering various theater performances, concerts, and art exhibitions. Additionally, the winter sales season begins in January, providing an excellent opportunity to find discounts on fashion and other items.

    However, there are some considerations to keep in mind. The weather in January is typically cold and damp, with occasional rain or even snow. This can limit outdoor activities and may not be ideal for those who prefer milder weather. Days are shorter, with fewer hours of daylight, potentially impacting your sightseeing plans.

    Furthermore, some outdoor attractions, parks, and gardens may not be at their best during the winter months. If you're looking for a more vibrant outdoor experience, you might find other seasons, like spring or summer, more appealing.