In the winter when it drizzles or in the summer when it sizzles, odds are you’ll find the City of Love to be pretty loveable no matter what time of year you decide to drop in. Still, some months may hold more appeal than others, depending on how you hope to spend your time in France's capital city.
In This Guide:
- Paris Weather by Month
- Popular Events and Festivals to Attend
- The Best Time to Visit Paris to Avoid Crowds
- Flying Into Paris
- Getting Around Paris
- Things to Do In Paris
- What To Know Before You Go
- Paris FAQs
- Cheapest Times to Fly to Paris
- Best Hotels in Paris
Paris Weather by Month
Budget travelers may want to aim for late summer and early fall when summer crowds have thinned out, and both temperatures and room rates have dropped. Early to mid-spring is another Goldilocks period of mostly cooperative weather and reasonable prices.
City sidewalks are at their liveliest in the warm summer months, and rooms—at least cheap ones—can be hard to come by, so it’s wise to book accommodations early.
Winter months will offer the absolute best deals on airfare and hotels, though the Paris cold may not suit everyone. A winter trip to the Louvre will be much less crowded than in summer, but with an estimated 15,000 people per day visiting the Mona Lisa, don’t expect a private audience at any point throughout the year.
Paris Weather in January
American visitors to Paris may find January temperatures to be mild when compared to the harsh winters of New York, Chicago, or Boston. The average high tops out at 46°F with an average low of 37°F. Gray January days are notoriously drizzly, and while snow is rare, icy rain isn’t. Pack your snazziest raincoat, weatherproof boots, and a good umbrella to keep you dry on long walks.
Paris Weather in February
February weather in Paris will give Valentine’s Day visitors plenty of reasons to snuggle indoors. Expect moderately cold temperatures with an average high of 48°F and an average low of 37°F. Rain falls eight days on average in February, so keep that travel umbrella handy.
Paris Weather in March
As Paris transitions from winter to spring, it’s best to be prepared for anything, including cold drizzle. Temperatures do creep up slightly from winter to an average high of 55°F and an average low of 42°F. The later you visit in March, the better your chances of sunny spring weather.
Paris Weather in April
Warmer days and spring blooms make April a great time to hit the streets of Paris. There’s always the possibility of a spring shower, but these tend to pass quickly. Mornings can feel brisk but afternoons heat up considerably, so light coats and layers are best. The average high is 62°F, with an average low of 46°F.
Paris Weather in May
May days in Paris are mostly sunny and mild, save for the occasional spring shower. Days begin crisp and warm by late afternoon. The average high is 68°F, with an average low of 52°F.
Paris Weather in June
June afternoons can get hot, especially if you’re out walking in the sun all day. Evenings and mornings tend to be on the cooler side, so it’s a good idea to bring along a light jacket or thin sweater. The average high is 70°F, with an average low of 54°F.
Paris Weather in July
Bastille Day visitors should pack plenty of light cotton or linen garments, as Paris in July can be a real scorcher. In recent years, temperatures have been known to hit 90°F and above. Indoor spaces aren’t as heavily air-conditioned as Americans may be used to, but a thin sweater will come in handy on cooler evenings. The average low temperature is 57°F, with an average high of 75°F.
Paris Weather in August
Anyone averse to sightseeing in hot weather might want to steer clear of Paris in August. Temperatures tend to fluctuate between the 70s°F and 80s°F, though August heatwaves are becoming more routine, with a recent record-breaking 108F recorded in 2019. Heatwaves aside, things do cool off in the evenings with average lows of 55°F. When the mercury rises, Parisians seek refuge in fountains, public pools, or Paris-Plages, the pop-up beaches along the Seine.
Paris Weather in September
September is the sweet spot on the calendar for those hoping to take advantage of warm late summer weather at cheap fall prices. It’s also worth noting that Septemeber has the lowest amount of rainfall, making it perfect for riverside picnics and aimless walks. The average low temperature is 52°F, with an average high of 70°F.
Paris Weather in October
The arrival of fall in Paris brings cooler weather, colorful fall foliage, and—finally!—a break in airfares after peak season highs. A light jacket and some clever layering should suffice for a Halloween stroll through Pere La Chaise or, spookier still, the Paris Catacombs. October’s average high is 59°F, with a low of 46°F. Light rain falls with some frequency, so toss an umbrella in your daypack.
Paris Weather in November
The days are shorter, and the skies are gray, but culture vultures will find plenty to do indoors at museums across the city. With an average high of 52°F, it’s still warm enough to plant yourself at a sidewalk café to enjoy a little people watching with your beaujolais. The average low is 43°F, and sudden showers are frequent, so bring proper rain gear and warm layers.
Paris Weather in December
The City of Light gets a little more lit when December holidays roll around. Sure, evening temperatures can get downright cold later in the month, but it’s unusual for Paris to drop below freezing. Snow is rare but does occur. The average low is 36°F, with an average high of 45°F.
What should you bring to Paris? Here’s a look at essential items to pack for every season.
Popular Paris Events and Festivals
Music Festivals in Paris
On average, there are 360 events in Paris every day, including 100 concerts, according to statistics from the Paris City Council. Throughout the year, the city hosts several music festivals of all types and genres.
- Festival au Fil des Voix: This 12-day world music festival is hosted by venues across the city every February, and features a range of well-known and up and coming talents from around the globe.
- Festival Les Nuits de l’Alligator: Catch up with the latest rock, blues, and folk bands at La Maroquinerie throughout the entire month of February.
- How to Love Festival: Don’t miss this five-day February festival of the coolest indie and electronic acts from Paris and elsewhere in Europe.
- Festival Elfondurock: This two-day festival in March celebrates French female rock with performances by women-led acts, both newly discovered and established.
- Les Femmes s’en mêlent: This long-running April festival brings together the best of the French female independent music for three days of performances.
- POLAR festival: Check in with the Scandinavian music scene without leaving France. The POLAR festival takes place every April and showcases the latest bands from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland.
- Weather Festival: Three days (and nights) of techno and electronic music taking place across three stages. Dates may vary, but it usually occurs in late April/May.
- Festival Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés: The long-running Saint-Germain-des-Pré showcases jazz acts from around the world with performances in local squares and venues. The festival lasts for 10 days throughout May.
- Villette Sonique: Catch indie heavy hitters like Stereolab and Cate Le Bon at this outdoor festival in June.
- Fête de la Musique: A biggie on the local festival calendar, World Music Day takes place on June 21 with performances in parks and public spaces all across the city.
- Festival Django Reinhardt: Celebrate the jangly summer sounds of Romani-French jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt at this July festival.
- Rock en Seine: Cap off summer with this open-air festival featuring some of the coolest names in indie, electro, hip hop, and rock. This festival usually takes place in mid to late August.
Summer Festivals in Paris
- Jardin Shakespeare's Open-Air Theatre: From May through early October, catch an outdoor show in Bois de Boulogne. Performances are twice a night and include a mix of theatre, dance, and music.
- Et 20 l’été: A month-long Paris street fair with a little bit of everything, including theatre, music, and dance. Dates may change, but this one usually takes place in July/August.
- Les Pestacles: For those traveling with children, this festival in Bois de Vincenne's botanical garden offers hands-on art activities and crafting workshops, along with music, dance, and other performances. Les Pestacles is on every Wednesday from June through September.
- Paris Plages: You probably didn't come to Paris in search of sand and sun, but should the summer heat become unbearable, know that you can always take refuge at Paris' manmade beaches along the Seine. Complete with floating swimming pools, lounge chairs, sand, shade umbrellas, and, yes, even palms, the "beach" lasts through September.
Key Events in Paris Throughout the Year
- Fete de St-Denis (June)
- Fete de la Musique (June)
- Tour de France (July)
- Bastille Day (July)
- Paris Fashion Week (September)
- Fete d’Automne (September – December)
- Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (October)
- Armistice Day (November)
The Best Time to Visit Paris to Avoid Crowds
As one of the world's most popular travel destinations, in addition to being a fully functioning capital city of a major Western European nation, Paris will probably feel a little crowded no matter when you visit. In Paris, the best you can hope for is less crowded. The city hosted 40 million visitors in 2018 alone. If your goal is to avoid at least some of them, steer clear of peak summer months June, July, and August, when museums and other major attractions swell with tourists.
The best time to visit Paris is September and October when the weather still falls somewhere between mild and warm, but the summer swell has long gone home. Not only will lines be a lot shorter, but hotel prices and airfare will cost much less.
Of course, if you want to go when Paris is at its least crowded and don't care a bit about the weather, consider going in January, February, or March.
Flying Into Paris
Most flights into Paris will arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). A secondary airport, Paris Orly (ORY) airport, mainly handles flights within Europe, but there are a few low-cost airlines such as LEVEL and Norwegian that use Orly airport.
At Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), you’ll find flights on airlines from all over the world. The national carrier Air France has the most flights to/from Charles de Gaulle along with its partners Delta and KLM, but there are a growing number of low-cost carriers such as Norwegian and Primera Air using Paris Charles de Gaulle for a cheap flight across the Atlantic.
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is well connected via France’s national train network SNCF. A smooth ride on the RER B train will bring you between the airport and the main train station to the north of Paris (Gare du Nord) in about 30 minutes.
Getting Around Paris
Driving is not recommended as there is an excellent public transportation network in Paris. The Paris Metro train is very expansive and is a great way to get around town affordably. Paris is also easy to navigate on foot with many pedestrian streets and enjoyable walks throughout the city.
Things to Do in Paris
Paris has many world-class attractions to visit. You’ll surely want to visit the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Louvre Museum. You can also catch a show at the Moulin Rouge or enjoy a classic hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tour.
If you like to shop, head to the Printemps department store for fashion, luxury, and beauty products. Other popular shopping areas in Paris include Avenue Montaigne and the Champs-Elysees and St. Germain des Pres.
Enjoy the Parisian cuisine at some of the world’s top fine dining establishments. Boundary often amazes its patrons with exceptional food and service, and Le Caulaincourt rarely gets a bad review. Of course, you’ll find plenty of great food on a budget as well. Pop into any café and enjoy freshly made croissants for a classic taste of Paris.
While in France, you can’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy a good French wine that will be pennies compared to what you pay elsewhere. The wine flows like water in Paris, and you’ll find many restaurant’s house wines to be better than that expensive bottle you bought back home.
What to Know About Paris
As the capital of France, Paris is one of Europe’s most diverse international hubs with a population that represents multiple different cultures. It’s nicknamed the City of Love for its romantic ambiance and is often a place people go to celebrate an anniversary or honeymoon.
Some local Parisians may not respond well if you don't greet them in their local language. Learning a few simple phrases in French will do wonders for how the locals treat you, so it’s best to pick up a translation book or download an app like Google Translate and start practicing your French before you visit Paris.
Here are some common phrases from English to French translation and their proper pronunciation.
Is Paris safe?
Paris has crime like any other major city, but you're unlikely to encounter any trouble. Pay attention to your surroundings, particularly in crowded areas like train stations or while riding the metro, as pickpocketing does occur. Be mindful of wallets and phones placed in your back pocket, and consider moving them to your front pockets where they're more difficult for thieves to grab. Likewise, make sure shoulder bags and purses are close shut and worn across the body. While Paris has experienced isolated incidents of terrorism in the last decade, it's certainly not as routine as violent incidents in the United States.
Is Paris dangerous at night?
Overall, Paris is a safe city, even at night. Take caution as you would in any other city, especially when walking empty streets or areas that are dimly lit.
What should I not miss when visiting Paris?
Even if you don't identify as an art lover, it'd be a shame to come all the way to Paris and not even bother to visit its museums. The Louvre is a must, and don't pass up smaller museums like the Musée National Picasso.
It may seem morbid to devote a full day to hanging around a cemetery, but Père Lachaise feels more like an overgrown leafy park that just so happens to also house the dead. Here you'll find famous names like Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde, Proust, and Jim Morrison alongside unknown Parisians with unusual tastes in tombstones. Père Lachaise sits on 110 acres with 69,000 burial plots, so bring your walking shoes.
Everyone wants to eat well in Paris, so don't miss department store food halls like Le Printemps du Goût in Printemps de l'Homme, the food court in Galeries Lafayette, and Grande Epicerie in Bon Marche. Stuff your face with pastry, and stock up on wine and sweets to take back home.
What month is the most expensive time to travel to Paris?
July is the most expensive time to visit Paris, with June and August close behind. As the summer crowds descend, rooms are scarce, and rates go through the roof. Flights tend to be reasonable through mid-June and again in late August but prepare to pay top dollar for July flights.
Is there a time limit at the Eiffel Tower?
When is the cheapest time to fly to Paris?
Super cheap flights to Paris can and do pop up unannounced all the time, so don't get in the habit of only shopping for fares when you expect they'll be cheap. Otherwise, you risk missing out on those random sub-$300 fares that we so often see, even from the West Coast. Generally, you'll find the lowest fares for travel between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and again in winter. September and October is also a great time to go, as fares tend to drop quite a lot after the summer rush.
Best Hotels in Paris
As wonderful as it would be to book a suite at the Ritz for a week, that's just not in the budget for most travelers. Luckily, there are a ton of options just as atmospheric to suit every pocketbook. Rooms for the following hotels and guesthouses will range from under $100 to around $300 per night offseason.
- Hôtel Balzac, 6 Rue Balzac, 75008 Paris, France
- Hotel du Champ de Mars, 7 rue du Champ de Mars, 75007 Paris, France
- Hotel Ephrem, guesthouse of Sacré-Coeur of Montmartre
- Hotel Esmeralda, 4 rue Saint-Julien Le Pauvre, 75005 Paris, France
- Hotel Des Grandes Ecoles, 75 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 75005 Paris, France
- Hotel Jeanne d'Arc, 3 rue du Jarente 75004 Paris, France
- Hôtel de Vigny, 9 Rue Balzac, 75008 Paris, France
- Hotel Raphael, 17 Avenue Kléber, 75116 Paris, France
- The Hoxton, 30-32 Rue du Sentier, 75002 Paris, France
- Mama Shelter, 109 Rue de Bagnolet, 75020 Paris, France
- Seven Hotel Paris, 20 Rue Berthollet, 75005 Paris, France
For a look at which budget hotels are available on your travel dates, check out Hotelwatchdog.