Paris in January offers a unique experience. Just like any other time of the year, but with winter charm.
The weather can be cold, with average temperatures ranging from 3° to 9° Celsius, occasional rain, and hopefully some snowfall.
The weather in Paris at this time of the year is foggy gray, with brief sunshine and cozy cold if you wear good clothes. Its ambiance remains, as always, movie-like.
Advantages of January in Paris? Sure, it’s a relatively quiet month. Eiffel Tower and Louvre without endless queues? Of course! January allows you to enjoy the city’s iconic attractions without the crowds that invade the city during the high season.
In addition, January also offers exciting events and activities. Art exhibitions, concerts, festivals… A wealth of experiences are the order of the day in Paris amid its winter charm.
The Weather in January in Paris
January is considered the coldest month in Paris, so low temperatures are almost inevitable. It is best to prepare for cold and cloudy days with temperatures between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius.
The best thing for this climate is to dress in layers, because when you enter a restaurant or museum, it is usually warmer, not like in other places like New York where it’s too hot, and you want to stay in a T-shirt, but if you want to take off your coat, scarf…
In addition, the chances of rain in January are high, and snow is also possible (occasionally), so carrying an umbrella may be a good option. And Wellington boots, Hunter type or you can buy an Aigle, which is the brand that everyone uses here.
Despite the cold temperatures, January sees a gradual increase in daylight hours, allowing you to explore the city with more and more sunshine as the month progresses.
One last factor to note about winter in Paris is that it can bring very cold winds. When planning your visit on this date, it is best to focus on indoor visits, such as museums, galleries, cafes, exhibitions, etc.
What to Wear
Paris in January requires keeping warm and comfortable to explore the city without preventable mishaps. As they say in Scotland, “There is no bad weather but bad clothes .” Here are some tips for this winter month.
First of all, layers are essential to adapt to temperature variations throughout the day.
A comfortable base layer is best, such as thermal T-shirts and tights or leggings if your legs are very cold, followed by a long-sleeved shirt or sweater, followed by a warm jacket that can be easily removed as you transition between indoor and outdoor activities.
Hands and neck can be particularly sensitive to the cold, so it is advisable to wear gloves and scarves. Being the city of fashion, it is advisable not to be out of place and choose neutral colors, which combine easily, to be in tune with the photos.
An umbrella is another must-have in Paris in January. While heavy rains are not common during this month, light drizzle can be expected, and an umbrella will keep us dry and comfortable as we stroll the city streets.
- Thermal clothing, long-sleeved shirts, and a warm jacket.
- Waterproof shoes, such as waterproof boots or leather or goretex shoes.
- Gloves, scarf, hat, for extra warmth.
- Umbrella for those unexpected drizzles.
January Special Events
January is a great month to visit Paris, as the city offers a variety of events and experiences with fewer crowds and short lines at popular attractions.
Paris Fashion Week, in its winter edition, takes place at the end of January and showcases the latest trends from both established and emerging designers. The schedule and locations may vary and be distributed throughout the city.
The Paris Men’s Fashion Week will be held from Tuesday, January 16, to Sunday, January 21. The haute couture will be held from Monday, January 22, to Thursday, January 25. *These dates change every year
Paris Cocktail Week is another typical January event. It usually lasts seven days and offers a unique opportunity to try innovative cocktails at reduced prices in participating bars and bistros.
Special events are also offered to learn more about the art of cocktail making.
Although Christmas markets in Paris begin in December, some continue until early January. Strolling through these festive markets and discovering handicrafts, delicacies, and decorations while enjoying a cup of mulled wine can be an excellent plan.
One of the largest markets, La Défense, usually remains open until shortly after New Year’s Day.
In early January, Paris celebrates Epiphany, known as La Fête des Rois in France. The tradition is to share a Galette des Rois, a delicious puff pastry filled with almond cream.
The trick is to find the trinket or “fève” inside the cake: according to tradition, whoever finds it will be crowned king or queen of the day.
Shopping in Paris
January in Paris is a shopping paradise, marked by the start of its famous winter sales (soldes), where discounts of up to 70% can be found on luxury, designer, high street, and department store brands alike.
TIP: if there is a particular brand that you like or are planning to buy, become a member or customer by registering on their website. In France, there are “Ventes Privées,” which are just before the sales, for people who are already “customers.” There are usually special discounts, and they are the first to shop.
The iconic Galeries Lafayette, located in the 9th arrondissement, is known for its stunning art nouveau architecture and houses more than 3,500 brands. A veritable maze of designer boutiques and gourmet food sections with leading French and international brands.
. By the way, if shopping doesn’t interest you, these galleries have impressive architecture, and from the top floor, you can enjoy magnificent views of Paris.
Another must-see shopping destination is the Marais district. Known for its trendy boutiques and quaint cafes, the Marais boasts an eclectic mix of vintage and avant-garde design and up-and-coming talent.
In addition, if you like makeup or skincare, you will find fantastic French and foreign brands here.
If you like to go shopping and find everything in one place, you can also visit the Printemps Galleries, they are all over Paris, but the most recommended are the ones in front of Lafayette Haussmann, they have fabulous views of Paris. And you can eat or have a drink on the top floor overlooking the Eiffel Tower.
Speaking of shopping malls, you must visit Samaritaine and Le Bon Marché. I love these two places, but I have to win the lottery to be able to go shopping without problems 😉
With regard to the January sales, it is important to keep in mind that they usually last from four to six weeks, so it is essential to plan your trip accordingly to make the most of it if that is your objective.
During your visit to Paris in January, you can enjoy various outdoor activities suitable for the cold weather.
Ice skating: there are several rinks to take advantage of this attraction in Paris. The locations usually change every year, although I try to keep the posts updated, I recommend you to stop by the tourist office and find out where they will put the ice skating rinks this year.
It is worth mentioning that these rinks usually have skate rentals available, so you can easily join the fun without having to bring your own skates (which is not very practical when it comes to packing your luggage).
Winter walks: With its stunning architecture and beautiful parks, Paris is perfect for winter walks. Strolling along the Seine, through the cobblestone streets of Montmartre, or through the unique Marais district is like being the protagonist of a fable.
In addition, the Tuileries or Luxembourg Gardens, the shop windows of the Champs Elysées, and the various commercial and gastronomic points of the city invite you to walk around and marvel at its attractions.
As a general recommendation, it is always advisable to wear comfortable shoes and keep warm to fully enjoy these picturesque areas.
Sightseeing in Paris
January is a good time for sightseeing in the main spots of Paris, as the city’s main attractions are less crowded, and the cooler weather adds a touch of magic to the atmosphere. Some recommendations to visit:
Louvre Museum: World famous, this museum is home to thousands of artistic masterpieces, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. It is advisable to buy your ticket in advance and consider a guided tour to make the most of the tour.
Eiffel Tower: no trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower. We recommend taking the elevator to the top to enjoy breathtaking views of the City of Light. Its night lighting, a photographic pearl.
Notre Dame Cathedral: It and its surroundings are fundamental points of Paris. Framed by the Seine River, its beauty and architectural complexity are impressive and admirable.
Try to visit the Cathedral on the weekend around noon; from 10 o’clock, the little stalls of the Seine begin to come alive. They are perfect for buying souvenirs, taking pictures, or just strolling through a picturesque place.
Latin Quarter: The lively and iconic Latin Quarter, full of charming cafes, bookstores and historic buildings, allows you to admire Parisian life and explore hidden passages of Paris, offering a fascinating window into the city’s past.
Palais Garnier: the world of opera and ballet shines in the impressive Palais Garnier. You can take a guided tour to learn about the history of the building or attend a performance for a truly unforgettable experience.
Tip: if you like Japanese food, you will find many Japanese and Asian restaurants around the Opera area. One of my favorite places to eat ramen, perfect for warming up in January, is Kodawari Ramen Tsukiji.
Cruise on the Seine River: A panoramic cruise opens a new possibility for the senses to perceive the city. Several options are available, from simple sightseeing trips to luxury dinner cruises.
If you visit the Seine at noon with its stalls, I recommend you take the cruise at sunset or in the evening to see the illuminated monuments.
Other Paris museums: The Paris Museum Pass gives you access to many other popular attractions, such as the Musée d’Orsay, which houses an impressive collection of Impressionist works of art. Use the pass to explore a variety of Parisian museums and cultural sites at your own pace.
More indoor activities in Paris
During January, Paris can be pretty cold and rainy, so it is essential to find enjoyable indoor activities to enjoy. Fortunately, there is no shortage of options for spending a pleasant day indoors while still experiencing the magic of the City of Light.
A classic Parisian experience is to attend a cabaret show at the iconic Moulin Rouge.
Known for its performances, impressive costumes, and lively atmosphere, the Moulin Rouge offers an unforgettable night of entertainment. A must: book tickets in advance, as this popular show tends to sell out quickly.
On a rainy day, nothing is more quintessentially Parisian than spending some time in one of the city’s countless cozy cafés. Relax with a hot drink and a good book, or just watch the world go by outside.
Lodging in Paris
To make the most of your visit to Paris, it is essential to choose the right accommodation. The balance between location, proximity to points of interest, and lodging offers is key. Here are some recommendations:
7th arrondissement: this area is an excellent choice for first-time visitors, as it is home to the Eiffel Tower. The hotel offer is wide, from the Hôtel Regent’s Garden – Astotel for a mid-range option to the Hotel Pilime for a budget option.
Both hotels are within walking distance of the main tourist attractions.
Saint Germain-des-Prés: for those looking for accommodation in a place with nightlife, Saint Germain-des-Prés is the perfect place. This charming area offers a mix of cafes, cocktail bars, restaurants, art galleries and boutiques.
Le Marais: Le Marais is an excellent choice for a more authentic Parisian atmosphere. With its historic architecture, trendy boutiques and vibrant nightlife, this neighborhood offers a unique experience. An excellent option to immerse yourself in the local culture.
Place de la Concorde: Staying in this area provides easy access to Paris’ main attractions.
Place de la Bastille: for those interested in experiencing the nightlife in Paris, staying near Place de la Bastille is a great option. This area is known for its vibrant bars, nightclubs and live music venues.
It is the perfect place for those looking to enjoy the energetic nightlife of Paris.
Versailles: if the goal is to visit the Palace of Versailles as much as possible, staying nearby can be very useful to make the most of the visit. Several hotels are nearby, and a guided palace tour is highly recommended.
Paris is one city and many cities at once and has a variety of neighborhoods and accommodation options to suit the tastes and budgets of every traveler. Finding the one that best suits our trip is essential for everything to go smoothly.
Some cheaper options may be to stay in the area of the Defense, the area is good, you have the line one that takes you to the Arc de Triomphe, the Opera or the Louvre Museum directly in less than half an hour.
Another cheaper option is the Gare du Nord area; we stayed here once. The area is not the best in the world, but that’s okay too. Of course, it is best not to look like a tourist or carry your camera outside. This area does not have a good reputation.
TIP: when looking for accommodation, make sure it is close to a subway line so you can move around the city comfortably.
During your stay in Paris, it is an excellent opportunity to explore the surrounding area through day trips. The city has excellent connections to many destinations, and the low tourist season will make visiting nearby places more pleasant.
Disneyland Paris: This is a magical choice, especially if the trip includes children or the young at heart. The charming theme park, located just 32 km (20 miles) east of Paris, is accessible by train or bus.
Visiting during January potentially means fewer crowds, making your experience even more enjoyable. Important: book tickets in advance and plan your itinerary.
Mont-Saint-Michel: an impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site, this architectural marvel, and the surrounding bay offer a landscape of undeniable beauty.
It is the second most visited monument in France, after the Eiffel Tower. Of course, in January, it is cold, and it can rain, but the worst thing is the wind. We visit Mont Saint Michel about 10 or 11 times; I’m not exaggerating; every time someone from our family or friends comes to visit us, they want to go.
I don’t know if we were there in January, but in December, we were (twice), and it was quite cold and windy, even though I am not one to suffer from the cold.
Travel time from Paris is approximately 4 hours, but it is well worth it. Another option is to spend the night there, but the truth is that there is not much to do. However, if you have good weather and you like night photography, it is perfect.
Read here how to get to Mont St Michel from Paris.
Loire Valley Castles: this region is home to a wealth of castles, including the charming Château de Cheverny, the beautiful Château de Chambord, and the impressive Château de Chenonceau.
Guided tours of these castles can be booked and often include regional wine-tasting activities.
Read here about how to visit the Loire Châteaux from Paris.
Visiting Paris in January can be a wonderful experience. To make it so, here are some final tips and a general recapitulation of what has been said so far.
Be prepared for the weather: January in Paris can be cold and cloudy, with temperatures ranging from 2 to 6 degrees Celsius. Snow is occasional but unlikely to stick to the ground.
Coats, gloves, and a scarf to keep you comfortable are essential. It is also a good idea to bring an umbrella to protect you from the occasional rain.
Dress in layers: Layering is essential to adapt to fluctuating temperatures throughout the day. A base layer, sweater, or a long-sleeved shirt and a warm jacket usually form an unbeatable combo. Comfortable footwear would be the finishing touch to ensure comfort.
3. Benefits of traveling outside the high season: January is considered a low season for tourism in Paris. This means fewer crowds, shorter lines, and potentially lower prices for lodging.
In addition, on the first Sunday of the month, there are many free museums and attractions, in some you have to book as in the Palace of Versailles, but it’s free the first Sunday of this month.
Ideal for visiting popular sites such as the Louvre Museum and the Eiffel Tower.
4. Explore indoor attractions: With the cooler weather, it’s a good time to visit the city’s many indoor attractions, such as museums, galleries, and historic sites. Important: research opening hours and plan your itinerary accordingly.
5. Plan to attend special events and festivals that interest you. January in Paris offers unique events such as the ice skating rink at the Hotel de Ville and Paris Fashion Week.
6. Purchase travel insurance: Unpredictable weather and possible plan disruptions make having travel insurance a smart choice. It can cover unexpected illnesses, trip cancellations, and other unforeseen circumstances.
It is always advisable to research and choose the policy that best suits your needs.
Now, with these tips in place, making the most of your visit to Paris in January and experiencing all the charm and beauty the city offers is just a matter of getting organized.
Plan Your Trip to Paris
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