Topping every traveler’s bucket list, the City of Love holds unmatched experiences and vistas for all who come to bask in its beauty. But little do wanderers know that the most beloved city in the world is equally mesmerizing in winter. Paris in winter turns into a stunning spectacle with its vintage streets, picture-perfect cafes, and popular icons sprinkled with crisp snow. One must not miss the unparalleled experience of walking down its snowy lanes and icy gardens when they are here.
Places To Visit In Paris In Winter
1. The Louvre Museum
Nowadays, the Louvre museum Paris harbours one of the most incredible and dazzling collection of works of art in the world. It is also the most visited museum, attracting roughly nine million people every year. Many works of art displayed in the Louvre are known worldwide, such as the Mona Lisa (by Leonardo Da Vinci), or the Venus de Milo.
However, fewer people know that this tremendous museum has been installed in what had been an important residence of the French kings and queens. The Louvre palace was built under the reign of Philippe Auguste, during the 1190’s, as a military fortress to defend Paris. Francois I then turned it into a Renaissance style palace in the 16th century, and the Louvre progressively became the royal residence in Paris. Louis XIV is the last king to live in the Louvre before the departure of the royal family and the court to Versailles in 1678. The palace is ultimately turned into a museum in 1793 and will later know several extensions until today.
2. Notre Dame Cathedral
The Notre Dame is one of Paris’ most popular landmarks. The hauntingly beautiful cathedral belongs to the French Gothic style of architecture. The church is located on the eastern end of the Île de la Cité, which is in the city’s 4th arrondissement. Notre Dame is the Catholic archdiocese’s cathedral. It protects within its walls the cathedral, which is the official chair of Andre Cardinal Vingt-Trois, the Archbishop of Paris.
The church was one of the first Gothic structures in Paris. Its construction extended over the Gothic era. The stained glass windows and the beautiful adorning sculptures exhibit influences of naturalism, which was missing from the earlier Romanesque structures.
The Notre Dame is most known for its use of the flying buttress, which are arched exterior structural supports. It is one of the first buildings in the world to employ such a structural system. The initial plans for the building did not include flying buttresses, but when stress fractures began to appear on the walls, the church’s architects decided to build exterior supports.
Like most churches in Paris, the Notre Dame suffered from looting and desecration during the 1790s when the French Revolution was at its peak. Fortunately, in the 19th century, notable French architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc saved the magnificent cathedral from destruction and restored it to its original state.
Location: Place du parvis de Notre Dame, near Cité or Saint-Michel metro line
Timings: Generally 9:30 AM to 7 PM (timings change month-wise) | 9 AM to 11 PM on weekends
Entry fee: Free for Cathedral Main Hall | INR 580 for Towers | INR 255 for Archaeological Crypt
3. Eiffel Tower
The symbol of elegance and love, Paris’s most recognized icon is rather a recent addition to its line of architectural marvels, most of which are centuries old. Travelers love to visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris in January when it’s covered in snow and gives the most stunning displays of the city at night. It is the main attraction of the city that draws in most of the tourists count. As charming as it may be in the day, it turns all the more breathtaking in the night when it is illuminated by festive lights. The recently renovated tower now has solar panels and glass-floored observation platforms, which shows stunning spectacles of Paris in winter!
Location: On the Champ de Mars in midwest Paris, near Bir Hakeim metro line
Timings: 9:30 AM to 11 PM for the tower | 9:30 AM to 11:45 PM for elevator | 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM (12:30 PM in summer) for stairs
4. Luxembourg Gardens
Inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence, the Luxembourg Gardens cover an area of over 25 hectares of land and were established in 1612. Split into the French gardens and English gardens, the park houses a geometric forest, a large pond, a rose garden, an apple orchard, an apiary teaching people the art of bee-keeping, over 106 statues, the monumental Medici fountain, and numerous greenhouses with a variety of beautiful orchids. There are numerous things to do in this garden like watch puppet shows, enjoy exciting rides and slides, play games like chess and tennis, or simply take a stroll in the garden with your beloved, especially in winter in Paris.
Timings: 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM or 9:30 PM according to season
Entry fee: Free!
5. Arc de Triomphe
Established by Napoleon 1 in 1806, the Arc de Triomphe is today recognized the world over as an integral symbol of Parisian pomp and elegance. The handsome arc is over 160 foot tall and is sits majestically in the middle of the Champs-Elysées, the city’s most iconic avenue. The Arc de Triomphe holds major historical significance, but it is its beauty that attracts tourists to this monument of power and victory. The icon turns all the more beautiful amidst street decorations and lighting in Paris during Christmas.
Location: Place Charles de Gaulle
Timings: 10 AM to 11 PM in Summers | 10 AM to 10 PM in Winters
Things To Do In Paris In Winter
6. Go on a romantic cruise tour on the Seine River
Nothing beats the experience of cruising one of the most scenic waterways of Europe – the Seine river. A cruise tour over this river is undoubtedly the most invigorating experience, specially for couples, where one gets to witness the most breathtaking sights from the open air decks of a luxurious cruise boat lazily drifting down the Seine river. In fact, it’s among the most romantic things to do in Paris in winter where you can have a romantic dinner onboard while sailing through brightly lit enchanting landscapes and the city’s mythical spots.
One can book a cruise in Paris in December or any other winter months via the Bateaux-Mouches or the Bateaux Parisiens cruise companies, the city’s most famous boat tour companies.
7. Dine near the Sorbonne University in Latin Quarter
Established In 1257, Sorbonne University is Europe’s oldest college and elegant badge of honor of Paris. Since most of its erstwhile staff and students were Latin, the locality got rechristened to Latin Quarter which is now a beautifully decorated traditional space lined with cafes, markets, gardens, trees and everything pretty in Paris! The streets are decorated with colorful lights, Christmas trees, bells, and more, with a delicious aroma of freshly baked cakes and cinnamon buns wafting through the air during Christmas in Paris. If you visit Paris in December 2017 for the Christmas celebration, don’t leave without a visit to this charming paradise hidden in the city.
8. Go shopping in the Les Puces de Clignancourt flea market
Undoubtedly, one of the most exciting things to do in Paris in winter is to go on a shopping spree! Les Puces de Clignancourt is Paris’s largest flea market located in St. Ouen. it got its name from ostensibly flea-infested furniture and other wares that are sold day in and day out in this market. It recently gained popularity from Woody Allen’s famous feature film “Midnight in Paris”, which later brought an army of tourists here who were otherwise unaware of the ‘treasures’ this place hid. When here, one may find totally eccentric items and vintage knick-knacks like music records, clothes, books, quills, utensils, antiques, home decor items, mirrors, jewelry, and other pretty trinkets that are sure to make all shopaholics, especially women, go crazy! The place turns more magnetic and fun in Paris during Christmas.
9. Watch an Opera performance at Palais Garnier – Opera National de Paris
If one doesn’t wish to brace the biting cold of outside, they can sit inside the Palais Garnier, the striking symbol of architectural opulence, and watch a captivating show or two of Opera or ballet. The stunning interiors of this grand theatre-cum-palace are as gripping as are the award-winning performances of Opera and ballet that it holds night after night. It is the true symbol of luxury, elegance, and class, with the best of entertainment. It also is the best way to experience winter in Paris away from the chilly winds and snowy streets.
10. Relive your childhood at Disneyland Paris
You may have fond memories visiting Disneyland as a child. Getting ludicrously hyper on candy floss, meeting Mickey Mouse for the first time and finding yourself uncontrollably dizzy on the Mad Hatter’s tea cups. But now, you think to yourself, “I couldn’t possibly enjoy it now”.
We’ll tell you one thing. If you’re already going to Paris and have a day to spare (and some extra euros to spend), then we highly recommend paying a visit – especially for the Disney lovers amongst you. You will not be disappointed.
We recently took a trip to Disneyland Paris and we can confirm, IT IS THE BEST PLACE EVER! So if you think you’re too old or too cool, think again! Turns out, you can enjoy it whether you’re 3 or 23! Here’s our evermore grown-up way to enjoy the park, as well as the Walt Disney Studios (the accompanying park next door) But first, logistics!