Paris is undeniably one of the most incredible cities in the entire world. It’s therefore no surprise that it was the most-visited city in 2022, with around 44 million tourists trying to experience a slice of the magic for themselves.
The ‘City of Light’ is captivating all year round but bestows a unique charm in the winter months, changing from a sunny hotspot to a snowy, festive utopia. The city at this time is cozy and romantic, filled with bright lights and magical illuminations. The season also coincides with lower levels of tourists, meaning lower prices and smaller crowds.
In this article, we take a look at what makes Paris so charming during the winter and what you should expect when visiting at this time. We’ll also offer helpful advice to ensure your trip goes smoothly.
Discovering the top tourist attractions
You can’t go to Paris and not see at least some of the main tourist attractions – it simply wouldn’t be right. The city has several highly famous landmarks that are mostly within a reasonable distance of each other.
Probably the most widely known attraction, and a global symbol of Paris, is the Eiffel Tower, an architectural wonder designed by Gustave Eiffel. The tower offers incredible panoramic views of the city from its observation decks, where visitors can choose to take the lift or walk the many stairs to the top.
Another must-see landmark is the Arc de Triomphe, a stunning monument paying tribute to the brave individuals who fought and died during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Visitors can climb to the top for an amazing view, although the triumphal arch still looks incredible from the ground, becoming illuminated in the evening.
While you’re there, you must also walk down the Champs-Elysées, a dazzling avenue lined with luxury department stores, boutique shops, and cafés.
Though temporarily closed due to restoration after a fire in 2019, the Gothic masterpiece of Notre Dame is still an iconic symbol of the French city. Tourists can still access the Parvis and the archaeological crypt but the towers and treasures are unfortunately closed until further notice.
The cathedral’s picturesque façade, flying buttresses, and impressive interior have left an indelible mark on visitors for centuries now, and we’ll hopefully see the attraction reopen again on the 8th of December 2024.
Explore the museums
If the weather is becoming too cold and damp for your liking, consider hopping around some of Paris’ most coveted museums. Regardless of the temperature outside, these historic buildings offer a thoroughly educational and fascinating experience for visitors.
Paris is home to many world-famous museums, such as the Louvre, a national art gallery along the Right Bank of the Seine. It is among the largest art museums in the world and holds some of the most important pieces of art in history, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.
Another popular art museum is the Musée d’Orsay, which showcases an extensive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces. Housed in a former railway station, you’ll find collections from big names like Van Gogh, Renoir, and Monet, making it a must-see for art enthusiasts.
Getting around the city
With so much to see and do in Paris, you’ll find yourself travelling a lot during your time here. While the city is made for walking, you will have to get to grips with the extensive public transport system, especially during the frosty winter months.
The most efficient method of travelling here is the Paris Metro. Not only is the metro frequent and affordable but it is also incredibly fast and covers the majority of attractions in the city centre.
Those familiar with the London Underground will feel at home here navigating the system. If this seems daunting to you, worry not. You’ll find detailed maps with the names of each station and what line you need to get on. Using Google Maps can also be highly beneficial when trying to traverse the metro, especially during your first few days in the city.
When you arrive in Paris on your first day, it’s advised that you organise a Paris Airport transfer to your accommodation to ensure a safe trip at a reasonable price. You can also get the RER B train or Roissybus, which are generally cheaper but can lead to longer travel times. You may be required to walk to your accommodation if there are no stops nearby.
Visiting the shops
Paris is a haven for avid shoppers, offering a mixture of local boutiques, designer stores, and flea markets. The French are regarded for their impeccable taste, particularly in art and fashion, so expect to see luxurious goods all around.
The heated stores are the perfect break during your busy days of sightseeing and travelling, and who knows, you may find some great deals along the way. You’ll find some of the most spectacular trees and rooftop views from plazas like Galerie Lafayette, perfect for those Instagrammable holiday snaps.