Asking when is the best time to visit Paris is like asking when is the best time to eat chocolate. The answer is anytime, yes, preferably now.
Paris has upwards of 30 million visitors a year. Deciding when to visit is an entirely subjective process. Without severe weather systems affecting your decisions, it really comes down to what you want to do and what’s important to you. Certain times of the year are better for some things than for others.
See our month-by-month guide below and our special advice on when to visit Disneyland to help you to decide when to go.
The Weather in Paris: month by month
Paris enjoys four distinct yearly seasons and experiences fairly mild winters and warm summers making it the ideal city break at any time of year.
Paris in the Springtime
Spring is the best time to visit Paris – not too hot, not too cold, nice long sunny days. What are the downs? The crowds are starting to swell and prices are starting to climb. That said, March falls into low season, so it could be worth taking a gamble on the weather.
A timely spring will have you admiring cherry blossoms under blue skies. A late spring, with its feet still dragging through winter, will still be a bit grumpy, offering you only clouds and cold days. Either way, March is definitely a month for walking all over Paris.
March Weather: Sunshine (or not) with occasional rain
In March average temperatures creep up to 53 degrees Fahrenheit and Parisians start to come out from winter hibernation for the annual book fair, one of the largest in the world. Visitors at this time of year will find some great deals and virtually no waiting for museum and gallery admission.
It’s also a good time to visit the museums and galleries as the crowds haven’t yet hit the city. Many museums are free to enter on the penultimate weekend of the month and you can get into the cinema for a significant discount.
April Weather: Sunshine and rain
Everything is in full bloom in April and the parks and gardens are looking stunning. A sensible time to visit Paris, you can expect good weather and fewer crowds than May through July. It’s warm enough to start sitting outside, rather than inside cafes, and there are enough people watching to keep you interested a while.
May Weather: Warm
As average temperatures hit 66 degrees Fahrenheit you’ll really be able to experience en plein air dining.
May is full of mid-week bank holidays which means it’s a popular time for Parisians to take some time off work and kick back. The atmosphere in the city is jovial and festive and summer vibes are in the air. May also sees the Nuit des Musées on the night of the third Saturday in May, when French museums open till late into the evening and some host concerts, readings and shows.
Wiling away an hour or two with a friend at an outdoor cafe is synonymous with Paris living and can be enjoyed year-round thanks to heated terraces and complimentary fleece blankets.
Summer in Paris
June through to September marks the high season in Paris. Crowds are large, queues are long, airfares and hotel rates are at their highest, but June and September, in particular, are good months in Paris.
In summer, the sunny days can reach 77 degrees Fahrenheit, strolling along the Seine, enjoying a champagne picnic or catching a live music festival can make for an idyllic summer's day.
June Weather: Perfect
In many ways, the best month to visit Paris, June’s long, sunshine-filled days help you get the most out of your sight-seeing. Unfortunately, it’s also the most popular month to visit Paris for pretty much everyone out there – that means big crowds and very long queues for all the attractions. Make sure you book as many tickets in advance as you can to minimise queuing time. Hotel prices are at their all-time high, but so is the city’s extra-curricular life.
The city-wide Fête de la Musique marks the official start of summer, filling every venue it can find with music, and the Paris Jazz Festival in the Parc Floral graces every weekend in June.
July Weather: Really hot
July is even busier than June. In recent years air pollution in the capital has reached unacceptably high levels, with Paris’ Mayor now going so far as to explore the possibility of free city-wide travel in the future to encourage less vehicle pollution.
The July heat and crowds, coupled with the pollution can make this is a somewhat oppressive month to visit. The city’s Bastille day celebrations on 4th July are a sight to behold with street parties, parades and fireworks on the Champs Elysées and Champ de Mars.
August Weather: Still hot
August is the month that all Parisians go on holiday, mostly to the coast or to countryside getaways. And I mean everybody. Whilst this makes for fewer crowds, it can also affect the atmosphere. There will still be a lot of people in Paris, but the majority of them will be tourists and a number of businesses will be closed for the month.
The warm weather peaks in August as temperatures hit their yearly high and rainy days are less likely. Be aware that prices everywhere will reflect that this is peak travel season.
Autumn In Paris
Autumn is a more authentically Parisian time of year, but the weather still allows you to be outdoors a lot. It’s the dawn of the city’s annual cultural awakening, and it is also the season of the Fête d’Automne (autumn festival), which spans September – November) and offers a celebration of contemporary art in its different forms.
Autumn is beautiful in Paris as the leaves change colour, go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for a lovely fall view. October also marks the wine harvest and is an excellent time to sample a new vintage or two.
September Weather: Pleasant, no jacket required
This is a good month in Paris. The weather is more often than not still pleasant but without the more oppressive heat of July and August. Holidaying Parisians have returned to their posts nicely relaxed after their summer breaks, which makes for a happily humming atmosphere in the city. And, of course, you can buy things again!
September also features both Paris Design Week and Paris Fashion Week, so it’s a good month for you aesthetes out there, but it can also be harder to find accommodation. Also, the Tour de France races through Paris in July and the final lap can usually be caught on the Champs Elysées towards the end of the month.
October Weather: Cooler, light jacket required
October’s weather is still pleasant, but the crowds have significantly diminished, making it another sensible month to visit. October is also a good month for enjoying art in Paris, with several events taking place including the Nuit Blanche - an all-night public art event, FIAC (international contemporary art fair), and the Outsider Art Fair.
November Weather: Getting colder, lots of rain, but you might get lucky
November is a box of chocolates – you just don’t know what you’re going to get. It can be a very wet month, but it can also be a very good weather month. In my opinion, it’s a good month for enjoying French wine, particularly as this is when the annual new batch of Beaujolais hits Paris. If you keep an eye out, you’ll see Parisians celebrating its arrival in restaurants and bars. It would be rude not to join in!
Paris in Winter
Temperatures in winter drop significantly. If you’re not a fan of hotter weather than Winter is a good time to visit to see Paris as it is without all the visitors. Because it’s low season, flights and hotel prices are at their lowest, so it’s a good time to visit if you are counting your pennies.
Winter is a good time of year for shopping, eating and dipping croissants into chocolat chaud in cosy Parisian cafes (or your baguette into red wine!). It’s also great for exploring cultural attractions without hours of queuing. There is a romance to Paris, even in winter.
December Weather: A little chilly and rainy
The city of lights takes its nickname from this merry month when a beautifully well-lit Paris is ablaze with festivity. The streets come alive with more food markets than you can shake a stick at, and the shopping, in general, is fantastic. The weeks leading up to Christmas are also the high season in Paris.
January Weather: Very cold, short days
Because Paris is quiet in January after the excitement of Christmas, airfares and hotel prices are at their lowest. Queues are a distant memory and, if you’re a fashion lover, the second half of the month marks the beginning of the winter sales, as well as the men’s fashion and haute couture fashion weeks.
If you really want to see Paris, but you’re counting your pennies, this is the month for you. It’s pretty cold, I won’t lie, but it’s marginally warmer than January and February. The good news is that
February Weather: Still cold, short days
Prices are hiked back up in February, but unfortunately, the weather doesn’t follow, making February the least popular month to visit the City of Lights. The trees are bare and you may experience some cloud cover, making trips up the Eiffel Tower a little redundant. That said, the sales are at their peak and tourist levels are low. It’s a great time to absorb the city in its natural state and hang out with the locals, and celebrating Valentine’s day in Paris is never a bad idea!
Thinking of a trip to see Mickey Mouse? The best time to visit Disneyland
Disneyland Paris is just a 40-minute train or car ride from the city centre yet manages to create a totally self-contained resort of rides, attractions and of course famous characters. Young and old alike can be swept up in the magic of Disney.
There are fewer crowds and shorter queues mid-week and if you really don’t want to visit the park during busy periods, I recommend mid-January through to mid-March and mid-April through to mid-May, but be aware that there are also fewer shows and events scheduled during these periods. The majority of extra shows and events take place during the school and national holidays.
Although many of the rides and attractions are inside you do need to walk outside between the different sections of the park quite a bit so rainy days can put a damper on the fun as can very cold weather. However, December also welcomes Christmas parades and events including a spectacular new years eve firework display.
Weekends and summer months usually have more activities and attractions planned but the guest numbers also swell. To enjoy the park with fewer crowds but while temperatures are beginning to climb book a trip in March, April or early May.