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Best time to visit Paris

Get cheap flights, avoid the crowds and see free concerts in the Parisian streets.

The best time to visit Paris is September, October, March, April or May.

Fall is the sweet spot, with comfortable temperatures and dwindling crowds. Enjoy a postcard stroll through the Jardin des Champs-Élysées, framed by vibrant red and orange trees. But watch out for Fashion Week in late September, when hotel rooms may be scarce.

In the spring, join locals as they emerge from the indoors to enjoy picnics in the park and stroll along the Seine. Prices should still be average, as rates don’t spike until the busy tourist season of summer.

That said, every season in Paris can be wonderful. Spring is romantic, fall brings Fashion Week, summer is perfect for relaxing in a park and winter sees the city decorated in sparkling lights. So the ideal time to visit Paris depends on what kind of weather you prefer — and how adamant you are about avoiding crowds.


Peak season

June through August is peak tourist season in the capital city. Temperatures can reach 80 °F and prices are the most expensive. Expect long lines and crowded tourist attractions.

  • Note that in August, Paris lacks a bit of its local luster. Many inhabitants leave the city to vacation elsewhere. You might also find a variety of Parisian shops and restaurants closed this month.

Off season

Winter is the off-season in Paris, with temperatures ranging between 35 °F to 45 °F December through February. Crowds are small, lines are short and la Ville Lumière glows. Aside from around Christmas when prices can spike, you can usually find the best travel deals in the winter.

Weather

Like New York City, Paris is hot during the summer and cold during the winter, though it rarely gets more than a dusting of snow. You’ll need a coat if you visit during the winter, but you can leave the heavy duty snow boots at home.

Here are the average monthly temperatures in Paris, to give you an idea of what to expect:

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
High46° F48° F55° F62° F 68° F 74° F78° F78° F71° F63° F52° F47° F
Low37° F37° F42° F46° F52° F57° F61° F60° F55° F50° F43° F39° F

Average yearly temperatures sourced from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in February 2021.

Cheapest time to visit Paris

The cheapest time to fly to Paris is May, according to data from Skyscanner.

You should also be able to get good deals on flights and accommodations during the low season, January and February, as hotels and tour operators lower prices to attract tourists.

  • Air France usually has the cheapest flights from the US to Paris.

Best time to visit Paris for…

  • Disneyland Paris. January and February are the least busy months, and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the least busy days throughout the year. If you want to avoid cold weather, visit in spring. Rides are open and the weather is mild. Visit in the morning or after 6 p.m. to dodge crowds.
  • A honeymoon. Avoid summer (June through August) when locals flee and tourists take over. Many find spring (late March to May) to be the most romantic. Expect moderate prices and smaller crowds overall.
  • The catacombs. Many rush to visit the catacombs in the morning, so get there at 6 p.m. for the best chance at a short line. The official website for the site suggests any time after 3 p.m. Keep in mind lines are so long during holiday periods, you may not make it in. In general, avoid the catacombs over Christmas and Easter.
  • The Louvre. February through April are the Louvre’s least busy months. Visit in the afternoon when lines die down, but avoid Tuesdays — the museum is closed. Use the Portes de Lyons entrance where there are minimal lines.

Best time to city-hop

  • Paris and Rome. Both cities experience an influx of tourists in the summer. And both are ideal to visit in the spring when crowds have yet to pick up and prices are still low. Fall is similar, but with cooler temperatures.
  • Paris and Switzerland. April through May and September to October are ideal times to visit Paris and Switzerland for beautiful weather and fewer crowds.
  • Paris and Italy. Visit Italy first in late September, then Paris in October to skip Fashion Week’s high prices. The weather is mild and tourists flee the major cities at this time. Prices won’t be at their cheapest, but are still lower than peak season.
  • Paris and London. Fall in Paris and London is ideal for stellar outdoor weather, moderate prices and smaller crowds.

Holidays, festivals and events

To fete like a true Parisian, visit during one of these special occasions.

  • Fashion Week for womenswear usually takes place twice a year — in March and in late September/early October. Menswear and haute couture occurs in January and late June/early July.

Winter

  • Chinese New Year — The Chinese community in the city’s 13th arrondissement holds parades, dances and concerts with traditional music to ring in Lunar New Year. The exact dates depend on the Lunar calendar, but it usually takes place in late January or early February.
  • Paris Carnaval — This high-energy festival has been celebrated since the 16th century and features cultural events, a mask contest, parades and more.

Spring

  • Fete de la Gastronomie — This three-day festival in March features tastings, workshops, markets and foodie showcases in celebration of French cuisine.
  • Paris Book Fair — Find your next favorite book at the publishing industry’s annual tradeshow.
  • Foire du Trone Funfair — Love the atmosphere of an American state fair? Enjoy Ferris wheels, petting zoos, shooting ranges, fair foot, haunted houses and more in the 12th arrondissement every year from the end of March to the beginning of May.

Summer

  • Roland Garros — Tennis fans should head to the Philippe Chatrier court to watch pros compete in this grand slam tournament. This usually happens in May or June.
  • Fete de la Musique — Free concerts abound during this festival in June, at venues like the Insitut du Monde Arabe and the Louvre.
  • Paris Pride — Celebrate love with parades during the day and fantastic parties at clubs and bars during the night. In French, Paris Pride is called the Marche des Fiertés. It typically takes place in June.
  • Bastille Day — Remember the storming of the Bastille on June 14, a turning point in the French Revolution. Marvel at fireworks behind the Eiffel Tower.

Fall

  • Arc de Triomphe Horse Race — Watch jockeys vie for over 5 million euros in prize money at Hippodrome de Longchamp. It’s one of the biggest horse racing events on the continent, and happens in October.
  • Nuit Blanche — Tap into your artsy side at this all-night party featuring temporary art installations and exhibits at some of the most iconic landmarks in Paris, like the Louvre and Pompidou.
  • Salon du Chocolat — Satiate your sweet tooth at the world’s largest event in honor of chocolate. It happens at the Paris Expo, in October.
Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC continues to advise caution when traveling within or outside the US, However, it no longer requires self-quarantine or a COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated domestic travelers as of April 2021. International travelers need to get tested three days prior to flying out of the US and within three days after returning, even if you are fully vaccinated. It recommends that you delay travel if you’re not fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the virus.

If you’re planning a trip outside the US, bear in mind that many countries have placed restrictions on US tourists. Check the US embassy website for updates before booking international travel.

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Bottom line

As Ernest Hemingway proclaimed, Paris is a feast for the senses — no matter when you visit. Whether you’re drawn to vibrant fall colors or springtime cherry blossoms, booking a flight to Paris guarantees experiences that will stay with you for life.

Frequently asked questions

When’s the best time to see gardens in Paris?

Visit Paris from mid- to late April when parks and gardens begin to bloom. Rose enthusiasts should opt for late May and early June, as the rose gardens around Parc de Bagatelle and L’Haÿ-les-Roses come alive. Travelers in search of smaller crowds can enjoy gardens full of flowers throughout September.

When’s the best time to go shopping in Paris?

For sales, you’ll want to target les soldes: two six-week periods that occur twice a year as mandated by the state. Winter sales last from January to mid-February, while summer sales happen June through July.

However, note that crowds may be fierce during the sales, so you may want to target quieter months like November or March.

When’s the best time to see museums in Paris?

January and February are the perfect months for museum buffs, since lines will be shorter (which means fewer heads bobbing in front of the Mona Lisa). Plus, you won’t have to feel bad about staying indoors, since winter weather tends to be a bit dreary anyway.

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