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Best Things to Do in Paris in Winter: The Complete Winter in Paris Travel Guide

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Is there a bad time of year to visit Paris? If so, I have not found one yet. Winter in Paris is actually quite magical. Depending on when you go, you may experience Christmas decorations, New Year’s in Paris, or even a snow-covered Paris.

There is no shortage of winter activities in Paris either. Enjoy the best things to do in Paris without the crowds of summer.

Get a complete guide to visiting Paris in winter including what to do in Paris in winter, where to stay in Paris, and other helpful travel tips for planning your Paris winter vacation.

***Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Purchased made through these links earn us a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Eiffel Tower light show

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best things to do in paris in winter

BEST TIME TO VISIT PARIS IN WINTER

If you can plan to experience winter in Paris during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, you’ll be treated to magical Christmas decorations and a massive New Year’s celebration. However, this time of the year is more crowded due to people having vacation time and wanting to travel during the holidays.

January and February let you really experience winter in Paris with colder temperatures and the best chance of snow. However, the best time to visit Paris for a winter trip would be on the shoulders of winter in either November or March.

Eiffel Tower at sunrise
streets of Paris in winter
Eiffel Tower from the top of Notre Dame in winter

IS PARIS COLD IN WINTER?

Paris in December gets cold, but not too cold. The average high is 47F/8C, and the average low is 39F/4C.

If you visit Paris in January or February, you’ll experience more of the cold weather but less of the crowds. During these months, the temperature has an average high of 46 48F (7 8C) and an average low of 37F (2 3C).

Visiting in November or March gives you a taste of winter without the coldest temperatures. The weather is a little bit warmer, but the crowds are still low before the spring and summer seasons. Average high temperatures range from 52 55F (11 13C), and average low temperatures range from 42 43F (5 6C).

DOES IT SNOW IN PARIS IN WINTER?

It does snow in Paris, but not often. Even when it does snow, it does not often snow enough to really cover the ground. Paris has a warmer climate than other destinations in Europe or even in France in winter, but the best chance of snow is from mid-January through mid-March.

If you are wanting to experience snow on your European winter vacation, do not count on seeing snow in Paris. Instead, let it be a pleasant surprise if it works out.

Eiffel Tower carousel at sunrise
Eiffel Tower from the banks of the River Seine
Eiffel Tower in Paris in winter

WHAT TO WEAR IN PARIS IN WINTER

When we visited Paris in December and January, we found that layers were our best option. We experienced freezing cold rain (but not snow) and warm sunny days (at least for winter), so having a range of options for our packing list worked best.

Being from Florida, we are naturally colder than most in winter temperatures. I usually had on a light base layer that also worked as its own outer layer for warmer weather. Over that, I layered a sweater and my winter jacket.

I’m not much for hats or beanies or other head coverings, but I did find the hood on my jacket helpful, especially on our rainy days of exploring Paris.

Gloves were a must for me. I have an autoimmune disease, and that came with hands that get cold really easily. I had a light pair of gloves as well as a heavy pair of ski gloves for the evenings and mornings when it is coldest.

My hand warmers were the most helpful thing to have on our trip. I have electric hand warmers that I can put in my pockets and turn on. Then, when I stick my hands in my pockets, they are quickly warmed up. I can also carry them in my hands if needed. You can buy your own set here.

For shoes and socks, I wore my hiking boots from Columbia and some thicker tall socks. I also had a pair of nicer looking boots from OTBTShoes.com for nicer nights out, but they were not nearly as warm as my Columbia boots.

what to wear in Paris in winter
what to wear in winter in Paris

HOW LONG TO SPEND IN PARIS IN WINTER

We have done several different lengths of time in Paris, from a one day layover to a multi-day trip including several day trips. You won’t run out of things to do in Paris in winter or any season, so spend the time you have.

If you are only going to have one day in Paris like we did on our quick layover, you can still experience some of the best Paris has to offer with quick trips to the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and possibly more.

I would highly recommend at least three days in Paris if possible with four to five days if possible. This gives you more time to explore not only the most popular things to do in Paris but also some of the lesser known things to do in Paris. You will also have time for a day trip to Versailles or Normandy with four to five days.

If you have a week or more in Paris, you will really get to see and do pretty much everything you have on your list. You will have time for day trips as well as a full day at Disneyland Paris if you so choose. You can take in the sites at a slower pace and have more time to really see and do everything.

Keep in mind that visiting Paris in winter means shorter days. You will have less daylight hours to explore the city, so you will want to factor that in to your plans. In the summer, longer daylight hours give you much more time to explore.

We also found the weather to be more rainy in winter, so you may want to have a bad weather day or two built in with indoor activities just in case.

Eiffel Tower at night
View from under the Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower light show

BEST THINGS TO DO IN PARIS IN WINTER

In winter in Paris, there are still plenty of things to do. You can enjoy most of the same things you would do in the winter plus possibly enjoy the holidays in Paris.

Christmas in Paris and December in Paris are both magical times of the year. If you want a special place to ring in the new year, New Year’s in Paris is also special. You can get our full guide to New Year’s in Paris here and our full guide to the best Eiffel Tower photo spots here.

No matter when you visit Paris in winter, you’ll find plenty of options to keep you busy. If you visit Paris in December, keep in mind that there will be holiday hours at some of the attractions. Those are included when possible to make planning your winter Paris vacation a little bit easier.

Arc de Triomphe
Eiffel Tower from Arc de Triomphe

TAKE IN THE VIEW FROM THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE & CHAMPS ELYSEES

OPEN: Arc de Triomphe is open every day except New Year’s Day
HOURS: 10 a.m. 10:30 p.m. with last admission 45 minutes before closing

If you are going to be in Paris on New Year’s Eve, plan to be at the Arc de Triomphe. The fireworks show there is amazing as well as the laser light show that entertains the crowd while waiting for midnight to strike. You can get our full guide to Paris at New Year’s here.

If you are just wanting pictures in front of the Arc de Triomphe, you can also take advantage of Champs Elysees shutting down to vehicles from New Year’s Eve until 6 p.m. on New Year’s Day. This is the perfect time to get pictures of the Arc de Triomphe without the normal vehicle traffic.

However, keep in mind that everyone else has the same idea. On days when the Champs Elysees is open, people crowd out into the street, sometimes risking their lives for a picture. Because each person wants a photo with no one behind them, the line continually extends into the roundabout.

While the street is closed down, it becomes much easier to get pictures of the Eiffel Tower without risking your life. However, go early in the morning on New Year’s Day to beat the crowds or be prepared to have lots of people around, especially on New Year’s Eve.

Arc de Triomphe in Paris in winter
Arc de Triomphe on New Year's Eve in Paris
Arc de Triomphe in winter in Paris

When the street is open, do not run across the roundabout to get to the Arc de Triomphe. Use the tunnel under the street to get to the Arc de Triomphe safely. Follow the Metro signs to find the tunnel. It took us a long time to find this on our first trip to Paris.

If you have a chance, make sure to go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for one of my favorite views of Paris. You have a clear view of the Eiffel Tower standing above the city and can enjoy the beauty of Paris from above. I love seeing the lines of the streets surrounding the Arc de Triomphe all leading to the top.

If you are visiting at New Year’s or Christmas, be aware that the Arc de Triomphe often shuts down early for holidays. Plan accordingly and get your tickets ahead of time to guarantee your entry slot.

Tickets for most adults are €13 ($15) with reduced tickets for foreign teachers, young people ages 18 25 from non-EU countries and tourism professionals.

Arc de Triomphe Paris
Arc de Triomphe on New Year's Eve in Paris

VISIT THE EIFFEL TOWER FOR THE FAMOUS VIEW FROM THE TOP

Open: Every day
Hours: 9:30 a.m. 11:45 p.m. (6:30 p.m. for the stairs)

The Eiffel Tower is open every day of the year. During the Christmas and New Year holidays, the lift is open from 9:30 a.m. 11:45 p.m. with the last ascent at 10:30 p.m. The stairs are open from 9:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. with the last ascent allowed at 6 p.m.

If you plan to go to the top, try to get tickets ahead of time. I remember showing up and seeing lines that seemed hours long just to get tickets. We had purchased ahead of time, but there was still a long line to wait for the lift. We got there an hour or so before sunset and ended up at the top for sunset which was perfect.

If you are looking for an amazing sunset view in Paris, try to plan to be at the top of the Eiffel Tower for sunset. Not only do you get to enjoy the sun setting over the city, but you get the experience of seeing Paris in daylight and Paris at night from the Eiffel Tower.

I loved watching the city transition from day to night from the top. Seeing all of the city lights turn on as we walked around to enjoy the different views felt extra special since we only had to pay for tickets to go up once.

If you plan to eat in the restaurants in the Eiffel Tower, get reservations ahead of time. This is especially true for New Year’s Eve. The seated restaurants need a reservation even if it isn’t New Year’s Eve as they are popular and fill up fast. These restaurants are coveted as a special and unique spot to dine in Paris.

view from the top of the eiffel tower in paris
view from the top of the eiffel tower in paris

CHECK OUT THE ART & ARCHITECTURE AT THE LOUVRE

OPEN: Every day except Tuesdays and January 1
HOURS: 9 a.m. 6 p.m. on every day except Tuesdays; rooms begin closing at 5:30 p.m. and last entry is at 5 p.m.

The Louvre is one of the most popular things to do in Paris any time of the year, and the museum recommends buying your tickets in advance. If you plan to visit multiple museums and attractions in Paris, you may want to consider the Paris Museum Pass. We found it to be a good option for us.

The Louvre makes for one of the best rainy day things to do in Paris. It’s the perfect place to escape the cold and rain to enjoy amazing artwork from around the world.

venus de milo in the louvre in paris

When you get into the Louvre, get a map to plan out your route through the museum to make sure you see the things you want to see most. You can also get a map online to plan your trip in advance. Seeing everything would take days, so it is worth it to make sure you see what you want first and then enjoy wandering around if time allows.

Even if you don’t go in the Louvre, at least go wander around to check out the architecture and the famous pyramid. This area is perfect for photos, so enjoy the opportunity in the mornings or when the museum is closed to get pictures with less people around.

Thanks to the late sunrise and early sunset for most of the winter in Paris, the museum is open during most if not all daylight hours. You can still get to the area around sunrise to find fewer people milling around.

The Louvre Paris
Inside the Louvre Pyramid

TAKE IN THE ART AT THE MUSEE D’ORSAY

OPEN: Every day except Mondays
HOURS: 9:30 a.m. 6 p.m. (9:45 p.m. on Thursdays); last ticket sold at 5 p.m. (9 p.m. on Thursdays)

The Musee d’Orsay is another popular museum in Paris. The inside of it is beautiful, and the famous clocks on the 5th floor make for a great photo. However, there is often a long line to get into the Musee d’Orsay, especially at the holidays.

In general, the busiest days for the Musee d’Orsay are Tuesdays and Sundays since the museum is closed on Mondays. Thursdays and Saturdays are the next busiest days with Wednesdays and Fridays having the least number of people. If you can make it on one of those days, that is going to be the best time to go.

Tickets are €16 ($18) for regular admission purchased online and €14 ($16) if purchased at the museum. You do get priority access with tickets purchased online within 30 minutes of your reserved time. Reduced admission is available as well if you qualify. Tickets are available here.

musee d'orsay Paris

MODERN ART AT CENTRE POMPIDOU

OPEN: Every day except Tuesdays
HOURS: 11 a.m. 10 p.m. (exhibition areas close at 9 p.m.)

If you enjoy modern and contemporary art, Centre Pompidou is the place for you. Museums are a great way to escape the cold and rain, so feel free to save them for rainy or especially cold days.

The exterior of this building is also popular for photos with the exterior escalators and colorful tubes surrounding them. If art isn’t really your thing, it may be worth it to walk by, but you probably won’t enjoy this museum otherwise.

Find out more about tickets and pricing here.

PALAIS GARNIER: THE BEAUTIFUL OPERA HOUSE

OPEN: Every day except January 1
HOURS: 10 a.m. 4:30 p.m.

Guided tours and more are available at the gorgeous Palais Garnier, but you can also take a self-guided tour of the public areas. However, access may be restricted to the auditorium due to preparation for upcoming concerts.

If you plan to take a tour, make sure to book it in advance, especially at the holidays. If you plan to do the self-guided tour, you can also get tickets in advance to guarantee your entry.

STAINED GLASS AT THE SAINT-CHAPELLE

OPEN: Every day except January 1
HOURS: 9 a.m. 5 p.m.

To see the beautiful interior of Saint-Chapelle at the holidays, plan for long lines. Purchase a skip-the-line pass in advance to get in ahead of the crowds. Another option is to get an audio guide or wander around on your own and take in the beauty of the chapel.

Saint-Chapelle is known for the stained class windows that depict Biblical scenes. There is also a concert here on New Year’s Eve.

Eiffel Tower at night

PANTHEON & THE VIEW FROM THE DOME

OPEN: Every day except January 1
HOURS: 10 a.m. 6 p.m.

If you have time, check out the beautiful interior of the Pantheon. Plus, you can climb to the dome for an incredible view of the city. Due to its location, the dome offers great views of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame.

Because it is closed on New Year’s Day, expect more people to visit on New Year’s Eve and January 2.

VISITING THE CATACOMBS OF PARIS

OPEN: Tuesday Sunday; closed January 1
HOURS: 10:00 a.m. 8:30 p.m. (ticket window closes at 7:30 p.m.)

If skeletons freak you out, skip the Catacombs. Otherwise, plan to enjoy a visit of the Catacombs of Paris. Try to get a ticket ahead of time if at all possible. Otherwise, plan to spend up to a few hours in line.

We tried to visit the catacombs on our first visit to Paris, but we gave up after waiting in line for over an hour without moving much. Make sure to read the rules and other information about visiting the catacombs before you go.

Even though we never made it inside, here is a guide visiting the catacombs in Paris with everything you need to know before you go.

VISITING VERSAILLES IN THE WINTER

OPEN: Open every day except Mondays and January 1 (Gardens are open every day)
HOURS: Palace is open from 9:00 a.m. 5:30 p.m.; Gardens are open from 8 a.m. 6 p.m.

If you plan to visit Versailles around New Year’s, plan for long lines. We arrived around 10 a.m. on January 2 to find a line expected to take 2 hours to enter the palace.

If you didn’t have a ticket already, the line for tickets was already an additional hour long. We did not have tickets and decided to just visit the gardens instead due to our schedule. Plan in extra time, get your ticket early and get there early to beat the crowds.

If you have been to Versailles in the summer, visiting the gardens in the winter is not the same. The plants are mostly dead and many of the statues are covered or removed. The gardens are also extremely crowded at the holidays, so getting pictures of Versailles without people in the background requires creativity.

Versailles Paris
sunset at the gates to Versailles in Paris
Palace of Versailles in winter

If this is the only time you can visit Versailles, it is still an impressive property. When we visited in the summer, we had the gardens to ourselves, so it was a whole different experience at the holidays.

Versailles in the winter but not at the holidays is probably better in general thanks to less people around. The gardens are still nice to walk around on a pretty day, and it’s an easy day trip from Paris that does not need to take a full day.

We had a rental car in the winter, so we drove there on our way to Belgium. In the summer, we took the train and found it was the perfect way to experience Versailles in a half day. If you plan to go inside for the tour, plan for additional time to explore the gardens as well.

Palace of Versailles Paris
Palace of Versailles winter
Palace of Versailles in winter

DISNEYLAND PARIS IN THE WINTER

Being from Orlando, I’m not a big Disney person. However, I do enjoy the holidays at the parks and have found them to be one of the best things to do at Christmas in Orlando.

Disneyland Paris also celebrates Christmas with “Enchanted Christmas”. Taking place from mid-November through mid-January each year, there are Christmas shows, a Christmas parade, and lots of Christmas decorations.

To experience Christmas at Disneyland Paris, you need an admission ticket. Prices vary based on the day you choose to go, and tickets can be purchased here.

If you are a big Disney fan, visiting Disneyland Paris in winter means much shorter waits for the rides, fewer people in the parks, and cooler weather so you aren’t pouring sweat walking around the park. However, the hours in the winter are often shorter, so you want to make sure you are still able to get the most for the time you have.

A ROMANTIC SEINE RIVER CRUISE

A dinner cruise on the Seine River is always a great idea for a romantic date night in Paris. If you are looking for a more budget option, you can also just enjoy a Seine River cruise without the dinner.

If you plan to take a New Year’s Eve dinner cruise on the Seine, make sure to book it as soon as possible. These dinner cruises are popular on New Year’s Eve, and they sell out in advance. Some of the special options such as tables by the windows or private tables sell out months in advance.

Dinner and a New Year’s Eve party on the Seine comes at a premium price. The price typically covers transportation to and from the hotel, the cruise, your meal, and your drinks. Make sure to look at exactly what is included though as it varies.

Expect to pay €200 ($219) or more per person at the holidays but less other times of the year. Most dinner cruises start closer to €300 ($329) per person. If you want a private dinner, window table or other special add-ons, expect to pay anywhere from €400 €600 ($439 $658) per person or more.

sunset cruise on the seine river in paris

FREE THINGS TO DO IN PARIS IN WINTER

On top of things you may need to pay to experience in Paris in winter, there are also lots of free things to do in Paris in winter. Enjoy experiencing some of the best views of the Eiffel Tower along with other beautiful areas of Paris without having to pay anything.

TROCADERO: ONE OF THE BEST VIEWS OF THE EIFFEL TOWER

Trocadero is one of my favorite Eiffel Tower photos spots. It is open 24 hours a day, so you can enjoy the view no matter when you have time to visit.

If you want this area to yourself, get there for sunrise. Not only will you miss the crowds, but you are also treated to an Eiffel Tower sunrise as the sun comes up behind the Eiffel Tower.

This is a popular spot for photo shoots including engagements and wedding photos. Photographers often bring their clients here for sunrise since it is less crowded, but they do not want you in the background just like you don’t want them in the background. People are often polite and move around to accommodate each other.

Keep in mind that the later sunrise in winter does mean that there are more people there even at sunrise. Luckily the cold temperatures usually help keep people away, but you’ll find people come to this area at all times of the day to enjoy the view.

Trocadero Paris
Trocadero view of the Eiffel Tower
view of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadero

Thanks to the rain when we were there and a clogged drain, I took some of my favorite photos ever with the reflection of the Eiffel Tower in the resulting puddle. We may have also enjoyed a laugh at everyone who was too busy looking at the Eiffel Tower to realize they were in the puddle until they were ankle-deep (thankfully we realized it before getting our feet completely soaked!).

Visiting Trocadero in the winter also means having a chance to go ice skating and experience a Paris Christmas market. If you head to Paris for New Years, the Christmas activities are still up until the first weekend in January usually.

While visiting Trocadero for the view of the Eiffel Tower is free, there are some paid activities in the area as well. Named after the Battle of Trocadero, the area includes the famous Trocadero gardens as well as several museums and the Paris Aquarium.

view of the eiffel tower from trocadero
view of the eiffel tower from trocadero

PARC DU CHAMP-DE-MARS: THE PARK AND BEST PARIS CHRISTMAS MARKET

The Parc du Champ-de-Mars is one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower and the best place to relax in the evening. It is open 24 hours a day every day of the year, and it stays busy thanks to the proximity to the Eiffel Tower.

People fill the park each evening when the weather is good to relax in the evening with friends and family. Bring a blanket and enjoy the light show up close if it is open. Bundle up though as it will be cold!

Along the Champ de Mars, there is also a Christmas market to walk through from late November until the first weekend of January. There are stalls selling food, drinks, and gifts, all with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop.

There was even a skating rink where you can skate next to the Eiffel Tower when we went. The skating rink may not be there every year, but it was fun to watch people skating with the Eiffel Tower towering over them.

Check out our complete list of the best views of the Eiffel Tower for more options.

Paris Christmas markets
paris christmas market by eiffel tower
paris christmas markets
paris christmas market at champ de mars under the eiffel tower

OTHER CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN PARIS

Besides the Christmas market at Champ-de-Mars, there are several other Christmas markets in Paris worth visiting.

Noisy le Grand Market has amazing Christmas decorations and horse-drawn carriages while La Defense has the biggest Christmas market in Paris where you can hand Santa your Christmas list in person.

For more on Christmas in France, check out Helene in Between’s post on the best Christmas markets in France.

VISIT THE GALERIES LAFAYETTE FOR CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Galeries Lafayette goes over the top for Christmas, making the famous shopping center even more beautiful. Featuring a massive Christmas tree in the Dome and Christmas decorations throughout, you’ll find plenty of photo spots in one of the most Instagrammable places in Paris.

Located on Boulevard Hausmann, you can easily join it with a walk down the street to look at other Christmas displays as well.

BEST CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS & CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN PARIS

If you are visiting Paris at Christmas, one of the best things to do for Christmas in Paris is to look at the Christmas lights and decorations. The Champs Elysees is beautiful any time of year, but the Christmas lights and decor make it one of the best things to do in Paris at Christmas. Take a walk down the street and get in the Christmas spirit.

The stores along both Champs Elysees & Boulevard Hausmann go all out with their Christmas window displays, so enjoy a walk on a nice evening to take in the Paris Christmas lights.

Another favorite for Christmas lights and decorations is the Dior store on Avenue Montaigne. There is a massive display above the main entrance, but the windows are also all done up for Christmas.

Bercy Village features 1,200 sparkling umbrellas over the open-air shopping area from mid-November through mid-January each year giving you a little more time to enjoy this Christmas display.

champs elysees at christmas in paris
dior christmas lights in paris
christmas lights in paris at christmas
christmas decorations in paris

VISITING NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL

Due to the fire in Notre Dame, the cathedral itself is closed right now. The reopening date has not been set yet. However, still make the time to go see the exterior of this beautiful church.

Don’t just take time to see the front of the cathedral which is where the crowds are for pictures. Wander around to the back of the cathedral as well. The back is just as beautiful and has very few people most of the time.

If you are up for a winter ice cream like I was, try out Berthillon. There is likely to be a line to get in, but you can also get the ice cream to go. I know ice cream in the winter may not be appealing to everyone, but if you love ice cream, it is a must in Paris.

Don’t make the mistake I did though. I love ice cream and get it in every country we visit. On our first visit, I did it right and just ordered the ice cream.

On one of our later visits, we ate lunch in the restaurant and enjoyed the food. For the ice cream, I ordered a sundae with chocolate topping and whipped cream.

In a large glass, I got one tiny scoop of ice cream and the rest of the glass was filled with the chocolate topping. I couldn’t even taste the ice cream through all of the chocolate syrup covering it. Just get the ice cream if you really want to taste it.

view from the top of notre dame with gargoyles and the eiffel tower
flying buttresses at notre dame
Notre Dame Cathedral Paris
view of the eiffel tower from notre dame in paris
notre dame cathedral paris

PONT ALEXANDRE III

This might be the prettiest bridge in all of Paris. The Pont Alexander III is a popular spot for photos in Paris thanks to how ornate the bridge is.

The bridge itself is beautiful with bronze winged horses standing high up on pedestals representing arts, sciences, commerce, and industry. You can enjoy a view of the Eiffel Tower and of Grand Palais as well.

The views and the beauty of the bridge make it one of the more popular photo spots in Paris, so try to visit earlier in the day to avoid the crowds. Stop by to enjoy the views of Paris from this beautiful bridge before or after walking through the Jardin des Tuileries.

Pont Alexandre III bridge in paris
pont alexandre III in paris

EXPLORE THE JARDIN DES TUILERIES

While the gardens in Paris are generally more beautiful in the summer, they are still beautiful in the winter as well. After visiting the Louvre or on the way there, walk through the Jardin des Tuileries, especially if the weather is good that day.

In the summer, the park benches are filled with people enjoying the day and the gardens. Winter finds the gardens more empty, but still an enjoyable place to walk around in good weather.

ENJOY THE VIEW FROM SACRE-COEUR

Even if you don’t go in the Sacre-Coeur, the view from the steps of the city of Paris make it worth a visit. Entry into the Basilica is free, but there is a cost if you choose to climb the 300 steps to the dome.

For less crowds and beautiful pictures, walk around the Sacre-Coeur instead of sticking to the front. In our three visits to Paris, we have yet to make it up to the Sacre-Coeur, but it is definitely on our list for next time!

If there is snow in winter in Paris, you are more likely to have snow on the ground in the area around the Sacre-Coeur and Montmarte thanks to the higher elevation. It is set on the top of a hill overlooking the city making it have a great view and be able to sustain the snow for a longer time period.

sacre coeur in paris

WANDER AROUND MONTMARTRE

Montmarte is known for being full of photo opportunities. While visiting Sacre-Coeur, stay in the area and wander the streets of Montmartre for a while. Here are a few of the most popular photo spots in Montmartre:

La Maison Rose: A cute cafe that is perfect for photos. Again, visit early in the morning if you don’t want people dining in the background.

Le Consulat: Another cute cafe that is a popular spot, especially in the afternoons. Go earlier in the day to avoid the crowds in the background.

The Sinking House of Montmartre: As you make your way up the steps to the Sacre-Coeur, make sure to look over to the right. The red brick building makes for an optical allusion of a sinking building (just turn your camera a little).

Le Mur des Je T’aime: The Wall of Love is covered in the words “I love you” in over 250 languages.

Place Dalida: This square is perfect for photos as it is one of the prettiest squares in Paris.

Rue l’Abreuvoir: This pretty street features beautiful architecture.

For more Montmartre photo spots, Ophelie from Limitless Secrets is a local who has you covered with her guide to the most Instagrammable places in Montmartre.

PONT DE L’ALMA: THE PERFECT PARIS SUNSET

If I’m being honest, most of the bridges near the Eiffel Tower have a great view. If you want one of the best sunset spots to watch the sunset in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in view, go to Pont de l’Alma.

The sun sets over the river with the Eiffel Tower off to your left. It makes for beautiful sunset pictures with the Eiffel Tower. Plus you can watch the Seine River sunset cruises come by but enjoy the same sunset view for free.

Even if you are not in the area at sunset, it is still worth a stop to enjoy the beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower next to the Seine River.

eiffel tower at sunset from pont de l'alma in paris
eiffel tower sunset in winter from pont de l'alma

WHERE TO STAY IN PARIS IN WINTER

There are tons of options for places to stay in Paris in winter or any time of the year. For us, when we went in the summer, we just wanted something centrally located so we could easily get to everything on the Metro.

In the winter, we wanted something with a view of the Eiffel Tower so that we could enjoy the light show without having to freeze. Again, we are from Florida, so we do not handle the cold well at all! We loved our view because we could watch the light show late into the night without having to leave the room and bundle up again.

Depending on your budget and your preference, here are some recommendations for where to stay in Paris in winter, from places with a great view to more budget options.

For all options for the best places to stay in Paris in winter, you can check out current availability and pricing on Agoda here and on Booking.com here.

view from top of notre dame cathedral of the paris skyline

BEST HOTELS WITH EIFFEL TOWER VIEWS

Peninsula Paris HotelOffering views of the Eiffel Tower from the rooms and the private terraces and rooftop gardens, the Peninsula Paris may be worth a splurge. Check prices and availability on Agoda.com or on Booking.com.

Le Metropolitan Paris Tour Eiffel, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel: This hotel has become more and more famous thanks to Instagram posts posing in front of the oval windows overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Check prices and availability on Agoda.com or on Booking.com.

Hotel Plaza AtheneeAnother of the top luxury hotels in Paris, Plaza Athenee features gorgeous Eiffel Tower views. Check prices and availability on Agoda.com or on Booking.com.

Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel: Located just 300 meters (less than .2 miles) from the Eiffel Tower, you can’t get much closer or much better views of the Eiffel Tower. Check prices and availability on Agoda.com or on Booking.com.

Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile: Located a few miles from the city center, the Hyatt Regency offers a lower price option for an Eiffel Tower view. Check prices and availability on Agoda.com or on Booking.com.

Ibis Paris Tour EiffelWith a 15-minute walk to the Eiffel Tour, the Ibis is another of the more affordable hotels with a view. As always, make sure to request or book a room with a view of the Eiffel Tower. Check prices and availability on Agoda.com or on Booking.com.

La Clef Tour EiffelIf you want opulence and luxury with a view of the Eiffel Tower, La Clef Tour Eiffel is your hotel. Check prices and availability on Agoda.com or on Booking.com.

Shangri-La Hotel ParisThe name Shangri-La is synonymous with luxury throughout the world, but this location features Eiffel Tower views on top of the luxury amenities. Check prices and availability on Agoda.com or on Booking.com.

Mercure Paris Center Tour EiffelThe Mercure Paris Center Tour Eiffel is just a 5 minute walk from the Seine River and one of the more reasonably priced hotels with an Eiffel Tower view. Check prices and availability on Agoda.com or on Booking.com.

streets in paris
flower shop in paris
eiffel tower in paris above buildings

BEST HOTELS WITH A VIEW OF THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE

Hotel Splendid Etoile: This hotel has views directly overlooking the Arc de Triomphe. You can watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Paris without ever leaving the comfort of your room. Check prices and availability on Agoda.com or on Booking.com.

Hotel Royal Elysees: Request a room with a view of Avenue Victor Hugo for a room overlooking the Arc de Triomphe. Then enjoy the celebration from the warmth of your room. Check prices and availability on Agoda.com or on Booking.com.

Hotel Elysees Ceramic: Located on one of the streets leading to the Arc de Triomphe, this hotel also offers Arc de Triomphe views. However, not all of the rooms have this view. Try to get a room on the top floor for the best view. Check prices and availability on Agoda.com or on Booking.com.

paris architecture

WHERE WE STAYED IN PARIS

The first time we went to Paris was in the summer and was a bit of a mess. We did not book a hotel ahead of time. We don’t usually do much planning or booking ahead of time so we can go with the flow. Once we arrived, we walked around for hours thanks to a large event going on and causing most of the hotels to be booked fully.

We ended up staying in a hotel in the red light district near Moulin Rouge without even realizing it. It would have been fine until we found bedbugs. While my husband went to report it and get our room changed, I went to the bathroom and ended up slicing my arm open on the open window above the toilet.

They told us at the front desk that it was not safe to walk to the nearest pharmacy to get bandages, so they ended up calling emergency services to come patch me up. All I wanted was a band-aid so I would not bleed on their sheets, but the medics just put a gauze pad over it and called it a night.

We moved to a new room for the night, but we checked out the next morning when they told us we could have our money back for the bed bug incident only if we left the hotel. Unfortunately, it was so long ago that I did not keep track of the hotel name.

In the end, we moved closer to a major transportation hub and stayed at one of the Timhotel locations in Paris. The location we chose was the Timhotel Opéra Madeleine because it was centrally located. You can find availability and current pricing on Agoda here and on Booking.com here.

Our favorite thing about the hotel was that it was centrally located for the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and the Arc de Triomphe. It was also near lots of restaurants and transportation options. That made it easy to get around and to see everything we wanted to in a short time.

It was also an affordable hotel in Paris but still nice and no bedbugs! Our room was large for a European hotel room with room to sleep four adults. We would stay here again, especially if the view was not important to us. Our room we stayed in when we visited was overlooking a small courtyard, so other rooms may have better views of the city.

paris streets

STAYING IN A PARIS AIRBNB WITH AN EIFFEL TOWER VIEW

Hotels and Airbnbs all seem to charge more for the holidays. We opted for an Airbnb when we could not find a hotel with a view in our price range for our trip over New Year’s to Paris. We also waited until only a few weeks before New Year’s to book a place to stay.

Our Airbnb was perfect for us but does not appear to be accepting bookings anymore. It had a large room that acted as a bedroom, living room, and kitchen with a bathroom and shower. Both the bathroom and the main living area had windows looking out over the city with a view of the Eiffel Tower.

We also loved the location. We could easily walk to Trocadero, the Eiffel Tower, and Arc de Triomphe (1 mile or 1.6 km). This was especially important to us because we did not want to have to worry about transportation on New Year’s Eve when we returned from the Arc de Triomphe.

There were plenty of restaurants nearby, and the view made it easy to watch the light show at the Eiffel Tower from the warmth and comfort of our living room. We would love to stay there again on a return trip to Paris in the future if it becomes available again.

If you want to check out Airbnbs in the same neighborhood, you can find the area here.

Fair warning Airbnb has become more and more well-known as a place for scam artists and for bad hosts to get away with bad behavior. Make sure you book with a superhost and take a full video of the place upon arrival and upon departure. Report any issues directly to Airbnb within 24 hours or they will not do much to help. Communicate with hosts ONLY in the app.

view of eiffel tower from paris airbnb
paris airbnb with an eiffel tower view

MAKING THE MOST OF WINTER IN PARIS

If you plan to visit Paris in the winter, pack lots of layers, enjoy the smaller crowds (other than the holidays), and have some indoor options for rainy days. We loved Paris in winter and would love to go back again for New Year’s one day.

For more Paris tips, check out these blog posts:

How to Spend New Year’s in Paris

The Best Views of the Eiffel Tower

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