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January in Paris? Is it a good time to visit Paris? Well, as Audrey Hepburn once said, “Paris is always a good idea.”
When visiting Paris in January, there will definitely be fewer tourists than in high season. The advantage for the traveller is fewer crowds, cheaper flights, fewer lineups and seeing real Parisians settled into their winter life.
Amidst the grey, January in Paris pops with a burst of yellow. Look for the round golden blooms of mimosa outside the flower shops. Hyacinths and tulips also make an appearance! Sit at a café, listen to street music, and soak up all that January in Paris has to offer.
Weather In Paris In January
It’s no surprise that January in Paris is dreary, wet and chilly. The days are short and can be gloomy. When the sun peeks out be ready to head outside as the winter light in Paris is beautiful.
Expect average daily highs are 8°C (46°F). Sometimes it hovers around 2°C (37°F) or in a warm year around 15°C (59°F). The grass is always green in Paris, unlike in Canada!
Let’s talk about the wind. The wind is cold and makes all the difference in enjoying a January day in Paris.
In January in Paris, the forecast is always for rain. Always take an umbrella with you. In reality, it rarely rains all day. In fact, the sun usually peeps out at some point.
Although it doesn’t snow as frequently as it used to in Paris, the city comes alive when it snows in Paris. Snowmen, snowballs, photo shoots, and tobogganing fill the city of Paris for an hour or two, Then the snow turns to rain and it disappears.
What To Wear In January In Paris
It is cold and damp in January in Paris. Bring a warm winter coat, gloves, scarf and a hat. The sidewalks are rarely slippery so wear comfortable footwear for walking, boots included. The best idea is to wear layers.
Where To Stay In January In Paris
Staying central is always a good idea. Here are a few hotels with excellent locations:
Prefer staying in an apartment? Here are some fabulous Paris apartments:
January In Paris 2023: The Celebrations
January 1 is New Year’s Day which is a National Holiday in France and therefore most shops are closed. Some major tourist attractions are closed but not all. The Eiffel Tower, Château de Versailles and the Musée d’Orsay all remain open. Check specific attractions for opening days.
January 6 is Epiphany and families celebrate with the tradition of sharing a Galette des Rois. These golden pastries appear in the pâtisserie shops for about a month. After the end of January, they are no longer available. There is a delightful tradition where a bean or trinket is hidden between the layers of puff pastry.
Read More | Read my full article on this French tradition of Galette des Rois so you know what to expect on your January visit to Paris.
Here are some of the most popular guided tours and tickets for Paris:
Planning Your Paris Trip? Be sure to book in advance for the most popular things to do. Book your one-hour Seine cruise, a timed-entry ticket to the Louvre, and a skip-the-line ticket to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. And don’t forget Versailles and Disneyland!
January 22 is the Chinese New Year. The celebrations for bringing in the Year of The Water Rabbit last for 2 weeks. Look for parades and lion and dragon dances in several Paris districts. Celebrations take place in the Marais, Belleville, and the 13th arrondissement. The Parade in the Marais is on January 22 and begins at Place de la République. The Chinese New Year Parade in the 13eme is on Sunday, January 29.
January In Paris: Things To Do
1. January In Paris: Christmas Lights
At the beginning of the month, the magnificent Christmas lights are still on display in Paris.
Read my full article on where to see all the best Christmas lights in Paris. One of my favourite places is Place Vendôme.
In 2023, the light display at the Jardin des Plantes runs until mid-January. This is a fun and educational display with large animations in the park’s alleys.
2. The Christmas Markets
Early in the month of January, you will still find a few Christmas markets in operation. Read my full article here on the Christmas markets in Paris.
Think carousels, artisanal goods, and chalets selling tartiflette, hot chocolate and vin chaud!
3. The Seine River In Paris
No matter the time of year, it is always a good idea to walk the banks of the Seine River. My favourite walk is between the Louvre and Ile Saint Louis. Even in January (on the weekends) you will find musicians on the Pont Louis-Phillipe.
Another way to enjoy the Seine River and to get a different perspective on Paris is to hop on one of the Seine River cruises. Try to time it for dusk when the Eiffel Tower lights up. It truly is magical.
Read More | What to do (and how to flâner) on Ile Saint-Louis.
Pro Travel Tip: It’s quite typical for the water of the Seine to rise. In January 2021 for example, the water rose quite high. Everyone was out looking at the water levels and taking photos.
4. January In Paris: Walk The Hidden Passages
To keep warm and out of the rain, the passageways of Paris are a sure bet!
Start with a stroll along the gorgeous mosaic floors of Galerie Vivienne and transport yourself, for a moment, back to 1823 when this covered passageway was filled with Parisians socializing and meeting up at cafés. Today it is possible to do the same! With natural light streaming along the hallway of Galerie Vivienne, the boutiques, stores and cafés are worth exploring.
Also on your radar should be Passage de Panoramas, and Passage des Grand Cerfs.
5. January In Paris: Shop The Paris Sales
It’s rigorous in France. The store sales (“Soldes”) have specific dates in both January and July. In January 2023, the winter sales start on January 11 and run for three weeks. Each week, the prices get a little cheaper!
Pro Travel Tip: If you are here in early January, the “Avant-Premières” (advance sales) start two weeks before the set date. The shopkeepers will say that most items will not be further reduced in price when the sale date starts. Should you take the risk and wait?
It’s fun to go to the shops and department stores, like Le Bon Marché, to browse, shop and watch Parisians perusing the sales. Who doesn’t love a great bargain?
6. Drink Hot Chocolate At Angelina’s
January in Paris is just not complete without a creamy hot chocolate! At Angelina’s the hot chocolate is rich and delightful. Stop by Angelina’s to order a hot chocolate and a couple of macarons. It’s a deluxe January treat.
The original Angelina’s location on rue de Rivoli has a stunning tearoom. In a hurry? Pick up a creamy hot chocolate from the boutique on the fabulous shopping street, rue du Bac.
7. January In Paris: Taking A Cooking Class
Taking a cooking class is the perfect way to spend a chilly January day. Learn with a French chef and come away ready to cook something new and delicious!
I took a cooking class in January at the Ritz Escoffier Cooking School at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. It was the perfect way to spend a chilly January half-day.
These cooking classes that might interest: Parisian Cooking Class with a Chef or a French pastry class.
8. Indulge In A Hammam Experience
On a grey, damp January day in Paris why not head over to the Grand Mosquée in the Latin Quarter? For women only, the Hammam at the Mosque is the perfect way to treat yourself. Sit in the steam room, and have a gommage (a scrub with black soap) and a massage. You will step back out into the Paris streets just relaxed and glowing.
Read More | The full experience at the Hammam at the Paris Mosque
9. Visit A Paris Museum In January
Is there an exhibition that calls to you? Paris is full of marvellous exhibitions. Or, if you need to stay warm, a Paris museum is the perfect way to spend a half-day. It’s a great time of year to visit the Louvre Museum or try visiting a smaller museum like the Musée Marmottan Monet or the Musée Jacquemart-André. Passionate museum-goers will love the 2,4, or 6-day Paris Museum Pass.
Read More | My guide to 20 Paris museums.
10. January In Paris: The Magic Of Christmas at Disneyland
In 2023, the magic of Christmas at Disneyland Paris runs until January 8. Bundle up at the beginning of January and plan a day trip to see Mickey Mouse. Here are some great planning tips for Disneyland Paris.
11. In January Be Like A Parisian: Find The Sun
The minute the sun appears, head to a park. At the Luxembourg Gardens, for example, Parisians fill the iconic green chairs and draw them up against the wall of the Senate where the sun is shining. Noses are poked in the warmth of the sun, newspapers are read and neighbours exchange a few words. Everyone is content when the sun peeks out!
12. Paris Fashion Week In January
Paris Fashion Week is the event when designers and major fashion houses show their ready-to-wear collections for the 2023-2024 year.
The bottom line is that it is nearly impossible to get into a fashion week event without a personal invitation. That being said, if one hangs about there is always the possibility of seeing a fashion icon or a star.
Men’s Fashion Week: January 17 to January 22, 2023
Women’s Fashion Week: January 23 to January 26, 2023
13. Look For Hidden Gems In Paris
It’s one thing to see the major monuments in Paris but uncovering hidden gems is always a treat. Here is my list of 25 hidden gems in Paris.
14. January In Paris: Dine At A Bouillon
Bouillon restaurants offer traditional French cuisine at affordable prices. The service is quick and efficient and they are open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Slip into a Bouillon restaurant in Paris to warm up on a January day. Which one will you choose? My favourite is Bouillon Julien.
Read More | Here is everything you need to know about Bouillon restaurants in Paris.
15. Enjoy A Vintage Car Event
Calling all vintage car lovers! On January 15, 2023, La Traversée de Paris takes place. Imagine, a parade of over 700 classic cars and motorbikes making their way across Paris. They make a stop in Montmartre which will delight any unsuspecting visitors! The cars meet at the Château de Vincennes, liven up the streets of Paris, and then finish at the horserace track in Vincennes. This event also takes place in the summer at the end of July.
16. Go Ice Skating In Paris
Lace up and glide along under Paris winter skies at the Magie de Noël Christmas market in the Tuileries Gardens.
The Grand Palais has the world’s largest temporary indoor rink called The Grands Palais des Glaces. It is closed in 2022-2023 for renovations.
Pro Travel Tip: If you’re a real skating fan, the highest skating rink (“patinoire”) in Paris returns to the Montparnasse Tower from February 4 to March 5, 2023. This Paris skating rink is on the 59th floor and has a 360° view over Paris.
17. January In Paris: Why Not Flâner?
To flâner is to wander, to stroll and to observe life. Paris is the perfect city to flâner, no matter the weather. Sit at a café, linger on the Pont des Arts, and turn down a tiny Paris street with an interesting name. You just never know what you might notice. Some of the best neighbourhoods to flâner are le Marais, Saint Germain des Prés and Montmartre.
Pro Travel Tip: If your trip to Paris is at the beginning of February, check out Paris Face Cachée where venues not normally open to the public are open. Book your tickets in January and enjoy incredible experiences in Paris.
Read More | My guide on how to flâner
I hope you have enjoyed Paris in January as much as I have. Paris is always a good idea!
Until next time,
More Paris Travel Info…
Other Wintery Seasonal Articles:
- French Christmas Traditions to Enjoy
- Paris in the Snow
- Paris in the Winter
- Paris in February
- Galette des Rois
- How to Make the Perfect Cheese Board for the Holidays
Looking Ahead To Other Paris Seasons:
- Paris in the Spring: How to Enjoy the Best Season
- Where To Find the Best Spring Flowers
- Paris in the Summer
- Paris in the Fall
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