Note: This post is brought to you by Jason Laloux.
If you’re anything like me, Paris makes the “must-see” list of life’s travels. It’s not about whether or not to go, but rather when. The timing question plays a big part in any vacation planning, and this is especially important in a place like Paris. Having been there during different times of the year, I can tell you that each season has its pros and cons.
Photo credit : Olivier Bruchez
Seasonal Conditions in Paris
Focusing on the holiday season, the obvious drawbacks are weather-related. This is winter, and shortened days can sometimes be even gloomier with cold, rainy conditions. This will make certain outdoor activities less enjoyable, and some restaurants tend to close during this low season.
But that’s a pretty short “cons” list, and the holiday lights and decorations give the city a magic, surreal beauty that easily makes up for it. Also, it doesn’t typically snow during the holidays, so with a decent winter coat and a sturdy umbrella you’ll be just fine.
Seasonal Activities in Paris
As for activities, there’s nothing quite like outdoor ice skating in Paris. You can actually go and skate nearly 60 meters up on the first level of the Eiffel Tower, and there’s another rink down below at Trocadero that’s right near a charming Christmas market. Watch for these markets throughout the city – they’re basically makeshift villages of wooden booths that serve hot wine and offer unique local gifts and gourmet treats.
Speaking of shopping, your best chance for finding bargains at most retail shops is right after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Be sure to mix in a stroll down the beautifully lit Champs Elysees, and duck into La Maison du Chocolat for a cup of hot cocoa that is like nothing else in the world.
Advantages of Visiting Paris Over the Holidays
Probably the biggest advantage to visiting Paris this time of year is that you won’t be surrounded by tourists. Museums and other attractions will have shorter lines, and you’ll have more breathing room to enjoy top sites like Notre Dame Cathedral and the Chateau de Versailles.
Low season also means lower prices, especially for lodging. Hotels can charge up to 50% less during winter, and if you’re traveling with a family or that special someone, you might even consider one of the many available holiday villas. With much less competition from other tourists, you have a better chance of negotiating a reasonable deal no matter where you stay
About the Author
Jason Laloux is a freelance travel writer. When he’s not planning his next surfing vacation, you might find him being a cosmopolitan hedonist and devouring haute cuisine from around the world. His favorite travel destination include Costa Rica, France, and Las Vegas.