As one of the world's dreamiest destinations, Paris never disappoints. Summer sees the Seine lined with people soaking up the city at its sunniest, while the cooler winter temperatures make it the perfect time to explore museums, galleries and cozy cafes.
When planning a visit, it's also worth checking out Paris' extensive festival and events calendar. It's one of the world's best cultural cities, so you can design a trip that includes anything from special operas and hip-hop dance premiers to French Open tennis.
Paris' plentiful accommodation spans all budgets, but it is often fully booked well in advance, particularly during peak times (April to October, as well as public and school holidays). Reservations are essential at these times, but are also recommended year-round.
Whenever you go, you can enjoy all the best things in Paris, from shopping for the latest fashions to seeing the world's most famous works of art. But if you want to find your own perfect time to see the City of Lights, follow our tips on when to visit.
June to August is the best time for relaxing in parks and on beaches
You'll find locals kicking back along the banks of the Seine year-round, but never more so than on warm summer evenings with a picnic and bottle of wine. While the weather will be great and there’s no better time to enjoy the city’s famed cafe culture, you will be sharing the City of Lights with plenty of other tourists. During August many establishments close as locals flee the summer city heat.
December to January is the best time for budget travelers
Sights are quieter and prices lower during winter, making it a great time for budget travelers – but you won’t have to sacrifice everything that makes Paris wonderful. The weather is mostly rainy and chilly (snow is quite infrequent), but ice-skating rinks pop up across the city, including in some truly picturesque spots like Galeries Lafayette's panoramic rooftop. In December, the city will light up with Christmas trees and beautifully-decorated shop windows, making it a very magical month.
March to May and September to October are the best times for a bit of everything
Spring (especially April and May) and autumn (particularly September and October) are ideal for visiting Paris – crowds are thinner, but the weather is temperate and lovely.
In the spring, blossoms give way to leaves greening the city's tree-lined boulevards and flowering window boxes splash color across Paris' Haussman-era facades. Local street markets are perfect for picking up picnic ingredients since temperatures are now warm enough to head to Paris' parks and gardens, including the city's most popular, the Jardin du Luxembourg, and along the Unesco World Heritage-listed riverbanks, particularly the Parc Rives de Seine.
Likewise, the weather is gorgeous and crowds are smaller in fall, making it a great time to go. Autumn colors begin to seep in and the city ups its already impressive cultural offerings.
January is for shopping and culture
The frosty first month of the year isn’t the most festive in Paris, but the winter soldes (sales) – brighten the mood. Also, the city’s vast offerings of theater and dance are in full swing.
Key events: Epiphany; Louis XVI Commemorative Mass; Chinese New Year
February remains chilly, but warms your heart on Valentine’s Day
In February, couples descend on France's romantic capital for Valentine's Day, when virtually all restaurants offer special menus.
Embrace marvelous March as the city starts warming up
Blooms appear in Paris’ parks and gardens, leaves start greening the city’s avenues and festivals and events begin. The weather remains variable (pack rain gear), but trends to warmer.
April is ‘Springtime in Paris’
Sinatra sang about April in Paris, and the month sees the city’s "charm of spring" in full swing, with chestnut trees blossoming and cafe terraces coming into their own. It’s also often the month of Easter.
Magnificent May is tops for warmth without the international crowds
The temperate month of May has more public holidays than any other in France and is a peak time for domestic travel. Watch out for widespread closures, particularly on May Day (1 May). But the main tourism season is just beginning, so May offers a chance to sneak in before the biggest crowds.
June is for summer delight from music festivals to warm-evening strolls
Paris is positively jumping in June, thanks to warm temperatures, a host of outdoor events and long daylight hours, with twilight lingering until late.
Key events: Nuit Blanche; Festival de St-Denis; We Love Green; Fête de la Musique; Marche des Fiertés (Pride); La Goutte d’Or en Fête; Portes Ouvertes des Ateliers d’Artistes de Belleville
Jump into July for peak Parisian summer fun
During the Parisian summer, "beaches" – complete with sun beds, umbrellas, atomizers, lounge chairs and palm trees – line the banks of the Seine and pools hum with swimmers, while shoppers hit the summer soldes (sales). Heat becomes more intense, as do crowds.
August empties of Parisians but fills with international visitors
Parisians desert the city in droves during the summer swelter when, despite an influx of tourists, many restaurants and shops shut. It can be hard to get a good bistro meal (with many closed) but it’s a prime time to cycle, with far less traffic on the roads.
Gentler September brings cooler climes and a rebooted cultural calendar
Tourists leave and Parisians come home: la rentrée marks residents’ return to work and study after the summer break. Cultural life shifts into top gear and the weather is often at its blue-skied best.
Autumn-hued October beckons for low-key days with food and art festivals
October heralds an autumnal kaleidoscope in the city’s parks and gardens, along with bright, crisp days, cool, clear nights and excellent cultural offerings.
Chilly November calls for indoor activities
Dark, chilly days and long, cold nights see Parisians take refuge indoors: the opera and ballet seasons are going strong and there are plenty of cozy bistros and bars.
Paris sparkles in holiday-filled December
Twinkling fairy lights, brightly-decorated Christmas trees and shop windows and outdoor ice-skating rinks make December a wondrous month to be in the City of Light.