Does it Snow in Paris, France? Everything You Need to Know

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Does it snow in Paris?

Paris needs no introduction. Known for its beautiful architecture, culture, food and being the world’s most romantic city, Paris has been attracting travelers for years.

But If you’re thinking of visiting Paris this winter and wondering if you’ll be able to see snow, you’re in the right place. I’ve visited Paris multiple times with local friends, and I’m here to tell you everything you need to know about snow in Paris, so you can hopefully experience the city as a winter wonderland, too!

Does it Snow in Paris?

So, does it snow in Paris? The answer is yes, but sadly very little. Although it snows in the center of Paris almost every year, it is usually very light and doesn’t stick for more than a few hours.

Snowfall can also be very unpredictable. Although the city averages 3-15 days of snowfall per year, there have been years with almost no snow at all.

Even when it does snow in the city center, it is usually limited to flakes falling from the sky, and most of the time it doesn’t settle enough to blanket the the city in white.

That being said, there have been several occasions over the last few years where snow has settled in Paris during winter, and if you’re flexible about your travel dates it may be possible for you to see snow in the city.

When does it snow in Paris?

view of Hotel d ville in Paris

If you’re looking to see snowfall in Paris, it is usually recommended to visit during the winter months from December to March.

But my local friends have always said that the best time to see snow in Paris is specifically from mid-January to mid-February, as that’s when the city is its coldest.

However, even during these months the weather often stays above freezing, meaning that if it snows at all it is likely to melt on impact.

Even then, exploring the city of love while snowflakes fall, even if they don’t settle, is still an amazing experience. And if you’re flexible with your travel dates, that could be very possible.

When Was the Last Time it Snowed in Paris? 

The last time there was a large snowfall in Paris was February 2018, when the city was blanketed under up to 5.9 inches of snow.

Because it doesn’t snow often in the city, snowfall like this disrupts the entire system. Public transport stopped running, roads were chaos and the system was completely unprepared. Even the slightest snow can leave Paris in chaos, which is good to know if you’re planning a wintry visit.

Does it Snow in Paris at Christmas? 

Though there’s a chance you’ll be lucky enough to have a white Christmas in Paris, it’s unlikely. Sadly, it only snows in the city 3-15 days per year, usually less, and the chance of that landing on Christmas Day is pretty low.

However, there have been a few occasions of snow recorded around Christmas time, and there’s always a chance you’ll get lucky! And even without snow, Christmas in Paris is a lively experience you’ll never forget.

From ice skating to sipping on the world’s best hot chocolate to sampling Champagne, there will always be something to do.

What Are Winters Like in Paris? 

You can see the Louvre (pictured) on some Paris layover tours

Winter in Paris gets quite cold, although often not enough for snow. The average winter temperatures in Paris range from 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit, although they can go both lower and higher.

In the winter Paris becomes rainy and cloudy, sometimes with sleet. The weather can be gloomy and cold, while the city is regularly overcast. Some locals I know struggle to live in the city during this time, as the days are short and there isn’t much sun.

However, if you aren’t averse to cold, it is still possible to have an amazing time traveling in Paris in winter. Even if it’s only for a short visit. Just make sure to bring a raincoat!

How Often Does it Snow in Paris? 

On average, Paris sees 3-15 days of snowfall per year. It is not very often that the city finds itself under snow, and some years it doesn’t snow at all.

However, in Paris’s surrounding regions, snow is a bit more common. Most of France’s snow is a few hours’ drive away, while it is possible to see more snow within 45 45-minute drive. If you’re looking for a winter wonderland for the holidays try nearby Strasbourg, the Christmas capitol!

Where are the Best Places to See Snow in Paris

If you happen to be in Paris while it’s snowing, there are some sights made even more magical by this icy touch. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is Paris’ most iconic landmark and one of the most beautiful places you can go to see the snowfall. Grab a warm crepe from a stall in the park and take a walk around its gardens as the snow falls. It’s also an amazing opportunity to take some iconic photos, so don’t forget a camera.

Keep in mind that usually, the Eiffel Tower will close when it snows, but even if you can’t climb up you can still enjoy its grandeur and the beautiful surrounding park.


steps lead up to Sacre Couer in Montmartre Paris

Montmartre not only has some of the most iconic views in Paris but, since it is the city’s highest point, it is also where you’ll find the most snow. Head up to the top and you may even find people sledding down the slopes.

Afterward, walk around the beautiful cobblestone streets of the area. Pop into a cafe to grab a bite to eat of traditional warm French food, and coffee with views of Paris’s most famous neighborhood.

Jardin Du Luxembourg

Imagine Paris’s most famous gardens under a dusting of snow, it sounds like a winter wonderland, right? With beautiful architecture and nature, the Garden Du Luxembourg is the perfect place to take a beautiful walk with the snowflakes.

Head to Paris’s 6th arrondissement and take a stroll through the tree-lined paths, but make sure to wear plenty of warm clothes.

The Arc De Triomphe

does it snow in Paris? yes, view of arc de triomphe Paris in the snow

For a panoramic view over Paris’ charming streets and the Eiffel Tower, the viewpoint at the top of the Arc De Triomphe is a must-visit when it snows. Climb to the top to see one of the city’s most iconic views, made even prettier under snow.

What Should Be on Your Paris Winter Packing List 

Paris can get very cold in winter, so it’s important to be prepared! Here’s everything that should be in your bag for staying warm and safe on a winter trip to Paris.

  • Raincoat – Parisian winters can be very rainy, so having a raincoat on you could save you from getting wet and cold as the elements shift.
  • Pack down umbrella– Pack-down umbrellas are a lifesaver for when it suddenly starts to rain. Much of the time when walking around Paris you won’t be covered, so bringing a packable umbrella in your bag will be a game-changer.
  • Warm accessories – Accessories like gloves, fluffy socks, beanies and scarves are essentials for Paris’ cold winter weather. Exploring the city will be much more fun if you’re cozy.
  • Earmuffs. – Paris temperatures can get frigid in winter, so bring a pair of fluffy earmuffs to stay stylish and warm.
  • Winter boots – Go for leather boots, ankle boots, or waterproof boots for the cold temperatures. Leather boots especially are a Parisian staple, and good for the snow too!
  • Chunky knit sweaters – For style and comfort, consider breaking out your chunky skit sweaters. Many people wear them around the city, and they’re guaranteed to keep you warm on cold days.
  • Camera – You wouldn’t want to miss capturing the beauty of a Parisian winter, so make sure you pack your camera.

Tips for Navigating Snow in Paris from Locals

After traveling solo to Paris and meeting many local Parisian friends, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to navigate snow in Paris. Here are my top tips from locals on how to get the best out of the city when it snows and the most important things to know:

Head uphill

The higher you go, the more snow you get. Which is why my Parisian friends recommend you head up to Montmartre when it snows! As the city’s highest point, it is the best place to go to see as much snow as possible.

Other areas near the city, like Fontainebleau, that have a little more elevation also tend to receive more snow. So if you have time, head out 45 minutes out from the city to enjoy the town and its surrounding nature.

Bring good shoes

When it snows in Paris, the streets and sidewalks often get covered in a thin layer of ice. This can make walking very slippery and sometimes dangerous.

To avoid falling, wear shoes with good grip. Winter boots tend to be a good choice, but high heels and shoes with smoother soles should be avoided. 

Public transport will probably close

Since it hardly snows, the city’s systems are simply not equipped for it. Meaning that a lot of the time public transport closes and Ubers or taxis don’t run nearly as much.

Because of this, it may be difficult to leave your area if not on foot. So keep this in mind when considering what area you’d like to stay in and try to keep a flexible itinerary.

Best Things to Do When it Snows in Paris

Though snowfall in Paris is a rarity, if you’re lucky enough to be there when it does snow you’ll want to make the most of it. Here are my top things to do when it snows in Paris!

Drink the world’s best hot chocolate

Paris Crepes Paris Bakery
Photo by Valentin B. Kremer on Unsplash

Many people say the worlds best hot chocolate can be found in Paris, and the delicious drink should always be your first stop on a cold winters day in the city.

Made extra thick (almost like melted chocolate) with a side of whipped cream, the famous drink can be found all over. But, the most well known is found at the cafe Un Dimanche à Paris (Sunday in Paris).

Go Ice Skating

There are many beautiful ice skating rinks that pop up around Paris during winter alongside the famous indoor ones.

The Tuileries Garden Ice Rink located at the end of the famous Champs Elysées Avenue is one of the most iconic outdoor skating rinks. If it snows (or even if it doesn’t) this ice skating rink is a must-go-to.

Go Sledding

If you end up heading to Montmartre, bring a piece of cardboard or plastic and join in the sledding. It’s not uncommon to see kids sledding down any hill they can find when it snows, and the steep hills of Montmartre create the best opportunity to do so in the city.

Visit Famous Landmarks

Visiting famous landmarks is a must-do when it snows. Seeing places like the Eiffel Tower and Louvre under snow is a completely different experience, and an opportunity to take some iconic photographs you’ll treasure forever.

Final Thoughts: Does it Snow in Paris

Even though it only snows in Paris a few days a year, there are many ways to enjoy a Parisian winter even without snowfall. If you’re lucky enough, you may even be in the city at the right time to see one of its yearly days of light snowfall.

And although snow isn’t guaranteed, it IS guaranteed that you’ll have a good time. So pack a warm scarf and get on traveling! 

About the author: Luca Saunders is a youth travel writer and creator of Hello World, Here I Come