When is the best time to visit Paris?

Hayley Bosch

With an endless list of attractions, Paris is exciting year-round. Of course, the best time to visit depends on what you’re looking for. In the mild winter, you’ll find picturesque ice skating rinks scattered throughout the city — there’s even one on the first level of the Eiffel Tower. The shops and bistros are festively decorated with lights and garland, bringing a whole new meaning to the moniker “City of Light.” And the weather isn’t so bad either: temperatures hover around 40 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the winter.
 
While spring brings lots of rain, summer is beautiful. Days are in the high 70s and the sun doesn’t set until nearly 10 p.m. each night. The numerous gardens are in bloom, and streets are filled with tourists. It’s easy to see why Paris is such a romantic city — no matter the time of year.

  • On October 31, 2013
    Michelle Doucette answered the question: Michelle Doucette

    What are the best museums in Paris?

    In this world capital of art and culture, it feels as though there's a museum for every day of the year, but there are a certain few I find myself returning to again and again. Here are the Paris museums I would recommend to any first-time or return visitor.

    1. Musée du Louvre. This one is the biggie, of course. Home of "The Mona Lisa," "Venus de Milo" and "Winged Victory of Samothrace." Former home of Louis XIV. Beyond the works of art, the palace itself is a must-see, and entering through I.M. Pei's pyramid never gets old.

    2. Musée d'Orsay. Housed in an awe-inspiring former train station, the Musée d'Orsay has one of the world's greatest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. It's the best place to get acquainted with van Gogh, Gauguin, Lautrec, Degas and the like.

    3. Musée de l'Orangerie. On the Jardin des Tuileries, l'Orangerie displays Monet's "Water Lilies" in spectacular, circular fashion.

    4. Musée Rodin. The sculptor's former home and garden — where you'll find "The Thinker" — is a lovely setting for this large collection of his works. On a sunny day, the garden is the perfect place to take a break from museum-hopping for a bit.

    5. Musée National Picasso. Reopening in summer 2013 after a major renovation, this Picasso museum is a great excuse for hitting up Paris' Marais neighborhood. It also offers a fabulously large collection that's bigger than the museum itself and therefore frequently rotated.

    6. Centre Pompidou. Paris' principal modern art museum often hosts blockbuster exhibits (think Dali) and can always be counted on for a taste of the more out-there reaches of art (think eery audio or empty voids).
  • On October 31, 2013
    Michelle Doucette answered the question: Michelle Doucette

    What are the best museums in Paris?

    In this world capital of art and culture, it feels as though there's a museum for every day of the year, but there are a certain few I find myself returning to again and again. Here are the Paris museums I would recommend to any first-time or return visitor.

    1. Musée du Louvre. This one is the biggie, of course. Home of "The Mona Lisa," "Venus de Milo" and "Winged Victory of Samothrace." Former home of Louis XIV. Beyond the works of art, the palace itself is a must-see, and entering through I.M. Pei's pyramid never gets old.

    2. Musée d'Orsay. Housed in an awe-inspiring former train station, the Musée d'Orsay has one of the world's greatest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. It's the best place to get acquainted with van Gogh, Gauguin, Lautrec, Degas and the like.

    3. Musée de l'Orangerie. On the Jardin des Tuileries, l'Orangerie displays Monet's "Water Lilies" in spectacular, circular fashion.

    4. Musée Rodin. The sculptor's former home and garden — where you'll find "The Thinker" — is a lovely setting for this large collection of his works. On a sunny day, the garden is the perfect place to take a break from museum-hopping for a bit.

    5. Musée National Picasso. Reopening in summer 2013 after a major renovation, this Picasso museum is a great excuse for hitting up Paris' Marais neighborhood. It also offers a fabulously large collection that's bigger than the museum itself and therefore frequently rotated.

    6. Centre Pompidou. Paris' principal modern art museum often hosts blockbuster exhibits (think Dali) and can always be counted on for a taste of the more out-there reaches of art (think eery audio or empty voids).
  • On October 31, 2013
    Michelle Doucette answered the question: Michelle Doucette

    What are the best museums in Paris?

    In this world capital of art and culture, it feels as though there's a museum for every day of the year, but there are a certain few I find myself returning to again and again. Here are the Paris museums I would recommend to any first-time or return visitor.

    1. Musée du Louvre. This one is the biggie, of course. Home of "The Mona Lisa," "Venus de Milo" and "Winged Victory of Samothrace." Former home of Louis XIV. Beyond the works of art, the palace itself is a must-see, and entering through I.M. Pei's pyramid never gets old.

    2. Musée d'Orsay. Housed in an awe-inspiring former train station, the Musée d'Orsay has one of the world's greatest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. It's the best place to get acquainted with van Gogh, Gauguin, Lautrec, Degas and the like.

    3. Musée de l'Orangerie. On the Jardin des Tuileries, l'Orangerie displays Monet's "Water Lilies" in spectacular, circular fashion.

    4. Musée Rodin. The sculptor's former home and garden — where you'll find "The Thinker" — is a lovely setting for this large collection of his works. On a sunny day, the garden is the perfect place to take a break from museum-hopping for a bit.

    5. Musée National Picasso. Reopening in summer 2013 after a major renovation, this Picasso museum is a great excuse for hitting up Paris' Marais neighborhood. It also offers a fabulously large collection that's bigger than the museum itself and therefore frequently rotated.

    6. Centre Pompidou. Paris' principal modern art museum often hosts blockbuster exhibits (think Dali) and can always be counted on for a taste of the more out-there reaches of art (think eery audio or empty voids).
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  • On October 31, 2013
    Michelle Doucette answered the question: Michelle Doucette

    What are the best museums in Paris?

    In this world capital of art and culture, it feels as though there's a museum for every day of the year, but there are a certain few I find myself returning to again and again. Here are the Paris museums I would recommend to any first-time or return visitor.

    1. Musée du Louvre. This one is the biggie, of course. Home of "The Mona Lisa," "Venus de Milo" and "Winged Victory of Samothrace." Former home of Louis XIV. Beyond the works of art, the palace itself is a must-see, and entering through I.M. Pei's pyramid never gets old.

    2. Musée d'Orsay. Housed in an awe-inspiring former train station, the Musée d'Orsay has one of the world's greatest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. It's the best place to get acquainted with van Gogh, Gauguin, Lautrec, Degas and the like.

    3. Musée de l'Orangerie. On the Jardin des Tuileries, l'Orangerie displays Monet's "Water Lilies" in spectacular, circular fashion.

    4. Musée Rodin. The sculptor's former home and garden — where you'll find "The Thinker" — is a lovely setting for this large collection of his works. On a sunny day, the garden is the perfect place to take a break from museum-hopping for a bit.

    5. Musée National Picasso. Reopening in summer 2013 after a major renovation, this Picasso museum is a great excuse for hitting up Paris' Marais neighborhood. It also offers a fabulously large collection that's bigger than the museum itself and therefore frequently rotated.

    6. Centre Pompidou. Paris' principal modern art museum often hosts blockbuster exhibits (think Dali) and can always be counted on for a taste of the more out-there reaches of art (think eery audio or empty voids).
  • On October 31, 2013
    Michelle Doucette answered the question: Michelle Doucette

    What are the best museums in Paris?

    In this world capital of art and culture, it feels as though there's a museum for every day of the year, but there are a certain few I find myself returning to again and again. Here are the Paris museums I would recommend to any first-time or return visitor.

    1. Musée du Louvre. This one is the biggie, of course. Home of "The Mona Lisa," "Venus de Milo" and "Winged Victory of Samothrace." Former home of Louis XIV. Beyond the works of art, the palace itself is a must-see, and entering through I.M. Pei's pyramid never gets old.

    2. Musée d'Orsay. Housed in an awe-inspiring former train station, the Musée d'Orsay has one of the world's greatest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. It's the best place to get acquainted with van Gogh, Gauguin, Lautrec, Degas and the like.

    3. Musée de l'Orangerie. On the Jardin des Tuileries, l'Orangerie displays Monet's "Water Lilies" in spectacular, circular fashion.

    4. Musée Rodin. The sculptor's former home and garden — where you'll find "The Thinker" — is a lovely setting for this large collection of his works. On a sunny day, the garden is the perfect place to take a break from museum-hopping for a bit.

    5. Musée National Picasso. Reopening in summer 2013 after a major renovation, this Picasso museum is a great excuse for hitting up Paris' Marais neighborhood. It also offers a fabulously large collection that's bigger than the museum itself and therefore frequently rotated.

    6. Centre Pompidou. Paris' principal modern art museum often hosts blockbuster exhibits (think Dali) and can always be counted on for a taste of the more out-there reaches of art (think eery audio or empty voids).
  • On July 23, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are the best neighborhood restaurants in Paris?

    Paris is full of quirky neighbourhood restaurants and to find your own coups de coeur, you must branch out and sift through each of its very different neighbourhoods. My top 5 neighbourhood boltholes are Paul Bert in the 11th arrondissement (metro line 8 to Faidherbe Chaligny), for its frankly extremely well prepared brasserie fare. Expect excellent food, excellent service and mid-range prices – and don’t expect to get a table unless you’ve booked at least a week in advance.

    Hôtel Amour (metro lines 2 or 12 to Pigalle or Saint Georges) serves brasserie food with a touch of hip to reflect its trendy surroundings (it’s a Thierry Costes venue). In the summer, book a table in the conservatory for green views of the little garden at the back.

    Located in one of the quieter, lesser-known neighbourhood of Batignolles in the 17th arrondissement, dinner in the garden of Bistrot des Dames (just below the Hotel Eldorado) is a perfect start to the short walk to the Batignolles Square, which is especially pretty in the early afternoon around spring time.

    Tucked away in the lively 11th arrondissement in the Bastille backstreets, you will find the atmospheric Café de l’Industrie – or three Cafés de l’Industrie to be exact (metro lines 1, 5 and 8 to Bastille or Bréguet Sabin). Hoarding two street corners, choose any one of the two main cafés for food as the smaller one of the three only does drinks. Although the food isn’t the best in town, it's cosy and the colonial-themed décor is unusal. 

    And just to mix it up a bit, one of my all-time favourite eateries that wins hands down everytime, is the Vietnamese Paris Hanoi (metro line 9 to rue de Charonne). Its rouleau de printemps starter and beef nem bo-bun are the stars on the menu. It’s so popular that people are prepared to queue outside for hours; if you really can’t wait, there is a second outpost at Philippe Auguste metro station (line 2) about 20 minutes’ walk away. 
  • On July 23, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are the five best Paris food experiences?

    Paris is synonymous with good food so choosing just a handful of experiences is near impossible, especially as Paris is so multicultural, with each culture bringing its own savoir-faire to the city. At a squeeze though, I would select a total French food frenzy at Paris' oldest market founded in 1615: the Marché des Enfants Rouge (outdoor/indoor food market between Temple and the Marais).

    Try one of the best tagines (try the chicken and olive) you will ever taste in Europe in one of the most beautiful settings in the city, at La Mosquée de Paris (not to be confused with La Grande Mosquée de Paris). The restaurant is open to everyone, it has two pretty terraces, shisha on the go and a hammam (note that for the hammam there are different attributed days for men and women). North African culture makes up a large part of Paris’ identity and this is the place to get a feel for it.

    In the summer, you haven’t experienced Paris until you have a picnic of cheese and wine on the Canal Saint Martin or on the banks of the Seine close to Notre Dame Cathedral.

    I mention this earlier on in the question on The 5 best things to see and do in Paris, but I stand by having a crêpe filled with Nutella and chopped banana as you stroll through Montmartre in the crisp cold Christmas air in the winter time as one of the best Paris food experiences. 

    Last but certainly not least, a stop in the Marais’ rue des Rosiers, where you will find the streets lined with Jewish cafés and restaurants serving delicious falafel; you can either sit in or have it to take-away; you'll notice a bunch of people standing or perchinga round indulging in hot falafel throughout the day - just remember that due to the Sabbath, these falafel shops tend to be closed on Saturdays.
  • On July 23, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are the best stores for designer clothes in Paris?

    If you don’t have the time to dart from one end of Paris to the other, your best bet is heading to a department store. Shops in the city aren’t always concentrated in one area and apart from at the Place d’Italie shopping centre, which is fairly average, there are no shopping centres or malls like in the USA. Another difference worth remembering is that most shops are closed on Sundays – the four department stores cited below are all closed on Sundays.

    1. Printemps is on the emblematic Boulevard Haussmann, one of the longest streets of Paris that stretches from behind the Champs Elysées to the Grands Boulevards. A wide range of designer clothing, accessories and cosmetics are sold here. Just beware of the seething crowds – avoid Saturdays at all costs. Metro line 3, 9 or 8 to Havre Caumartin or Chaussée d’Antin Lafayette.

    2. Galeries Lafayette is another upmarket French department store with smaller outposts throughout the country. As well as designer labels, it also stocks mid-range prêt-à-porter like Galerie Lafayette’s own brand range. As above, avoid shopping here on Saturdays as it gets extremely busy. Metro line 3, 9 or 8 to Havre Caumartin or Chaussée d’Antin Lafayette.

    3. Le Bon Marché is a firm favourite among wealthy locals as it only sells upmarket designers. Here you will also find stationery and home ware concessions, cafés, and a wonderful épicerie (food hall) that sells everything you could ever wish for, from macaroons to Heinz baked beans. Metro lines 10 or 12 to Vaneau or Sèvres Babylone.

    4. BHV (Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville) stands in a magnificent location between the Paris Town Hall, the Seine and the bohemian Marais neighbourhood. The BHV stocks everything you could imagine, from bathroom accessories to pricey underwear.
  • On July 23, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are the five best things to see and do in Paris?

    It’s not easy to capture the entire essence of Paris in just five points, especially as there is always something new opening, be it an exhibition, restaurant, hotel or bar. However, if I had to advise someone who didn’t have much time to see the city I would recommend the following:

    1. Seeing the permanent exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay (7th arrondissement, metro line 12 to Solférino). The building, built in 1898, used to be a train station and it is spectacular, as are the works, which range from Courbet Realism to Van Gogh and Degas Impressionism.

    2. Walking the streets of Montmartre (18th arrondissement) Nutella and chopped banana crêpe in hand. Head all the way up the butte (hill) and wander around the Place du Tertre, the Sacré Coeur Basilica from which the views over the city are incredible, and walk down the village’s small winding cobbled streets – Montmartre is where the real romance of Paris roams. 

    3. Another area that encapsulates that quintessential Paris charm is the Marais (3rd arrondissement). Predominantly a gay and Jewish neighbourhood, the narrow streets are lined by some of the most beautiful architecture with some buildings dating back to the thirteenth century. Start from Place des Vosges (metro line 8 to Chemin Vert) and take the rue des Francs-Bourgeois, which will take you all the way across the Marais via its art galleries, chic boutiques, cafés, restaurants and monuments.

    4. Paris’ base, conscious or unconscious, lies in its philosophical past, especially where the existentialists, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre are concerned. In order to fully absorb the magic, follow in the icons’ footsteps to their favourite cafés like Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore in Saint Germain (metro line 4 or 10 to Saint Germain des-Près, Mabillon or Odéon).

    5. A visit to the Château de Versailles (about an hour out of Paris via metro and over-ground train on the RER C) is worth the trip just to admire the full splendour of pre-revolution Paris, when France was still governed by a monarchy – until it was overturned in 1789 on Bastille Day.
  • On July 23, 2013
    Rooksana Hossenally answered the question: Rooksana Hossenally

    What are the five best things to see and do in Paris?

    It’s not easy to capture the entire essence of Paris in just five points, especially as there is always something new opening, be it an exhibition, restaurant, hotel or bar. However, if I had to advise someone who didn’t have much time to see the city I would recommend the following:

    1. Seeing the permanent exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay (7th arrondissement, metro line 12 to Solférino). The building, built in 1898, used to be a train station and it is spectacular, as are the works, which range from Courbet Realism to Van Gogh and Degas Impressionism.

    2. Walking the streets of Montmartre (18th arrondissement) Nutella and chopped banana crêpe in hand. Head all the way up the butte (hill) and wander around the Place du Tertre, the Sacré Coeur Basilica from which the views over the city are incredible, and walk down the village’s small winding cobbled streets – Montmartre is where the real romance of Paris roams. 

    3. Another area that encapsulates that quintessential Paris charm is the Marais (3rd arrondissement). Predominantly a gay and Jewish neighbourhood, the narrow streets are lined by some of the most beautiful architecture with some buildings dating back to the thirteenth century. Start from Place des Vosges (metro line 8 to Chemin Vert) and take the rue des Francs-Bourgeois, which will take you all the way across the Marais via its art galleries, chic boutiques, cafés, restaurants and monuments.

    4. Paris’ base, conscious or unconscious, lies in its philosophical past, especially where the existentialists, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre are concerned. In order to fully absorb the magic, follow in the icons’ footsteps to their favourite cafés like Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore in Saint Germain (metro line 4 or 10 to Saint Germain des-Près, Mabillon or Odéon).

    5. A visit to the Château de Versailles (about an hour out of Paris via metro and over-ground train on the RER C) is worth the trip just to admire the full splendour of pre-revolution Paris, when France was still governed by a monarchy – until it was overturned in 1789 on Bastille Day.
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