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December in Paris

For personal reasons wife and I have to be in Paris for a week in early December. We've been to Paris many times but latest in year was in mid-November. Anybody have any thoughts on this? Are cafes still open? Is it too cold to go outside? Is moving around the city going to be a problem? We're taking a young female relative (not a child) for her first visit. All ideas will be helpful.
Thanks.
Don M.

Posted by
2000 posts

Weather is so changeable and unpredictable these days. I've heard that Paris had a relatively mild winter this year.

In 2012 when I lived in France, we only had very light dustings of snow for a few days. The weather usually didn't keep me from being out and about, and it doesn't deter Parisians either. I've been in France a couple of times in December and while it can be cold, and you have to dress warmly when going outside, everyone is out and about -- enjoying the Christmas markets, cafes, museums and everything Paris has to offer. Everything is open. The decorations are beautiful.
Only issue, it may be freezing if you go up the Eiffel Tower! But you can enjoy the ice skating rink up there, and the one in front of the Hotel de Ville. Plus, there are no crowds of tourists at all the main sights!

Monitor the weekly weather forecast up until the time you leave the states, and pack appropriate clothes and you should have a great time.

Posted by
111 posts

My first visit to Paris was about Dec. 15 - 20. Although I did not have as many picnics-on-a-bench as I normally would, I believe I had at least one. Many cafes have outdoor heaters (and smokers sitting outside). For general sightseeing and walking around, regular fall/winter layers worked fine. Average daily high may be about 45 degrees and overnight low about 35, and some rain, but I would not expect much snow or ice.

Posted by
1658 posts

Yes, one of my memories from a recent trip was people sitting outside at a cafe under their umbrellas when it was POURING down rain!

Posted by
7996 posts

When I've been in Paris in the winter, every cafe I saw had a roof and heavy plastic "walls" for the outside area and heat lamps that really worked. We sat outside and were very comfortable.
I don't know where you're from, but for cold weather I'd recommend one very warm coat with an attached hood rather than layers. When you go inside it is warm and you have to then take off all your layers and hold on to them. With one very warm coat you only have one thing to take off and hold on to. And of course, wear gloves and a scarf.

Posted by
6117 posts

Cities are great winter destinations and Paris is a great one. There is so much to do that is inside that it is no real issue. Cafes have heaters outside so in modestly cold weather you can sit out. The Christmas market, the Grand Roule at Concord, the Christmas lights will all be up. There should be ice skating at the Hotel de Ville. And of course the Opera and other cultural events are in full swing. Great time for Paris. (and it can be cold and rainy in May -- Paris weather is always a crap shoot)

Posted by
77 posts

The past two winters I have been in Paris in both mid November and late December. We had some cold days but the only place we really felt it was in down pour rain in the middle of Versailles gardens. Both trips lines even at the tourist location we had no wait