Oh, Paris, you fooled me again. When I’m away – whether in Boston, L.A. or San Francisco – la vie en rose beckons, making other cities look shabby by comparison. So much so that I forget real life here: the constant manifestations that block your streets, the crottes de chien that decorate your sidewalks, the surly fonctionnaires that populate your public services.

Montmartre after the rain – Magnus D

And most of all, I forget about your weather.

I’m not alone. Movies, songs and countless works of art have celebrated the romance of Parisian weather. In Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, the signature appeal of the protagonist’s dream girl seemed to be her love of getting soaked by la pluie. (As I watched that final scene, all I could think was, “She’s freezing. She is walking across the Pont Alexandre III soaked to the bone. This is supposed to be sexy? She just looks cold.”)

Rainy Montmartre rooftop views – Erica Berman

But remember what they say about expectations? If you don’t have any, you can’t be disappointed. It’s a good maxim to keep in mind when it comes to weather in Paris. Expect gray, rainy skies. Then when they come, you’ll be prepared. And if you happen to score a sparkling sunny day, all the better!

Luc D & Adrıen

Here are some tips to help you manage la metéo.

Rain rules. This one is simple. Don’t venture out in Paris without an umbrella. Even if la meteo.fr predicts sunny skies, even if you wake to a crystal clear, bright morning. Bring. An. Umbrella. It will, in all likelihood, rain at some point during the day. Maybe just for a minute or two but it will rain. Got it?

Susan NYC

Layer up. Chic Parisiennes have this down. Paris weather is prone to wild swings throughout the day. Dress in layers you can peel off as the temperature mounts or pile on as the mercury drops. Cashmere cardigans and fine knit foulards are every Parisian’s friend.

Jack Brodus & patrickw1

Know the season. Paris actually has four real seasons but like all things Parisian, they rarely follow the rules. That can mean a warm-enough-for-a-miniskirt day in November or a down doudoune in August. Parisians cope by following a dress code that they all (mysteriously) seem to just know. In October, think classic trench. By December, it’s high time for that cropped wool pea coat with the fur-trimmed hoodie. Deep winter brings out the cocoon-like parkas or classic wool coats. Knit cashmere caps and soft scarves? Always a “do” in Paris.

Montmartre in the rain – Erica Berman

Outer wear is then shed cautiously as spring makes its approach. Remember this key French phrase: “Au mois d’avril, n’enleve pas un fil. Au mois de mai, fait ce qu’il te plait.” (Loose translation: In April, don’t remove a stitch. In the month of May, dress as you like.)

Of course, no matter the weather, Parisians will grumble about it. It is always either too hot or too cold. Except on those rare, perfect days when the sun shines, Parisians bust out the lunettes de soleil and there’s not a seat to be had on a café terrasse. Those are the days that make us forget it all and we celebrate Paris life as it should be.

Zemzina & Philou.cn

This fall, the weather has been especially unpredictable. After what felt like two weeks of nonstop rain, Paris rewarded its weary residents with a run of sunshine. Then by week’s end, we were back to the woolies again. Oh, Paris, you continue to taunt us. But rain or shine, I’ll always be your fool.

Montmartre in the rain – Erica Berman

Related links:

  • Bryan Piroll’s tips on what to do when rain falls in Paris
  • Amy Thomas has also fallen in love with Paris in the rain
  • How to dress chic in the pouring rain? Tory Hoen and the HiP Paris blog gives you some good suggestions

Written by Paige Bradley Frost for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.


Paige Bradley Frost

Paige Bradley Frost spent nearly a decade in Paris after which she relocated to California serving as Executive Director of the nonprofit organization, Women’s Empowerment International. She has written extensively covering culture, parenting, education, travel, food and politics. Her work as been published by The New York Times Motherlode blog, Huffington Post, Forbes Travel Guides and extensively at HIP Paris.


  1. I’ve just come back from Paris 2 weeks and immediately became tearyeyed looking at your photos. Never knew how magical a place could be. I am thinking, pondering and scheming ways to get back ASAP!!

  2. Parisians due seem to grumble a lot about the weather…it shouldn’t be allowed, living amongst such beauty every day! I’ll take any weather in Paris, any day.

  3. As one of my Parisian professors once said, “The architecture is Paris is so beautiful to distract you from the weather”

  4. NO kidding it rains more in Paris than in London. Love learning new things. What a fabulous post + photos. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  5. I loved this post! I completely agree with you. Coming from sunny California, the weather in Paris was hard to cope with but then the longer I lived here, I realized Paris is magnificent no matter what. As much as I wish these gray skies would disappear, I am still happy to be in this city.

  6. Bonjour Paige– I have just linked this story to the Facebook page for my blog, French Girl in Seattle, this morning. I hope that’s ok. A bientôt. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  7. Hey there,

    Firstly, I love your blog and this post. My wife and I are moving to Paris in January, (she’s French, I was born in Portugal & grew up in Sydney, we currently live in London ) and your posts make me look forward to moving even more! Thanks!

  8. It’s interesting to compare rain (and how residents handle it) in different cities. I never would have guessed that it actually rains more in Paris than in London. Just proves how Paris seduces us into believing its myths! Funny, too that umbrellas are considered “uncool” in Seattle, the rainiest city I can imagine. Vive the North Face fleece (A wardrobe staple in Boston, too…) Thanks for the comments!

  9. Bonjour Paige. Happy I found your blog tonight. As a former Paris resident (and currently an expat near Seattle, WA, for the last 16 years,) I find this story *most* interesting. I know a thing or two about rain, as you can imagine. 🙂 The big difference, I have found between rainy days in Paris and in Seattle is that Parisians never hesitate to use umbrellas. In Seattle, umbrellas are decidedly uncool, and most people seem to prefer getting their North Face fleece jacket drenched… Style is in the eye of the beholder, I guess 🙂 == Veronique (French Girl in Seattle) PS: I am your newest “Follower.”

  10. I was just in Paris in September at the start of 5 weeks in France. We had lovely warm weather- by the time we got back to Paris for our last 7 nights it was the start of October and an altogether different experience. Defienetly wearing layers is recomended and we had two days of rain while trying to sight see- one day was terrential and I don’t think anyone can look sexy in that kind of rain. The temp really dropped and I did have to laugh as we had our 8 and 6 year olds with us my husband and I thought we would be smart and pack 4 of those plastic poncho things in my handbag- we really did look rediculous and my 6 year old got lost in his so we had to give him the umbrella- however we stayed relatively dry and as they went right over our hand bags and kids back packs they stayed dry too. Needless to say we got a few more umbrellas the next day we couldn;t bear looking so stupid! xxCorrina.

  11. I loved this article! But what do Parisians wear on rainy summer days? Is it too warm to wear a rain coat in the summer?

  12. LOL I loved this post! And actually it came at the perfect time for me. My French partner and I were just discussing the weather between London and Paris. Did you know that it actually rains MORE in Paris than in London (642mm vs. 585mm of annual rainfall)? That said, Paris has more sunshine hours (1,630 vs. 1,461). But it still doesn’t take away from the fact that it actually rains more in Paris than in London!! London just has a worse reputation for it. 🙂



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