After the holiday season and December festivities, January can be a tough act to follow. To begin with, New Year’s Day is a national holiday in France. So expect most businesses and stores to be closed. But don’t be fooled by the slow start to this month! If you are looking for ideas for things to do and see in Paris in January, there are more than enough activities lined up in the city this month.
Paris in January ushers in a serene ambiance after the glitter and fireworks of the end of the year. There is a contemplative vibe in the city of light. There are also fewer tourists since it is low season.
This means even tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower or Mona Lisa at the Louvre have fewer crowds, compared to the long lines during the summer months. If you’re looking for a bite to eat and want to avoid tourist traps on your visit make sure to check out our top rated places for where to eat near the Eiffel Tower and restaurants near the Louvre.
Weather and how to pack
Winter in France starts from the end of December and continues until mid-March. Average temperatures in Paris in January oscillates between 3°C – 7°C (37°F to 45°F), making this the coldest month of the year.
There are quite a few rainy days, with fewer sunny days than any other winter months. Snow is not usual but, if you are lucky, there might be 1 or 2 days of moderate snowfall between end of January and the beginning of February.
If you are planning a trip to Paris in January, and wondering how to pack, I would advise you to follow the locals. Embrace the balance between style and warmth, by dressing in versatile layers. To make the most of this month, two most important things to pack, are waterproof shoes and warm socks.
Carry scarves, hats and gloves to ward off the chill. Add in your most fabulous winter coat and elegant boots to the ensemble, and you’ll be all sorted to have a wonderful time in Paris, despite the cold/rainy weather.
Things to do in Paris in January
Embrace the coziness of the winter months indoors by immersing yourself in the French capital’s thriving cultural scene. Warm up with a visit to the Louvre, or Musée d’Orsay, or spend time exploring some of the city’s beautiful covered passages, like Galerie Vivienne.
On sunny days, head out for a walk along the Seine river or sunbath in one of the many gardens of Paris. The major gardens in the city, like Jardin des Tuileries or Luxembourg Gardens look especially spectacular with winter foliage and flora. If you want both nature and warmth in an offbeat setting, visit one of these winter gardens in Paris.
Come rain or shine, its always a great time to go restaurant hopping, and trying out new addresses in Paris. Enjoy some leisurely hot chocolate and melty cheese at a cute café. Or try out a cooking class like this one by Ferrandi Paris. We wrote about our recent experience at Ferrandi’s Tarte Tatin class if you want to find out more.
Speaking of food, one thing that you should not miss in Paris in January, is trying some delectable galettes des rois (or king’s cake). These start flooding patisseries from early January. Here are some of our favorite galettes des rois in Paris.
This pastry is traditionally associated with the day of Epiphany (January 06). The delicious flakey pastry is filled with frangipane, a sweet almond based custard. Be sure to be on the lookout for the tiny figurine hidden inside.
Winter Sales in France, January 10-February 6, 2024
This is best time to indulge in some retail therapy in Paris. Almost every major brand and department store (including the popular ones like Galeries Lafayette & Printemps) participates in the sales, called les soldes in French. Get your fill of French fashion and lifestyle, with a side of deep discounts.
Paris Fashion Week 2024, January 16 – January 21, 2024
One of the most prestigious fashion events in the world is returning again this January. Experiencing Fashion Week in Paris is an unparalleled extravaganza of fashion and design. If you are a fashion-lover, there is no better time that this to be visiting the French capital.
Dalí- L’art dans la nature, La Villette, until 21 January, 2024
This innovative light experience combines art and technology. Taking place in open air, this sensory journey invites you to the surrealist universe of the iconic artist Salvador Dalí. Images from the artist’s paintings have been presented with glowing and luminous light installations. This interactive show has been a hit both for adults and children.
Festival Dragons et Lanternes, Bois de Boulogne, until 25 February
The winter months sees several festival of lights held across France. One of them, is the Festival Dragons et Lanternes, which promises a magical journey alongside fantastic creatures from classic of Chinese literature. The lanterns were all manufactured by the craftsmen of the Shanghai Yuyuan Garden.
Salon Rétromobile 2024, Porte de Versailles, January 31- February 4, 2024
If you love classic automobiles, or are in the mood to admire vintage cars, this exhibition is just for you. Salon Rétromobile is pop-up museum dedicated to classic vehicles. This brings together artists, manufacturers, clubs, federations, car dealers, and anyone who is interested in this world.
Mode et Sport, d’un podium à l’autre, Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris, until 7 April 2024
This is an ideal exhibition to catch in the run-up to the Paris Olympics this year. Mode et Sport, d’un podium à l’autre traces the evolution of sportswear and its influence on contemporary fashion. This event highlights work by designers such as Jean Patou, Jeanne Lanvin, Gabrielle Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli. The set presents 450 pieces including clothing, accessories, photographs, sketches, magazines, posters, paintings, sculptures and videos.
Iris van Herpen, Sculpting the Senses, Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris, until 28 April 2024
Another not-to-be-missed exhibition for fashion lovers at Iris van Herpen at MAD Paris, this exhibition presents over one hundred pieces made by Iris van Herpen. Her designs pushes the boundaries of fashion by combining traditional couture craftsmanship and innovative techniques. Visit to see some of the most poetic, surreal, and sculptural haute couture creations.
Viviane Sassen, PHOSPHOR: Art & Fashion 1990-2023, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, until 11 November 2024
This first retrospective by Dutch artist Viviane Sassen brings together more than 200 creations. Her photographic style, with intense colors and play of light and shadow, transcends the boundaries of collage, painting and video.
Chéri Samba, Dans la collection Jean Pigozzi, Musée Maillol, until 7 April 2024
This exhibition at Maillol Museum is the first retrospective of the painter Chéri Samba’s work. Born in Congo, the self-portrait as a central element of her painting. The show covers 40 years of her creations, that highlights themes such as geopolitics, environment and woman of Congo and Africa.
Métro ! Le Grand Paris en mouvement, Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, until 02 June 2024
As the Grand Paris Express promises to usher in a new era in public transport in Paris, Métro! Le Grand Paris en mouvement is a look back at the history of metro in the city. This will be of particular interest to history buffs, as well as people interested in learning more about city planning, ecology and what it takes to make a city move.
Last chance to view these exhibitions
Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise, Musée D’Orsay, ends February 04, 2024
Gertrude Stein et Pablo Picasso, Musée du Luxembourg, ends January 28, 2024
Chagall: Paris-New York, Atelier des Lumières, ends January 7, 2024
Amadeo Modigliani. Un peintre et son marchand, Musée de l’Orangerie, ends January 15, 2024
Bollywood Superstars : Histoire d’un cinéma Indien, Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, ends 14 January 2024
Nicolas de Staël, at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, ends 21 January 2024
- Brush up on your French with the best French streaming service for Francophiles.
- For more resources on France, refer to our recommendations of our top French-inspired books.
- For Paris museums off the beaten path, read about the best non-touristy museums in the city.
- Find out what to do in Paris in February, another great month for avoiding crowds and enjoying the City of Light.
Written by Pronoti Baglary. Looking to travel? Check out Plum Guide and our Marketplace for fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long or short term, or buy in France? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person? Check out our marketplace shop and experiences.