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.

The view of Eiffel Tower from a cafe in Paris
Mathias Reding
Top: Maris Orlova

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.

Left: an image of the Eiffel Tower with the bouquinistes of Paris in the foreground, Right; Paris flower shop Flamant, Paris in January
Pronoti Baglary

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.

Left: two girls sending flying kisses at the camera with the Eiffel Tower in Paris in the background, Right: a woman in a pink coat walking in the streets of Paris in January
Left: Diana Titenko; Right: Kelly

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.

left: a vintage car in front of a facade in Paris, Right: a vintage car in the streets of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
Left: Behzad Ghaffarian; Right: Earth

Exhibitions

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.

left museum dorsay, paris; right: museum of arts decoratifs paris
Left: Musée D’Orsay by Pixabay; Right: Musée des Arts Decoratifs by Ethan Tien

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. 

Left: Paris metro approaching the station with the Parisian cityline the background. Right: A window in Paris with a view of a building in Paris
Left: Bastien Nvs ; Right: Leah Kelly

Last chance to view these exhibitions

Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise, Musée D’Orsayends 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

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.

WRITTEN BY

Pronoti Baglary

Pronoti is a freelance writer and photographer based between Paris and Toulouse. She is also the founder of a slow travel blog Détours. Having had an academic training in Sociology, she is interested in everything related to culture & society: languages, arts, literature and technologies. She writes about food, lifestyle, travel, architecture, as well as musings about her life as an expat in Paris. Her work has been published on platforms like Urbansider, Bonjour Paris and Fodors.

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