Is it wise to go to Paris in winter?

Old Jan 9th, 2001, 02:10 PM
Carol S.
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Is it wise to go to Paris in winter?

Bon jour, mes amis - I'm having severe Paris withdrawal symptoms, but it may be awhile before we can afford to go again during the summer. Therefore, what's the scoop on going to Paris in winter? The fares and hotel prices are a lot more affordable, but I know it's going to be cold. The question is, how cold is cold? Will major attractions be closed? Will we still be able to enjoy our stay?
Old Jan 9th, 2001, 02:18 PM
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Carol, you may have stumbled onto one of travel's best-kept secrets: Europe (and Paris, in particular) in winter. Everything is open! Oh, maybe a carousel here and there is boarded up. But everything else is going full blast. The theater, the opera, all the museums. Sure, the gardens are asleep, but so what! Crowds are smaller, restaurants are less rushed, rooms are much more available, and Parisians seem much less harried. By all means, GO! As for weather, it compares with Washington, D.C.--more likely to drizzle than freeze. But lots of sunshine most of the time. Doubt it? Just check the Paris weather reports; lows in the 30s, highs in the 40-50s.
Old Jan 9th, 2001, 02:21 PM
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The airfares are a about half, but that's about it. Major attractions aren't closed just because it's winter except for garden-type things (like Giverny). You can look up historical weather info in a number of places on the web, the weather section on USA Today newspaper links to a good one (used to be PreviewTravel, I guess Travelocity now)--it is about like Washington DC weather in winter, although it's fairly warm there now compared to here, I believe. It gets dark a lot earlier, also (ie, about 5 pm vs close to 10 pm in July), a lot of people forget that, which makes a BIG difference in enjoyment to me but I think that's because I am female and frequently travel alone. What hotel rates are you comparing that you see them a lot cheaper in winter? I've seen a few Parisian hotels offer slightly lower rates in winter, but most that I've seen do not, and many more offer lower rates in July and August because that is considered the low season for Parisian hotels as there is much less business bookings (you might not see that at a really cheap hotel that doesn't get any business guests, but many ordinary small 3 star hotels usu lower rates in July-Aug). I don't think anyone can answer this for you, it depends on your tolerance of cold weather and what you like to do when visiting foreign countries. Paris would be a lot better than countries where it REALLY gets cold and snows.
Old Jan 9th, 2001, 03:13 PM
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Dear Carol,
For the weather, think New York, though much less brutal thanks to the Gulfstream (not as bitterly cold in the winter and muggy in the sumer).
For prices and fares, you're being smart: much better deals than in the summer!
For events, think that you'll have more to do with less tourists in the way. Paris' cultural season tends to "shut down" in the summer, when the cultural life moves to the provinces--in the winter, you'll have more shows and exhibits to choose from.
You will have fun!
Old Jan 9th, 2001, 03:30 PM
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It also depends the type of weather you are used to. I live in Upstate New York and am looking forward to the "heat wave" on Rome next month (average 50-55 degree F weather). I believe so much about cold weather is appropriate clothing. If I want heat, I go to the Caribbean; for all else, Europe in the winter-spring for me...would not have it any other way.
Old Jan 9th, 2001, 05:26 PM
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One thing to keep in mind is that winter is "strike season." You could run into strikes by truck drivers or beef producers [blocking the roads from the airport], metro or musem workers [self-explanatory], plane refuelers, air traffic controllers etc....

If you can maintain your sense of humor, your flexibility and your ability to invent as you go winter is a great time to visit Paris
Old Jan 10th, 2001, 01:07 PM
Doug Weller
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We went to Paris during the 3rd week of February last year and had a marvelous time. Going to Rome this February.

It's an excellent time to travel in my opinion if you don't mind it a bit cool -- better than blazing hot!

Virtually everything is open.

Old Jan 10th, 2001, 02:23 PM
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Oh yeah GO- we went last Jan and are going in 2 wks again. The airfares are low and except for the fact you can't sit outside in cafe's and drink everything was great.
Museums not crowded.
Hotel was 450.00 Francs about 60.00-pls see my other psting-re; my journals and pics on internet posted at 607pm et today-see move down and look for guide Kathy-hey thats me look at my review and pics. Thanks
Old Jan 10th, 2001, 03:37 PM
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Went to Paris last month. The weather was indeed cool in the 40's and low 50's, but it was dry. Paris was a fairyland of lights. Shopping was wonderful and the dollar-exchange was the best it will probably be in a long time. I was a little leery of travelling to Europe in December, but I'd do it again in a minute!
Old Jan 11th, 2001, 05:12 AM
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AS opposed to NOT going? Paris any time is OK with me. In the winter less crowded, everything open, Angelina's hot chocolate.
Old Jan 11th, 2001, 05:35 AM
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The only time in the winter that I would NEVER go to Paris is during the after Christmas break.

There's mobs of tourists, the likes of which you've probably never seen, from Christmas up until New Years.

There are at least 3 hour lines to get into most attractions and it can get a little cold waiting.

But the cold comes and goes - most days it's comfortable. And then something will blow in for a few days causing cold blowing rain.

But that's really the only time of year, Christmas to New Years, that I would avoid the place.

And that goes for London too!
Old Jan 11th, 2001, 05:40 AM
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Isn't every season 'strike' season in France? ha ha
Old Jan 11th, 2001, 06:00 AM
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Definitely go! Compared to Chicago, I think the weather is positively balmy - although more accurately it is a lot like Washington DC or St. Louis - if you don't want to wear a coat, you won't want to go, but if you're used to hats, scarves, sweaters, fleecelined boots and frostbite, it will seem like paradise. (and of course, there's the hot chocolate to compensate for whatever cold you encounter)
The advice about the Christmas season is something to consider. I love to go to Paris for Christmas, but I have 2 weeks off of work, so it's perfect for me. But, except for airfares, things aren't inexpensive, and lines are long, things are sort of crowded, but the Christmas lights are wonderful.
How about Valentine's Day? Or any day? If you truly love Paris, you'll find things to do. GO!!!
Old Jan 11th, 2001, 06:31 AM
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I got back last night from a week in Paris. I flew from Atlanta, and it was colder in Atlanta than it was in Paris. Paris was in the 40's and above the whole time. At our Hotel, the Atlantide Republic (near Republic Square), you could get a room with 2 double beds (small beds), and a private bathroom for about 680F ($100). Probably a decent hotel as far as French ones go. Having a private bath was a big plus. I liked the area because it wasnt too terribly touristy and the Hotel staff was pretty friendly and helped us out with whatever we needed. As far as going in the winter, go for it. About the only thing you'll miss out on are the Garden and stuff, which are just as impressive in the winter. For me, a little chilly weather is a fair trade off to fighting throngs of annoying tourists. We hardly had to wait in line for anything. If you're going soon and want some info, let me know.

Old Jan 11th, 2001, 01:08 PM
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We went to Paris in mid-February a few years ago. It drizzled the whole first day we were there, but then it was sunny and about 45 the rest of the time. The only bummer was that they were doing work on Notre Dame, so a lot of the front was obscured by scaffolding and the towers were closed. But you have to pick sometime to do the renovations, and the sensible thing would be to pick the slow season. Of course that was a few years ago and I'm sure they're done with that part of Notre Dame. I wouldn't think of going to Europe in the "high" season after having been there in the "off". The weather was quite pleasant (but I'm also comparing that to upstate NY). It was a little chilly sitting at an outdoor cafe, but we weren't the ONLY ones doing it, either! However, even in the off season, there were lines for everything on the weekends (Louvre, Eiffel Tower, etc.) We tried to get to the main attractions early, but then again you can only be one place at 9 am, so we did have some short waits. Have fun!

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