Winter activities in Paris: our top 10 must-take trips and unusual experiences

november 2023

As the cold weather creeps in are you wondering what to do in Paris over winter? Whether you’re a culture buff, gastronomy lover or prefer the fresh air, the capital has a wide range of entertainment and less common activities for you to enjoy. Read on to discover our ideas for outings to keep you occupied in Paris this winter.

Ice skating in the heart of the capital

Winter sports fan? No need for a ski resort to indulge your passion!
At the end of the year, several ice rinks pop up around Paris, where you can rediscover the feeling of skating in the heart of the capital, far from the mountains! The one at the Tuileries Christmas market is a must!  Pailleron ice rink is also open all year round, inside a huge sports complex. A great place to have fun with family or friends.

patinage paris
© Julien Jean

Visit Paris’ Christmas markets

For a dose of Christmas spirit over the holiday season, check out some of the many Christmas markets around the capital. The districts of La Défense, Montmartre and Notre-Dame are all home to fantastic festive villages every year. Wander through them to root out the perfect Christmas gift or try some delicious culinary specialities.

marché de noel tuileries paris
© Chun Ju Wu

Unusual shows and concerts

Winter is the perfect season for discovering the Parisian cultural scene. The options for original outings are endless! For example, why not spend one of your evenings at the Moulin Rouge, watching the breathtaking Revue show, Féerie? Opt for the Candlelight experience and enjoy an intimate concert by candlelight. With the family, take a trip to the Opéra Garnier or visit the Comédie-Française to watch the play The Snow Queen: the forgotten story.

spectacle féerie moulin rouge paris
© Bertrand Royer

Museums and art galleries

Paris is a city rich in cultural venues, and winter is the perfect season to visit a museum. Among the must-sees are the Pompidou Centre and the Louis Vuitton Foundation, showcasing stunning contemporary art exhibitions. Or you could head to the Marais district for a guided tour of the city’s most beautiful art galleries.

During the winter holidays, plan a museum or exhibition trip with your family. Why not explore the National Museum of Natural History? Or the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie (Science Museum) to explore the spectacular “space mission” exhibition? Whilst the Atelier des Lumières offers an amazing immersive ocean-exploring experience. Discover the world whilst having fun!

atelier des lumières paris
© Jurre Wolters

A family cinema trip

Make the most of the holiday season to discover the latest films showing at Parisian cinemas. Book a showing at one of France’s biggest cinemas, such as the Grand Rex or the Gaumont Opéra. For a showing somewhere a little more offbeat, head to the Louxor cinema. This iconic venue in the Barbès district of Paris presents a diverse programme, that prioritises independent films.

Relaxation and wellness in the best Spas in Paris

To counter the cold and the winter season, there’s nothing like a relaxing spa day, alone, as a couple, or with friends! Hammam, saunas, facials or full body treatments…the possibilities are endless! And, for an unforgettable experience, opt for a more atypical Parisian spa.

The Spa Nuxe in Montorgueil, for example, welcomes you to the heart of Paris in a former 17th century cellar. Enjoy an enchanted escape in an incredible setting alongside a choice of luxury treatments.

Another amazing experience can be had at Spa Dans le Noir, a unique venue in Paris. All the treatments are performed by blind or visually impaired practitioners, either in the dark or dim lighting. Surrender yourself to the expert hands of the masseuses and masseurs there and experience something out of the ordinary!

Another less common Parisian spot is the Spa by Clarins, located inside the Molitor complex, which offers, as well as traditional treatments, those specially designed for athletes. Clients can avail of innovative techniques such as cryotherapy, LPG (endermologie) and chiropractic treatments. And whilst you’re at it, take the opportunity to book an overnight at the Molitor hotel and extend your wellness break.

spa paris
© Olena Yakobchuk

Cooking or baking classes

How about using the winter season to take a cooking or baking class? Learn to cook with the best Parisian chefs at a quirky culinary workshop. Uncover at long last the basics in French cuisine, Italian or Japanese cuisine! Some establishments also offer parent/child workshops during the Christmas holidays, for some original, food-focussed fun with your family!

Cours de cuisine
© Dariia Havriusieva

Nightlife in the city centre

Paris is a city famous for its vibrant nightlife scene and its many bars and nightclubs. For a wicked winter night out, check out the Machine du Moulin Rouge. This iconic venue in the Montmartre district is one of a kind as well as being one of the biggest clubs in Europe. It’s a must-see stop on the Parisian nightlife trail, with innovative music shows on offer. So enjoy a drink with friends and let yourself be swept away by the music and party atmosphere!

Promenading in Paris

Winter is perfect for long walks in the capital. Stroll along the Esplanade des Invalides and admire the historic buildings all around. Then carry on along the banks of the Seine, towards the Île de la Cité.

Brave the cold and use the holiday season to take a midnight wander through central Paris. Christmas lights and decorations adorn the avenues and window displays at Paris’ big department stores, creating a magical, festive feel.

For something a little different, escape down Paris’ covered passageways. These hidden gems of the capital city, like the Passage des Panoramas or Passage Verdeau, provide charming, bucolic places to potter.

Finally, take a wander with your family in Buttes-Chaumont park or saunter down the Coulée Verte René-Dumont. Get some fresh air in the heart of the city.

illuminations champs elysées
© Arco / G. Lacz

Fun activities to laugh and enjoy

There are many opportunities to have fun and a laugh in Paris. Whether its comedy shows, karaoke nights with friends or escape games with the family, there’s no shortage of ideas for outings in the city. The hardest part will be choosing!

Karaoké © Drazen Zigic
© Drazen Zigic

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