The 15 best things to do in Paris in January 2024

What to do in Paris in January?

Goodwill is in short supply as Paris shivers through January. It all starts with a bang on New Year’s Day, then a rare calm descends on the French capital for the next few weeks. That doesn’t mean there is nothing to do. From seasonal traditions to compelling indoor events, here’s our selection of the best things to do in Paris in January.

The best things to do in Paris in January

  1. 01

    New Year Oysters at Huitrerie Régis

    Restaurant in Quartier Latin
    Fresh oysters with lemon ice and white wine.
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    Love them or hate them, oysters (huîtres) are a mainstay of Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre (New Year’s Eve) dinners. For hardy revelers, they’re a popular morning-after breakfast, often washed down with a glass of crisp wine to (briefly) revive sore heads.

    There are seafood markets and restaurants all over Paris, but Huîtrerie Régis know their mollusks better than most. They go above and beyond, happily sharing their expertise in a cozy yet elegant setting. If you want to eat like the French at New Year, oysters are essential. Whether they’ll cure your hangover is open to debate…

  2. 02

    The big wintersales kick-off

    Shopping Tip in Paris
    Close up of woman`s hand holding shopping bags while walking on the street.
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    If you like shopping, you’ll love Paris. When the nationwide sales kick off in January, everything looks even more tempting. Most clothing vendors in Paris (luxury boutiques aside) mark down old-season goods. That means there is a rush for the first few days of the sales, but it calms down quickly as some of the best bargains disappear. Some retailers will slowly release sale items, and discounts get bigger for items that don’t sell. So don’t worry about being first in line.

    Discounts of up to 70% can be found at department and chain stores. And it’s not just clothes, many other items are discounted too. Leave some space in the suitcase, as some offers will be hard to resist!

  3. 03

    Bathe in the light of Monet’s masterpiece at l’Orangerie

    Museum in Quartier Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois
    Seerosen im Musée de l
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    L’Orangerie is home to Claude Monet’s 7ft (2 m) murals from his Nymphéas (Water-lilies.) The awe-inspiring panels were bequeathed to the nation, and the former royal orange nursery was converted to hold them. Monet was consulted on the design and ensured skylights were installed to show his works at their best.

    There’s other acclaimed impressionist art on display in the gallery. But nothing tops the magnificence of the 8 panels by Monet. The combination of light and artistic brilliance will make any grey day in January feel brighter.

    If you can, head there on the first Sunday of the month, when entrance is free (like many other public museums in Paris.)

  4. 04

    Journey back in time at the vintage car rallye

    Street Fair in Paris
    Old porsche in paris
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    Once a summer event only, Parisians can now look forward to seeing voitures anciennes on the choked streets of Paris in January. Around 700 superbly restored and maintained vehicles take part, each one a gleaming example from a golden age of motoring.

    Cars, motorbikes, and even tractors are welcome to join the convoy across Paris. The only condition is that vehicles are at least 30 years old. You may be lucky to see them on the roads. Otherwise, you’ll have to head out to the Meudon Observatory on the outskirts of Paris, where the cars park and enthusiasts take photos.

  5. 05

    See the magical Lumières en Seine

    Festival in France
    Enchanted Forest 2017 preview night
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    The delightful Lumières en Seine is an extraordinary light show in Saint-Cloud. They stay up until the school vacation finishes. If you’re in Paris at the start of January, you’ll still have a chance to catch them.

    A 1.2-mile (2 km) trail is illuminated with giant lantern sculptures and eye-catching light shows. Domaine national de Saint-Cloud is a little off the beaten path, but trains will get you to the former nature reserve in 30–40 minutes. The dazzling lanterns and animated atmosphere are the ideal tonics for cold winter nights and bored children.

  6. 06

    Taste the Galette des rois

    Eat & Drink in Paris
    Galette des rois
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    The end of the 12 days of Christmas is marked in France by sharing a sweet and flaky frangipane tart in honor of the three kings and the Feast of the Epiphany. Sharing a galette with family and friends is one of the most traditional things to do in Paris in January. In fact, all of France.

    The galette of kings appears in boulangeries and pâtisseries across France from January 6 (Epiphany), sometimes even earlier. Layers of flaky buttery pastry are traditionally filled with frangipane. Although other fillings have grown in popularity in recent years (salted caramel and chocolate noisette, for example.)

    Galette des rois usually come topped with a golden paper crown, just in case the royal connection wasn’t clear.

    Watch your teeth when devouring your slice. The three kings came bearing gifts. This is honored by hiding a rock-hard toy in the tart. If you find it, you’ve won. Sort of… In France, that means you’ve got to buy the galette des rois next year!

  7. 07

    The Paris Fashion Week is back

    Festival in Paris
    Fashion Runway with models
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    Paris fashion week has become increasingly enigmatic, with different styles showcased at six events throughout the year. However, October and January remain the headline catwalk extravaganzas, with January showcasing haute couture.

    The January Paris Fashion Week is one of the biggest. The mains show center on the Carrousel du Louvre, the shopping mall beneath the famous Louvre pyramid. Events spill over to other city venues too.

    Unfortunately for casual fashionistas, unless you get your hands on a press pass, you won’t be able to catch the main events. But Paris Fashion Week is so all-encompassing that you’ll notice it rippling across the city center, with sideshows and smaller events popping up here and there.

  8. 08

    Head to The Museum of Decorative Arts for a fashion show (press pass not required)

    Museum in Quartier Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois
    Jardins des Tuileries, Tuilerien, Louvre, Musée des Arts decora
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    MAD, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, has an enormous fashion collection donated by leading French designers like Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, and Yves Saint Laurent.

    One floor is dedicated to fashion and textiles and hosts two new exhibitions annually. MAD is a stone’s throw from Paris Fashion Week and a handy substitute for fashion fans looking for a taste of the catwalk but unable to get invites to the main event.

  9. 09

    Celebrate Chinese New Year (January 22)

    Holidays in Paris
    chinese new year
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    Chinese New Year used to be celebrated in the Chinese quarter in Belleville, in the 13th arrondissement. But the parade was canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s unclear when it will return.

    However, the smaller parade in Le Marais is scheduled to return with a colorful parade of lanterns and dancing dragons. Keep your eye out for updates about events returning to other neighborhoods with notable Chinese communities, especially in Belleville and Faubourg Saint-Honoré. There’s every chance they’ll be back for 2023.

  10. 10

    Clown around at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain

    Performance in Paris
    air circus performances in the circus
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    The Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain (World Circus Festival of Tomorrow) is a 4-day event bringing together the world’s leading circus artists under one big top. It’s essentially a next-level circus, with performers from different troupes competing for votes and audience appreciation. Acrobats, jugglers, clowns, flying trapeze: the whole damn circus.

    Cirque Phénix is a permanent fixture hidden in the vast green space of Bois de Vincennes. It is the spiritual home of the modern circus in France and has been hosting this international event since 1977. You are assured of a top-tier show whenever you go. If you’re looking for colorful and exciting things to do in Paris in January, a world-class circus is the ultimate way to lift January blues.

  11. 11

    Whatch the harness racing Grand Prix d'Amérique

    Sports Event in Paris
    Horserace in France
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    The Grand Prix d’Amérique is the pinnacle of harness racing. 40,000 spectators trek out to Vincennes wood to see national titles decided by the best horses and jockeys in the game.

    Harness racing is huge in France. If you don’t know the sport, you’ll recognize it as the one where horses trot or pace around the course pulling a jockey in a cart. It’s hard to follow and even harder to pick winners. But it is a highly skilled sport and hugely entertaining. If you’re looking for something completely different to do in Paris in January, this event might be for you.

  12. 12

    Taste the best hot chocolate ever!

    Eat & Drink in Paris
    Hot chocolate cup on white coffeetable
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    There’s hot chocolate. And then there’s hot chocolate Parisian style. Made with real dark chocolate and milk, it’s an intensely luxurious and comforting treat to ward off the biting cold of January.

    It’s a long-standing custom at bistros, cafés, and chocolatiers to serve small cups of molten decadence. It’s an uplifting reward for defying the cold. Here are a couple choice venues to taste heavenly chocolat chaud:

    Angelina – The original café on Rue de Rivoli is a Belle Époque gem, serving signature hot chocolate and dreamy desserts.

    Ladurée – You’ll find more than world-beating macarons at the pâtisseries chain. The hot chocolate is divine too. Venues all over Paris.

  13. 13

    Escape the cold at the Atelier des Lumiéres

    Museum in Quartier Saint-Ambroise
    Atelier-des-Lumieres in Paris
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    The Atelier des Lumières (Lights Workshop) displays celebrated paintings and other art forms in bright and imaginative ways. As the name suggests, the exhibitions play with light to offer fresh perspectives on famous art. Music is creatively used to immerse visitors in the experience, so you can forget the world for a moment.

    Atelier des Lumières is a refreshing change from the traditional museums and galleries that proliferate in Paris. Less stuffy and more immersive. Although you won’t see original masterpieces.

    There is palpable love of art shining through. It is one of the most stirring things to do in Paris in January, especially if you’re seeking refuge from drizzly days. Even better, it is the kind of exhibition that even those who find art boring will enjoy.

  14. 14

    Skate the last round on the ice ring

    Sports Event in Paris
    People ice skating on the ice rink in winter.
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    Christmas might be over in January. But until the children return to school, the last vestiges of Noël linger around the city. That includes the pretty ice-skating rinks that appear in public spaces across Paris. They tend to be quieter in January, but are only around for a few days. So, you better get your skates on.

    Our favorite spots are on the Champ de Mars, with the Eiffel Tower as a stunning backdrop. Or the picturesque Jardin des Tuileries.

  15. 15

    Warm up at the best fondu restaurant in Paris

    Restaurant in Quartier du Montparnasse
    Raclette cheese melted by raclette pan is putting on freshly boi
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    Nothing is more warming on a cold winter’s day than the Alpine favorite, fondu. Debates about which restaurant serves the best in Paris are endless. But in our view, Les Fondus de la Raclette in Montparnasse deserves the title. The restaurant inventively plays with classic cheese dishes. There are several house versions of tartiflette (traditionally potatoes, reblochon cheese, and lardons) and multiple types of another seasonal favorite, raclette.

    Fondue is the star and fully justifies a journey out to Montparnasse. They use varieties of different mountain cheeses (Abundance, Gruyère, Beaufort) and you choose what to dip. A platter of charcuterie or vegetables. Or both. Warming, filling and made for sharing: one of the most fulfilling things to do in Paris in January.


What is Paris like in January?

Paris in January is a great time to grab some of your favorite clothing items on sale and make those last laps around the skating rinks. If you are looking for a cozy and less stressful time to visit Paris, January is the perfect time to go there!


How is the weather in Paris in January?

The January weather forecast is for cold and overcast days. It’s a forecast you can count on. The depths of winter see the Parisian thermometer drop to an average high of 45 °F (7 °C), but rarely below 32 °F (0 °C.) Rainfall is a winter constant of 14–15 days, and the sun sets just after 5pm. If you’re hoping for snow, January is typically the snowiest month, yet still rare.

Are there any Public Holidays (Jours Fériés) in Paris in January?

1st – Jour de l’An (New Year’s Day)

What to do in Paris in January?

There are several things to do in Paris in January that will give you the best time while your stay: Ice skating, drinking hot chocolate in a cozy café or a fancy dinner with your loved one to start the Valentines Celebration early.

What to pack for Paris in January?

The umbrella and a waterproof jacket is the basic equipment for a vacation in Paris in January. Always bring comfortable shoes in which you can walk throughout the inspiring museums and other beautiful sights.


Profilbild Laura Schulze
About the author

I love traveling! Whether it's the Australian outback, the fjords of Norway or city trips to the most beautiful cities in the world like Paris, Singapore, Barcelona or New York - I'll write down my best tips so that your trip will be a very special highlight.

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