It’s been a few winters since I was last in Paris, but I can’t help dream about revisiting constantly. Although I’ve only been to the city twice, both times were during winter, so I like to think I know a thing or two about what to wear in Paris in winter.
Maybe it’s a cliche, but I love Paris. I love the people (don’t believe the people who say Parisians aren’t friendly, it’s all LIES!). I love the food. Macarons, fresh baguettes, pate, stinky cheese, and amazing coffee. I love the cafe culture and the history and the parks. I love the big monuments and the tiny side streets with local butchers and bakers.
If you’re planning a trip to Paris this winter, here’s what I think you should pack so that you don’t have to keep running back to your hotel and adding layers. This is the ultimate winter packing list for Paris that will have you out enjoying the excitement all day long, even when the wind is blowing a gale.
Weather in Paris in Winter
Paris is beautiful year round because I’m a romantic like that, but winter in Paris can be brutal. December is one of the wettest months of the year, so if you’re visiting during this month, be sure to pack an umbrella and plenty of waterproof layers.
Expect temperatures during the winter months to be about 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees C) during the day and to drop to about 35 degrees at night (3 degrees C). December is slightly colder, probably due to the wet weather, and it can regularly drop to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (o C) or slightly lower.
There’s also very little sunshine during the winter months. Expect it to be mostly cloudy and therefore quite damp feeling during the winter months. The days are short with the sun setting around 4:30 pm. It means that you can enjoy the city of lights all lit up for longer!
What to Wear in Paris in Winter
Like most cities in winter, it’s cold outside, but sweltering inside. You’ll definitely find toasty cafes and bars so full of people that you’ll be sweating in your coat, so I recommend packing lots of thin layers that you can put on top of each other. These thin sweaters from JCrew are my go-to for winters in Europe. You can put a t-shirt underneath them if you need extra layering, and you can put a heavier wool sweater on top for when it gets really cold. They look stylish with skinny jeans or tucked into a wool skirt.
In my experience, winter in Paris is damp. It’s not that it’s raining a ton, but the air has moisture in it, the sun doesn’t exactly shine all day long (it’s actually pretty dull during the winter in Paris). So jeans aren’t ideal. Jeans actually make me feel colder in this sort of weather. Instead, I recommend packing a warm pair of pants like wool trousers or something made of synthetic fibers that will hold the warmth in. I am NOT recommending that you walk around fashionable Paris in leggings. Please, just no.
Winter Skirts and Dresses
I love warm skirts and dresses that you can layer up. I have a pinafore similar to this one that I wear with a sweater underneath and a coat on top. Paired with wool tights, boot socks, and a pair of boots I was toasty warm during cold winter days in Paris. Wool skirts are great, too. Pair them with your thin sweaters and a nice thick scarf and you’ll be ready to tackle a day of sightseeing in Paris.
This is a lesson I continue to learn the hard way. Cotton kills as they say in cold places. Cotton socks are a surefire way to have freezing feet before you’ve even made it all the way down the Champs-Élysées. I prefer long wool socks because I think it looks cute sticking out over my boots. I’m not particularly brand loyal, as long as they’re made with wool and they keep my feet warm. I have this pair and another pair that’s similar to these.
Don’t let anyone tell you that Parisian women walk around in high heels all day. You’re going to be walking around, hopping on and off the metro, and navigating plenty of cobbled streets, be practical. If you’re coming when there’s snow, you’ll want to make sure you have boots that will keep your feet dry. Although I have an ancient pair of boots that I bought years ago in Switzerland that still serve me well and look good (re-soling and a good shoe shine kit do wonders), I’ve had my eye on these boots from Hunter that not only look cute, but keep your feet nice and warm with wool socks underneath. My friends rave about these boots for winter and they’ll look really cute with different boot socks and dress or skirt combos.
Thick Winter Coat
I made the mistake of leaving my hotel room one day wearing only a leather jacket. The sun was out, so I figured it must be warmer. Wrong. It is cold in Paris in winter. Expect temperatures to be in the low 40s Fahrenheit (about 5 degrees Celcius) during the day and much colder at night. You’ll want a really nice warm coat. I just ordered this one from North Face that I’m excited about. It rolls up into itself and although it’s lightweight, it’s nice and warm.
Scarf, Hat, Gloves
This should go without saying, but you definitely need all of the winter accessories in Paris in winter. I have a super thick blanket scarf that keeps me so warm (similar here). I also recommend a hat that has a fleecy lining to keep your head and ears warm. I had this one last year and it was perfect. Gloves with a fleece or wool lining are a good option too. While I love mittens, they’re super impractical for taking photos and trying to find where you’re going on your phone’s map app.
Rainy Weather Gear
Since the winter is one of the rainiest times of year in Paris, you’ll definitely want to pack an umbrella. It might not rain all day or it might drizzle for hours. It’s never super heavy, the mist just lingers in the air. Having a winter hat that is water resistant is a good idea as is a coat that is water resistant (most wool and puffer jackets are water resistant if not waterproof).
I love wearing makeup no matter where I travel. I packed this matte red lipstick from Sephora in 01 Always Red, this bronzer from Tarte (it’s waterproof! Amazing!), and my favorite eyebrow pencil from Anastasia. A minimal look that made me feel good walking out the door. Pack whatever makes you feel good, but just remember you’re going to be taking scarves and hats on and off and the air is a little bit damp, so makeup that’s waterproof is best.
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