Summers in France inspires poetry, spring inspires romance, and winter? What about winter? If you have never been to France in winters, then you are missing out on a whole lot of things, one of which is having the country to yourself. There are some of the best places to visit in France in winter that are worth exploring in the cold weather!
It does depend on the month you are planning to go there, but from November to February, you are sure to find some of the best things to do in France in winter. With tourist season over, France belongs to the French again, and this is your chance to be one of the locals. Discover the best places to visit in France in winter to have an experience of a lifetime.
21 Best Places To Visit In France In Winter
France becomes a beauty in the winter season. If you are planning to visit France during winters then feel blessed for seeing the country in its one of the best forms. Here are 21 best places to visit in France when winter comes. Most of them are cities and if you were looking for best cities in France to visit in winter then here are those!
- Nice – One Of The Nicest Escapes
- Nantes – Indulge Into Classical European Music
- Menton – The Lemon Fest Awaits
- The French Alps And The Pyrenees – Escape To The Snow
- Roquemaure – Embrace Spirituality
- Monaco – Twirl As You Ice-Skate
- Perigord – Titillate Your Tastebuds
- Camargue – Bird-Lover’s Paradise
- Corsica – Scale The French Mountains
- Bordeaux – Too Much Wine Is A Myth
- Aquitaine – For A Warmer Winter
- Provence – A Cozy Paradise
- Bloise – The Gothic City
- Beaune – A Walled Town In Burgundy
- Cannes – More Than Award Functions
- Calmora – Spirit Of Winter
- Lyon – Light City
- Martinique – For Sunbathing And Some Sea
- Marseille – A Port City
- Alsace – A Historical French Region
1. Paris – The Obvious Choice
The city of Paris is magical in any season, but in winter, clad in a sheet of snow, the trees, the Seine and the Eiffel take on new hues. Drop in at Galeries Lafayatte for a glimpse of the fabulous Christmas tree decked with gold ornaments. Winters are also the perfect time to indulge the ice ballerina in you, with the ice rink at Champs-Elysées being an inviting place to kick up some ice.
Closer to Christmas, entire Paris is garlanded with fairy lights, and streets are bordered by fresh cut pines, decorated with festoons and ornaments. A more enchanting sight is not to be found elsewhere! Truly one of the best cities to visit in France in winter.
Things to do: Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
Places to stay: St Christopher’s Inn, Grand Hotel De Paris
How to reach: Paris comprises 3 airports that experiences connectivity from almost every part of the world.
2. Nice – One Of The Nicest Escapes
Enjoy the Nice Carnival, which takes place for more than two weeks. Watch the huge floats go by, and take part in the bataille des fleurs, the Flower Parade. When visiting you must stay till the end, the flowers are plucked out and rained on the pedestrians, a sight you should not miss. Oh and don’t forget to take a ride on the giant winter-only Ferris wheel, in Nice. It is one of the best places to visit in France in winter.
Things to do: Promenade des Anglais, Musée Matisse
Places to stay: The Negresco, Hôtel Nice Excelsior
How to reach: SNCF trains are the most reliable way to reach Nice.
3. Nantes – Indulge Into Classical European Music
If you are a classical music lover, then a vacation in France is a must during winters. The Classical Music Festival in Nantes, La Folle Journée is the place where performers from all over the world come together to play music just the way you like it! Surely, this is among the best cities in France to visit in winter to witness the magic of music. Undoubtedly, Nantes is one of the best places to visit in France in winter.
Things to do: Château des ducs de Bretagne, Machines of the Isle of Nantes
Places to stay: Radisson Blu Hotel, Nantes, Hotel ibis Nantes Centre Tour Bretagne
How to reach: The best way to reach here is by taking a TGV from Paris and deboard at Nantes.
4. Menton – The Lemon Fest Awaits
If you are heading to Menton during winters, there is scarcely a thing you could do more right. The fabulous Fête du Citron, or Lemon Festival in Menton is a thing of beauty. Floats, statues and figurines of all sizes are set up in the centre of town for two weeks, and all of them are made of lemons and oranges. The festival takes place towards the end of winters, and usually marks the arrival of spring. The opportunity to witness the fruity-colored fest in Menton is just one of the many perks of spending winter season in France.
Things to do: Val Rahmeh-Menton Botanical Garden, Serre de la Madone, Basilique Saint-Michel-Archange
Places to stay: Hôtel Princess et Richmond Menton, Hôtel Lemon
How to reach: You can board a regional train that runs from Nice to Ventimiglia and get down at Menton.
5. The French Alps And The Pyrenees – Escape To The Snow
When looking for the best places to visit in France in January, this is where you should go! Among other places to see in France in winter, The French Alps have got be the most magnificent sight to look at in winters. January to February is the perfect time to enjoy winter sports in France. One can enjoy a whole smorgasbord of snow related activities, such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice climbing, ice rappelling, downhill skiing, dog sledding and snowboarding. If you would rather watch than take part in it, the Snow Polo event held every January in Megève, one of the popular ski resorts in France.
Things to do: Neuschwanstein Castle, Jungfrau, Chillon Castle
Places to stay: Hotel Mercure Chamonix les Bossons, RockyPop Hotel
How to reach: The place is well-connected to the other parts of the country. Grenoble is the nearest international airport.
Suggested Read: 10 Best Ski Resorts In France
6. Roquemaure – Embrace Spirituality
If you’re searching for places to visit in France in February, then why not pay a visit to the village of Roquemaure, where the town church holds the mortal remains of the patron saint of lovers, St. Valentine! On the 14th of February, these relics are taken out of the vault and carried around the town in a procession. The Festou di Poutoun, the festival of the kiss, is also held around this time, on the weekend nearest to Valentine’s Day. This is one of the most romantic places to visit in France in winter.
Things to do: Parc Amazonia, Île de Miémar, Castle Manissy
Places to stay: Hôtel le Clément V, Chambre cocoon
How to reach: Public transport is the best way to reach Roquemaure
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7. Monaco – Twirl As You Ice-Skate
The Stade Nautique Rainier III in Monaco, a huge outdoor swimming pool is transformed into an ice rink of epic proportions. There is also the option of going ice-karting, with 6 laps. Now, where else would you get the chance to go ice-karting, and zoom up to never-before speeds! Also, the pool is close to the harbor, thus giving you views of huge yachts, Monte Carlo and of course, the Mediterranean Sea. Ice-skating is one of the must-do things to do in France in winter. But that’s not all! The wildlife in Monaco is another one of the exciting elements and you can’t miss it out!
Things to do: Casino Monte-Carlo, Musée océanographique de Monaco, Prince’s Palace of Monaco
Places to stay: Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo, Fairmont Monte Carlo, Hotel Novotel Monte Carlo
How to reach: Nice – Cote d’Azur Airport is located at a distance of 22 km from Monaco and experiences regular connectivity
8. Perigord – Titillate Your Tastebuds
If you visit France in winter, then Perigord is a place you must visit! Although no longer indigenous to France, black truffles are still a delicacy that many associate with Perigord, a special region in the country. The best time to enjoy the freshest French winter black truffles is from December to March, with January and February being the time when they reach the pinnacle of their taste and fragrance. Go ahead, indulge your appetite!
Things to do: Exploring Lascaux, The Marqueyssac gardens, Castelnaud-la-Chapelle Castle
Places to stay: Logis Hostellerie du Périgord Vert, Hôtel Le Relax
How to reach: You can board Dordogne, the high speed train from any of the nearest railway station to reach Perigord.
Suggested Read: 27 Incredibly Charming Places To Visit In France
9. Camargue – Bird-Lover’s Paradise
When wondering where to go in France in winter, don’t forget about Camargue. Camargue, in summers full of locals and tourists on camping trips, tells a different story in winters. It falls on the migratory route, and is a haven for bird lovers since several species of birds spend the winter season here, making it one of the most magical places to visit in France in winter. A particular favorite are the pink flamingos, whose plumage becomes ever more vibrant during this time of the year, preparing for their annual mating ritual.
Things to do: Exploring Arles Amphitheatre, Church of St. Trophime, Musée de l’Arles et de la Provence antiques
Places to stay: Hôtel les bains de Camargue, Le Mas de Peint, Mas de Sylvereal Camargue
How to reach: The nearest airport to Camargue is located in Nîmes, Marseille Provence which is well-connected via road.
10. Corsica – Scale The French Mountains
Visit Corsica when thinking where to spend winter in France. Maybe you have seen too much snow, and enjoyed your share of skiing, but if you do find yourself in during winter in France, then head over to Corsica for a milder climate. With fewer tourists around, you can enjoy hiking, mountain climbing, and hunting, as well as a sunny Christmas!
Things to do: Calanques de Piana, Scandola Nature Reserve, Cap Corse
Places to stay: U Paesolu, Hotel Artemisia, Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Ajaccio Bay
How to reach: Corsica is well-connected to Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi and Figari airport
11. Bordeaux – Too Much Wine Is A Myth
Tasting different varieties of wines is considered to be one of the best things to do in France. Being in Bordeaux is one of the best French cities in winter (or anytime during the year!); it is a special treat, especially for wine lovers. Although you won’t get the chance to enjoy watching in wine yards in full bloom, you will have your choice of wine at hand. There are several wine tasting festivals going on during the winter months, and this can be your chance to have the place practically to yourself since the tourist season is almost over. If you are visiting France in February, this place is a must-visit.
Things to do: Visiting Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux Cathedral, Place des Quinconces, etc
Places to stay: Bordeaux Ville Arena, Seeko’o Hôtel Design Bordeaux, Hotel De l’Opéra
How to reach: However crowded but beltway is the best way to reach Bordeaux
12. Aquitaine – For A Warmer Winter
So, once you’ve played around in snow, you would definitely be on a lookout for a warm weather if you’re visiting France in winter. This beautiful place is famed for its surfing scenario which indeed is buzzing around the year, specially in Moilets beach. This place should definitely be in your itinerary when wondering where to spend winter in France. The sunny beaches of Aquitaine are picture-perfect and are great for lazy unwinding as well,making it one among the best places to visit in France in December. It acts as a gateway to Bordeaux and Dordogne. Also, don’t forget to attend Carnaval de Periguex and Festival du Film at Sarlat if you’re around here during winter.
Things to do: sightseeing
Places to stay: LE DOMAINE DE GUILLALMES, Belair le Camping, Domaine de Bellevue
How to reach: The best way to reach Aquitaine is via bus. You can board any of the local bus from the city you are staying as Aquitaine is well-connected to other parts of France.
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13. Provence – A Cozy Paradise
Located in Southern France, Provence enjoys a peaceful, crowd-less winter season with temperature ranging around 14 degrees. This means you can enjoy a cozy time on your French vacation without worrying about massive tourist crowd around. The buzzing Christmas market will have you in the best of your moods! Provence is a lovely pick if you’re looking forward to further head to Nice and Marseilles. This is one of the best places in France to visit in winter.
Things to do: Sightseeing at French Riviera, Verdon Gorge, Palais des Papes
Places to stay: Le Club Mougins by Diamond Resorts, Logis Hôtel de Provence
How to reach: Provence is well-connected via air, water, and land to the other parts of the country.
14. Bloise – The Gothic City
Bloise is a hillside city sitting proudly on the banks of River Loire. This place has a late Gothic vibe with with old cathedral and cobbled streets and if you are wondering about where to go in France in March then this is it. The royal palace – Chateau Royal de Bloise has beautifully ornated chambers, paintings and sculptures from the 16th to 19th century. The city is a perfect go – to during winters when the windy atmosphere highlights the city giving it an antique feel. Gazing at the slow flowing river, standing on the bridge creates a romantic moment for you and your loved one.
Things to do: Planning a visit to Château Royal de Blois, Maison de la Magie Robert-Houdin, Blois Cathedral, etc.
Places to stay: Hôtel Côté Loire Auberge Ligérienne, Hôtel Le Pavillon, Hôtel de France et de Guise
How to reach: Tours and Orléans are the best way to reach Bloise
15. Beaune – A Walled Town In Burgundy
Beaune is a walled town in the heart of the Burgundy wine-making region in France. This place is considered to be one of the best places to visit in France in winter, as it has many cosy French restaurants. It’s the perfect time of the year to warm-up and enjoy with France’s finest red wines and hot dishes like Beef Bourginon and Coq au Vin. Also visit the architecturally astonishing Hotel-Dieu.
Things to do: Visiting Hôtel-Dieu Museum, La Moutarderie Fallot, Boutique Wine Market, etc.
Places to stay: Hôtel Athanor, Logis Hôtel Belle Epoque
How to reach: High speed trains and regional trains are the best medium to reach Beaune.
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16. Cannes – More Than Award Functions
Situated in the south of France, Cannes receives its fair share of winter. It does not get as cold as the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, but temperatures do drop to 14 °C giving this place a pleasant weather during France winters. This is one of the best places to enjoy winters in France. The visit to this amazing place in this weather will be an experience that you will relive for years to come. You can enjoy the best things to do in Cannes during this winter season is to take a walk in the marina.
Things To Do: Stroll around the marina, Watch yachts
Places To Stay: Hotel Martinez
How To Reach: Nice Côte d’Azur Airport is the closest point. Alternatively, you can take trains to Cannes
17. Colmar – Spirit Of Winter
Colmar is one of the best places to visit during France winters. The glistening lights, the smell of wine, and warm glow of the town lift up the spirits in the winter season. The markets of colmar offer a variety of gifts, foodies, and range of activities to indulge in. The place houses loads of indoor restaurants that provide amazing options related to drinks and dining.
Things To Do: Enjoy drinks and dining at Michelin-starred restaurants
Places To Stay: Colmar Hotel
How To Reach: Train from Paris l’Est to Colmar
18. Lyon – Light City
Lyon is counted amongst one of the best places to visit in France in winters owing to the variety of activities that can be indulged in such as sightseeing, visiting museums and silk shops. During this season, you can witness the beautiful Festival of Lights which has now turned into one of the most exciting tourist attractions. Witnessing the Festival of Lights is one of the many things to do in Lyon. This is also an ideal place to try out French cuisine. Lyon is famous as one of the best cities to visit in France in January.
Things To Do: Enjoy the festival of light
Places To Stay: Première Classe Lyon Centre Gare Part Dieu
How To Reach: Take a train from Paris Gare De Lyon to Lyon Part Dieu
19. Martinique – For Sunbathing And Some Sea
Craving for some sun and sand in the chilly France Winterss? Well, here is your way to get it! One of the best places in France in winter, Martinique is a great Carribean setting filled with palm trees, white sand, and the beautiful sea. Planning a stay at a sea facing hotel in Martinique will add to the experience. Take a walk at the beach, visit the gorgeous botanical gardens or take a volcano hike, or maybe do it all at the very beautiful Martinique. An island with a rich and fascinating history, Martinique is something you can’t miss!
Things To Do: Take a volcano hike and go diving
Places To Stay: Hotel Bambou Martinique, Simon Hotel
How To Reach: Airport Martinique Aimé Césaire is the major connecting airport for Martinique
20. Marseille – A Port City
One of the best French cities to visit in winter undoubtedly is Marseille. It also is the most underrated ones but you shouldn’t miss out on it! A port city which now has many cruise ship passengers visiting it, Marseille experiences a magical and mystical winter the best part being that it is comparatively warmer than other areas. If we talk about the spine chilling cold then that comes in December and the city is so occupied with Christmas decorations and festivities that you will forget all about it and enjoy it all.
Things To Do: Try French provencal dishes, take a trip to Old Port
Places To Stay: InterContinental Marseille, Hotel Manon, Hotel Le Ryad
How To Reach: Marseille-Provence Airport is the nearest airport and is located just 27 kilometers away.
21. Alsace – A Historical French Region
Looking for places to go in France in winter? Well, look no further because we already got the best one for you. Okay, enough of guess games! Its Alsace. If you wish to see a region that has retained the old world charm in the most intriguing and beautiful way possible go to Alsace and you will be pleasantly surprised! With hundreds of Alsatian villages and the historical towns of Colmar and Strasbourg, Alsace makes for a sight to behold!
Things To Do: Sightseeing, visit the cutesy cafes, visit the historic wine trails
Places To Stay: Ibis Strasbourg Centre Historique, James Boutique Hotel
How To Reach: Strasbourg Airport is the nearest airport to Alsace and is located at a distance of 41 kilometers.
France is beautiful in any season and the best part is that it seems to be different in every season! But winters are special; they give you a feeling of being at home in this tourist hub. The above-mentioned places to visit in France in winter are all considered highlights of the country. Plan a trip to France in Winters, to get the best French experiences. Let us know in the comments below and share this with your travel mates.
Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In France In Winter
Which are the best places to celebrate Christmas in France?
Paris, Toulouse, Morzine, Montbéliard, are some of the most popular places to celebrate Christmas in France where you can experience bustling boutiques and unique ambience that add to the festivities of the season.
Is the Eiffel Tower open in December?
Yes. The Eiffel Tower in December is open from 9:30 am to 11:45 pm. The last entry to the tower is at 11 pm, and for the top at 10:30 pm.
Does Paris have Christmas markets?
Yes. Paris has a number of Christmas markets where major shopping events are held from November onwards. Some of the most popular ones are Marché de Noël at Notre Dame, Le Village de Noël at Les Halles, Abbesses Christmas Market at Montmartre, Village de Noël at Champs de Mars, Village de Noël at La Défense, Alsatian Christmas Market at Gare de l’Est, and Marché de Noel at Saint Germain des Prés.
What do you wear in France in winter?
Winter Skirts and Dresses paired with wool tights, boot socks, and a pair of boots would be a perfect choice of clothing for the frosty winter days in France. Wool skirts , thin sweaters, and a nice thick scarf would be great to tackle a day of sightseeing in France.
How cold does it get in France during the winter?
The average temperatures during winters in France range from 32° F to 46° F and average summer temperatures from 61° F to 75° F.
Which city in France has the mildest winter?
French Riviera is known to be the hottest city in France, hence this is where you can expect the mildest temperature during winter season. Other than the mentioned place, Aquitaine and Provence are also recommended if you are looking for warm winter vacation.
What is the best time of year to visit France?
Spring (April to June) and Fall (September to November) are considered perfect times for visit France. During the mentioned seasons, the weather can vary from place to place but the crowd is generally lesser. However, France is a year-round destination, you just have to pick your destinations carefully!
Where are the best places to travel while in France in December?
Provence is a lovely place to visit in France in December, as you can visit the Christmas markets that are not flocked with heavy tourist crowds. However, if you are up for a snowy Christmas experience, then you must head to the French Alps and the Pyrenees.
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