“Paris, the romantic City of Lights.”
Time for the burning question: When is the best month to visit Paris? With a recorded 35.4 million visitors in 2019, which is almost the entire population of Canada, it raises the question of whether there really is a best month to visit Paris. That sure is a lot of tourists!
Having said that, is Paris really the of City of Lights or City of Tourist Hoards?
The latter title is definitely an accurate description of what you could expect over the summer months. It’s fascinating to watch the crowds squeeze together like sardines attempting to get that Instagrammable shot of the Mona Lisa or witness the endless queues snaking their way up to the Eiffel Tower observation deck.
People will explain why the spring and autumn months are the best time to visit Paris, but I like to say “best” is subjective depending on the person and what they value most.
Having experienced the wonders of this inspiring city at several different times of the year, I recognised there IS a best month to visit Paris.
While France is one of the best countries to visit in June, for Paris specifically I believe the best month to visit is March.
This is one of my many crucial Paris travel tips. I’ll get into exactly why below!
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Where to stay in Paris
If you’re an art lover like me, it’s hard to pass up staying in Montmartre. I’ve now visited Paris 5 times and at the time hadn’t stayed in the arty neighbourhood before. I was extremely glad I chose Hotel Relais Montmartre.
Situated on a very quiet street just off Rue Lepic it’s only a few minute’s walk to the Metro, Moulin Rouge, restaurants, and shops. Place du Tertre and the Sacré-Cœur are about a 10-15 minute walk away!
The room was on the small side (that is to be expected in Paris – but we weren’t there to spend much time in our room anyway) although very clean and well kept. Staff were very friendly and joked with us crazy Aussies when my travel buddy and I were dancing in the snow outside. It’s the perfect hotel in the heart of Montmartre.
TIP: If you love art, architecture and walking in the footsteps of historical figures, you’ll adore my 4 day Paris itinerary!
Find your Paris hotel
You can find alternative hotels near Montmartre here.
Why March is the best month to visit Paris on a budget
March is the best month to visit Paris because it’s that usually uneventful month between the Christmas holidays and Easter break many travellers seem to completely overlook. It shouldn’t be! There are loads of benefits to visit this incredible destination in March.
Staying in Paris during the month of March usually means discounted rates on hotels as there is less demand, too! It’s also the best month if you’re wanting to not look like a tourist and avoid contributing to overtourism.
Here are 5 other reasons revealed, and a bonus!
1. Catch the beauty of seasonal transitions
Snow is a rarity in Paris (on average only 15 days per year) but with the right weather combination towards the end of winter it’s definitely possible. Otherwise, if you miss out on snow there will be encouraging signs of spring in the air with pastel pink flowers starting to blossom.
I was so fortunate to experience this beautiful city in the snow and I was incredibly excited to have checked “See Snow in Paris” off my Bucket List! I’ll let my pictures here speak for themselves!
2. You’ll ask yourself, where are the tourists?
According to statistics fewer tourists in March 2016 (1.7m compared to 1.9m in Oct 2016) will obviously mean smaller queues at the major attractions.
Spend less time being bored to death lining up for hours and more time enjoying the sights that make Paris, Paris! Maybe you’ll even be mistaken for a local in true Invisible Tourist fashion!
TIP: To save even more time, you can buy tickets in advance for many attractions. I’ll list them and some other popular European attractions here.
Skip the Line! Buy Tickets in Advance to Europe’s Top Attractions
Do’s & Don’ts in Madrid to NOT Look Like a Tourist
Essential Prague Travel Tips to NOT Look Like a Tourist
Vienna Travel Tips: Do’s & Don’ts to Know Before You Go
3. March is the best month to visit Paris because there are fewer pickpockets
Unfortunately Paris is notorious for pickpockets but in March they are very few and far between. For the stubborn ones that do hang around in the colder months, they easily stand out when they’re deprived of the camouflage big crowds provide.
By keeping an eye out for a few signs and being aware of how they operate they’ll know you’ve caught onto them and will keep their distance.
TIP: Watch out for people who seemingly have nowhere to be and lurk mysteriously around crowds at tourist hotspots such as The Sacre Cœur, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and The Louvre. As mentioned here, being an Invisible Tourist means having a healthy dose of scepticism when you’re travelling.
4. You’ll almost have the city to yourself
March is the best month to visit Paris because you’ll be able to take enviable photos of landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe and Moulin Rouge. With fewer people out and about, your photos are less likely to feature other people unintentionally photobombing them.
The only overcrowding you’re likely to encounter is from commuters on the Metro and RER during rush hour (which is to be expected). Why not go and explore some of the more unusual things to do in Paris without the crowds?
TIP: If you need to ask a Parisian for advice on travelling around Paris by Metro, be sure to address them in French by greeting them politely and excusing yourself before you ask your question (eg “Bonjour Monsieur, excusez-moi”, then your question). If your accent isn’t perfect but you adopt this custom it will be greatly appreciated and highly likely they’ll answer you in English anyway!
5. There are plenty of things to do indoors if the weather isn’t great
If the day turns miserable there are plenty of things to see and do out of the cooler weather. Crowds will be minimal so you’ll be able to enjoy each activity to the fullest. Yay!
Take advantage of this by visiting the many museums (you can buy tickets in advance to them!) that make Paris so inspiring, slow down and dine the Parisian way at a café or shop up a storm at stylish department stores Galleries Lafayette or Printemps.
BONUS: By the way, the French AREN’T rude
This goes for any month but you’ll soon realise the “French are rude” stereotype is a total myth. I’ve explained the full story in my #1 Amazon New Release book.
I did believe this to an extent on my first visit before I learnt some basic phrases and cultural differences. Since then, I have encountered a rude Parisian. In actual fact, my travel buddy and I were invited to an exclusive after party by meeting locals in a pub one night because we got along so well!
In my opinion this stigma is quite undeserved because it’s the usually the visitors who don’t put in much effort. As I’ve explained previously, learning enough of the local language opens multiple doors of opportunity to enrich your travel experience. That’s what being an Invisible Tourist is all about.
Concluding the best month to visit Paris
Would I visit Paris during March again, even for the fifth time? Absolutely! And I’d highly recommend it to others, especially if you’re hoping to avoid the notorious summer crowds . If you’re after more ideas for your trip, here’s some ideal things to do in Paris for first-time visitors.
Although it’s magical in the summer months, sometimes I feel as though too many visitors in Paris can hinder the type of experience you have.
Big draw card attractions such as Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower observation deck are much more enjoyable without the elbows of others constantly poking into your ribs.
Go make the most of this awe-inspiring city during a time when many other travellers overlook it!
If you’re interested, I’ve written about how I learnt French and other languages for travel. For more travel inspiration, check out all my travel guides and itineraries for Europe and be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest!
Until next time,
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This guide to the best month to visit Paris contains some affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. I may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase and if you do, thanks for your support! This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. As always, I only recommend a product or service that I genuinely love and use myself!
Paris is an awesome place, i feel it like its a top destination for those who wish to make their marriage proposals.
Paris really is a romantic destination!
I’d probably go in May, just because the weather is getting warmer, but it’s not quite insane yet. I spent a lot of time there as a younger person. August was definitely the worst time, although there were very few Parisians about. An off-season trip is definitely the best. However, it’s always a good idea to book the big-ticket items in advance. I’m thinking of The Eiffel Tower and Versailles.
May would be lovely as well, Gearoid. You’re so lucky you got to spend a lot of time there when you were younger! I’ve also stayed during August but as I stayed in Montmartre there were fewer locals around then. As an Australian the cold and snow is a novelty for me! And I definitely agree about booking tickets to the major attractions in advance. I’ve written an article about which ones are the best to book ahead and why here: https://www.theinvisibletourist.com/buy-tickets-in-advance-europe-attractions/ Thanks for your comment!
I love Paris but have yet to visit in March! Will have to check it out in March sometime–we’ve been in January and October and agree that shoulder/low season is so nice to get away from the crowds. Love the photo of Montmartre covered in snow!
The off-season is a gem isn’t it? Thank you, Jenna ?
Hell yes. I hear you on visiting Paris in March. Fewer crowds, the chance of seeing beautiful snow in the city of love. I’m sold.
Excellent!! That’s what I love to hear, thanks Mike! ?
This is definitely what I wanted to read. As an artist, Paris is my dream destination. Would love to spend days exploring the Louvre. I hate crowds. March sounds like the perfect time to go. Glad to know that your experience with the french was good. Thank you for the tips.
Thank you, Shruti. If that’s the case you will LOVE it someday! I’m a huge art lover and Montmartre was a wonderful neighbourhood to stay in. So many little shops with stunning paintings on display and available for purchase. I brought some beautiful pieces home. Even during the snow artists were out painting in Place du Tertre. It was pretty magical ✨ And the Louvre is a treasure trove for art lovers! Just make sure you look up where the artworks are that you want to see in advance, it’s easy to miss them otherwise (as I found out the hard way!) ?
Such a useful post! I’ll be sure to change my planning for Paris then. Glad to read the very practical tips you wrote here.
Thanks so much, Darlene. Happy to hear that ?
It is so true! March is a great time to visit Paris. I went there in March a few years ago. I love some of the recommendations you made above. It s true, there are pickpockets in Paris. This is the city where I have ever been pickpocketed. Crazy!
So glad you enjoyed my article, Barb ? Oh no I’m sorry to hear you fell victim to them, that’s really awful. Hopefully that will be your first and ONLY time. Thanks for your comment!
Looks like the perfect off season in Paris. I never really thought Paris could have a off season. It always looks brimming with people.
I know, I thought exactly the same as you! It was a really pleasant surprise not having to wait forever in long attraction queues 🙂
I like Paris in April because April is my birthday and I think it would be fantastic to celebrate in Paris! But I’d be happy to go in March too. Actually, Paris any time of the year will do me.
I agree, Christina. As the saying goes, “Paris is always a good idea!”
Paris in March is a brilliant idea. I know how crowded it can be during the summer months and how long the queues are (skipped the Louvre because 2-3 hours waiting is not my idea of fun).
Aren’t the queues in summer just awful! I would have skipped any attraction that had queue times of that long too. Not my idea of fun, either! Thanks for your comment 🙂
I love travelling off season and I think I visited in April after Easter when the crowds have gone and the weather is getting so much warmer with spring flowers in the parks – its lovely.
Ahh that sounds so lovely doesn’t it! Glad it’s not just me who loves the off-season 🙂
Woah! That’s amazing! Hopefully next year March I’ll be heading off to Paris ?
I hope you get to as well, Tanvi! How exciting for you 😀