Top 10 Things to Do in Paris if it Snows
Snow in Paris is like that aunt who you don’t know very well, who shows up unannounced on rare occasions; who only stays for a few hours yet disrupts the natural flow of things so much so that you can’t tell if you love or hate her.
Since it doesn’t happen often, snow days in Paris tend to leave both tourists and locals scratching their heads when it comes to what to do with their time.
Thankfully the cold winters of Paris provide ample opportunity for entertainment even when it’s not suitable to be in the outdoors.
IF you find yourself in the midst of a snow day in Paris you’ll want to stick to the city centre if you can.
First off, you’ll have more options of things to do and secondly; the outskirts of Paris are best avoided when it snows for the sole purpose of staying off of the roads. Transportation takes a back seat the minute white falls from the sky — an unexplainable Parisian phenomenon, truly.
Without further adieu, the top 10 things to do in Paris if it snows!
1. Flock to a Museum in Paris
Yes, an obvious one isn’t it? In the city with one of the largest collections of museums in the world, what else would one do on a snow day.
Predictability aside, there really is nothing better than waking up to snow and decided the day will be best spent amongst some incredible works of art. What kind of museum to flock to, is entirely up to you.
The eclectic variety of museum options within greater Paris makes singling out one for a snow day a bit difficult. I’ve taken the liberty of narrowing down a few that would be best in certain situations.
If you’re with children: Head to either the Musée de la Magie or Musée du Chocolat. Great little places that entertain both adults and children for a good few hours.
If you enjoy immersive museums: The Musée Jacquemart-André or the Atelier des Lumière are fascinating experiences that require little focus to enjoy.
There are so many museums to explore within the Parisian boarders, when the snow stops falling consider joining any free guided walking tour in your district of choice so that a guiding professional can point out each one to you!
2. Go to the Cinema in Paris
Sticking in the centre of town as we decided we would; another great activity to enjoy while it snows on the streets is to find solace within one of the beautiful cinemas that encompass Paris.
My particular favorite is over in the 2nd arrondissement. A gargantuan, art deco inspired space known as the Grand Rex.
The main auditorium within the Grand Rex is the largest cinema room in all of Europe. While it is not guaranteed that the film you choose to see will be shown in this room there is always a chance!
Main auditorium or not, the entire cinema is a sight for sore eyes and a fabulous way to enjoy a day indoors. The seats are comfy, the ambiance is welcoming and the snacks are great. The only downside is the cost of admission at this cinema; you’ll be paying considerably more for tickets solely due to the legacy and location of the venue.
3. Attend a Ceramics Class in Paris
Perhaps it’s just me, but for some reason the presence of snow really makes me want to bring out my creative side in any way possible.
Viewing art is always nice, but often making art is ten times better. Ceramics workshops are a popular pastime at a few venues around Paris.
Since we said we’ll stick to the city centre on this snow day, Ceramic Paris over in Le Marais in the 3rd arrondissement, just north of the Seine, should be top of your list.
The ceramics gallery offers time slots open to any individuals looking to spend a few hours moulding objects out of clay. They will also bake and glaze your finished works for you to take home afterwards. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon if you ask me.
The district of Le Marais is full of hidden gem spaces just like this; where art and creativity are encouraged to flow freely. It’s also a great part of Paris to stroll, even in the snow (Read more about Discover walking tours).
4. Hideaway in a Library in Paris
If waking up to snow in Paris puts you in the mood to curl up with a good book, why not venture out to one of the impressive library structures that the city has to offer?
Europe is known for having some of the most exquisite library facilities in the world. In Paris you’ll enjoy the structure that is the Bibliothèque Mazarine situated on the Left Bank.
The library is found inside of the Palais de l’institut de France and is exceptionally beautiful.
The public are free to visit and enjoy the space however it does not open on Saturdays or Sundays so best you hope the snow descends during the week in this case!
The Bibliothèque Mazarine is the oldest public library in all of France and should be visited at least once by both Parisian locals and visitors to the city. You won’t be able to check anything out without a readers card, but spending a few hours inside the library is just as good.
5. Go Undercover in Paris
During the 19th century many passageways and boulevards around Paris were covered by glass topped arch ceilings that turned the outdoor spaces into undercover ones. Most of these passageways remain in tact and in operation to this day.
The intent was to create spaces that could still function even when it was blisteringly cold outside; making these passageways the perfect place to spend a snow day.
Passage du Grand-Cerf near the 3rd arrondissement boasts high ceilings and a wonderful array of shops and food stalls for you to enjoy for a day. The confined nature of these passageways makes them constantly warm and cosy — a welcome escape from the weather going on outside.
Nearby in the 2nd arrondissement you can also head to Galerie Vivienne, an exquisite old passage that was actually dubbed a historical monument in France back in 1974. There are some lovely cafes in this passage way; enjoy a pot of tea as the snow falls onto the glass rooftop above your head.
6. Shop ’Til You Drop in Paris
As if anyone really needs an excuse to go shopping in Paris.
It would likely be a much shorter list for me to state where not to go to shop in the city. In some ways Paris is a one great big shopping mall; with boutiques, gallerias, speciality stores, malls and retail strips on just about every corner, its not easy to say where the best place to go in the snow is.
Right in the centre of Paris it’s hard to avoid the Forum des Halles. Sometimes described as a labyrinth of shopping, this is kind of your one-stop destination for all things consumer in Paris.
Personally I find the space overwhelming at the best of times — I can’t imagine the influx of people that a snow day might bring!
That being said, I know many people who swear by this mall. It is also in close walking proximity to many of the major tourist attractions of the 1st arrondissement.
7. Enjoy a Hot Bath in Paris
…and no I don’t mean from inside your apartment.
I know we agreed to keep things central with the snow, but if there ever was a good reason to venture slightly out of town then the Medina Hammam Center is it.
What could be better than sliding into some giant, hot baths on a particularly cold and snowy day?
For a package fee you’ll gain access to all of the facilities within the centre. This includes the heated pools, steam rooms, thermal stone areas, rest rooms and saunas. The center also provides you with towels, robes, soaps, scrubs; just about everything you could need to make the most of the space.
A true “treat yourself” kind of environment that is great to enjoy with a lover, friend or even on your own. I love finding any excuse to make the trip up to the 19th just to spend some time here.
I’ve yet to have the opportunity to visit on a snow day but definitely look forward to doing this on the next. The centre accepts walk-ins so no need to worry about being able to book in advance.
8. Eat Your Heart Out in Paris
When it’s cold outside we tend to turn to our comfort foods to warm our insides. For some people it could be cake and tea, for others market food does the trick; a surprising amount of people find hot curries their go-to meal when the weather turns cold.
For me; it’s any cuisine where I can replace cutlery with bread. Preferably Lebanese!
La Loubnane is a great spot in the 4th arrondissement over on Rue Galand. It’s about as authentic of Lebanese as you’ll find in Paris and surprisingly affordable too. Get yourself the assortment plate if it is available so you can try a variety of things in one go!
Average Cost: Under €20
9. Make a Snowman (or Woman) in Paris
Absolutely outrageous to assume that just because some snow is falling from the sky we need to suddenly retreat indoors!
Instead let’s venture out to one of the many public parks and gardens in Paris and make our own entertainment. On days of snow, areas such as the Champ du Mars and Tuileries Gardens are frequented by many Parisian locals looking to be part of the natural wonder.
You’ll find couples building snowmen (or women) and families engaging in snowball wars.
As you can imagine, the sight of the Paris Botanical Gardens or Jardin du Luxembourg blanketed in thick, white snow is probably worth the trip outside alone. Not something you’ll see everyday — definitely worthy of a spot on your Instagram photo feed.
10. Cosy Up at a Cafe in Paris
A cafe? In Paris? How original!
As predictable as it may be there is honestly nothing better than retreating to one of these safe havens and losing yourself for a few hours while the weather does it’s thing outside.
Since cafes are so common, make a point of venturing to one with a bit of an alternative concept going on. Concept cafes are all the rage at the moment in Europe with each one competing for the title of most unique or most unexpected.
While Le Café des Chats is not my cup of tea, cat lovers will absolutely love this spot in Le Marais. Enjoy your coffee and snacks amongst some feline friends who roam the cafe freely.
When I have work to get done, my go to cafe is AntiCafé near the Louvre Museum. Instead of paying for what you consume, you pay €4 for every hour you spend within the space and are provided with unlimited drinks and snacks during this time.
As we come to the end of our list of the top 10 things to do if it snows in Paris it should be abundantly obvious that hiding out in your Airbnb is absolutely not necessary. Much to do and much to see in and around Paris; even when the weather may appear less than desirable!
I’ll see you in the snow!