France in January: A Relaxing Winter Retreat


January might be colder than the other months but a visit to France in January can be the most heart-warming winter holiday. Whether you dream of a skiing adventure in the Alps, a stroll along the spectacular French Riviera, or cozying up in cafés and indulging in pain au chocolat, visit France! Aside from the unparalleled beauty of the country, January also brings post-holiday bargains on flights and accommodation.

France Weather in January

A picture of the city of Paris during a snowfall in France in January.
One of the most popular structures in the world, the Eiffel Tower was originally intended to be only a temporary exhibit.

January might be the coldest month in Paris, but, fortunately, the weather varies widely depending on where you are going. You will probably encounter average temperatures of 6°C, lots of drizzly rain in the capital and surroundings, a snowier climate in the mountainous areas, milder temperatures along the coast, and even some warm, sunny days, with highs around 14°C in southern France.

For a seasonal overview, have a look at our guide on the best time to visit France.

Weather in France in January - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)781216202325252116118
Avg Nightly (°C)335711141616131063
Avg Daily (°F)44.646.453.660.86873.4777769.860.851.846.4
Avg Nightly (°F)37.437.44144.651.857.260.860.855.45042.837.4
Avg Rainfall (mm)182224252624222116252226

Why Visit France in January

Ski at sunset on top of French Alps ski resort while visiting France.
The snow in several glaciers in the French Alps never melts making it an ideal destination for skiing all year round.
Beautiful buildings in Vichy city of central France.
The city of Vichy is famous for being one of the best spa towns in France.

France welcomes visitors with breathtaking landscapes and memorable things to do all year-round, but if you decide to spoil yourself with a French winter escapade, these are the best reasons to visit the country in the first month of the year.

  • Fewer crowds and better prices: December through early January is considered the low season in France. Chilly but quiet, this month will show you a relaxed France, without crowds of curious tourists everywhere and with very friendly prices.
  • Shopping: Just like most European countries, France hosts a fun winter sale from mid-January to mid-February, being a perfect excuse for a fancy Champs-Élysées shopping session.
  • Skiing in the Alps: The French Alps welcome adventurous travelers who want to hit the slopes in style, with exceptional ski trails, heart-stirring scenery, and welcoming resorts.
  • Relaxing winter retreats: France awaits you with one of the best spa towns — Vichy, beautifully located in the mountainous Auvergne region. Pamper yourself, enjoy the hot springs, and warm up with tasty food paired with French wine.

Where to Go and What to Do

Turquoise Mediterranean sea and perfect blue sky in the French Riviera.
The French Riviera is known for its amazing climate which means a visit even during winter is very pleasant.

There are so many remarkable places and fun things to do in this gorgeous country, but if you're excited about winter vacations, here are the best places to visit in France in January.

For the ultimate cultural experience, explore Paris, for its sensational museums, galleries, and impressive historic buildings. Many of these museums are even free to visit. Those of you who love ice skating can enjoy the rinks that stay set up well into January, like Champ de Mars and at the Grand Palais in Paris.

At the same time, winter sports wizards and newbies will fall in love with a trip to the French Alps. Choose, for example, Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe, or Courchevel, with its chic boutiques, and indulge in all the spectacular landscapes, fun winter activities, and relaxing opportunities.

Meanwhile, you can visit the French Riviera that is home to sublime sea views, lavish hotels, and mild Mediterranean weather. Great to relax and, if you are adventurous, enjoy the clear and crisp winter days hiking French Riviera’s gorgeous trails, like the stunning route above Èze-village or the Baou above St-Jeannet with superb views over the Var Valley, Antibes, and surroundings.

From bustling cities with numerous historical landmarks to majestic villages, and rolling vineyards, France offers curious visitors everything they need for an amazing trip, and it's the most visited country on the planet. When planning your trip, keep in mind that the weather in southern France in January is milder, so if you want to avoid the cold, this might be your destination.

Check out our travel guide on how many days to spend in France to plan your holiday. You can also make an itinerary that suits your taste for a customized trip to France. Get in touch with our travel experts to get started.

But, whatever destination you decide to explore, pampering your taste buds with the renowned cuisine and indulging in some of the most exquisite wines in the world will boost your visit to France in January.

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