Paris In The Snow

October 13, 2011 · 5 comments

This is a guest post from Lis Sowerbutts

Are you mad? Why are you going to Europe in December? Friends thought that we were crazy, and to be honest Paris wasn’t the main point of the trip, the point was to spend Christmas with relatives in Ireland. But we got lucky. It snowed. You have may remember the headlines when European (actually Heathrow mainly) airports ground to a halt because of big snow dumps. Well we were in Paris when it started.

Louvre in snow

Paris Snow Storm

Versailles Status in the Snow


The snow started when we were touring the Louvre – it was gray and snowing heavily, I was distracted and shot some pictures out the window. Where I come from snow stays discreetly on the ski fields, snow on 17th century architecture – cool! The thing with Paris is that a lot of the attractions are indoors – the weather is irrelevant if you are museum hopping. Also you can still sit outside on the footpath, sip a wine or coffee and watch the world go by, the Parisians do!

It snowed all that day, but the next day the snow had stopped and the sun was out! We headed out to Versailles by train, and crunched through already cleared streets on the way to the palace. The downside was that the palace grounds were closed, the upside was that the odd modern art looked rather good covered in snow.

I was last in Paris a very, very long time ago. At the time I couldn’t afford to go up the Eiffel Tower, this time I was determined. We had to queue for hours – it had been closed the previous day – and they didn’t open it for quite a while. Its made of iron so they can’t use salt to clear the snow (see Chem101). The view though was most definitly worth the wait.

Eiffel Tower view in snow

View from Eiffel Tower with snow

So if you are planning on being in Europe in the winter here are some tips:

– Don’t book too far in advance, weather may disrupt plans, but you can minimize the risk by taking trains rather than planes or buses.
– Hotels are a bargain, and we didn’t bother booking more than a day before, in Paris we just arrived at the Gare du Nord, turned left and found a place E50/night double, ensuite, TV, warm, free WIFI.
– To stay warm, layer your clothing, and make sure you have good soles on your shoes – both for warmth and for the ice, it was pretty slipperly in places.
– The main downside with winter travel are the short days – we only had daylight from 8am-4pm – you need to take advantage of it. On the other hand you get some great sunset shots!

Seine Sunset in snow

Seine Sunset

We actually had great weather in Europe in early December, sure it snowed, quite a lot, but it was mainly fine otherwise, much easer for travelling than continual rain and drizzle.

Elisabeth Sowerbutts has been travelling for nearly 30 years, but not continuously. She’s lived in New Zealand, Australia, UK, Canada and Papua New Guinea.  She’s travelled to every continent except Antarctica She thinks its a huge a acheivement that her list of countries visited doesn’t fit in a neat paragraph.  When Lis says she’s home its usually New Zealand. Having retired from actually working for someone else, these days she makes a living from her back bedroom developing websites and writing books.
Elisabeth has written a book on Vacation Packing and is working on a number of Thailand and New Zealand guides. Keep up-to-date with her ramblings at Lis’s Travel Tips blog. Follow her on @LisTravelTips or on Facebook
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacki October 21, 2011 at 3:55 AM

I really love Paris and I used to be there for many times but I just want to be there while there are snows. It is really great thing to know about this and I’m so sure there are many people who will go there soon.
Jacki´s latest blogpost – LoveNuts Love Blog


Sandy Allain January 12, 2012 at 3:50 AM

Most people would avoid traveling during the winter months because of the snow, but for the few who do manage to get to their destinations, it can be a wonderful experience. Sure it is cold and many places would be closed, but you get the chance to take cool winter pictures like those. Winter in Paris definitely makes it one of the best times to take beautiful shots.


AdventureRob January 14, 2012 at 7:28 PM

Starting to get a little frosty where I am now. With a renewed interest in photography I’m trying to take advantage of that (high contrast black and white works well).


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