Paris can see over 30 million tourists annually, meaning that travelers often have to contend with busy crowds and heightened prices. If you are looking to skip the bustle and avoid peak season, these are the best times to visit Paris to avoid crowds.
1. Visit in the off-season (October – April)
The number one way to avoid the sheer chaos of summer-time tourist season in Paris is to visit the city out of season. Most travelers will visit Paris in the warmer Spring and Summer months (May to September), with the majority visiting in July and August during Europe’s long summer break.
Travelling off-season – from October to April- is the best way to skip large crowds. If you’re looking to visit during warmer months sans the stress of hordes of travelers, April and October are your best bet.
2. Consider the path less traveled
Another way to skip the crowds is to visit places a little more off the beaten track. While you’ll most likely want to do the famed attractions, there are many smaller, less well-known ones that can equally delight.
Take a meander around Père Lachaise Cemetery and see the tombstones of Édith Piaf, Jim Morrison, and Oscar Wilde. Enjoy a picnic along the Canal Saint-Martin (rather than the bustling banks of the Seine), or visit a local café in the historic Latin Quarter and explore this rich centre of learning and artistic achievement.
If you want a great view of the city but don’t want to contend with flocks of people at the Eiffel Tower, try the Le Ballon de Paris experience, and see the city from this tethered balloon up to an altitude of 150 metres.
3. Top tips for dodging crowds
Paris is a busy city. Unless you’ve got a time machine that can catapult you back to the 1800s – where you might enjoy a glass of absinthe with famed artists at the Moulin Rouge – you’ll probably have to contend with a certain level of busyness.
These additional tips might help you navigate the city’s crowded corners.
- Book attractions online and check out places that have a reservation-only system (like the Louvre). This helps travelers to skip super long queues and guarantees you a spot at the desired activity or attraction.
- Consider a mid-week holiday and visit attractions earlier in the morning.
- Avoid public transport during rush hour and walk to attractions where possible.
- Book restaurants, tours, and attractions well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Paris is a wonderful place for travelers who love the thrill of a city steeped in rich history, fantastic art, delectable cuisine, and quaint roadside cafes. In our books, there isn’t really ever a ‘bad’ time to visit the city of light.
Nonetheless, if you want to skip the tourist peak, we suggest that you visit the city off-season, book attractions in advance, and plan weekday excursions. You could also travel a little out of the city and see some of these incredible sites by train.
If you’ve dodged the crowds in Paris before, we’d love to hear your tips!