Why we love Paris in February
What could be better than a trip to the City of Love for Valentine’s Day? If you’re wondering if February is a good time to visit Paris, the answer is hell yes! Whilst Paris in February may not have the new growth of spring or the heat of summer, it does have a surprising number of events to look forward to.
What’s more, although you might think Paris in February would be packed out because of the presence of Valentine’s Day, the month sits firmly within the city’s low season meaning there’s fewer other visitors and the possibility of cheaper hotel rates too.
Here are just some of the reasons we love Paris in February.
Paris without the crowds
Although you can never say that Paris is free of visitors, it certainly can seem like that when comparing the flow of people into the city’s museums in February to that during the months of July and August.
The one exception is the big day of February 14 itself, when entry to the tower is regularly booked up months in advance. If you’re planning to pop the big question, don’t get caught out by this!
Celebrate Crepe Day
One of Paris’s lesser-known celebrations, Crepe Day nonetheless holds a special place in the hearts of many Parisians. Taking place on February 2, it stems from the Catholic festival of Candlemas or La Chandeleur.
It seems to have developed out of the Popes of centuries past giving food to the poor as part of the mid-winter holy day. It has become a way of marking the last days of winter and the first days of spring. Look out for special dinner menus incorporating all things crepe, or grab one from a stall during the day.
Discover the bizarre love stories of Versailles
Perhaps the grandest estate ever built, the Palace of Versailles and its expansive gardens became one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1979 such is its importance.
The main residence of the kings of France for 200 years, its rooms and corridors have seen their fair share of strange love stories. For instance, Louis XIII never allowed his queen to spend a single night here.
To wander these historic spaces, where gold glints off crystal, marble and old master paintings, is an ideal thing to do on an overcast February day whether you’re traveling as a couple, as a group or if you’re a solo visitor.
See Paris at its most glamorous
The end of February welcomes many of the world’s top models to the boulevards of the French capital for the half-yearly Paris Fashion Week. The country’s top designers and fashion houses – the likes of Chanel and Dior – host lavish events to coincide with the release of their latest collections.
Many take place in unique settings such as the Grand Palais exhibition hall and the Carrousel du Louvre underground shopping mall.
Should you arrive in Paris at the beginning of the month instead, you don’t have to miss out on the opportunity for some retail therapy. Great savings can be had with the end of the winter sales period – stores of all budgets slash their prices even further.
Revel in the Chinese New Year festivities
Firecrackers popping around Paris. Performers leaping to the sound of cymbals. Colorful parades taking over the streets. It can only be Chinese New Year, which falls at the start of February (or very end of January).
Paris’s size means it’s able to boast several ‘Spring Festival’ celebrations. The largest happens in the 13th arrondissement’s Asian Quarter (Quartier Asiatique). The area’s street parade usually has around 2000 participants with ancestry in China and its neighboring countries.
But that’s nothing compared to the 200,000 who turn up to get involved and admire the meticulously choreographed lion dances and sample traditional New Year cuisine.
Join the carnival parade
Chinese New Year isn’t the only street festival to take place in Paris in February. There is also the small matter of the Paris Carnival, or La Promenade du Boeuf Gras, coinciding with Mardi Gras.
Held in one form or another since the 16th Century, the carnival starts with a parade of masked figures at Place Gambetta in the 20th arrondissement. It makes its way to the Place de la République where the celebrations continue as a street party.
Make a day of Paris’s monuments to love
Offering views of Notre Dame Cathedral,, the Pont des Arts is better known to many as love lock bridge. Literally millions of padlocks marked or engraved with lovers’ initials have been attached to its railings – creating a sea of metalwork estimated to weigh around 45 tons.
Amidst the winding streets of Montmartre lies the 40 square meter Wall of Love. Made up of over 600 individual ceramic tiles, they include the words ‘I love you’ roughly 300 times in 250 different languages, including Inuit and Esperanto.
No words are needed to visit the heart of Voltaire, situated beneath a marble statue of the writer-philosopher in the Salon d’honneur (Hall of Honor) at the National Library. But if that’s a little bit ghoulish, you can instead hover above the buildings of Paris with a romantic balloon ride on the Ballon de Paris Generali – the world’s largest.
Explore the hidden side of Paris
Taking place over a long weekend, the Face Cachée (Hidden Side) event is another wonderful thing to do in Paris in February. Around 120 venues and organizations are involved in creating unique experiences. They allow the public to enter parts of the city usually closed off, or experience events they would never otherwise be able to.
There are no such limitations with the Palais Garnier Opera House – the reputed home of the Phantom of the Opera. It opens its doors throughout February for self-guided and guided tours of its extraordinary interiors.
Ways to save in Paris in February
Checking out the discount rails of the department stores isn’t the only way to save in Paris in February. Go City All-Inclusive and Explorer passes get you a great deal on admission to many of the city’s top attractions. All you need to do is pick the right pass for you and start exploring to save!