Best Cities in France to Visit in Winter

by Ontravlex
Best Cities in France to Visit in Winter

Are you dreaming of a winter wonderland in France? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the best cities in France to visit during the winter season. Best Cities in France to Visit in Winter, from the enchanting Christmas markets to the cozy cafes, France offers a unique charm that will warm your heart even in the coldest months. So, pack your winter essentials and get ready to explore the beauty of France in a whole new light.

Best Cities in France to Visit in Winter

Strasbourg: A Christmas Fairytale

Strasbourg: A Christmas Fairytale

Strasbourg: A Christmas Fairytale

The Enchanting Old Town

Exploring La Petite France

As you wander through the cobblestone streets of La Petite France, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. This picturesque neighborhood, with its half-timbered houses and winding canals, exudes medieval charm. Discover quaint shops, cozy cafes, and the iconic covered bridges that make La Petite France a must-visit. Check our guide 15 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN FRANCE and plan for your visit.

Strasbourg Cathedral – A Marvel of Gothic Architecture

The Strasbourg Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg, is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Its towering spire reaches for the heavens, and the intricate façade is a sight to behold. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the city, and don’t miss the astronomical clock inside.

Historical Museums

Immerse yourself in Strasbourg’s history by visiting its numerous museums. The Alsatian Museum showcases the region’s culture and traditions, while the Historical Museum delves into the city’s past. From ancient artifacts to modern exhibitions, these museums offer a glimpse into Strasbourg’s rich heritage.

The European Capital

Seat of the European Parliament

Strasbourg holds a unique position as one of the official seats of the European Parliament. The European Quarter is a hub of political activity, and you can even take a guided tour to witness the decision-making process in action. It’s a symbol of Europe’s commitment to unity and cooperation.

The Strasbourg Christmas Market

If you visit Strasbourg during the winter months, you’re in for a treat. The city’s Christmas market is world-renowned and transforms Strasbourg into a winter wonderland. Sip on mulled wine, savor local delicacies, and browse through the charming stalls for handmade gifts.

Culinary Delights

Taste of Alsace

Strasbourg is part of the Alsace region, known for its delectable cuisine. Indulge in Alsatian specialties like tarte flambée, choucroute garnie, and kugelhopf. Pair your meal with locally produced wines, and savor the flavors of this gastronomic paradise.

Open-Air Markets

Explore the open-air markets that grace Strasbourg’s streets. From fresh produce to artisanal cheeses and pastries, these markets offer a true taste of the region. Join the locals in their love for market day and experience the vibrant atmosphere.

Paris: City of Lights

Paris: City of Lights

Paris: City of Lights

Paris, often referred to as the “City of Lights,” is a captivating and iconic metropolis that needs no introduction. It stands as one of the world’s most visited and beloved cities, drawing millions of tourists every year. Paris is synonymous with romance, art, fashion, and history, offering a tapestry of experiences that leave an indelible mark on all who visit. See our guide BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN FRANCE OUTSIDE OF PARIS for a quick guidance for planning.

City of Love and Romance

Paris has long been hailed as the ultimate destination for lovers. The Eiffel Tower, with its sparkling lights, is the quintessential symbol of romance. Stroll along the Seine River, cross charming bridges, and enjoy a leisurely boat ride to take in the city’s romantic ambiance.

Art and Culture Capital

Home to world-renowned museums such as the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris is a treasure trove of art and culture. Marvel at masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Monet, and Van Gogh, and explore the rich history of art that permeates the city.

Culinary Delights

French cuisine is celebrated globally, and Paris is its epicenter. From cozy cafes and patisseries to Michelin-starred restaurants, the city offers a gastronomic journey like no other. Savor croissants, escargot, coq au vin, and a selection of delectable cheeses and wines.

Architectural Marvels

Paris boasts a diverse range of architectural styles, from the grandeur of Notre-Dame Cathedral to the opulence of the Palace of Versailles. The city’s urban planning is a testament to its commitment to preserving its historical heritage while embracing modernity.

Fashion and Shopping

Paris is a fashion capital, home to haute couture houses and designer boutiques. Explore the fashion districts of the Champs-Élysées and Le Marais, and indulge in luxury shopping or hunt for unique vintage finds.

Parks and Gardens

Escape the urban hustle and bustle in Paris’s lush parks and gardens. The Luxembourg Gardens and Parc des Buttes-Chaumont offer serene oases where you can relax, read a book, or enjoy a picnic.

Lyon: Festival of Lights

Lyon: Festival of Lights

Lyon: Festival of Lights

Nestled in the picturesque Rhône-Alpes region of southeastern France, Lyon is a city that delights the senses and captures the heart. Renowned as the gastronomic capital of France and celebrated for its rich cultural heritage, Lyon offers a unique blend of culinary excellence, historical significance, and contemporary vibrancy that beckons travelers from around the world. Don’t miss our guide of COOL PLACES IN FRANCE TO VISIT the and plan your trip with us.

Culinary Capital of France

Lyon’s culinary reputation is second to none. The city is home to a multitude of bouchons, traditional Lyonnais bistros where you can savor exquisite regional dishes. Don’t miss indulging in classics like coq au vin, quenelles, and salade lyonnaise. Lyon’s renowned chefs have earned it a coveted place on the UNESCO list of Creative Cities of Gastronomy.

Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse

For a gastronomic adventure, visit Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, a bustling indoor food market named after the legendary chef. Here, you can taste and purchase the finest local produce, cheeses, meats, and pastries, all while immersing yourself in the city’s culinary culture.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Presqu’île Peninsula

Lyon’s Presqu’île Peninsula, situated between the Rhône and Saône rivers, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for good reason. It’s a treasure trove of historical and architectural wonders, including the stunning Place Bellecour, the grand Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), and the beautifully preserved Vieux Lyon (Old Town).

Traboules – Hidden Passageways

Explore Lyon’s unique traboules, hidden passageways that wind their way through buildings and courtyards. Originally used by silk merchants, these secret routes offer an intriguing glimpse into the city’s history and architecture.

Cultural Gems

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon

Art enthusiasts will be captivated by the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, one of France’s most significant art museums. Its vast collection includes works by renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Monet, and Picasso.

Festival of Lights

Each December, Lyon comes alive during the Fête des Lumières (Festival of Lights), a dazzling celebration where the city’s landmarks are illuminated with stunning light displays. It’s a testament to Lyon’s creativity and sense of community.

Marseille: A Mild Winter Escape

Marseille: A Mild Winter Escape

Marseille: A Mild Winter Escape

Nestled on the captivating shores of the Mediterranean Sea, Marseille is a vibrant and diverse city that serves as the gateway to the French Riviera. Known for its rich maritime history, cultural heritage, and stunning coastal landscapes, Marseille invites travelers to explore its unique blend of tradition and modernity. Here’s a full guide in PLACES TO VISIT IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE and see for yourself how to properly plan for your trip.

Coastal Beauty

Calanques National Park

One of Marseille’s most iconic natural wonders is the Calanques National Park, a series of dramatic limestone cliffs, hidden coves, and crystal-clear waters. Hiking, swimming, and rock climbing are popular activities in this pristine paradise.

Old Port (Vieux-Port)

The Old Port of Marseille has been the city’s beating heart for over 2,600 years. Stroll along the quays, savor fresh seafood at waterfront restaurants, or take a boat ride to Château d’If, made famous by Alexandre Dumas’ novel “The Count of Monte Cristo.”

Cultural Diversity

Le Panier – Marseille’s Historic District

Explore Le Panier, Marseille’s oldest district, where narrow streets and colorful buildings reveal a unique blend of French and Mediterranean influences. This artistic neighborhood is home to numerous galleries, boutiques, and charming cafes.

The Mu

Nice: Winter Sunshine

CEM – Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations

The MuCEM is a modern architectural marvel dedicated to the cultures of the Mediterranean. Its exhibitions showcase the region’s diverse heritage, making it a cultural focal point in Marseille.

Culinary Delights


A trip to Marseille wouldn’t be complete without savoring a bowl of bouillabaisse. This flavorful fish stew, typically served with a side of rouille sauce and crusty bread, is a local specialty.

Market of Noailles (Marché des Capucins)

Immerse yourself in the local culinary scene at the Market of Noailles. Here, you’ll find spices, produce, and exotic ingredients from around the world. Don’t forget to sample North African sweets and pastries.

Historical Significance

Fort Saint-Nicolas and Fort Saint-Jean

Perched at the entrance of the Old Port, Fort Saint-Nicolas and Fort Saint-Jean are historic landmarks that offer panoramic views of Marseille and its coastline. Explore their storied past and admire the architecture.

Notre-Dame de la Garde

The iconic basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde stands watch over Marseille from the city’s highest point. A visit to this stunning hilltop sanctuary rewards you with breathtaking vistas and a sense of tranquility.

Nice: Winter Sunshine

Nice: Winter Sunshine

Nice: Winter Sunshine

Nestled along the azure waters of the French Riviera, Nice is a city that epitomizes the charm and elegance of the Mediterranean. With its stunning coastline, vibrant Promenade des Anglais, and a rich cultural heritage, Nice beckons travelers to explore its picturesque streets and experience the allure of the Côte d’Azur.

The Promenade des Anglais

Seaside Splendor

The Promenade des Anglais is the iconic waterfront promenade that stretches for miles along the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels). Take a leisurely stroll, rent a bicycle, or simply relax on the pebbly beaches while enjoying the mesmerizing views of the Mediterranean.

Old Town (Vieux Nice)

Medieval Charm

Vieux Nice is a historic district characterized by narrow, winding streets, colorful facades, and bustling markets. Explore the Cours Saleya, known for its vibrant flower market, and discover artisanal products, local delicacies, and charming boutiques.

Cultural Heritage

Marc Chagall National Museum

The Marc Chagall National Museum showcases the works of the renowned Russian-French artist Marc Chagall. The museum’s collection includes his vibrant paintings, stained glass windows, and sculptures, providing a unique artistic experience.

Matisse Museum

Dedicated to the works of Henri Matisse, the Matisse Museum is located in a beautiful 17th-century villa. The museum displays an extensive collection of Matisse’s paintings, sculptures, and drawings, offering insight into the artist’s creative evolution.

Gastronomic Delights

Niçoise Cuisine

Savor the flavors of Niçoise cuisine, characterized by fresh Mediterranean ingredients. Try the famous salad Niçoise, socca (chickpea pancake), and pissaladière (onion tart) at local restaurants and cafes.

Natural Beauty

Parc du Mont Boron

For panoramic views of Nice and the surrounding coastline, visit Parc du Mont Boron. This serene park offers hiking trails, lush greenery, and a sense of tranquility away from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Bordeaux: Wine and Warmth

Bordeaux: Wine and Warmth

Bordeaux: Wine and Warmth

Nestled in the heart of the renowned wine region of southwestern France, Bordeaux is a city that embodies the art of winemaking, cultural richness, and warm hospitality. With its vineyard-covered landscapes, historic architecture, and delectable cuisine, Bordeaux invites travelers to savor the finest wines and immerse themselves in the charm of Aquitaine.

Wine Capital of the World

Bordeaux Wine Region

Bordeaux is synonymous with exceptional wine production. The Bordeaux wine region encompasses numerous prestigious vineyards, including Médoc, Saint-Émilion, and Pomerol. Embark on wine tours and tastings to savor the world’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Historic Architecture

Place de la Bourse

Marvel at the architectural splendor of Place de la Bourse, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This grand square boasts the stunning Water Mirror and the classical façades that line its edges, creating a picturesque setting.

La Cité du Vin

Discover the world of wine at La Cité du Vin, an innovative wine museum. Explore interactive exhibits, learn about wine history, and enjoy tastings from around the globe. The unique architecture of this building resembles a swirling wine glass.

Culinary Excellence

French Gastronomy

Savor Bordeaux’s culinary delights, which complement its world-class wines. Try local specialties such as entrecôte Bordelaise (steak with red wine sauce) and canelé (a sweet pastry). Pair your meal with a fine Bordeaux wine for an unforgettable dining experience.

Quaint Villages


Venture to the charming village of Saint-Émilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore its ancient streets, visit underground wine cellars, and sample the region’s renowned Merlot wines.

Dordogne Valley

Just outside Bordeaux, the Dordogne Valley offers picturesque landscapes, medieval castles, and gourmet delights. Explore the idyllic villages of Beynac-et-Cazenac and Sarlat, where time seems to stand still.

Warm Hospitality

Bordelais Welcome

Experience the warmth of Bordelais hospitality as you engage with locals who are passionate about sharing their wine and culture. Winemakers, known as vignerons, welcome you into their vineyards and cellars to share their craft.

Toulouse: Aerospace and Adventure

Toulouse: Aerospace and Adventure

Toulouse: Aerospace and Adventure

Nestled in the Occitanie region of southwestern France, Toulouse is a city that soars to great heights—both in the world of aerospace and in its spirit of adventure. Known as the “Pink City” due to its terracotta buildings, Toulouse boasts a rich history, cutting-edge technology, and a vibrant cultural scene that beckons travelers to explore its dynamic offerings.

Aerospace Capital of Europe

Toulouse Aerospace Industry

Toulouse is often referred to as the aerospace capital of Europe. It’s home to Airbus, one of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers. Visit the Airbus facilities to witness the assembly of aircraft, and explore the Aeroscopia Museum to delve into the history of aviation.

Cité de l’Espace (City of Space)

Embark on a journey through the cosmos at the Cité de l’Espace. This interactive space museum offers an immersive experience, allowing visitors to learn about space exploration, view actual spacecraft, and even step into a space shuttle.

Historical Treasures

Capitole de Toulouse

Explore the heart of Toulouse at the Capitole de Toulouse, a stunning neoclassical building that houses the city hall and the Théâtre du Capitole. Admire the grandeur of its façade and take in a performance in the opera house.

Basilica of Saint-Sernin

Visit the Basilica of Saint-Sernin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest Romanesque churches in Europe. This architectural masterpiece features a remarkable blend of religious history and artistic beauty.

Cultural Vibrancy

Musée des Augustins

The Musée des Augustins is Toulouse’s fine arts museum, showcasing an extensive collection of sculptures, paintings, and decorative arts. It offers a glimpse into the city’s artistic heritage.

Theater and Festivals

Toulouse is a city of festivals, with events celebrating music, dance, theater, and more throughout the year. Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant cultural scene.

Gastronomic Delights

Toulouse Sausage (Saucisse de Toulouse)

Indulge in the flavors of Toulouse with the renowned Toulouse sausage. This savory delicacy, often used in the traditional dish cassoulet, is a culinary highlight.

Markets and Cafés

Explore the local markets, such as Marché Victor Hugo, to sample fresh produce, cheese, and pastries. Take a seat at a café in Place du Capitole to savor a café au lait and observe the city’s vibrant street life.

Nantes: Royal Elegance

Nantes: Royal Elegance

Nantes: Royal Elegance

Nestled along the Loire River in western France, Nantes is a city that exudes royal elegance, weaving together a rich tapestry of history, culture, and innovation. Once the capital of the historic Duchy of Brittany, Nantes showcases its regal past through stunning architecture, lush parks, and a dynamic cultural scene that invites travelers to step into a world of sophistication and charm.

Historical Splendor

Château des Ducs de Bretagne

Begin your journey into Nantes’ royal past at the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, a magnificent castle that once served as the residence of the Dukes of Brittany. Explore its imposing ramparts, elegant courtyard, and the fascinating Nantes History Museum housed within.

Passage Pommeraye

Stroll through the Passage Pommeraye, a 19th-century shopping arcade that embodies the essence of Parisian elegance. Admire the ornate staircases, luxurious boutiques, and charming cafés that make this passage a true architectural gem.

Cultural Enrichment

Les Machines of the Isle of Nantes

Prepare to be enchanted by Les Machines of the Isle of Nantes, a creative amalgamation of Jules Verne’s imagination and Leonardo da Vinci’s engineering. Here, you can ride on fantastical mechanical animals and explore a world where whimsy and innovation unite.

La Cigale

Experience the Belle Époque charm of La Cigale, a historic brasserie and theater that has been a cultural icon in Nantes since 1895. Savor a delightful meal or catch a show at this splendid venue.

Natural Beauty

Jardin des Plantes

Take a leisurely stroll through the Jardin des Plantes, Nantes’ botanical garden, where lush greenery, colorful blooms, and tranquil ponds provide a serene escape in the heart of the city.

Île de Versailles

Explore the Île de Versailles, a small island in the Erdre River adorned with exquisite Japanese gardens. This enchanting oasis offers a peaceful retreat and a glimpse into the city’s multicultural heritage.

Gastronomic Delights

Crêpes and Galettes

Indulge in the culinary delights of Nantes, known for its delicious crêpes and galettes. These thin pancakes, often filled with savory or sweet fillings, are a local favorite.


Being a port city, Nantes offers an array of fresh seafood dishes. Sample oysters, mussels, and fish prepared in traditional Breton style.

Lille: Winter Wonderland

Lille: Winter Wonderland

Lille: Winter Wonderland

Tucked away in northern France, Lille is a city that transforms into a winter wonderland as the snowflakes start to fall. This charming metropolis, with its captivating architecture, festive markets, and warm-hearted locals, offers an enchanting experience for visitors seeking the magic of the holiday season. Discover why Lille is a perfect destination to embrace the winter spirit.

Festive Markets

Lille Christmas Market

Lille’s Christmas Market, Marché de Noël, is a star attraction during the winter season. The Grand Place transforms into a picturesque winter village adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations. Explore the wooden chalets offering handcrafted gifts, seasonal treats, and warm mulled wine.

Cultural Riches

Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille

Escape the winter chill and immerse yourself in art and culture at the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille. This renowned museum boasts an impressive collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts, making it a cultural haven for art enthusiasts.

Old Town (Vieux-Lille)

Stroll through the cobbled streets of Vieux-Lille, the city’s historic center, and admire the stunning architecture of Flemish-style buildings. The charming boutiques, cafes, and restaurants that line these streets create a cozy atmosphere during the winter months.

Montpellier: Mediterranean Charm

Montpellier: Mediterranean Charm

Montpellier: Mediterranean Charm

Nestled along the sun-kissed shores of the Mediterranean Sea, Montpellier is a city that radiates Mediterranean charm. With its historic architecture, vibrant street life, and a relaxed ambiance, Montpellier invites travelers to bask in the beauty of southern France and experience the warmth of the Mediterranean lifestyle.

Historic Beauty

Place de la Comédie

Begin your exploration of Montpellier at Place de la Comédie, a bustling square known as “L’œuf” (the egg) due to its oval shape. Here, you can admire the stunning Opera Comédie and the Three Graces Fountain, making it the perfect spot for people-watching.

Montpellier’s Eclectic Architecture

Wander through Montpellier’s historic center, where a mix of architectural styles awaits. Marvel at medieval buildings, elegant mansions, and the stunning Saint-Pierre Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.

Cultural Riches

Musée Fabre

Delve into the world of art at the Musée Fabre, Montpellier’s premier art museum. The museum’s vast collection includes works by renowned artists like Courbet, Delacroix, and Monet, providing a rich cultural experience.

Antigone District

Explore the Antigone district, a modern architectural wonder designed by Ricardo Bofill. The symmetrical layout, neoclassical buildings, and landscaped gardens create a harmonious and unique urban environment.

Mediterranean Delights

Marché des Arceaux

Discover the flavors of Montpellier at the Marché des Arceaux, a covered market brimming with local produce, seafood, cheeses, and Provençal specialties. Engage with local vendors and savor the Mediterranean ingredients.

Avignon: Papal History

Avignon: Papal History

Avignon: Papal History

Palais des Papes

Step into the history of the Papal Palace in Avignon. Winter offers a quieter time to explore this UNESCO World Heritage site.

Rhone River Views

Enjoy scenic views of the Rhone River and take leisurely walks along its banks.

Grenoble: Alpine Adventure

Grenoble: Alpine Adventure

Grenoble: Alpine Adventure

Skiing and Snowboarding

For winter sports enthusiasts, Grenoble is the gateway to the French Alps. Hit the slopes in nearby ski resorts for an exhilarating experience.

Bastille Hill

Hike up Bastille Hill for panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains.

Annecy: Venice of the Alps

Annecy: Venice of the Alps

Annecy: Venice of the Alps

Lakeside Beauty

Annecy’s picturesque Lake Annecy is equally stunning in winter. Enjoy lakeside walks and admire the snow-capped mountains in the background.

Old Town Charm

Explore the charming Old Town with its canals, bridges, and cozy cafes that are perfect for a warm drink on a chilly day.

Biarritz: Surf and Serenity

Biarritz: Surf and Serenity

Biarritz: Surf and Serenity

Surfing Paradise

While Biarritz is famous for its summer surf scene, winter brings powerful waves that attract surf enthusiasts from around the world.

Coastal Tranquility

Embrace the tranquility of Biarritz’s coastal beauty, with its rugged cliffs and stunning sunsets.

Aix-en-Provence: Provencal Delights

Aix-en-Provence: Provencal Delights

Aix-en-Provence: Provencal Delights

Cours Mirabeau

Take a leisurely stroll along Cours Mirabeau and enjoy the plane tree-lined avenue. Winter in Aix-en-Provence is mild and pleasant.

Local Markets

Explore the local markets and savor the flavors of Provencal cuisine, including savory pastries and aromatic herbs.


France in winter is a magical experience you won’t want to miss. From the festive Christmas markets to the cultural richness of its cities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, bundle up and embark on a memorable winter journey through the best cities in France. Bon voyage!

People Also Ask :

Which city is beautiful in France in winter?

Paris is a beautiful city to visit in France during winter, especially with its festive decorations and charm.

Is France worth visiting in winter?

Yes, France is worth visiting in winter for its unique winter activities, festive markets, and cozy ambiance.

Where is the warmest part of France in winter?

The French Riviera, including cities like Nice and Cannes, is one of the warmest parts of France in winter.

Where is the best place in France for winter sun?

The French Riviera on the Mediterranean coast offers the best winter sun in France.

Plan your trip with ontravelx and get ready for a journey full of breathtaking sights and priceless memories.

Kindly visit:

  1. Official Website of France
    • Explore the official website of France to learn more about the country’s culture, tourism, and government.
  2. France on Wikipedia
    • Wikipedia’s page on France provides in-depth information about the country’s history, geography, and more.
  3. Visit Paris
    • Discover the official tourism website of Paris, the capital city of France, and plan your trip to the City of Light.
  4. Louvre Museum
    • Explore the world-famous Louvre Museum’s official website to learn about its collections, exhibitions, and history.

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