Paris in March 2024: What to See & Do?

Last Updated on February 27, 2024

Paris in March can be quietly compelling and magical. Here's why to go, and what to do. Image by Louis Paulin/Unsplash
Image by Louis Paulin/Unsplash

If you haven’t yet experienced Paris in March, you’re in for a slow-motion magic show. There’s a quiet, but real, sense of rebirth that settles over the city. I liken it to a fine mist that gets into every pore and changes its color and substance, but mostly goes unnoticed.

Without thinking about it much, locals start to poke out of their apartments and gently shed their wintery cocoons. Lured by warmer temperatures, they spend a bit more time walking along the riverside quays and boulevards, on cafe terraces and lounging in parks. But the shift is so subtle that it doesn’t quite feel yet like spring, in its full-tilt, buzzing glory. And it isn’t, technically, until later in the month.

{How to Enjoy Spring in Paris– & Ditch Some Common Myths}

The Canal St Martin in Paris, sometime in March. This is a lovely place to stroll in early spring, by the way. Image: By La Citta Vita (Canal St Martin) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The Canal St Martin in Paris, sometime in March. La Citta Vita (Canal St Martin) [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Since we’re at the tail end of low season in March, you’ll still likely feel a sense of relative spaciousness and calm. I’m not promising that you’l exactly have the city to yourself: this is, after all, the world’s single most-visited city.

But the crowds will still be noticeably thinner at this time of year than they are starting in April and through the late summer/early fall– and you should take advantage of that. If you’re on a tight budget, you’re similarly in luck: airfares and hotel rates are lower now than in peak season.

A mural somewhere around Montmartre, with cherry blossoms in the foreground. Image credit: Courtney Traub/All rights reserved.
A mural somewhere around Montmartre, with cherry blossoms in the foreground. Image credit: Courtney Traub/All rights reserved.

In short, a Parisian sojourn at this time of year can be ideal: you’re unlikely to have to fight back crowds with the aid of your trusty, crusty baguette (I kid, but it probably would be handy in that situation) nor to send your bank account into overdraft to pay for the trip, but there are nearly countless ways to enjoy the city.

I’ve listed a few ideas below– so keep reading–and if you want a fuller picture of events around town this year, I’d recommend consulting the Paris Tourist Office page and their full event monthly calendars. 

March Weather in Paris & Packing Tips

A cafe terrace near Abbesses, in Montmartre. Image: Courtney Traub/All rights reserved
A cafe terrace near Abbesses, in Montmartre. Image: Courtney Traub/All rights reserved

March can be anywhere from quite chilly to almost balmy, and it’s difficult to predict what conditions you’ll encounter on your trip. Clouds, cold breezes, and rain are common, but so are sunny conditions and spring temperatures, especially later in the month when the mercury tends to climb.

I always recommend that you prepare for fickle, changeable conditions by packing both cold-weather clothes and accessories alongside lighter clothing.

Layering is never a bad idea, especially since the mornings tend to be on the cold side, with temperatures warming up throughout the day in many instances.

Minimum Temperature: 5 degrees C/41 degrees F
Maximum Temperature: 13 degrees C/55.4 degrees F (in recent years, it’s been known to get even warmer)
Average temp: 9-10 degrees C/48.2-50 degrees F
Average monthly precipitation: 1.3 inches

While it can be warm enough to enjoy sitting out on terraces like the one pictured above, you’ll probably still need at least a light sweater or jacket if you want to stay outside comfortably for long stretches. I’d also recommend packing a light rain jacket and at least one pair of waterproof shoes.

Read related: When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Paris? There’s No Easy Answer.

Best Things to See and Do in March?

This list is by no means exhaustive, but here are (what I hope are) a few inspiring ways to spend your March getaway in the capital. Scroll down even further for current exhibits and shows I recommend seeing.

1. Roam through (and relax in) the city’s parks and gardens.

Things start to thaw in March-- including people. Strolling or sitting to read in a city park is always a good idea. Image: Jeanne Menjoulet/Creative Commons
Things start to thaw in March– including people. Image: Jeanne Menjoulet/Creative Commons

In March, things start to see a slow but palpable thaw– even people seem to ease out of their icy winter countenances, warming up with the promise of the coming spring.

Make sure to take to the city’s many lush, gorgeous parks and gardens– from the Tuileries (pictured above) with its opulent statuary, formal flowerbeds, ponds and views over the Louvre, to the Jardin du Luxembourg (see below) with its romantic, tree-lined lanes and generous lawns.

All of these spots are perfect for a simple Parisian picnic.

Jardin du Luxembourg/Mike Hauser/Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons 2.0 license.
Jardin du Luxembourg/Mike Hauser/Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons 2.0 license.

Read more about how to take full advantage of green spaces in Paris (and outside the city limits) in my complete guide to visiting Paris in the spring.

Also make sure to peruse my piece on some of the best day trips from Paris by train: this is an excellent moment to venture beyond Paris proper and enjoy outdoor excursions to nearby gardens, forests and chateaux.

2. Visit an open-air market and taste some delicious local produce.

Vendors at the Marché d'Aligre in Paris/Image by Courtney Traub/All rights reserved

Another wonderful thing to do at this time of year is to hit a good open-air market in Paris. A personal favorite of mine (and I’m far from alone or original in this, of course), is the Marché d’Aligre, a bustling neighborhood market near the Hospital Saint-Antoine and, a bit further afield, Bastille.

Note: there’s a market closer to the Place de la Bastille that’s also very good, but this is a different, arguably more intimate one. Open every day of the week except Monday, the Marché d’Aligre is coveted among gourmet types, owing to the incredible variety and quality of the produce sold here.

The market includes open-air stalls, permanent street shops dotted along the Rue d’Aligre (bakeries, cheesemongers, fishmongers, you name it) and the covered Marche Beauvau, which opened in 1779.

Beautiful purple artichokes at the Marche d'Aligre: who said produce couldn't be poetry in its own right? Seasonal and fresh products are guaranteed at most Parisian farmers' markets. Image: Courtney Traub
Beautiful purple artichokes at the Marche d’Aligre: who said produce couldn’t be poetry in its own right? Seasonal and fresh products are guaranteed at most Parisian farmers’ markets. Image: Courtney Traub

The quality at the Aligre and most other traditional markets in the city is almost guaranteed to be high, and the cultural experience is, in my humble opinion, an essential one.

“Slow living” may be a tiresome buzzword these days, but many French people never forgot that there can be joy in taking time to admire and carefully sleet good products– and that they don’t have to be expensive, either.

March is an ideal time to take part in the tradition, since temperatures a bit warmer. You might even want to stock up on goodies for a picnic and head to a nearby park or river quay.

A poissonier (fishmonger) outside his shop on Rue Montorgueil. Image credit: Marcus Chance/Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons 2.0 license
A poissonier (fishmonger) outside his shop on Rue Montorgueil. Image credit: Marcus Chance/Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons 2.0 license

I also recommend exploring the permanent stalls on streets such as Rue Montorgueil (pictured above)-– no matter what day it is, you can take a stroll through the marbled pedestrian streets and take in the sounds, smells and sights of French tradition. See my full guide to the Rue Montorgueil district here.

3. Take a bike or boat tour.

Since March generally offers some mercifully warm days, it can be very pleasant to take to the water on a boat tour of the Seine, drifting lazily past some of the city’s hallowed places and institutions and perhaps indulging in a dinner amid the glow of soft lights.

Sometimes, doing the slightly cliche things are rewarding and wonderful– and I’m the first to admit it. I remember one year, following a particularly difficult winter in which nothing was going my way, I boarded a boat tour solo sometime in late March, just to get a change of perspective and some fresh air.

I may have been slightly embarrassed to admit (as a longtime city resident) that I had spent the afternoon doing something so touristy, but guess what? It lifted my mood and kicked me out of my rut.

Book Seine River cruises, commented tours & dinner packages (via Getyourguide.com)

While I don’t especially recommend renting a bike and attempting to navigate the city by yourself on wheels– as I argue over at TripSavvy, cycling in Paris can be very dangerous and stressful for the uninitiated– a guided bike tour is a great alternative.

This is a nice time of year to see the city in the open air, and you can cover more ground on bike than you can on foot. I like, and recommend, Fat Tire Tours-– they have knowledgable, friendly guides and put safety first.

If you’re interested in booking a guided tour of the city– whether by boat, foot, bike or bus– Viator has a large variety of high-quality Paris tours to choose from (book at this page).

Exhibits & Shows Worth Seeing in March 2024

The exhibits and shows scene starts to pick up in March, so there’s usually quite a lot on around town to sate your desire for artistic and cultural activities. Here are a couple of my picks this month.

“Les Orientalistes” at the Atelier des Lumières

© Culturespaces / C. de la Motte Rouge

After drawing thousands of visitors to see “multisensory” immersive exhibitions exploring the art and legacies of Gustav Klimt, Vincent Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir and Chagall and many others the Atelier des Lumières is once again slated to attract crowds with a new show on the “Orientalism” of French artists Ingres, Renoir and Delacroix.

This is (according to me, at least) a concept that never seems to lose its appeal, even though I was initially pretty skeptical. A team of digital artists and producers from the company Culturespaces curate a fully immerse experience that engages all the senses, bringing to full life classic artworks, artists and reviving public interest in art and cultural history.

When: From February 9th, 2024 through January 5th, 2024 (Book tickets here) or buy timed entrance tickets plus access to the Fondation Louis Vuitton here (via Tiqets).

Also at the Atelier through early next year is a sprawling multimedia exploring the mysteries and artistic legacies of the Egyptian pharaohs. The curators have cleverly fused art, architecture, music for yet another blockbuster show. This one is sure to attract crowds, to book early.

Mark Rothko (at the Fondation Louis Vuitton)

Through April 2nd, see the vast retrospective on 20th-century abstract artist Mark Rothko at the Fondation Louis Vuitton— one of the largest to date in France, and exploring Rothko’s legacy across some 115 paintings and other works, borrowed from major global collections.

When: Through April 2nd, 2024 (you can purchase tickets here)

For a more complete list of exhibitions and events too beeline to in March, try visiting this page.

Book Your March Trip to Paris

Paris in the spring months can range from chilly to balmy. Image credit: Dmitri Dzhus/Creative Commons 2.0

If you’re flying, get a head start by searching for deals (via Booking.com). If you have the luxury of taking the train (something I highly recommend, by the way), you can book train tickets and discount passes over at Rail Europe.

For updated information on the ongoing coronavirus crisis in Paris and safety-related information, including advice on whether to consider canceling or postponing your trip, see this page. 

Guided Tours I Recommend

You may want to consider a tour with Viator : guided visits to the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and other top museums; walling tours of fascinating neighborhoods like the Marais; food and wine tours and romantic Seine river cruise packages are among their current offerings. You can browse and book Paris tours here. 

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10 thoughts on “Paris in March 2024: What to See & Do?

  1. I would love to visit Paris this time of year. When I went they were having record heat. It was 103 the day we arrived :(. The Paris you describe sounds much more pleasant lol

  2. Perfect tips! I’ve always thought that I would visit Europe for the first time out of peak season, and it’s so good to find specific recommendations for seasons other than summer or winter! Can’t wait to see Paris in the Spring or the Fall!

  3. I love this city. I’ve been to Paris many times trying to uncover more layers of the city on each visit. Visiting Paris is an experience that every traveler should have. I remember the first time I went there, I spent the day wandering among some of the main attractions, stopping for café lattes and macaroons, shopping in the boutique stores and generally loving every corner of this gorgeous city !

  4. I purposely missed my connecting flight in Paris so I could finally see the Eiffel Tower, then I took a bus home to Switzerland that evening. Needless to say all it did was get my appetite wet for more of Paris. Definitely hope to go back and this is a handy guide to have!

  5. I have never actually been ot Paris in March and I like the idea of cool and balmy days. Being able to sit outisde on the esplanade and people watching on a bright sunny day would be my cup of tea. Love Paris…. I really must go back. Still so much to see and do there.

  6. I’m all for visiting in the off season. It’s nice to have time to linger without feeling like you’re on the way. The markets look incredible and those exhibits sounds fantastic as well.

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