Julie France 18 Comments

Easter in Paris…sounds nice, doesn’t it? Spring flowers, warm temperatures, enjoying the view from the Eiffel Tower. Sure, that sounds nice, but it’s not always the reality. You could get cold weather, rain showers, and long queues to get into the most popular tourist destinations.

I would love to tell you that Easter in Paris is a glorious experience, but that’s not necessarily the case. There are some things you should know before planning that Easter weekend in Paris.

About Our Experience

We spent three days in Paris in 2018. This year, Easter was on April 1. We arrived on Good Friday and spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the city. On Monday, we left Paris, taking a morning train to Luxembourg.

This was our third visit to Paris in the past ten years. Our prior visits were in mid-April (not during Easter) and mid-October.

During our three-day visit over Easter weekend, we experienced chilly, wet weather and the largest crowds we have seen yet in Paris. I wouldn’t call it “nightmare” level crowds, but the lines to get into the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame were hours long. Yes, hours is plural.

Easter in Paris: What to Expect

Paris Could Be Cold and Wet

Or it can be warm and sunny. It’s spring…anything is possible.

On average, daytime high temperatures range from 8°C to 18°C (45 to 65°F) from the end of March into April. Rain showers are very common during this time.

In 2018, Paris (and Europe) experienced a colder than normal winter. These cool temperatures persisted into early spring.

During our visit, the high temperatures only reached 10°C (50°F). It was overcast for most of our visit, with a few scattered rain showers during the day. The weather wasn’t terrible, but it was cold in the mornings and evenings and we got rained on a few times.

Paris in April

Since winter still had not released Paris from its grip, very few flowers and trees were blooming. This created a rather dreary atmosphere for a springtime visit to Paris.

However, those cold temperatures made it even nicer to pop into a café and get a warm drink. Few people were sitting outside at the street cafes during our visit, which is unfortunate, because it is one of the best things to do while in Paris. Some places have heaters, which we took advantage of.

Julie and Tim in Paris

During our visit, the weather was colder and wetter than normal. This isn’t always the case. A chilly day or a rainy day is to be expected, but not a whole string of them like we had.

Hopefully, you will get to see Paris with sunshine and warm temperatures.

Expect to Wait in Line

I was surprised at the length of the lines to get into the big tourist attractions. They were ridiculously long. We are talking several hours wait to get into places like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Catacombs, and Notre Dame.

Notre Dame at Easter

This is the line to get into Notre Dame on Easter morning (and this is just a small part of it!).

We have never seen lines this long in Paris. And to be honest, we have never seen so many long lines in one city at one time.

We tried to visit the Catacombs, arriving 45 minutes before opening time. The line was already so long that we were nowhere near the entrance to the Catacombs. And once it opened, the line painfully inched forward. We gave up, not wanting to waste our precious time in line.

What Will Be Open?

Easter is a holiday but this does not affect the hours of operation for the tourist attractions in Paris. If it’s open on a Sunday, then generally, it’s also open on Easter. All of the main tourist attractions (Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Arc de Triomphe, Catacombs, etc) are open on Easter.

Very few restaurants were closed and public transportation operates like normal.

Verdict: Is It Worth Visiting Paris at Easter?


If this is your first visit, I would not recommend visiting Paris at Easter. During your first visit, you want to take in the view from the Eiffel Tower, climb the Arc de Triomphe, see the Louvre, and climb the tower of Notre Dame. If you visit during Easter weekend, you will be waiting in queue after queue and you will have a horrible first impression of Paris. If you can visit one or two weeks before or after Easter, when lines are more manageable, I think you will have a much better experience.

If this is not your first visit to Paris, then a visit at Easter can be a very nice experience. For the attractions you want to visit, book your tickets in advance so you can skip the ticket lines. Then spend your remaining time wandering the less crowded neighborhoods and trying new restaurants.

Paris Ferris Wheel View

The view from the Ferris Wheel on Place de la Concorde

France Travel Guide

Tips to Have the Best Experience in Paris at Easter

If you are set on visiting Paris at Easter, there are some things you can do to make sure you have the best experience.

Buy the Museum Pass/Pre-Book Your Tickets in Advance

The Museum Pass is a card that covers the main sites in Paris (the Louvre, Saint Chapelle, Versailles, the Tower of Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, and more) and allows you to skip the ticket line. You will still have to wait in the Museum Pass line, and in some places, this still can be quite long (it was at the Catacombs) but it will cut down on your waiting time.

For places that are not covered by the Museum Pass, such as the Eiffel Tower, you should book your tickets in advance. Again, you still will have to wait in line for the elevator but you will get to bypass the ridiculously long ticket line.

Get There Early

Getting to an attraction before opening time will also cut down on how long you have to wait in line. This helps a lot, even if you have the Museum Pass.

Don’t Spend All of Your Time at the Touristy Spots

If you just wander five minutes away from the main touristy areas, crowds magically disappear. We spent a lot of time wandering and exploring different neighborhoods. There are a lot of great spots to visit in Paris other than the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, so don’t be afraid to take an afternoon and explore one of the “less popular” neighborhoods.

The areas that were the most crowded during our visit were Notre Dame and Ile de la Cite, the Champs-Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe, Place du Tertre in Montmartre, and Champ de Mars and the Eiffel Tower. Le Marais wasn’t too bad, nor was Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Ile de la Cite was crazy but nearby Ile Saint-Louis was quiet and uncrowded. Even consider a visit out to La Defense, a place that almost felt like a ghost town compared to the rest of Paris.

Place du Tertre in April

This is Place du Tertre in Montmartre on Saturday afternoon.


Montmartre Paris

Just a five minute walk from Place du Tertre are quieter (and prettier) streets in Montmartre.

Best Time to go to Paris

Paris is a very popular destination, for very good reasons. It can be crowded almost all year, with the largest crowds between May and September and during the holidays of Easter and Christmas.

The best times to visit Paris are late April into May and the month of October. Temperatures are pleasant and crowds are not at their peak.

The weather in Paris from June through August is warm and sunny but this is also a time when many people take their vacations, so the city can get quite crowded.

Where We Stayed

On this most recent visit to Paris we stayed at Hotel Le Relais Saint Honore. Our favorite thing about this small, boutique hotel is its excellent location. The Louvre, Tuileries Garden, Place de la Concorde, and Palais-Garnier are all within a 10-minute walk. The Tuileries and Pyramides metro stations are less than 5 minutes away. The rooms are small but tastefully decorated and the staff is friendly and speaks English.

Le Relais Saint Honore Hotel

For more recommendations on where to stay, read our Best Hotels and Neighborhoods Guide for Paris. Learn where to stay for a great view of the Eiffel Tower and get recommendations whether you are looking for a budget hotel, luxury hotel, or if you are traveling as a family.

Have you visited Paris during Easter? Comment below if you have any questions or advice for other readers.

More Information for Your Trip to France

PARIS: Start with our article Best Things to Do in Paris for ideas of what to do in Paris. Plan your time in the city with our 2 Day Paris Itinerary and 3 Day Paris Itinerary. We also have a Paris Hotel Guide, a guide to the best rooftop bars and restaurants in Paris, and advice on visiting Paris with kids.

MUST-SEE SIGHTS IN PARIS: Don’t miss our guides to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Versailles, which cover important things to know as you plan your visit.

LONDON & PARIS: Learn how to plan a trip to Paris and London with our 10 Day London Paris Itinerary. You can also add in Amsterdam, visiting London, Amsterdam, and Paris in 10 days.

BELGIUM: Don’t miss our guide on how to take a self-guided chocolate tour of Brussels that also includes the top sights in town. We also have a article about how to day trip to Bruges and Ghent.

NETHERLANDS: Learn how to spend 2 perfect days in Amsterdam and the best things to do in Amsterdam. We also have a guide on Where to Stay in Amsterdam and how to visit Utrecht and The Hague.

Planning a trip to France? Read all of our articles in our France Travel Guide.

Easter in Paris Best Experience


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Comments 18

  1. Avatar for Nicola

    Your website has been so helpful and I feel a lot more confident about my trip now, just wondering in regards to the ques in Paris are the ques long for pre-booked ticket holders or are the images of the ques of people who have not booked a time slot in advance?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Nicola. In this post, we show a queue for Notre Dame, but that is currently not open. If you have plans to visit Paris at Easter, it is best to book your tickets in advance, especially for the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, for Versailles, for the Catacombs, and any other museums you plan to enter. There still can be a short wait in line for security at some sights, even with a pre-booked ticket, but this wait is generally 15 minutes or less. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Stella J
    Stella J

    Thank you so so much for this post! I am visiting Paris for the first time with mom in April and it just happened to be the Easter weekend. When I realized, it was too late because we’ve already bought the ticket 🙁 wish I could’ve avoided it but, oh well, When will I ever celebrate Easter in Paris? Just like you, we will get there on Good Friday and stay until Monday. This post gives me some idea of how I should plan my trip!! Again, thank you lots!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      1. Avatar for Victoria Babb
        Victoria Babb

        We are also visiting Paris for the first time over Easter holiday. Would you recommend a lunch or dinner cruise? We will have our 11 year old daughter with us. What is a reputable company to purchase “skip the line” tickets? I have read that some have been rejected. Thanks for your valuable insight.

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          Hello Victoria. Yes, a Seine River Cruise can be a very nice, leisurely experience. In our things to do in Paris article, we recommend some skip-the-line tours for several sites as well as some Seine River cruises. There are many options, but I chose the tours that get very good reviews, and have many reviewers, so you should not have any issues with being rejected. Also, if you book your tickets ahead of time on the official website (these links are also in the article), you will have skip-the-line tickets with a small savings over skip-the-line tours. I try to explain your options with our recommendations, but if you have any more questions, let me know. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Christine

    I was in Paris for Easter of 2014. It was still chilly but the flowers were blooming. I arrived on Good Friday ( April 18th that year). Having been to Paris many time previously, we really didn’t hit any of the main tourist spots so didn’ t encounter horrid crowds. The only tourist thing we did was attend the ringing of the bells before Mass at Notre Dame on Easter Sunday. There was a lot of people there, but not crazy. What WAS crazy was the people shopping on Saturday. The major department stores were NUTS and if I’m ever in Paris over Easter again I will avoid them on the Holiday weekend. We stayed in Paris for the following week and things pretty much were back to normal.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  4. Avatar for Dana

    Hi, Julie! I just ran across your site and love, love, love all of the information. My husband and I have been to Paris at least a dozen times but are going with our kids (ages 12 and 14) for the first time, and we have never been at Easter. My question for you is – will Good Friday be the best day to try to see Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower? I see that it’s not a public holiday so I’m hoping the crowds may be better (?). What are your thoughts?

    Ps. We are going to cinque terre in August and found your guide to be incredibly helpful for that also!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Dana. Last year, when we arrived in Paris, it was on Good Friday. That was the least crowded day of Easter weekend, at least from what we could tell. So yes, I think that would be the best day to visit the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Just reserve your tickets in advance. It’s still a very nice experience over Easter, just be prepared for larger crowds than you might have seen on your prior visits. By the way, I’m glad you like our site!! Happy travels, Julie

  5. Avatar for Kay

    We are planning a first time trip April 2019 and Easter is 21st. We have 2 weeks but seeing other countries too and trying to research if the week before Easter weekend like Mon to Thurs would still be high tourists or just the weekend and cannot seem to find an answer. Easter either makes us go 1st 2 weeks and I fear for cold and no flowers or it’s in the middle of trip. Any help ?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Kay. We were in Paris only during Easter weekend (we arrived Friday morning) so I cannot tell you from experience what the week before Easter will be like, but I imagine that it would be less crowded than Easter weekend.

      In April, every week makes a big difference in flowers and trees leafing out. We have been to Paris twice in April – this most recent trip on April 1 (temperatures were unusually cold and flowers were not blooming yet) and mid-April in 2008 (it got up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, trees had leaves, and flowers were blooming). With your visit in mid-April, you should be able to see some flowers blooming and the city getting green again, just keep your fingers crossed that they do not have another lingering winter like 2018.

      Cheers, Julie

  6. Avatar for Peter Aiken
    Peter Aiken


    Came across your site last year, while doing research for a trip to Ireland, which brings me to this post. My wife and I will spending a few weeks in Ireland in late May and early June and ending the trip with a few days in London. I noticed it’s possible to make a day trip to Paris from London by train. Would like your thoughts on if it is worth taking a day trip to Paris. The thing that intrigued me about a day trip to Paris was there is a group of men who do a motorcycle tour through Paris and that sounded interesting.

    Thanks for you time.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Yes, you can do a day trip from London to Paris. On average, it takes about 2.5 hours by train (one way) to get between the 2 cities, so 5 hours of travel time. You will also have to factor in transport time to and from the stations. You will have about 8 to 10 hours in Paris if you take a very early train and get back to London late at night. With this time, you can see several of the big sites (or see the motorcycle tour) and have a nice meal in a restaurant. You just have to decide if this quick run through Paris is worth it, factoring in that you will have to give up a day in London. If you really want to see Paris, then it’s worth it. Cheers, Julie

  7. Avatar for Lydia

    We’ll be working in Paris July 7-8 and will have a few days before to vacation. I love your newsletter and was pleased to read about your recent European trip.

    It will be our second trip and we’re not huge museum lovers (prefer smaller ones such as Picasso and d’Orsay). Our preference is to walk and explore outside.

    Last visit we did not do the Eiffel Tiwer due to crowding and poor visibility. I will follow your recommendation and buy ahead this time but wonder what time of day you recommend?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Lydia. I usually recommend going right at opening time or near closing time because this is when crowds tend to be less. Have you been to the Orangerie Museum yet? It’s a wonderful, small museum with paintings of Monet’s water lilies. I really enjoyed it and I am not a museum lover, either. I also recommend strolling around the streets near Montmartre. Place du Tertre and the Sacre Coeur was mobbed but the nearby streets were surprisingly quiet (and beautiful!). Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Lydia

        Thank you so much. I have already reserved our tickets for the Catcacombes de Paris for first thing one morning and plan on getting tickets for sunset (very late in July!) the first night we get there, but they’re not selling them yet.

        I am so grateful for all your recommendations and ideas.

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          You’re so welcome. The catacombs are so cool…I’m glad you’ll be able to see them without spending hours in line. Cheers, Julie

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