Unless you're the kind of person who finds poetic inspiration in winter landscapes and activities, the month of March comes as a relief after months of mostly dark, cold days. And this is true of Paris as much as anywhere else. It may not be the mad symphony of blossoms and whirling pollen that April and May so often bring, but you can expect something like a gentle thaw at work during this time of year.
You'll see it in both the seasonal flora and in the moods of locals, who often seem to be hopefully creeping out of hibernation as they take to the streets, cafe terraces, and even the river quays again. Paris in March shows the city getting back to a sense of warmth and activity. This is the period when Parisians start to get their joie de vivre and enthusiasm back, and when the city starts to feel more lively after a few sleepy months.
It's also a great time to explore a few beautiful Parisian parks and gardens, soak up any available sun and warmth on a cafe terrace, or enjoy exploring some of the city's distinctively charming neighborhoods. There's plenty on around town in March, from festivals to exhibits and shows.
Paris Weather in March
Spring may be on the way, but March is generally still chilly in Paris, especially at the start of the month.
- Average high: 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius)
- Average low: 37 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius)
Low temperatures can take some visitors by surprise if they're ill-equipped for the cold and heavy cloud cover, rain, and windchill are also typical for this time of year, so it may not be the sunny Paris you're expecting. The average rainfall in March is 1.6 inches and the average overall temperature is 46 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius).
What to Pack
When packing your suitcase, the most important thing to remember is that spring is not entirely sprung at this time of year. It's a smart idea to pack plenty of clothes that you can layer in case an unusually cool or warm day sneaks up on you. Feel free to bring along light cotton shirts, shorts, skirts, and pants in hopes of the sun—but it's also highly advisable to pack a few sweaters, warm socks, a springtime scarf or two, and a light coat.
Rain during a March trip here is likely, and you don't want to ruin your outdoor excursions with sloshy shoes and miserably cold, wet socks, so make sure your travel shoes are waterproof. Also, be sure to bring along a pair of shoes that are comfortable to walk in; Paris is a city where getting around on foot is often the best and most interesting option.
For cold days, you'll need a pair of light gloves, especially at night, but you should still pack a hat and other sun gear in case an extra sunny day comes along and you want to spend some time soaking up the rays in a park.
March Events in Paris
It's not yet high season in March, but there's still a wealth of interesting things to see and do at this time of year. In 2021, some events in Paris may be canceled or postponed so be sure to check the organizer's website for the latest details.
- The Paris Book Fair: Anyone who loves literature or wants to find something exciting and new to read should beeline to the annual Salon du Livre (Paris Book Fair), a trade show that brings together thousands of readers, authors, and publishers under a single roof. It's usually held at the Paris Porte de Versailles convention center.
- Carnaval Des Femmes: This parade commemorates the French washerwomen who used to crown their own Queen for the day in the 18th century. The next parade will take place on March 27, 2022.
- Eiffel Tower Vertical Race: Every March, the world's most famous tower holds a vertical race in which athletes come to climb the 1,665 steps of the Eiffel Tower. Because of the transparent design of the tower, you'll actually be able to see the race from afar. In 2021, the race was not rescheduled.
- St Patrick's Day: March is the month to fete the "Green Man" in Paris, a city with a large and vibrant Irish community and several authentic, cheerful Irish pubs going all out for the holiday. It's the perfect occasion to take part in a little pre-spring revelry with music and perhaps a good Guinness or two. Of course, if you're traveling with family, you can steer clear of the drinking-heavy events and head to concerts and other events at the Irish Cultural Center, or to Disneyland Paris, for a St. Paddy's day parade.
March Travel Tips
- Even though it's still technically low season in March, you may find that crowds increase at this time of year as temperatures rise above close to freezing. Book ahead for tables at popular restaurants, trending shows, and exhibits—or risk disappointment.
- Be flexible about your daily program to account for fickle weather. If you've planned for a day out at Versailles but icy rain and wind foil your plans, have a backup plan ready. There's always so much to see and do in Paris, no matter the conditions outside.
- It's probably not going to be quite warm enough in March to stroll around the city in shorts and t-shirts and spend long, lazy hours picnicking on the banks of the Seine. Still, there's that aforementioned thaw happening, so it's often very pleasant to take a stroll around lovely Parisian green spaces, such as the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Jardin des Tuileries.
- Take advantage of exhibits at on-site museums and galleries such as the Musee du Luxembourg and the Musee de l'Orangerie. Both have cafes where you can cozy up with a warm drink if your amble through the park has made you chilly.