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What to wear in France in December

What to wear in France in December

Are you wondering what to wear in France in December? In this guide we will tell you how to pack for France in December for sightseeing, the Winter weather, Christmas Markets and more, no matter the region you are traveling to.

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Weather in France in December

December marks the beginning of Winter in France and temperatures and conditions have definitely started to get cool. But how cold is France in December?

Note: it is worth noting that the weather between months changes quite dramatically in France. Therefore if your trip spans a couple of months then please be sure to check out our other monthly:

Note: we always recommend checking the forecast at your destination(s) 7 days out from travel to make sure there are no expected weather fronts i.e. heatwaves or cold snaps.

How cold is France in December?

Christmas tree inStrasbourg at night
What to pack for France in December

The weather in France in December means that you can expect very changeable conditions. However generally speaking you can expect, as always, the South of France to be the warmest region. And the Eastern region such as Alsace and the mountains commonly are below freezing.

But generally speaking you can expect the temperature to be below 9°C/48°F across most of the country.

Does it rain a lot in December in France?

December is actually a pretty rainy month in France. Generally speaking there is a 40% chance of a rainy day in December with rainfall amounting to around 75mm. This means that you should have some waterproof wear and a compact travel umbrella with you for France in December.

Note: it is important to note that there are some regional differences in France in Decmber. For this reason we have some specific regional guides linked below:

Note: Although December is not as busy as summer in the cities inFrance it is still worth buying your attraction tickets in advance with skip the line access.

Does it snow in France in December?

Woman in snow at Strasbourg christmas market in december
What to wear in France in December

It really depends on where you are in France as to whether you will see snow in December. For instance in Paris you can get snow in December but it isn’t as common occurence.

However December does mark the start of ski and winter sports season in France so if you are heading to mountain places such as Val d’Isere you are likely see significant snow especially the later in the month you travel.

This is intended as a general packing list for France therefore if you are doing winter sports in France you should check out our France skiing packing list.

What do locals wear in France in December

In December you will find that the locals in France have fully transitioned into their Winter Capsule Wardrobe.

Monochrome and neutral tones are very popular in French winter wardrobes so expect to see lots of black, white and camel colors on the street at this time of year.

All all of the locals r tend to wear plenty of layers, smart casual attire and are always prepared for the rain.

And in the mountains you will see much thicker and more insulated coats than you do in the cities such as Paris for instance where you will see more classic smart wool coats.

Considerations for France December Packing List

Woman at Christmas market in Paris
What to wear in Paris in December / Paris Winter Packing List

Pack Light

We always recommend you pack light when traveling to Europe. Accommodations in Europe are much smaller than their American counterparts, and lots of luggage can be a strain on space. Also, you are likely to be using at least some form of public transport on your vacation in France. For this reason it is really important to not overpack.

However this is definitely harder in the shoulder and winter seasons. That is why we recommend packing a Winter Capsule wardrobe for France in December.

For more information on how to pack light for France checking out our  5 4 3 2 1 packing method or the Sudoku packing method.

And if you want to know more about how to pack a minimalist capsule wardrobe for any season check out this post.

Plan for Activities

What you need to wear in the cities in France in December is very different to what you need for winter sports. This packing guide is more intended for city, coast or countryside activities. However for winter sports packing lists check out this guide.

Plan for Cold

You will feel the cold in France in December, in the mountains but also if you want to visit Christmas markets like the amazing one in Strasbourg.

If you plan to be outside in cities at night in France in December for Christmas markets we advise adding thermals to your packing list.

What to Wear in France in December

What to Wear in France in December for women

WOman in front of Christmas tree in France
What to wear in France in December

Coat / Jacket

In December you are definitely going to want a warm coat for France. That is because firstly the weather is definitely chilly especially in the evenings.

Depending on what you plan on doing on your itinerary will depend on what type of coat you will need.

In Paris during the day you will see some smarter wool coats for those going into work. However I think the best coat for France generally in December is a more practical coat.

 Shop coats for France here.

However if you are going on a more active vacation in France such as skiing or snowboarding a thicker ski jacket will definitely be required.

Hat, Scarf and Gloves

Winter accessories are a must for France in December no matter where you are. They are a very practical item for being outdoors in cities strolling around the Christmas markets and doing river cruises etc, but also can stylishly finish off your Winter outfit.

But be sure to get gloves that are touch screen compatible so as you are likely to be taking lots of photographs.

Click here to shop winter accessories


Trousers are my number one pick for France in December. As the weather is cold we recommend picking thicker trousers made of heavier fabric.

Jeans are perfect for sightseeing during the day. I would recommend picking smarter jeans such as black jeans or dark blue jeans that are more fitted or skinny jeans.

If you want a smarter pant then we love a regular black pant (we love the Athleta Brooklyn ankle pant for travel) or a thick wool pant.

For evenings visiting the Christmas markets in December you may also want to consider picking some fleece lined leggings.

Click here to shop trousers for France.

Skirts and dresses

I like to wear a dress when traveling, especially for nights out in Paris and other French cities. Although I find it too cold for dresses in the day I do like to pack them for evenings. For December in France you will need something a bit thicker and I like something with longer sleeves.

As a result for me there is nothing better than a sweater dress for France in December.

And we would never dream about going out in December in a skirt or dress without wearing a thick pair of tights too.

Click here to shop skirts and dresses for France.


Blouses are perfect for France in the Winter for both sightseeing and going out to dinner. They are a versatile layering item and can be dressed up or down depending on where you are going.

Click here to shop blouses

T Shirts

I don’t think I ever visit France without a t shirt on my packing list. Given the weather in December, more long sleeve t shirts than short t shirts are usually required.

Also style wise, plain t shirts are more in keeping with local styles. Patterned, graphic or slogan tees are not commonly worn by locals. And personally I try to avoid the striped Breton and red look. It will undoubtedly mark you as a tourist. However a striped t shirt on its own is fine for France paired with nice trousers or skirt.

Click here to shop t shirts.


For France in December layers are going to be your best friend. For a week in France I will usually pack:

  • a cardigan,
  • a hoodie, and
  • smart sweater.

I like to stick to neutral colors as a personal style preference in France in December. I particularly love to pack a camel cardigan along with a smart merino wool sweater.

I personally never travel in Winter without a merino wool sweater. Merino wool is one of my favorite fabrics to include in a Winter capsule wardrobe.

That is because it provides extra warmth as they are an insulating fabric but is also compact unlike a thick knit. Therefore it is easy to pack and doesn’t take up a lot of space in your case.


Pashminas are on all my European packing lists as they are so versatile. They can be an extra layer if you get a sudden cold snap but can also make an outfit more modest.

Click here to shop pashminas.

PJs or Nightie

A heavier weight pj is better for December. My favorite are the flannel type check pjs.

Underwear and Socks

Goes without saying.  I either pack thicker hiking socks for December or merino wool socks which although thinner are insulating.

What to pack for France in December for Men

The packing list for men is quite similar as the ladies packing list for France and we recommend packing:

T Shirts and Shirts

As with the packing list for women, we recommend packing t shirts that are plain as opposed to graphic or slogan and definitely more long than short tees.

But on top of t shirts we recommend having a button down shirt with long or shorts sleeves with you. These work for restaurants with smart casual dress codes and at museums and tourist attractions such as Versailles and the Louvre and more high end eateries across the country.

Click here to shop mens t shirts.

Chinos/ Jeans

Jeans are great for sightseeing in December. You may want to add a smarter pair of chinos or Dockets to the packing list too for nights out and fancier dinners. Later in the month you may also want some wool trousers.

Shop men’s travel chinos here.


A hoodie, jumper and sweater alongside the jacket are the perfect layers for 7 days in France.


Depending on the itinerary depends on the type of coat you will need. But if you plan on spending lots of time outside or visiting the Christmas markets we recommend picking a thicker coat with insulation and waterproofing.

Winter accessories

Needed especially for christmas markets in Grance.

Underwear, Socks and Pjs

Goes without saying.

Note: if you plan to head over the border into a Monaco and are staying into the evening you may also need to pack a jacket to meet local dress code requires.

Best Shoes for France in December

Woman say looking at Eiffel Tower Paris in November wearing boots
Best Shoes for Paris

One of the trickiest areas of any packing list is shoes. If you are traveling to France in December we recommend packing at least 2-3 pairs of shoes. Our favorite shoes for France at this time of year are:


Sneakers are my top sightseeing shoe for anywhere in Europe. They are good in the cities but are also good on beaches and in the countryside and can even cope well on cobblestones streets, of which there are plenty of in France.

My favorite brand of sneakers for walking are Hoka and AllBirds. I personally avoid white sneakers in DECEMBER due to the wet and risk of discoloration however this is just a personal style choice.

Instead for this time of year I like a waterproof sneaker such as an Ecco.

Click here to shop sneakers.

Ankle Boots

As the weather is changeable in France in December we recommend having a leather boot with some waterproofing as well as a sneaker. These are also better for wearing for evenings out where there are smart casual dress codes.

I pick an ankle boot over an knee high boot, not because of any local fashion style but because they are easier to pack.

I recommend a boot with no heel or a thick low heel as this is better for cobbled stone streets.

Click here to shop ankle boots.

For more information on how to pack boots for travel click here.

What to Pack for France in December (non clothing)

Strasbourg Christmas MArket in France in December
What to wear on a Christmas MArket River Cruise / What to wear to Christmas Markets in Europe

So now you know the clothes to pack for France in December, what other items should be on your what to pack for France in December list .

Note: If you have room in your suitcase then you can bring toiletries with you. However toiletries are very easy to buy in French cities in supermarkets and pharmacies. For this reason we would leaving the toiletries at home and buying them on arrival to save on space in your suitcase if you are staying in a city.

FAQs about our France in December Packing List

Are there any special events in France in December?

There are no real special events in France in December that have special dress codes.

Do I need coat in France in December?

Given the weather in France in December you will need a big coat. I recommend a thick coat with some waterproofing and wind resistance for most of France.

What to wear to dinner in December? 

What to Wear to Dinner in Paris France
What to Wear to Dinner in Paris France

France is a great foodie country no matter the time of year you are visiting. So what should you wear to dinner in France?

Most restaurants in France (apart from very touristy ones) will informally adopt a smart casual dress code in evenings. For this reason I tend to wear linen trousers, blouses and sandals or a maxi dress when I dine out in France at night at this time of year.

Do you have any questions about what to wear in France in December? Drop us a comment below and we will do our best to answer.