Are you wondering what to wear in France in January? In this guide we will tell you how to pack for France in January for sightseeing, the Winter weather, dress codes 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 January
France in January is definitely still experiencing mid-winter. In fact Winter is full swing in January and it is often the coldest month of the year.
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 January?
The weather in France in January 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 with the Eastern region i.e. Alsace and the mountains being the colds, often below freezing.
As such you can expect the North and mountains to have temperatures around 3°C/37°F – 6°C/ 43°F and the South averaging temperatures around 9°C/48-13°C/55°F.
Therefore depending on where you are going will depend how thick and thermal the layers need to be. But layers are needed across the country.
Note: this is intended as a general France packing list so if you plan on doing some Winter sports in January you should check out our Winter Sports Capsule Wardrobe.
Does it rain a lot in January in France?
January is actually one of the rainiest months in France. Generally speaking there is a 40% chance of a rainy day in January. This means that you should have some waterproof wear and a compact travel umbrella with you for France in January.
Note: it is important to note that there are some regional differences in France in January. For this reason we have some specific regional guides linked below:
- What to wear in Corsica
- What to wear in Paris in December
- What to wear in Provence
- What to wear in the South of France
Note: Although January is not as busy as summer in the cities in France it is still worth buying your attraction tickets in advance with skip the line access to save you queuing outside places in the rain.
Does it snow in France in January?
It really depends on where you are in France as to whether you will see snow in January. For instance in Paris you can get snow in January but it isn’t as common occurance and you will usually find it mixed in with rain as sleet and it is highly unusual to settle.
But ski season and winter sports season is in full swing in France in January. For a guide to what to wear skiing in France check out this post.
What do locals wear in France in January
In January you will find that the locals in France are wearing their Winter Capsule Wardrobe. Also it is common to see lots of monochrome and neutral tones in French winter wardrobes. And layers are obviously a big part of any French Winter outfit.
Considerations for France January Packing List
We always recommend you pack light when traveling to Europe even in Winter. 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.
And if you want to know more about how to pack a minimalist capsule wardrobe for any season check out this post.
Plan for Cold Weather
You will feel the cold in France in January so be sure to have enough light layers with you.
What to Wear in France in January
What to Wear in France in January for women
Coat / Jacket
In January you are definitely going to want a warm coat. 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 January is a more practical coat.
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 January no matter where you are. But be sure to get gloves that are touch screen compatible so as you are likely to be taking lots of photographs.
Trousers are my number one pick for France in January. 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.
Skirts and dresses
I like to wear a dress when traveling but I find it too cold in France in January for sightseeing in the daytime. Instead I wear dresses in the night in Winter.
For me there is nothing better than a sweater dress for France in Winter which I pair with a thick pair of tights and boots.
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.
I don’t think I ever visit France without a t shirt on my packing list. Given the weather in January, 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.
For France in January 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 January. I particularly love to pack a camel cardigan along with a smart merino wool sweater.
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.
PJs or Nightie
A heavier weight pj is better for January. My favorite are the flannel type check pjs.
Underwear and Socks
Goes without saying. I either pack thicker hiking socks for January or merino wool socks which although thinner are insulating.
What to pack for France in January 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.
Jeans are great for sightseeing in January. You may want to add a smarter pair of chinos or Dockers to the packing list too for nights out and fancier dinners. Later in the month you may also want some wool trousers.
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 we recommend picking a thicker coat with insulation and waterproofing.
Again we recommend gloves that are touch screen compatible.
Underwear, Socks and Pjs
Goes without saying.
Note: if you plan to head over the border into a Monaco during your France trip 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 January
One of the trickiest areas of any packing list is shoes. If you are traveling to France in January 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 even in Winter. They are good for cities but are also good for the countryside and can cope well on cobblestones streets and uneven surfaces, of which there are plenty of in France.
My favorite sneaker brands for travel are Hoka and All birds as they are very comfortable for walking long distances. I also usually like a white sneaker for their versatility such as the Addidas Cloud Foam brand. However I wrrry about discoloration in Winter. For white sneakers in Winter I prefer something leather such as the Ecco Soft 7.
As the weather is changeable in France in January 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.
For more information on how to pack boots for travel click here.
What to Pack for France in January (non clothing)
So now you know the clothes to pack for France in January, what other items should be on your what to pack for France in January list .
- Compact Umbrella – essential for any month in France but especially January which is one of the rainiest months to visit.
- Backpack – for storing items on your day trips.
- Crossbody Bag – anti theft type as with any city it can have issues with pickpockets around main tourist attractions.
- Lipbalm – to protect your lips from cracking in the cold.
- Reusable Water Bottle
- Charging Equipment
- Power pack / Battery Pack
- Travel Adapaters for electronics – France uses standard European outputs and plugs.
- Travel First Aid Kit
- Blister plasters
- Toiletries – for our essential toiletries packing list click here.
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 January Packing List
Are there any special events in France in January?
There are no real special events in France in January that have special dress codes that you need to worry about packing for.
Do I need coat in France in January?
Given the weather in France in January 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 January?
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. In Winter I like to wear either a sweater dress with thick tights or thick winter trousers paired with a merino wool sweaters.
Do you have any questions about what to wear in France in January? Drop us a comment below and we will do our best to answer.