I recently returned from a trip to Paris and wanted to share some packing suggestions with you. It’s really difficult not to try to just transfer your entire closet into a 28″ case, especially if it’s your first time to any new destination. Although I have been to Paris multiple times this is still a problem for me!
There is that fear of the unknown; of not being prepared for every situation. So I thought I would create a packing chic list for you of basics to make sure you include. If you forget something don’t sweat it! Keep in mind that Paris is a shopper’s paradise and you can probably purchase (that’s part of the fun).
Each person’s trip to Paris (or any metropolitan European city) is unique based on four factors: length of stay, place of stay, reason for going and season. This particular list below is for women going to Paris in the Spring/Summer for 7-10 days, staying at a centrally located hotel and looking to explore.
Your Paris Chic List
- 1 navy or black blazer
- 5-6 neutral tanks and tees in navy, white, gray and black. Neutral stripes are always appropriate for Paris as well. Think Vince, J. Crew, Zara, H&M
- 2 neutral blouses to go with everything
- 1 pair of black cigarette pants
- 2 pairs of denim in gray, black or white (french women wear white denim better than I’ve ever seen)
- 2 light knit pullovers or sweater jackets: These are to stay warm on the plane and to stash in your bag while site-seeing. One of my favorite experiences was having dinner while sitting along the Seine and it gets chilly at night even in the summer.
- 1 midi skirt: Always appropriate, these go with sandals, flats and heels.
- 1 silk scarf: Very Parisian, your scarves will make you feel a bit more like a native and add pop to a neutral outfit.
- 1 boho hat: It is never wrong to channel Jane Birkin!
- 1 trench (in spring)
- 1 cross-body bag: A cross-body style will help prevent pickpocketing. When wearing make sure the zipper is toward you.
- 1 pair of tennis shoes: You will not see a french woman wearing Nike or Reebok running shoes, especially neon colored, unless they are physically running for exercise. This is a red flag you are a tourist. Get a cool pair of non-emblem tennis shoes from Zara or J. Crew. Make sure you wear them for at least 2 weeks so they are broken in and don’t give you blisters. If you are going to workout in the morning before exploring then by-all-means pack the neon Nikes.
- 1 pair of stylish flats: You may explore the city all day and then want to go to a nice restaurant or club later. If you do not have a chance to head back to your hotel make sure you stash a pair of pretty flats in your tote to change into. Many of the nicer places in Paris will not allow tennis shoes.
- 1 pair of sophisticated heels: Parisian women don’t tend to wear a 5 inch heel. Instead they opt for a ladylike, stacked heel.
- 1 pair of sandals: Again, ladylike and comfortable.
- seamless neutral panties & bras
- socks (for walking and working out)
- 2 pairs of sunglasses
- toiletries and makeup: toothbrush, facial soap, lotion, deodorant, etc.
- small packs of tissue: There are not a lot of public bathrooms in Paris. Restaurants will let you use their restrooms but they aren’t always stocked with toilet paper so it’s better to have your own just in case.
- hand sanitizer and hand wipes
- change purse: Change is used more often in Paris than the US so have a little place for all of it.
- lint roller
- ear plugs
- perfume atomizer
- phone and laptop chargers
- French adapter plug: I only used an adapter (not a converter) while there and this was for my laptop and iphone.
- facial spray: Evian or rosewater to hydrate on the plane.
- mini first aid kit
- nail file
- vitamins: go heavy on the Vitamin C
- bobby pins & hair elastics: for the perfect messy bun
- Paris guide book: Even though you can now access anything on your phone, often you will not be able to get wifi unless you are at your hotel so hard copies are still recommended.
A Word About Packing Your Carry-on
When packing, put all of your valuable items in your carry-on. Duh! you say. But I don’t just mean your jewelry and coat. This also includes any high-end labels, leather or cashmere items or anything that might not be monetarily expensive but is of high sentimental value to you personally. You also want to make sure you have at least two days worth of outfits, your phone and laptop chargers, makeup, pills and toiletries in your carry-on. Basically anything you feel will be difficult to replace if the airline loses your luggage and/or you feel you won’t be able to function without you should pack with you.
Also, check out my post on Things you Should do Before Leaving for Paris for more information that may come in handy for your trip. Happy travels. xx CC
Follow my blog with Bloglovin
I would like to see outfits made from this chic list, or at least links to examples. Also, do you have a recommendation for a restaurant along the Seine? We are going to be in Amsterdam, Brugge, Normandy countryside, Paris, Beaches of Normandy and Mont St. Michel, so my list will look a little different.
My chic list is looking something like this:
1 dark straight leg denim (J Crew Matchstick)
1 navy and white stripe skirt
1 black ankle pant (or should I take black jeggings?)
1 black knee length skirt (that can double as a LBD with a nice black top)
1 lightweight chambray shirt
1 white v neck tee
1 navy boatneck tee
1 black drape neck cowl top
1 white with black polka dots tee
1 white with black stripes tee
2 cardigans (turquoise and pink J Crew Clare Cardigan)
1 floral scarf
1 nude flat
1 black flat
1 tan low profile Sperry (instead of a sneaker)
1 trench coat
1 light gray fedora
My barely there gold necklace
I’m more classic, preppy, feminine. Not so much edgy. What do you think?
Hi April! I love your list. Yes, very similar and your itinerary sounds fantastic. My most romantic dinner along the Seine was getting cheese, meat, wine, and bread from the different shops (we went to Ils Saint Louis) and then just sitting along the Seine watching the boats and people. I found a lot of the restaurants on The Seine quite touristy and getting your food from the local shops was immersing. For a drink or brunch on Sundays along the Seine: Faust, Address: under the Pont Alexandre III http://www.faustparis.fr/en/
Thanks for the recommendations of the riverside picnic. Sounds perfect.
Anything on my list I should skip?
Hi April. I apologize I missed this. The only thing I would say to skip is to wait in the line at Laduree on the Champs Elysee. It isn’t worth it. Your time is valuable:)
Deborah Gerard says
Great post….loved all the information. Planning a trip to Paris in August and trying to be a frugal packer. To know me is to know the challenge in that. It’s combo trip of 6 days in Switzerland (think hiking and such things on the to do list), and then 6 days in Paris. Help? What is the typical (such a silly word, but I lack another) weather like? And what are some MUST haves in my clothing selection. I’ve got ponte pants and travel pants and hiking pants with a few choices of tops on the list. Now I’m stuck. Thanks for helping a girl out. Deb
Hi Deb. Your future trip sounds AMAZING! And what a gorgeous time to visit Switzerland and Paris. The weather will be 75-80 in Paris. It sounds like you are off to a great start with your packing. I would stick with stylish yet comfortable neutrals you can mix and match. I would pack 1-2 light long sleeve shirts you can wear while in the museums and remove when you are outside. However, for the most part the central air doesn’t blare in Paris like it does in the shops and restaurants in the US during the summer. I created a pack list a while back with a check list. Its more for spring, but it may help. Here is the link http://countmehealthy.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/What-to-Pack-for-a-Week-in-Paris-Check-List.pdf
I forgot. Also a black blazer
Thanks for the great packing list!! I’m in love with your suitcases! I know you mentioned the carry on is 21″, but what is the size of your larger bag? I need to purchase large bag to check and want to buy that exact gorgeous suitcase!! Thanks Chelsea!
Hi Maura! So happy you like the list. The larger bag is the 28″ Chatalet here: http://bit.ly/1SZm8Ds. I am in love with it. It rolls easier than any bag I’ve ever owned and holds everything. Best, Chelsea
…or just be comfortable and bring a few interchangeable basics and comfortable shoes that are good for both walking and casual dinners….I love Paris and never feel obligated to bring blazers, heels, “facial sprays”, or hand sanitizer, the latter which dry the hands and contain toxic chemicals.
Thanks for your perspective Aimee. Wishing you a great week. Best, Chelsea
Aimee, didn’t your mother tell you if you can’t add anything of value to the conversation, you should be quiet?
Thank you so much for this post. My best friend and I are traveling to Paris and Rome in January. Do you have a packing list for much colder Paris weather? We have never been to Europe, so we need all the advice we can get.
Thank you! 🙂
Hi Tamara. So happy you like the post. Also have an amazing time in Paris and Rome. I haven’t created a packing list for much colder weather but this is a great suggestion to add to post queue. I would say for sure heavy scarves, gloves, hat, heavy sweaters and a beautiful wool long coat. I actually just posted on suggestions for these here: http://bit.ly/1WgHQ7q Wishing you a great week! CC
Hi Chelsea! I love your posts! Found you on Pinterest. I’m going to Europe in May and got overly excited with all the sales going on and went shopping. I’m not too worried because I can layer with tights, but have you every been in late May/Early June to Paris? I bought a bouclé matching set (shorts and a boxy top) and will layer with a coat and possibly tights. Am I crazy or will I be okay? Also I’m packing tons of skirts (mid lenghth) just because that’s the type of girl I am. I will probably bring lots of pants too. I noticed you didn’t say denim jeans. Do they not wear blue denim. Thank you for your insight and time!
Hi Luci. Happy New Year! I read over what you are going to pack and it sounds perfect to me…especially if you are going to layer. Yes I have been during late May and it still gets chilly at night, but if you bring tights and have a jacket it will be great. Yes they do wear denim, just seems a little more tailored than here. Hope this helps and wishing you such a wonderful trip:) CC
Would a large duffle, a back pack and a crossbody be ok for carry on?
Hi Ursula. I think I’d pick one of these but then use a small roller bag so you can set the duffle or backpack on the roller bag to give your back some relief while traveling. CC
This was a very interesting read and truly helpful when I pack for Paris this June. I heard from aunt who lives in Germany to prevent wearing shorts and spaghetti strap shirts when visiting museums or walking around, as it’s deemed inappropriate? Is this true? I wanted to have that option because I heard it can be hot in June, but at the same time, I want to dress appropriately.
Hi Patricia. So happy you found this helpful. Shorts and spaghetti strap tops are totally appropriate when visiting the museums. They are such a melting pot of different types of people so you will see all types of clothing. I would bring a light cardigan just in case so you can slip it over the tank if you need to. Also if you are going to a lot of museums be sure to wear flat shoes. CC
Delighted to have stumbled on your post ( I am a terrible packer)! Love how you included all the little necessities like the mini first aid kit etc as well- I always seem to pack far too much (just in case) but resort to the same few outfits. Thanks for sharing
PS. Is that the Marriott on the Champs -Elysees? Stayed there twice and loved being in the middle of everything.
Hi Christina. Thanks so much for this! Yes it’s the Marriott Champs-Elysees. It is such a gorgeous, central place. Wishing you a great weekend. CC
Nancy Brunelli says
my friend and I plan to be in paris for a week in may. Could I get away carrying a carry on and a large tote? Thanks.
Hi Nancy! If you wear your coat on the plane and stick with neutrals I’m thinking yes. Have so much fun. May is the perfect time to visit. C
Damn Girl says
Great List! I love Paris! I might add a sleep mask to the list, as Paris is a city that never sleeps and many accommodations can lack proper curtain cover!
Hi! Totally agree. I need to add this:)