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.