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What to Pack for Paris, France: Vacation Packing List
Anticipating a vacation to the City of Lights? Whether you’re planning a romantic trip, a whirlwind shopping tour, or just want to stroll endlessly through the charming arrondissement, use this Paris packing list to help outfit your journey.
Ahhh, Paris. Just the word holds the promise of leisurely afternoons spent at sidewalk cafes, strolls along the Seine, and evenings spent on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. While the appeal of Paris in any season is undeniable, packing for such a journey can be a daunting task! If you’re hoping to pull off the look of a comfortable-yet-stylish traveler during your upcoming trip, be sure to consult this Paris packing list.
While the streets of Paris are paved, they’re not perfectly level. Conquer uneven sidewalks and unexpected hotel staircases by packing your items in a heavy duty 4-wheeled upright travel bag, like the Tarmac AWD 25. Thanks to its big wheels you’ll be able to roll over any type of pavement, and with its expandable main compartment, you’ll be able to bring back all those souvenirs you just couldn’t leave at the botique. And because this bag weighs in at just 9 lbs 12 oz (4.42 kg) you won’t get out of sorts when your (very charming) hotel doesn’t have an elevator!
Comfortable Walking Shoes
While movies portray Parisians as constantly wearing heels, you (and your podiatrist) will be happy to hear that’s not always the case. Cobblestone streets and stilettos don’t mix, so locals usual wear sensible walking shoes or stylish flats in a neutral color. One to try: The Reef Desert Mirage, a cool slip-on with contoured arch support (bonus: they’re 100 percent vegan). Guys may want to forgo flip-flops or bulky sneakers for Reef’s Whaler Premium shoe, a low-key lace up that’s also comfortable and cruelty-free.
From picking at a baguette, to rummaging through vintage clothing at the Puces St-Ouen flea market, you’re going to want your hands free in Paris. Invest in a stylish satchel, like Eagle Creek’s Guide Pro Courier RFID that can easily hold your wallet, camera, and the array of knickknacks you’re bound to pick up. It is also All Ways Secure™ with lockable zippers on the main compartment and a RFID blocker passport pocket, making riding on the crowded metro of Paris a much more relaxed (and safer) experience.
Perhaps the best way to experience Paris is with an early morning jog while the rest of the tourists are still sleeping. Keep your dress clothes protected by packing your jogging shoes in their own shoe sac…and then take to the streets! Pro tip: Spray the insides of your shoes with dry shampoo to keep them (and your clothes) smelling fresh! Another bonus to jogging while in Paris? You won’t feel the slightest bit guilty when you indulge in another croissant.
While Paris is certainly a stylish city, don’t let that overwhelm you into packing items you won’t end up wearing. Choose your clothing wisely and you can create a myriad of outfit combinations. Guys: pack your favorite pair of darker denim jeans and one pair of dressier pants in black, grey, or dark brown. Add a few plain t-shirts to wear under button downs or lightweight sweaters in darker colors (leave your bright stuff and logo tees at home). Ladies: You’ll want the jeans, too, plus a maxi skirt and a pair of skinny pants. Toss in a black tunic, two tees, a cardigan, and a classic silk blouse. You may also want to invest in two versatile travel dresses in materials like lyocell, polynosic rayons and/or viscose rayon as these resist wrinkles.
Ensure that you don’t look like you just rolled out of a hostel bed or an overnight train by properly packing your suitcase. Place dress shirts, pants, and dresses items inside a Pack-It™ Garment Folder which protects items from shifting and getting wrinkled during travel. T-Shirts, shorts, socks, and under garments can be rolled and packed in Pack-It Cubes that not only ensure your suitcase stays organized, but can later be repacked to separate clean clothes from dirty, so you always look fresh. Save time by hanging clothes in the bathroom while you shower to quickly steam out wrinkles. After all, a minute saved in Paris is worth 15 anywhere else!
Few things can make an outfit pop like a few well-chosen accessories. For women who’d like to expand their travel wardrobe, be sure to pack a bright scarf or a statement necklace. For hitting the boulevard, a foldable wide brimmed hat and a stylish pair of sunglasses can make you look like a local. Men can also accessorize by adding a dark scarf.
Have you been to Paris before? Tell us what you wish you’d packed—but forgot!—in the comments below.
Ashley Hardaway is a Washington, D.C., based Travel Writer and the author of Other Places Publishing's guide to Ukraine.