Vacation Packing List: What to Pack for Your Trip to Paris, France

paris packing

Written by Ashley Hardaway on

Ashley Hardaway is a Washington, D.C.–based travel writer and the author of Ukraine (Other Places Publishing's Guide).

paris packing


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 guide 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. 


All-Purpose Luggage

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 26. 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 boutique. 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 usually wear sensible walking shoes or stylish flats in a neutral color. One to try: The Reef Rose, a cool slip-on with contoured arch support . Guys may want to forgo flip-flops or bulky sneakers for Reef’s Deckhand shoe, a low-key lace up that’s also comfortable and cruelty-free.


Crossbody Bag

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 Stash Cross Body Bag, that can easily hold your wallet, passport, phone, and the array of knickknacks you’re bound to pick up. Because of the slim fit and zippered pockets, you can keep all your important gear nearby while, , making riding on the crowded metro of Paris a much more relaxed (and safer) experience. And don’t forget to store your credit cards in a RFID blocker sleeve for extra security. Plus, check out more safety tips for traveling in Europe, especially if you’re traveling solo.


Running Shoes

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.


Mix-and-Match Wardrobe

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. And remember, you can’t go wrong with black if you want to blend in with the chic Parisian crowds and not stand out as a tourist!

●      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, polynomic rayons and/or viscose rayon as these resist wrinkles.


Packing System

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™ Original 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 packing 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!


Smart Accessories

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. If you want to bring any nice jewelry (or buy some in Paris!), be sure to utilize the hotel safe and a luggage lock while traveling to keep it secure.


Travel Adapter

And because you’re going to want to get a million pictures posing with baguettes and staring serenely into the Seine, don’t forget all of your important cables and chargers! To make sure your phone or camera can actually, you know, charge, be sure to pack an international travel adapter to replenish that battery life. To make sure your phone will work abroad, check out these tips for using your cell phone abroad.


Hitting up Spain or Italy too? Find out what to pack for your trip to Europe and smart tips for traveling by train. Have you been to Paris before? Tell us what you wish you’d packed—but forgot!—on Instagram or Facebook.


Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):

What to Pack for Europe: The 5-Step System

Is Europe Safe? 3 Key Safety Tips For Europe-bound Travelers    

6 Expert Tips For Traveling Europe By Train

Solo Travel In Europe: How To Stay Safe