Figuring out what to wear when traveling to Paris can be tricky, even if you’re just planning a weekend in Paris itinerary.
As an underdressed American, I typically rock a ratty sweatshirt and yoga pants since well, elastic is ALWAYS my friend, especially when cookie dough is involved.
So what’s an American to do when she has no idea what to wear in Paris?
Well, you’re in luck because even this fashionably challenged, elastic loving American figured out what to wear in Paris (or what not to wear in Paris as the case may be) and how to create a somewhat decent Paris packing list.
I even had people speaking French to me!
Oui! I consider that a major win since maybe they thought that I was perhaps just a little bit French!
So sit back, relax, and leave the Sketchers Shape Ups/snuggie at home as we figure out what to wear in Paris and try to look slightly more European in some of the killer Paris outfits that are listed below.
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A Brief Intermission to Discuss European Style with my American Homies (AKA What NOT to wear in Paris)!
How do I put this Delicately?
Americans, in terms of fashion, tend to be a bit more casual than their European counterparts.
We wear pajamas to the grocery store. Need I say more?
So while that look may work in the States:
It’s kind of a no-no in Europe. No, you won’t get publicly shamed or flogged because people are nice.
But everyone will know you’re a tourist.
Kind of like if you wear Sketcher Sneakers, a Martha’s Vineyard Baseball cap, a pair of yoga pants, a sports bra, and a Northface Backpack to Paris and are SHOCKED when people think you’re a tourist.
Don’t forget an enormous camera with an insanely large, telephoto lens to round out the entire, tourist ensemble (a common, what not to wear in Paris mistake to avoid when traveling to Paris for the first time).
So leave the super casual attire at home;
Instead, stick with a Paris wardrobe that is a bit more polished, with a cohesive aesthetic.
And no, I’m not talking about rocking a Hillary Clinton power suit.
In Paris, think chic, ultra modern or ultra vintage looks that emphasize darker colors (not a set rule but a guideline when creating your Paris travel wardrobe).
So when creating a Paris packing list:
Think minimalism, layering, and a whole lot of mixing and matching; perfect for minimalist packing where you pack less and use more accessories!
8 Paris packing tips to consider before you plan out all your outfits for Paris.
1. If you are a long-term traveler, don’t pack for your entire trip.
Update your wardrobe as needed based on the season, the activities you’ll be doing (aka I never pack hiking boots because yeah, I don’t do hikes), while you’re traveling, etc.
2. Pack neutral patterns and colors.
This way, you can mix and match all your Paris outfits (without packing a ton of stuff) and create a variety of different looks.
Because let’s be real:
Wearing the same outfits over and over again is about as dull as dishwater.
It makes my Instagram look lame and it makes me look like I don;t wash my clothes.
But I swear I do!
3. Pick Items that are easy to wash and that won’t give you a nervous breakdown if they get destroyed.
When you travel, things on your Paris packing list will inevitably get ripped, rained on, ruined, or lost.
Don’t pack anything that is really difficult to take care of or that is irreplaceable.
This is the cardinal rule of traveling! So be prepared and purchase travel insurance before any trip…EVER!
Because you know what?
Life can get kind of lifey, and you never know when disaster will strike and when travel-related calamities will ensue.
Like that time, WHOOPS, I sliced my thumb open and needed two stitches about four hours before my flight to London.
Good times, good times.
Plus, It was the holiday season, so there was no way that I was gonna get another flight out of NYC for less than like 10 billion dollars.
And yes, that’s an EXACT figure. LoL.
So the moral of the story? Never leave home without travel insurance!
I know and love World Nomads travel insurance.
Not only is it easy to make a claim, but they cover almost any destination you might ever want to visit (except maybe Pakistan).
They also offer a fantastic level of coverage that includes almost any conceivable travel disaster (minus alien abduction), have policies that are easy to customize, and will even allow you to extend or change your policy while you’re on the road.
Seriously, what’s not to love?
The only way it could get better is if it were free! SIGH.
Even if you don’t go with World Nomads, be sure to purchase some sort of travel insurance and protect yourself against property loss or a medical emergency.
If you do choose World Nomads, purchase their Basic Plan if your gear is worth less than $1000 and an Explorer Plan if your gear is worth more than $1000 since both plans offer $100,000 worth of medical coverage.
5. Always check the weather before you travel!
Someone will ask me what to wear in Paris in August, or during whatever month they’re planning to visit Paris.
And the truth is:
I have no clue! I mean sure, I can give you recommendations based on what the weather in Paris typically is.
But like most meteorologists:
I can’t predict what the weather will be like in Paris a month from now.
Do yourself a favor and always check the weather before you leave for Paris.
You’ll pack more efficiently since you won’t be lugging around a heavy pair of boots when you’re visiting Paris during a tropical heat wave.
6. Pickpockets are found throughout most major cities, including Paris. So always watch your belongings and be aware of your surroundings.
If you want to be extra careful during your trip to Paris, then you can do things like buy a lock for your backpack, wear a money belt, and carry only the cash or credit cards that you need for the day.
If your wallet does get stolen, you still have access to the money and credit cards that you left back at your hotel.
***Remember, the safest place for your passport is always in the safe at your hotel. But just in case the unthinkable happens, always carry a copy of your passport, and store an electronic copy in your email inbox.***
7. Always choose a classic look that is timeless (like jeans and a nice blouse). This way, you won’t be horrified by photos of yourself and start to wonder, “Dear God, what was I thinking when I put on that neon pink, plaid, leather blouse?”
8. Most budget airlines require a carryon bag that is 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm and that weighs 10 kg. So leave that insanely large rolling bag at home and use a travel backpack instead.
Because real talk?
in’t nobody got time for baggage fees or to wait around at baggage claim for a bag that is either lost or damaged beyond recognition.
A travel backpack is a must as you start to pack and decide what to wear in Paris.
And now…Drumroll Please…The Ultimate Paris Packing List!
1. A Sturdy Carry-On Backpack
It can be hard choosing the perfect backpack for you.
So consider this:
Not only is it durable, but the weight of the bag is evenly distributed, making it easier to carry.
This bag is also super durable and can be used as a carry-on, even though it has an impressive volume of 44 L.
One of my all-time favorite backpacks. And price wise, it’s pretty reasonable, at least as far as travel backpacks are concerned.
What if you’re planning on staying in Paris alone and then traveling to basically every other country in Eruope?
Slightly smaller than the Kelty bag:
This bag is a water-resistant carry-on bag that can easily be converted into a duffle bag too!
It has adjustable compression straps that make it super comfortable for anyone and everyone, regardless of your height.
You know how mom and dad always INSIST that you buy travel insurance, even though you never actually use it?
(hopefully nods head in agreement)
And you know how it can be tempting to save money by forgoing travel insurance?
A first aid kit is kind of the same thing.
It ain’t all that sexy. But it’s super helpful when you’re… trapped down a well (where’s Lassie)!
It’s probably much more likely that you’ll get a blister and need a band-aid.
So nothing apocalyptic:
But it’s good to have a first aid kit just in case you cut yourself or get a little flesh wound!
Because let’s be real:
Nobody wants to cut themselves and bleed profusely all over their hotel room.
Not a good look, unless you’re a Law and Order cast member.
So definitely check out the Surviveware First Aid Kit below.
Not only is it incredibly strong and 100% waterproof:
But this first aid kit includes a pair of stainless steel scissors that can cut through seatbelts (don’t pack those in your carry on unless you want to end up on airport security’s blacklist) and a hundred other FDA approved medical items that would make Bear Grylls drool.
Yup, bacteria cower in fear when they sees this bad boy!
3. The Perfect Day Bag
It’s a satchel, it’s a tote, it’s a man purse, it’s a backpack…It’s the perfect carryon!
The quest for the perfect travel carryon.
Yeah, that’s a tall order. I mean sure, you want something sturdy, that can carry all of your stuff, but you also want something that looks cute, photographs well, and that doesn’t scream, “ignorant tourist”.
I LOVE the Baggallini Mendoza Convertible Backpack!
Not only is it an adorable bag that comes in a variety of different colors, but it is a convertible bag.
Use one strap and you can make it a tote. Use two straps and you can make it a nifty backpack.
It has an elegant shape and style that can hold all of your carryon travel essentials without being overwhelmingly enormous and giving you scoliosis.
It also has magnetic snap closures for the front and back compartments, as well as a flat bottom so that you can put the it down without the whole bag toppling over!
A chic but useful bag that will have you looking and feeling like a local!
4. Comfortable but Stylish Ankle Boots
Choosing a pair of shoes to wear in Paris is tricky is because you need something comfortable that you can literally walk miles in without getting a blister.
You also want a pair of shoes that are stylish and chic and that match the dressier, fashion aesthetic of Paris.
And did I mention that you also need to be able to traverse cobblestone streets with ease?
These quaint lanes are charming AF in pictures, but try to walk on them without the right type of shoes and you can slip and slide all over the place or get your heel caught and fall flat on your face.
I would definitely suggest a stylish pair of slip-ons, wedges, or flats for warm weather, and a chic pair of ankle boots or tall boots for the winter.
For an awesome pair of flats:
Check out my article on comfortable but stylish walking shoes for travel.
If you’re looking for a cute and comfortable pair of ankle boots, then the Sugar Women’s Tessa Boot is a good choice.
Not only are they incredibly cute with a pair of dark wash, skinny jeans (gotta love the deep side “V” and the cute back zipper), but they are only $60 and incredibly comfortable.
I NEVER wear heels since I’m about as graceful as an elephant and even I can walk around in these all day.
They have a rubber sole that is great for traction and that muffles the sound of your footsteps as you walk down the street.
One tiny drawback:
They do tend to run slightly large so you may want to consider ordering a half size down if you decide these boots are right for you.
***If you wear these to the airport, don’t forget a pair of no-show socks. This way, when you take your shoes off for security, you won’t have to step on the ground with your bare feet. Blech.***
5. A nice pair of black, skinny jeans
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We all know that I love a good pair of elastic waist pants, but leggings are a bit too informal for Paris.
You can dress them up with a nice tunic in the summer or with a sweater dress in the winter.
I’d still consider adding a nice pair of black skinny jeans to your Paris packing list.
You’ll definitely want something that not only looks good but that is mad comfortable too since you’ll obviously be eating all the macarons, baguettes, croissants, and eclairs in sight.
Aviator travel jeans! True to size, these jeans are the most comfortable pair of jeans that I have ever owned (I could probably comfortably sleep in them too)!
I can finally rock a pair of jeans on a plane without sporting a huge ass muffin top.
And then there are the pockets (as I sigh in bliss).
They are huge, can fit your passport, have awesome zippers, and are still stylish!
Plus, there are five of them! So nifty pockets EVERYWHERE!
These jeans are also SUPER high quality.
They’ll probably last about as long as a cockroach or a Twinkie since they are incredibly durable, flexible, and breathable (AKA no sweaty legs).
The only tiniest of drawbacks?
They are a bit pricey at $110 a pair. But, they’re awesomeness justifies the high price tag.
If you go to their website, you can sign up for their email list, and get 15% off!
That’s a $16.50 discount that you can use towards buying another pair for your London packing list!
I’ll venture to guess that I’m not the only internet monger out there (especially if you’re reading this right now).
I thought it might be a good idea to add an assortment of electronics to this Paris packing list.
Most European appliances run on 220v, while most American appliances run on 110v.
You’re gonna need a travel adapter, when you visit Paris, like the one above (that one is super nifty because it’s a universal, all in one adapter that you comes with 4 plugs that you can use all across the globe. It also has extra USB outlets so that you can charge multiple devices at once).
But before you plug in your devices:
Look at the voltage range printed on your electronic device.
If the item is dual voltage, AKA you see a voltage range between 110 and 220, then your electronics won’t sizzle like bacon when you plug them into a Parisian wall outlet (most laptops, cellphones, and cameras are all dual voltage and should be fine).
Be careful and check the voltage before plugging in any hair dryers, curling irons, or hair straighteners.
You don’t want to be the MONSTER who caused a power outage throughout the hotel.
I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume that you’ll also want to bring your smartphone with you to Paris.
A smartphone isn’t super smart without the internet. That’s why you should probably pick up a sim card and put it in your unlocked phone before you travel.
This way, you can use the internet without incurring tons of fees.
I use T-Mobile and get unlimited data internationally for like $50 a month.
I can use the WIFI on my phone, pretty much all across the globe, at no extra cost.
I can also make calls and text, but that service isn’t unlimited.
You might want a sim card if you call and text a lot while you’re traveling internationally.
Don’t forget to pack a decent pair of headphones since their universal meaning is, “Hi! Don’t talk to me because I don’t want to be social right now!”
They help you listen to music and watch movies without disturbing others.
Yeah, that’s it.
This chick right here love a good pair of noise-canceling headphones since they help drown out any ambient noise while you’re jamming out to your favorite tunes.
But any pair of headphones will do. It just depends on your budget.
Also, depending on your your needs and preferences:
You might also want to pack a tablet with a keyboard, a lightweight laptop, or an e-reader like a Kindle.
But whatever you do, don’t overpack!
7. Toiletries (and toiletry bag)
This one is obvious. But I put it on this packing list for Paris because you’ll definitely need to bring some toiletries with you on your trip.
You’ll want to pack the same toiletries that you would for any trip to Europe.
Things like a brush, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, deodorant, moisturizer, contact lens solution (if you wear contacts), medication, sunscreen, razor, and any makeup or sanitary products you need.
If you forget any of these items, don’t freak out because you’ll definitely be able to buy all of these things in Paris.
I mean, you’re not going to the outer reaches of the Amazon or anything.
8. Rain Jacket
When dressing for Paris:
You always want your items tailored and chic, which is one of the many reasons why I love this Cole Haan packable raincoat.
Not only is it super compact and easy to fit in your suitcase:
But this jacket has a removable hood and a charming belt, that when used, gives you a customizable, feminine fit that is absolutely perfect for Paris.
But it gets better!
Not only is this high-quality jacket fashionable, but it”s functional too!
The fabric is durable, comfortable, waterproof, and heavy enough to be worn throughout the spring and fall.
Just wear a sweater underneath and you should have no problem staying warm.
This jacket does run a bit small, especially in the back and arms, so definitely try and order a size or two up.
But what if you’re visiting Paris during the winter and need a slightly heavier jacket?
A tailored, leather jacket is totally the way to go!
Not only do Parisians love their leather, but this fabric is durable, fashionable, and keeps you nice and toasty in the cold weather.
I’m a vegetarian, so I definitely won’t be rocking any real leather any time soon. That’s why I’m a big fan of the Lock and Love Quilted Faux Leather Jacket.
Not only is the jacket stylish:
But it’s made of high-quality faux leather (great texture and color that looks and feels like leather), costs just $50, and comes in basically every color imaginable,
I will warn you though:
This company does not do returns. So if you purchase this jacket, make sure to read the reviews and choose the right size for you.
This is meant to be a form-fitting jacket. But obviously, not so form-fitting that youcan’t breathe
I suggest ordering two sizes up since I personally think it’s better to have a jacket that’s too big rather than too small.
9. Polarized Sunglasses
Having your retinas seared on vacation is no one’s idea of a hopping good time.
Adding a pair of polarized sunglasses is essential, especially if you’re creating a Paris packing list for the summer.
Because I somehow always manage to lose my sunglasses and am chronically in need of another pair, I never get expensive sunglasses.
It’s just not worth it to me.
That’s why I LOVE these polarized sunglasses! Not only are they incredibly adorable, especially since they cost just $13, but they come in an assortment of colors and are 100% polarized, giving you super snazzy, added UV protection!
So now even this, socially awkward WEIRDO can look slightly hip while visiting Paris.
Definitely one of my many travel must-haves when creating my Paris packing list.
Gotta stay hydrated, especially during those hot and humid, summer days in Paris.
A collapsible water bottle is essential. Not only does it help you save money on water but you can also help save the planet by creating less plastic waste.
And when you’re not using it?
Just deflate it, roll it up, and voila, you now have a ton of extra space for other travel essentials, like those Alpaca leg warmers that you know you don’t need but that you’re gonna buy anyway.
So purchase a collapsible water bottle for the win!
11. Photography Gear
As an avid solo traveler, with no Instagram husband to call my own:
A tripod is essential to my Instagram survival.
My Instagram account would shrivel up and die because I would cease to be in any of my pictures.
And no way is this socially awkward introvert asking random strangers to take her picture.
I’m super picky about my photos and basically want everyone to do a mini photo shoot with me.
When I travel to Paris, I suck it up, wake up at some ungodly hour (so before dawn), schlep my tripod with me everywhere, and take photos while everyone else is sleeping.
Super annoying but totally effective.
If this strategy doesn’t work for you, that’s totally cool.
But just know that in most major cities, the selfie stick is the hallmark of a naive tourist.
That’s why, I always suggest leaving your selfie stick at home.
And while we’re on the subject of cameras:
There are a few other photography essentials that you might want to pack as well.
Because let’s be real:
Paris is one of the most photogenic cities in the world; it’s filled with an assortment of exquisite photo spots that you’re absolutely gonna want to take advantage of.
Try to pack some essential photography gear like extra batteries, spare memory cards, any lens that you might need, a UV filter, and a great camera bag to keep all this expensive equipment in!
My favorite camera bag brand of all time happens to be any of the amazing bags over at GATTA.
Well, you need a nice camera bag to protect your ridiculously expensive equipment from accidental damage in Paris.
Most camera bags are ugly AF and just not something that you want to tote around with you all day every day.
GATTA bags! They are the highest quality and most stylish camera bags that I’ve ever used.
Are they a bit pricey??
Absolutely, but they’re totally worth the investment in my humble opinion.
I love the Rosewood Camille (above) and the Chloe Noir (smaller, chic, and black).
Both bags are stylish, with an almost felt-like interior that has an adjustable divider to cushion your camera and protect it from damage.
And while we’re at it:
Don’t forget to pack some extra Ziploc bags to put your wet clothes in or to keep your electronics dry.
12. Fashionable Dresses
Dresses are an ABSOLUTE must in Paris.
Not only do they take up less room in your luggage than a traditional pants/shirt combo outfit, but they always make you look well put together (like you actually tried without actually trying), and are super easy and breezy during the summer when it is wicked hot in Paris.
And while I love a good sweater dress in the winter:
A lot of them tend to be SUPER form fitting.
I am by no means fat but when I wear some sweater dresses, man oh man, I look like I’m a solid two months pregnant.
During the summer, I rock the above, floral print, short sleeve, tunic top dress.
At just $11 for a WHOLE dress (Lol):
This outfit is a total steal. It’s a timeless dress that can easily be paired with a cardigan and leggings/tights on a cooler day.
It’s loose enough to hide all your lumps and bumps, but not so loose that you look like you’re wearing a glorified circus tent.
It’s also true to size and comes in polka dot design, with sleeveless options available too!
But what if you’re visiting Paris during the winter?
I get it. Floral prints don’t tend to be a wicked awesome winter look.
That’s why during the winter, I tend to rock long sleeve, A-line dresses (like the one below, only with sleeves).
This one happens to be a Boatneck Sleeveless Vintage Tea Dress from one of my favorite brands on Amazon, Grace Karin.
I love their dresses (I have a dress with a short sleeve black top and a white bottom with lemons that I get a ton of compliments on) because they’re high-quality, last forever, are true to size, come in any pattern/color imaginable, are reasonably priced at $30 a dress, and expertly hide any bodily imperfections with a handy pair of Spanx.
A fantastic dress to wear in Paris at basically any time of year.
13. Chic Short and Long Sleeve Blouses
I swear, this is the last item on my packing list for Paris.
Because I know this post is getting SUPER long and that you have infinitely better things to do with your time than listen to me drone on and on.
So when it comes to wearing tops in Paris:
I tend to opt for classic blouses, in neutral colors, that exude an almost Audrey Hepburn type of style.
Not only can you pair these neutral tops with a ton of different pants, to create multiple Paris outfits, but they are comfortable, formable but can easily be dressed down, are light, have a flattering fit, and are attractive but without being too revealing.
And when all else fails, go with black.
Not only is is it incredibly Parisian, but it’s flattering, elegant, goes with everything, and is an easy color to to transition from day to night.
But what if you want to dress your blouse up?
Then be all Parisian about it and add a scarf like this one (infinity scarfs are a great way to keep your valuables safe too).
With an assortment of colorful scarfs, that take up almost no room in your suitcase, you could create an infinite number of outfits using the same pair of black pants and neutral blouses.
Scarfs can be practical too since many buildings in Paris are older, drafty, and have a less than stellar heating systems.
If you’re feeling chilly, just throw a scarf over your neck and you can oh so fashionably warm yourself right up.
Paris Packing List Summer
Summer in Paris is from June through August, with temperatures that hover between 80°F and 60°F.
Because Paris is hot and humid at this time of year:
These are a few alterations that you’ll want to make to your Paris packing list.
Not all Paris hotels have airconditioning. Therefore, double check and make sure that your hotel has airconditioning before booking.
Summer is also insanely crowded:
Therefore, pre-book all major attraction tickets since lines are incredibly long.
Expect some restaurants to be closed throughout August since this is when most Parisians are on vacation.
- Add 1-2 pairs of shorts instead of pants
- Shorts (2)
- Black Cardigan (1)
- Dress (1)
- Skirts (2)
- Clothes to Sleep in
- Bras (3)
- Socks (3)
- Underwear (7)
- Sunglasses (1)
- Sunhat (1)
- Bathing Suit and Cover Up (1 of each)
- Reusable Water Bottle (1)
- Conservative-ish tank top or t-shirts (3)
- Comfy Slip-on Sneakers (1)
- Comfy Sandals (1)
- Light Jacket (1)
Paris Packing List Fall
Fall in Paris is from September through December, with temperatures that hover between 70°F and 42°F.
Fall is the BEST time to visit Paris, which is why you’ll need this guide on what to wear in Paris this fall.
Not only are the temperatures cooler, but all the tourists are pretty much gone.
You’ll really only have to share Paris with the locals.
The city is extra beautiful since the leaves are changing color (stop by the Arc de Triomphe for a great picture of the fall foliage)!
- Leather Ankle Boots (1)
- Raincoat with extra insulation or a Leather Jacket (1)
- Umbrella (1)
- Jeans (1)
- Leggings (1)
- Long Sleeve Shirts (2)
- Short Sleeve Shirts (2)
- Clothes to Sleep in
- Bras (3)
- Socks (3)
- Underwear (7)
- Slip-on sneakers (1)
- Neutral skirt (1)
- Long Sleeve Dress (with tights or leggings if it’s cold) (1)
- If it’s really cold then add gloves, hat, heavy coat, and scarf.
Paris Packing List Winter
Winter in Paris is between January and February, with temperatures that are generally between 37°F to 47°F.
So it’s definitely a bit chilly. Therefore:
If you’re not used to enduring the polar vortex of doom, be sure to add extra layers to your Paris packing list (possibly even long johns if you think you’ll need them).
- Sweater (1)
- Fleece (1)
- Long Sleeve Shirts (2)
- Heavy Sweaters (2)
- Jeans (1)
- Black Leggings (1)
- Sweater Dress (1)
- Thermals for Layers (1)
- Heavy Socks (3)
- Bras (3)
- Underwear (7)
- Clothes to Sleep in
- Waterproof Boots with fleece lining or Snowboots (1)
- Heavy Scarf
- Warm Hat
- Gloves gloves
- Warm jacket (leather is warm and durable)
Paris Packing List Spring
Spring in Paris is between March and May., with temperatures that are generally between 40°F to 70°F.
This is an amazing time to visit Paris since there are literally flowers blooming all around you.
This also means it can get a bit rainy too.
Make sure you pack extra raingear, as well as a rain cover for your backpack!
- Slip-on sneakers (1)
- Dress (1)
- Skirt (1)
- Leggings (1)
- Jeans (1)
- T-shirts (2)
- Long Sleeve Top (1)
- Ballet Flats for a nice night out (1)
- Nice Cardigan (1)
- Chunky Knit Sweater in case it gets chilly (1)
- Rainjacket or Heavy Jacket (1)
- Socks (3)
- Underwear (7)
- Bras. (7)
- Clothes to Sleep in (1)
- Try to wear more floral patterns that match the season
- Pack layers since the weather can be unpredictable