WHEN VISITING THE CITY OF LIGHT, YOU CAN PACK LIGHT AND STILL HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR A WONDERFUL TRIP!
What to bring when you’re planning your Parisian excursion? Luggage thoughtfully filled with travel must-haves, certainement.
Lugging a steamer trunk overflowing with this, that, and the other, certainly not.
Whether you’re planning a trip in spring, summer, winter, or fall, you can pare down what you pack without cutting back on style or substance.
Attire You Won’t Tire Of
There are reasons why Paris has long been regarded as the fashion capital of the world, not the least of which is its reputation for haute couture. But fear not; you don’t need high-end, over-the-top outfits to fit in, just some classic style, a bit of panache, and a few well-chosen accessories.
Remember that Parisians pride themselves on the timeless appeal of their attire; they’re fashionable, but not given to jumping at every here-today-gone-tomorrow trend. Clothing that boasts a simple color palette of gray and black, or a warm neutral if your prefer, provides a classic backdrop for your travel wear, such as black trousers and a dark-colored sweater for men in winter or a swingy skirt for women in summer. Greys and beiges work really well in Paris – I suspect because of the harmony with the beige stone buildings and grey zinc rooftops and tarmac. Feel you need a pop of color? Drape a luxurious scarf around your neck (fabric and weight as per season) for an instant fashion uplift for both men and women.
Keep in mind that Parisians prefer to dress neatly, and expect that others feel the same. Short shorts, jogging attire, and torn jeans may have their place in your closet but they’ll be out of place in Paris. Ballet flats or flat boots for women and dark-colored urban trainers for men are preferred over clunky white sneakers and running shoes (after all, you’ll be ambling among Les Galeries Lafayette, not running around a track!). If you plan on a smart evening out (by taxi rather than walking) then by all means do take your favorite pair of high heels – you certainly won’t feel out of place.
Leave behind the fannypack and backpack; truthfully, bulky is seldom pretty. Opt instead for a stylish ladies hobo bag or a man’s classic shoulder bag. Add to your wardrobe a great pair of sunglasses and an easy-to-carry folding umbrella, and you’ll be ready to weather any activity from the moment arrive. To make sure you’ve packed the wardrobe essentials for the season, you can check out the five-day weather forecast before you leave at france.meteofrance.com.
Things To Bring
How to plan for a stay that’s packed full of relaxation, fun, excitement, and pleasure? It all starts with what you pack and what you don’t. Take a good look at what will add to your day; subtract the unnecessary stuff that will just take up precious suitcase space.
After packing the all-important color copy of your passport, take charge of your electronics: Bringing along an electrical socket travel adapter, your chargers, and an iPad or small laptop will keep you connected. Since most of our rentals include iPod docks, it’s a good idea to pack an iPod loaded with your favorite tunes or some classic French songs (there’s nothing like strolling along the Seine to the sound of “La Vie en Rose” by Edith Piaf). An iPhone loaded with museum and walking tours, neighborhood attractions, or custom Google maps marked with your itinerary can help you make the most of your time. If you like to read when you roam, bring along a few books or a reader like Kindle, or peruse the English tomes available at WHSmith or Brentanos in Paris. Before you finish packing, you might want to think outside the box and include a couple of outdoor glasses for a picnic made especially for two. Très romantique!
In terms of toiletries, there are a couple of things you’ll have to face: Parisians don’t use washcloths on the face, so if you can’t do without this ritual, pack your own. As for fluoride toothpaste, you’ll only find this pricey commodity in pharmacies.
Never Mind: Leave These Behind
Lighten your luggage by leaving behind these nonessentials: Zone 1 DVDs (France is Zone 2, and films are provided in most apartments); hair dryer (also included in apartments); towels, clothes iron, and other personal items. You can buy anything you might need in Paris, so if you forget to pack an essential, there are plenty of places where you can stock up on what you need.
Heading Back With More Things To Pack
The stores seduced. The boutiques beckoned. You browsed, you shop, you bought. And before you know it, you’re planning to leave Paris with more accoutrements than you when you arrived. Purchasing an additional suitcase is your best bet, as shipping items via UPS is costly. An inexpensive, wheeled suitcase, available at a luggage store like Rayon d’Or on Rue du Temple, offers a low-cost way to get your treasures home.
When packing for your trip to Paris, keep in mind what you’ll need to enjoy the day and welcome the night, what clothes will make you comfortable, what things will delight, what items will allow you to remember the familiar or revel in the newfound. Because what you bring to Paris can make a big difference in what you take away from your stay.
Your Tips & Ideas
What have I left out? Has anyone here EVER managed to avoid that “I brought too many clothes” feeling? This is not intended as a definitive list but rather as a trunk from which readers can add their own branches of experiences and opinions. So, what do you think?