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Not sure what to wear in Paris? We’ve got you!
Paris is a city that is world-renowned for fashion, so of course, I’m sure you’re wondering what do people wear in Paris! As someone who once lived in France and travels to Paris quite a bit, I’ve got the perfect Paris packing list for both men and women.
And what’s the best part? I’m teaching you how to do it all in a carry-on bag! It may sound like a challenge, but I’m going to break down what to wear in Paris in summer, winter, spring/fall, plus what NOT to wear in Paris!
Let’s get started!
The Ultimate Guide On What To Wear in Paris
Before I get started, I do want to preface this by saying that there are millions of people who live in Paris. And with that, everyone does have their own individual styles. Not everyone wears a trench coat, white shoes, and a striped shirt. Heck, you may even see a local in joggers from time to time. It happens.
While this guide is a good idea of what to wear in Paris to blend in, note that it is a guide and not the gospel of Parisian fashion. For those who love following fashion blogs, I recommend checking out a few French fashion bloggers to see what their styles are too!
Think of this as an intro to French fashion and a practical guide to packing for a 7-day trip to Paris that includes style tips and what to wear in Paris/not wear in Paris.
With that being said let’s dive into what to pack for Paris including basics, what to wear in winter and summer, and other things you may be forgetting!
I created this packing list for a week of visiting Paris. This works for many European countries if this is a stop on a European country-hopping trip, or if you plan to spend 7 days in France or more! Basically, when it comes to packing carry-on only, we aim for a week’s worth of clothing no matter how long we’re gone and do laundry!
Essentially, Parisian fashion includes a lot of basics (but isn’t basic!). We’re talking earth tones, black, and practical walking shoes. So this packing list includes a lot of that!
Packing List For Paris: The Basics
Let’s start with the obvious thing: clothes! I have lists broken down for both men and women.
Women’s Basics for Paris:
- 2 basic bras or nipple covers
- 7 pairs of underwear
- 2 pairs of pajamas
- 1 pair of sunglasses
- 1 dirty laundry bag
Men’s Basics for Paris:
- 7 pairs of underwear
- 2 pairs of pajamas
- 1 pair of sunglasses
- 1 dirty laundry bag
Just a side note: in the super hot summers in Paris, bra-wearing is totally optional. Many women weren’t wearing them and it wasn’t a big deal at all. So do what you feel comfortable with!
What to Wear in Paris in Summer
Visiting Paris in the summer can be a delight. With longer days, pleasant weather, and gorgeous parks, a visit to Paris during the summer is perfect.
But what exactly should you wear in Paris in the summer? The days can be quite hot, especially if you get caught in a heatwave! But there is one thing that most Parisian women don’t wear often: short shorts.
Yes, you’ll see a longer inseam or dressier shorts, but not booty shorts.
I’m not saying to not wear short shorts, and people visiting from around the world in the touristy areas will wear whatever, but if blending in is your goal, opt for sundresses, dressy shorts, or skirts over short shorts to stay cool.
French men will wear shorts, but jeans are pretty much the go-to for most French people.
Also, this packing list could be used for spring and fall too depending on the weather!
Women’s Paris Packing List for Summer:
- 1 pair of comfortable walking shoes. I kid you not, you’ll see these Stan Smiths or these shoes EVERYWHERE. But comfortable tennis shoes work just fine.
- 1 pair of flats or loafers
- 7 pairs of no-show socks
- 1-2 pairs of jeans
- 1 pair of dressier shorts
- 1-2 cute midi skirts
- 2 basic tops/can be crop tanks to go with high-waisted jeans or a skirt
- 2 stylish tops
- 2 sundresses/jumpsuit (I love this one that I wore for a day trip to the Loire Valley! but this is a nice one too) or a jumpsuit like this. These are great with sneakers for a more casual day look.
- Jean jacket for chillier mornings or a sweater
- 1 white button down (it goes with anything)!
- Light scarf
Men’s Paris Packing List for the Summer:
- Pair of comfortable walking shoes, again, you can’t go wrong with white sneakers
- 7 pairs of socks
- Nicer dress boots for nights out
- 3 pairs of jeans
- 1-2 pairs of shorts (not chubbies)
- 3 basic tops
- 4 nicer tops/casual dress shirts
- Light jacket or sweater that can be layered for the mornings
What to Wear in Paris in Winter
Whether you are visiting Paris in January or during the Christmas market season, it is important to pack in layers, as it can get quite cold.
But don’t let that stop you! Paris is great to visit in the winter with fewer crowds at the museums, the sun sets earlier in the day, giving you a better chance at spotting the Eiffel Tower lit up at night, and you have every excuse the eat all of the hearty, cheesy, and delicious comfort foods.
Women’s Paris Packing List for the Winter:
- 1 pair of water-resistant boots or these
- 7 pairs of thicker, wool socks to keep those toes warm! I personally use hiking socks and they do the trick!
- 2-3 pairs of thick tights (to either wear under your trousers or with a skirt) or you could buy thermal underwear too
- 3 pairs of trousers/jeans.
- 1-2 skirts. If it isn’t too cold, you could wear a skirt with tights.
- 3 sweaters, plus one cardigan to wear over a lighter top (I wore these sweaters a lot on my most recent trip to Europe)
- 2 basic tops
- 1 thick scarf to keep warm
- 1 heavy jacket. I love my parka by The Northface that looks nice but also keeps me super warm. However, many Parisians are big fans of a nice, thick trench coat.
- Earmuffs (I love these that wrap around the back of your head). You could also opt to wear a cute hat.
Men’s Paris Packing List for the Winter:
- 1 pair of water-resistant boots
- 7 pairs of thick, wool socks. Chris wore hiking socks and it kept him warm.
- 2-3 pairs of long thermal underwear for those really chilly days
- 2-3 pairs of jeans
- 4 sweaters (Chris loves this one!)
- 7 undershirts
- Thick scarf for chilly days
- A nice, wool coat
Packing for both spring and fall will be a combination of these, although jeans and long sleeve shirts are obviously more prominent. On warmer days, I opted for a long-sleeve dress too! A trench coat is essential to pack during these months too as it can be chilly.
Packing for Paris: Toiletries
Some of the best skin care products are sold in pharmacies in Paris, but to save money, and if you’re packing carry-on only, there is only so much you can pack and take home with you.
No matter when you visit Paris, here are the toiletries to add to the France packing list.
Women’s Toiletry France Packing List:
- Period products. I am terrible at forgetting to pack my own stuff and it can be annoying to waste time purchasing some instead of sightseeing and enjoying the city.
- Travel-sized brush
- The voltage converting straightener/curling iron
- Makeup or beauty products under 100ml. I usually pack mascara, face wash/creams, and CC cream.
Men’s Toiletry France Packing List:
- Any additional facial/hair products under 100ml. Whether you want to pack shaving cream or hairspray, make sure they are airplane-sized.
Universal Toiletry List:
- Shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Many hotels provide this so you may not have to pack this. If you’re staying in a hostel, I love packing a shampoo bar as it doesn’t add to the liquid limit in my carry-on.
- Face wash/lotion
- Floss, toothpaste, toothbrush. There is also eco-friendly toothpaste tablets to save on liquids too!
- Sunscreen. Y’all, the sun can definitely beat down on you, especially during the summer. Even if you aren’t by the beach, if you plan to go outside at all, pack some sunscreen.
- BodyGlide. I swear by this stuff to prevent chafing. I’ve run half marathons in shorts and it effectively prevented the painful chafing after. If you plan to wear shorts or skirts/dresses and have some thigh rubbing, pack this!
- Face masks. You may need it for the plane as well as in museums, public transport, etc. depending on your comfort.
- Sleep masks. This is a must if you plan to sleep in on summer days when the sunrises are SUPER early!
- Hand sanitizer
Other Important Items to Add To Your Paris Packing List
From official documents to all the practical things, here are other items to add to your packing list!
- First aid kit. I always pack a mini first aid kit that includes things like OTC pain relievers, antacids, anti-diarrheal, laxative, allergy meds, cough drops, Emergen-C tablets, bandaids, and any prescribed medications.
- Collapsable bag. Seriously, this is always so useful if you randomly go to a store, stop by a market, etc. You can throw it in your purse and unfold it when needed.
- Kindle and charger. I upgraded to the Kindle Paperwhite and am in love!
- Camera, charger, memory cards.
- Phone and charger
- Lightweight tripod to take couple-photos
- Travel adapters. France uses the standard European plugs.
- RIFD blocking wallet to prevent credit card theft
- This belt bag is great to keep your things close but stay handsfree
- Love this LEVEL 8 travel carry-on bag
- Small backpack to store your belt bag, camera, and extra items for the plane since you get one carry-on and one personal item.
- Small umbrella in case of rain
- Reusable water bottle to stay hydrated while walking around all-day
- Passport (Pretty obvious)
- Copies of passport, ID, travel insurance, tickets, and confirmations
Carry-On Packing Pro-Tip: Wear your heaviest items (i.e. jackets, scarves, sweaters, boots) on the plane! It’ll save space in your luggage!
That sums up what to wear in Paris plus other things to add to your Paris packing list. This is a pretty exhaustive list that is meant for carry-on only. I hope this helps you in narrowing down what to wear when visiting Paris with just a carry-on!
What NOT to Wear in Paris
If you want to dress like a Parisian, this is what NOT to wear in Paris. Basically, if you see this in Paris, chances are it’s not from a local. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but definitely the norm.
However, at the end of the day, you’ve got to wear what is comfortable for you! But here are some fashion dont’s by most Parisians.
1. Red Beret With White/Black Striped Tops and Skirt
Yes, Parisians occasionally wear berets, but they tend to wear more muted colored ones. Think brown and black berets. If it is cold outside you’ll see some people wearing it. Trust me, I love the red beret outfit for Paris, but many French people won’t actually wear this.
And yes, many Parisians tend to wear striped shirts. They just don’t tend to combo them with a bright skirt and red beret.
2. Tight Clothing
Parisians are very sex-positive, but they dress fairly conservatively. Tight mini-skirts are almost non-existent, and low-cut tops are not popular.
They’re all about a classic sexy look versus showing a lot of skin.
I learned this one the hard way, but you do not want to wear thin heels on cobblestone roads. I repeat: YOU DO NOT WANT TO WEAR THIN HEELS ON COBBLESTONE ROADS. Why? For starters, unless you are the most poised human on earth, you will probably stumble and fall. Second, it’s not that comfortable with such uneven surfaces. And third, you’ll probably damage the crap out of those shoes.
French women wear heeled shoes like cute heeled boots or thick, kitten heels, but 5-inch stilettos aren’t nearly as common. As French people walk a lot around the city, they want shoes that are stylish but practical.
And during the day, nicer sneakers are perfectly acceptable.
4. Heavy Hair/Make-Up
French women don’t really do contouring. Many definitely wear make-up, but they are into the effortless look. They definitely put effort into it, but you won’t see a lot of French women wearing layers of makeup and perfectly curled hair.
I love visiting Paris and putting on just a bit of CC cream, mascara, and blow-drying my hair and I’m out the door. It’s still polished but not overdone.
Again, this is a personal choice to wear make-up or fix your hair, and do what is comfortable for you!
5. Sweatpants and Athletic Wear
When I’m at home, I’m all about comfort. I wear sweatpants while working at my kitchen table, leggings when I run errands, and basically live in athleisure.
In Paris, you’ll almost never see this. They like to keep the gym and everyday life separate. I remember wearing leggings to class one day when I studied abroad in Grenoble, France and my classmates made so much fun of me.
Now it was mostly in a friendly way, but you get the point. It just isn’t a thing here.
6. Short Shorts
Okay, with heat waves being a thing pretty much every summer in Paris, shorts are becoming much more common to see. As discussed above, dressier shorts and linen shorts are more popular these days.
However, don’t expect to see Parisian women wearing short shorts. That just isn’t a thing here. Remember #2 when I said that French women don’t tend to wear tight clothing.
Why You May Want to Blend In
If you want to blend in and want to know what people wear in Paris, the list above is a great packing list to show you how to look like a Parisian. Parisians wear a lot of basics that they mix and match, and black is a popular color choice in clothing.
And why do you want to blend in? For starters, people won’t automatically treat you like a tourist. I notice when I dress more like a local, the locals are a bit friendlier to me. Also, by dressing like a Parisian, you are less of a target for pickpocketing, which happens a lot in touristy areas.
You can avoid being pickpocketed by being aware of your surroundings and keeping an eye on your things (plus having your purse in front of you with a hand on it in the metro and crowded areas). This is effective no matter what you wear!
By all means, pack the dreamy skirts and berets and take fun photos in front of the Eiffel Tower- they make for beautiful photos! And in touristy areas, people wear all kinds of different things. So feel free to bring your shorts and berets! Wear what you want! It’s your choice after all.
So when it comes to what to wear in Paris, France, this is the ultimate male and female packing guide! From what to wear in Paris in the summer or winter to what types of things you want to avoid wearing in Paris, this list is the perfect guide for your next trip to the City of Lights!
What do you like to wear in Paris? What other tips do you have?
Want to read more about visiting Paris? Check these posts out!
- How to Spend a Day in Paris
- Ultimate Paris Bucket List
- Romantic Things to do in Paris
- The Best Arrondissements to Stay at in Paris
- Best Time to Visit Paris
- Perfect Paris Trip Budget
- Tips for Visiting Paris in May
- Day Trip to the Loire Valley From Paris
- Best Honeymoon Destinations in France
- Paris Honeymoon Hotels
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