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Not sure what to wear in Paris? We’ve got you!
Paris is a city that is world-renown for fashion, so of course, I’m sure you’re wondering what do people wear in Paris! And as someone who once lived in France and has traveled 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 backpack! It may sound like a challenge, but I’m going to break down what to wear in Paris in summer, winter, plus what NOT to wear in Paris!
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- 1 The Ultimate Guide On What To Wear in Paris
- 2 What NOT to Wear in Paris
- 3 Why You May Want to Blend In
The Ultimate Guide On What To Wear in Paris
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!
I also created my list for dressing like a local in Paris! While I don’t include the stereotypical red beret and striped shirt combo, that doesn’t mean you can’t throw it in for fun!
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
- 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
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 one thing that most Parisian women don’t wear often: shorts.
I’m not saying to not wear 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 and skirts over shorts to stay cool.
French men will occasionally 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 like Keds or these nice leather sneakers
- 1 pair of flat sandals for nights out
- 5-7 pairs of no-show socks
- 1-2 pairs of jeans
- 1-2 cute skirts
- 2 basic tops
- 2 stylish tops
- 2 sundresses (I love this one that I wore for a day trip to the Loire Valley!)
- Jean jacket for chillier mornings or a sweater
- Light scarf
Men’s Paris Packing List for the Summer:
- Pair of comfortable walking shoes (Chris wore his loafers)
- 7 pairs of socks
- Nicer dress shoes 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 resistance boots (these also double as a way to hide important things like money and credit cards!)
- 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. For my most recent trip to Europe in winter, I had black and olive pairs of pants to wear plus 1 pair of 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.
- 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 Paris: Toiletries
Some of the best skin care products and makeup 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 my shampoo bar as it doesn’t add to the liquid limit in my carry-on.
- Face wash/lotion
- Floss, toothpaste, toothbrush. Lush has 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 for the plane. I’m all for keeping my skin hydrated on the flight!
- 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.
- Kindle and charger. I upgraded to the Kindle Paperwhite and am in love!
- Camera, charger, memory cards. We pack our Nikon Coolpix as it is easy to use for beginners. However, we also use our iPhone to take photos all the time.
- Phone and charger
- Cell phone lenses for great photos
- Lightweight tripod to take couple-photos
- Travel adapters. France uses the standard European plugs.
- RIFD blocking wallet to prevent credit card theft
- Travelon Anti-Theft purse to prevent getting pickpocketed
- Osprey Farpoint 40 Backpack. This is the backpack we’ve used for years on trips around the world!
- Lock for your backpack
- Packing cubes to stay organized (I LOVE these packing cubes)
- Small umbrella in case of rain
- Reuseable 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, scarf, 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 don’ts by most Parisians.
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.
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 booties 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 or Ked-type shoes are perfectly acceptable.
French women don’t 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!
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.
This is probably the laxest of them all because some Parisians will wear shorts. Men definitely do, and women will occasionally.
But 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 the 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
- 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