Updated on March 15, 2019 by Asher Fergusson
What should I bring on my trip to Paris?
Many friends were asking us what to pack for Paris so we wrote this detailed checklist. We also include what to wear in Paris, what NOT to bring, and general FAQs about traveling there. Enjoy the city of love! Bon Voyage!
13) Virtual Private Network (VPN) – If I’d had a VPN when I went to Paris recently, I could have saved myself from having my credit card number information stolen while using what I thought was a secure WiFi at our Airbnb.
A good VPN like NordVPN allows you to add a layer of encryption to your Internet connection that makes it impossible for hackers to get your sensitive info. It also allows you to access any censored websites. An affordable price and one-click activation from any device make a VPN a no-brainer for any travel!
What else will I need for a Paris vacation?
Reusable shopping tote
Facial cleansing wipes
Stain Removing Supplies
Plastic Packing Bags
Refillable travel bottles
Small Pair of Binoculars
Kindle and Cover
What should I wear in Paris?
Weather can be unpredictable, so make sure to pack a jacket and umbrella, no matter what time of the year it is.
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).
Women in Paris dress noticeably nicer than you might find in other big European cities. As a visitor, keep it classy by wearing dark, tailored, ankle-length pants, a sleek blouse, and comfortable ankle boots or neutral-colored sneakers (sneakers are very trendy right now among Parisians). Plan to dress in layers and bring along a lightweight jacket or scarf. In the summer, try pairing white sneakers with a sundress. In the winter, keep it simple with black and neutral colors, and add pops of color with your accessories.
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).
Parisian men are just as fashion-conscious (if not more so) as Parisian women. The dress code in Paris for men revolves around nice shirts and ties during the workweek, and casual clothing like polos on the weekends. Go for well-fitting, tailored slacks and nice shirts in a neutral color palette. Jeans are okay too, as long as they are dark and fit well. As far as shoes, plan on bringing a few pairs of comfortable sneakers, and a pair of dress shoes. Ditch the baseball cap, and opt for a trendy fedora instead. Keep your style simple and fresh.
Seasons in Paris are similar to those in much of Europe. Temperate seasons and a fair amount of rain year-round mean that rain gear is important, and that each season has its own particular allure.
SPRING – March, April, and May
Spring is one of the two rainiest seasons in Paris, with about 9 days/month of rainy weather.
Bring a cute raincoat and closed-toed shoes for wet days, and fashionable pants or jeans and tops for everyday wear. Bring a cardigan or two and a shawl/scarf to give you an extra layer in case you get chilly. Temperatures average from 60°F to 70°F (16°C to 21°C).
SUMMER – June, July, and August
Summer in Paris is the least rainy season, but not by much. You can still expect a couple of rainy days per week, but the rest of the time will be nice and warm. This is also tourist high-season, so plan for lines and elevated prices.
Shorts are not common other than at beaches, so stick to nice shirts and pants or skirts. Sundresses are perfect for nicer days. Be sure to bring a cardigan or a shawl in case there’s a chill in the air.
For shoes, the key is to prioritize comfort without sacrificing fashion.
FALL – September, October, and November
Autumn in Paris can be quite magical as the air cools and the leaves turn. It’s a wet season, but it’s not yet too cold to enjoy taking walks outdoors. Some days – especially in September – will still be fairly warm.
A cute rain coat is essential, as are closed-toed shoes for walking on chillier days. Most people don’t yet need a hat, gloves, or a scarf, but if you’re not accustomed to the chill you may want to pack some just in case. It’s wise to bring a light jacket or a nice peacoat, as there will definitely be times when you’ll want the warmth. Temperatures average from 55°F to 65°F (13°C to 18°C).
WINTER – December, January, and February
Winter is very wet in Paris, tied with spring for the rainiest season.
Bring your fashionable rain coat, a windproof travel umbrella, and fashionable boots and shoes. A hat, gloves, a scarf, and warmer clothing are important. Nice pants and slacks, quality leggings, sweater dresses, cardigans, and long-sleeved shirts will help keep you presentable and comfortable. Temperatures average from 45°F to 55°F (7°C to 13°C).
Sightseeing – Especially if it’s your first time to Paris, you’ll definitely want to spend a few days checking out all the iconic Paris sights like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and the Luxembourg Gardens. For full days of sightseeing, the most important things you can wear are comfortable shoes (you’ll be standing in lots of lines, and stumbling through endless subway terminals!), and a practical crossbody bag or backpack so that you can keep all the essentials on your person (ID, cash, subway tickets). Pack casual, sleek clothing like a black sundress or dark jeans and a tee.
Museum hopping – The Musée du Louvre and Musée d’Orsay are just two of many museums in Paris you won’t want to miss out on. Museums everywhere are usually freezing, so bring a sweater or cardigan to wear over your clothing, and consider wearing closed-toed shoes. Some museums will not allow visitors to bring in bulky handbags, so go for a small purse instead.
Visiting cafes, markets and restaurants – Paris is home to thousands of cute cafes, fresh farmer’s markets, and charming restaurants. Stylish but practical clothing will suit you well for this. Think striped shirts, dark pants, and flats.
Going out at night – The nightlife of Paris includes everything from intimate wine bars to the most upscale clubs in the world. It depends on where you are going for the night, but you can’t go wrong with a black dress, minimal makeup, and heels. For men, think nice button downs and tailored slacks. Always check the dress code before getting ready! Tie and jacket may be required in some places.
Taking an afternoon walk – One of the best (and most romantic) things to do in Paris is to go for a long walk though one of the city’s many historic neighborhoods. Choose between the romantic Montmartre, the stylish Marais, the free-spirited Canal Saint Martin quarter, the eclectic Latin quarter, or the historical Saint Germain. Wear comfortable walking shoes, a breezy dress, a sunhat, and bring and your camera!
What NOT to take to Paris
As a guest in Paris, try not to wear lots of flashy colors all at once. Shoot for blacks, tans, whites and grays. Avoid wearing athletic clothes, as you will be immediately identified as a tourist. For shoes, skip the stilettos (at least during the day). You will be walking along cobblestone streets most of the time, so you want your feet to be comfortable. Also ditch the flip flops, and instead bring your sturdy sandals with straps.
FAQs about traveling to Paris
1) About how much money will I need on a daily basis to enjoy Paris?
That depends on what you plan on doing while you’re in town since some hobbies are more expensive than others. Even so, a basic daily budget of $80 per day should cover meals, metro tickets, some attractions, and a night in a hostel dorm. Travelers who want their own room should allot about $60 extra per day, just to cover the change in accommodation costs. Of course, splitting the price of a private room with a traveling companion or two can help your budget in this regard. It’s also worth looking into reliable vacation rentals to cut down on accommodation costs. But, if you’ve got the money, Paris is definitely a place with plenty of spending options.
2) Do I need to tip servers in restaurants in Paris?
Leaving the coins you’re brought back as change is the standard reward for good service. However, it’s perfectly acceptable to leave nothing at all since waiters’ salaries are already factored into the overall cost of dining out in Europe. Even so, failing to leave at least a 5% tip in a very fancy restaurant might indicate that you’re cheap.
3) What are some good day trips from Paris?
Versailles is the best known day trip from Paris but nearby Giverny and Chartres are also nice places to visit if you have the time. Another good thing is that all of these towns can be reached using public transportation so you don’t have to rent a car to get to them.
4) Is the “Paris Pass” or the “Paris Museum Pass” worth it?
On the other hand, if you are someone who likes to meander and only needs to see one or two iconic places per day, the passes might end up costing you money instead.
5) What is the best way to get around Paris?
The subway is usually an effective means of transportation but it’s a bit pricey. You can still save some money by purchasing your metro tickets in sets of 10 instead of buying them individually. Walking is another good way to get around and it is certainly cheaper than taking the metro.
6) How can I avoid lines at popular Parisian attractions?
Buy your tickets online and in advance. Sometimes doing this will even get you small monetary discounts as well.
7) What is the best time of year to visit?
8) How can I save money while traveling in Paris?
There are plenty of ways! You can:
- Take advantage of free admission days at some of the museums.
- Cook your own meals or at least nosh on takeout since in Europe you pay extra for just sitting down and eating in restaurants. If you do eat out, try to aim for lunchtime instead of dinner, since prices tend to be lower at lunch.
- Eat the free hotel/hostel breakfast if one is available. It might not be the stuff dreams are made of but it will fill you up enough to get you to dinner.
- Buy carnet books rather than purchase subway rides individually.
- Walk between attractions rather than use the subway
9) Which areas of the city are best avoided by tourists?
Some places to avoid include the areas around these metro stops: La Courneuve, Mantes-la-Jolie, Les Halles, Pigalle, Place Blanche, Strasbourg St-Denis, Gare du Nord, Gare de l’Est, Barbès-Rochechouart, and Château Rouge. However, traveling through most of the subway stations listed here should be fine as long as you’re not attempting to pass through them unreasonably late at night. Other places to avoid after dark include the Champ de Mars, the Belleville neighborhood, the Seine Banks, the Bois de Boulogne Park, the Saint Blaise area, and portions of the Rue Saint Denis. Travelers will also want to watch out for pickpockets near popular tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower.
Don’t get the wrong idea – Paris is much like any large city: there are pockets that any outsider should avoid, but the majority of the city is welcoming and fun to explore.
10) What are my options for getting from the airports to the city center?
11) Is it safe for women to travel alone in Paris?
Yes! For the most part and in most areas, it’s perfectly safe. It’s never wise for women (or any tourist, really…) to walk around alone at night, especially in any less-than-nice neighborhoods, but basic safety precautions will protect you just fine during the day. Don’t carry loads of cash, try to blend in when possible, and avoid taking unnecessary risks. Try to plan your transportation in advance and be sure about where you’re going – you’ll look like you know what you’re doing and feel much more confident.
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