What you can’t forget to pack when headed to Paris
Congrats, you’re going to Paris!
Yes, after months of scouting out inexpensive tickets, talking to ALL of your friends and family who have visited Paris already, and watching Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen about 50 times…you’re finally taking a trip to The City of Lights.
Whether you’re traveling with your family, a friend, a partner, or, hey, maybe solo, we’ve got everything you’ll need to enjoy a stress free and fun vacation.
Read on for everything you’ll need to pack for a perfect Paris getaway.
Scroll through the whole article, download the checklist as a PDF, or skip to the section you’re interested in:
A note on Paris weather
Before we jump into the good stuff, it’s important to note that Paris’ weather changes pretty drastically with the seasons.
This packing list can definitely be referenced for any time of year, but this is important general information to note, right off the bat:
- Spring: late March – June: 40-70°F
- Summer: late June – September: 55-75°F
- Fall: late September – December: 45-70°F
- Winter: late December – March: 35-45°F
Now: read on, and happy packing!
How much stuff should I bring?
This is a tough question to answer generally, as we are very firm believers in the concept of different strokes for folks! You want to throw everything into a backpack and call it a day? You want to pack 7 different pairs of shoes because “just in case!”? We can see where both types of people are coming from!
What we will say is this: it is not fun dragging a lot of luggage around the winding cobblestoned streets of Paris. That being said, if you know you’ll be taking a taxi or an Uber from the airport straight to where you are staying, you won’t have to worry about this too much.
We know that everyone does traveling differently! But as a rule of thumb, we suggest that you limit yourself to a personal item, a carry-on, and one checked bag. Unless you are planning on staying in Paris for over 1 month (ah, la chance!), this will be plenty of room to pack everything that you’ll need.
Personal item and carry-on
First things first: what to pack in the bags that you will actually have access to during your flight. What you’ll want to have handy here may depend on whether you’re coming from somewhere in Europe (not such a long
flight), or somewhere like North America, Australia, or Asia (super long flights)!
If you’ve got yourself a sweet 1-2 hour flight ahead of
you, make sure you have:
- Identification, passport, ticket, or any other travel documents you may need.
- Any valuables – We can’t stress this enough. Keep your most prized possessions as close to you at all times!
- Any medications you may need on the flight/trip
- Water – buy it once you go past security! There’s really nothing worse than getting dehydrated on an airplane, plus it will make your jetlag worse.
- A snack – just in case you don’t like what they’re serving up on the plane.
- A good book, magazine, movie, or game to keep you occupied.
- Headphones if you plan on listening to music or watching a movie on your laptop or tablet.
- Anti-bacterial wipes – airplanes can get a little gross, right?!
- Lip balm – this also points back to the fact that being dehydrated is just not fun.
- Tissues – achoo! Don’t get stuck having to wipe your nose on your sleeve.
- Gum or mints – first reason: no one likes smelly breathe. Second reason: chewing gum helps with tough take offs and landings!
- Here’s a full list of travel gadgets that actually work
Now, if you’ve got a longer flight: all of the above, plus:
- An in flight neck pillow – we’ve scoured the internet for the best travel gadgets and gizmos that are actually worth your money, and we found an amazing eye-mask/pillow combo you should check out.
- A change of clothes – you’ll be sitting in the same clothing for a while. Why not bring something else so you feel fresh? Not to mention in case your checked bag gets sidetracked along the journey…
- Comfy socks or flip-flops – again, you’ll be sitting…for a long time. And for the same reason no one wants to smell smelly breath, no one wants to smell smelly socks either…
- A scarf or pashmina – sometimes the AC is really cranking on an airplane! Don’t forget this item and risk getting sick.
Now we’re onto the big stuff! Let’s jump right into what you’ll need to pack in your checked bag to make your Paris trip just as fabulous as you’ve been imagining it.
Keep in mind that this all really depends on how long your vacation is, but we think this checklist is a good jumping off point.
- Toiletries – we’re talking toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, contact lenses solution, glasses (if you wear them!), Q-Tips, sanitary items (if you need them!), shampoo & conditioner, hairbrush, deodorant, make-up (if you wear it!), razors (if you use them!), hair products, and any extra essentials personal to you.
- An umbrella – we’re sure you’ve all heard that Paris can be quite rainy! A poncho might be a good idea for this reason too.
- A coat/jacket – again, this depends on what time of year you’ll be visiting, but even during the summer months a light jacket is advised.
- Light sweater/shirts/T-shirts/light layers – see above!
- Shoes – we recommend comfortable walking shoes! We are a Paris walking tour company after all. Don’t forget one pair of nicer dress shoes for dinners out (see restaurant etiquette guide).
- Socks – the more the better
- Undergarments – see socks!
- Jeans/pants – see our note for shoes. Keep in mind that dining out is more formal in France, so you’ll definitely want to bring along something nice for a meal out on the town. Things can be really different in France so here’s a good restaurant etiquette guide for your trip that we HIGHLY recommend reading.
- Skirts/dresses – if you wear them!
- Pyjamas – cute ones if you are feeling fancy! Sleeping gear is often overlooked.. but don’t forget it unless you like sleeping in the buff!
Vacation extras you must not forget
Here are some extras that we believe you just wan’t come to Paris without (you’ll see why).
Some of these items could find a home in your carry-on, or in your checked bag, that’s up to you to decide.
- Camera (plus any needed accessories) or journal – you need to keep a record of your awesome vacation, right?!
- Exercise gear – this one goes out to all of our sporty readers! We will be honest and say that there’s really nothin’ quite like a nice jog along the Seine…
- Power adapter – especially if you plan on bringing any items like a hair straightener.
- Travel iron – we found a pretty awesome one that’s featured on this must-have travel gadgets guide.
- Wireless portable speaker – see above.
- Reusable shopping bags – plastic and paper bags are OUT in Paris! Do something good for the planet (and save some cash! You must pay for un-reusable shopping bags in France) and bring these along for any market or grocery store stops you may have. Bonus: there are super cute ones nowadays. Even a quick Amazon search will bring up some beauties. OR: wait until you get to Paris, and buy one from one of our supermarkets like Monoprix (they have the best ones in my opinion), Carrefour, or Franprix.
- Backpack – this ones a no brainer… you have to have something to put all your sightseeing gear into!
- Small handbag – just in case you don’t want to carry around a full backpack say, in the evening.
- A small lock – this item can be used for many things: on your luggage on your way to and from Paris, or maybe on a backpack to prevent those troublesome pick pockets from grabbing your things.
Extra resources for your Paris trip
Hopefully this helps you organize your packing so you’re not stressed out leading up to your trip.
You can check out all of our Paris resources while you’re at it!
Need this for your packing? Download the full checklist as a PDF: