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What to Pack for Paris, France


Packing for a trip to Paris can be a challenge. Our number one bit of advice is not to over pack. We know that this is easier said than done (From experience, we understand your pain). When filling your suitcase, remember that you'll want plenty of room to bring back delicious chocolates, that outfit that you couldn't live without, and souvenirs for family and friends.

Aim to fit all your belongings in a carry-on (e.g., 22 inch wheeled suitcase). You can zoom through customs when you land, and can easily take public transportation into the city.

Even with the new security restrictions enacted, we always travel with a carry-on to Paris and avoid the potential for "lost luggage" due to the overload carriers are experiencing with checked luggage.


1. Travel Kit for the Flight - Since many flights to Paris are overnight, you will likely be arriving in the morning. You'll goal for the transatlantic flight is debark in Paris well-rested and ready for a day on the town. To help you relax, pack a travel kit - similar to the complimentary bags that passengers receive in first/business class. Fill a small bag with an eye mask, earplugs, sweat socks, and instant toothbrushes such as Oral B Brush Ups.

Since the restrictions forbidding liquids on flights, airlines have increased the amount of bottled water on overseas flights. So drink liberally to avoid the dreaded dehydration headache upon landing.

2. Travel Umbrella - A short, afternoon shower is not uncommon in Paris. Pack a small, lightweight umbrella in case of quick downpours.

3. European Adapter - To recharge your cell phone, digital camera and other electronic devices, pack a universal adapter. If you forget yours, purchase one at French chains FNAC or Darty.

4. Detailed Street Map - We recommend The Paris Map Guide by Michael Middleditch (Penguin Books).

5. Books/Music - Bring a good book or an Ipod with tunes to entertain you during downtime in the hotel (hopefully, not when you're awake in the middle of the night with jet lag). In many small hotels, the only English language stations available are CNN and BBC.

6. Walking Shoes - Leave any shoes that you can't comfortably walk, on uneven pavement, for a few miles at home. Paris is a city so attractive that even couch potatoes will want to be on their feet. Don't let your choice of shoes slow you down. In Paris, if you decide that you need to ditch your shoes, pick up a new pair suitable for walking at any of the major Paris department stores (e.g., Galeries Lafayette, Printemps or Bon Marche).

7. Extra Bag / Suitcase - Avoid the stress of wondering how you're going to get all your Parisian treasures back to the States by tossing an extra carry-on bag or small checkable suitcase inside your luggage. If you're desperate and need a bag that will get your goods home, purchase a wheeled suitcase at the cheap luggage store, Rayon d'Or on Rue du Temple (Metro: Republique or Temple - next to Monoprix). All sizes from small to XXL for 10-30 euros. Don't think of shipping - we've priced it. UPS to the States costs a small fortune.

8. Stain Remover/Woolite - Toss in a Tide Stain Removal Pen to fix any "OOPS" on your clothing - instantly removes red wine and food stains. Also, pour some Woolite in a small bottle to bring along in case you need to freshen up any hand washable items. Also, try Shout Wipes to treat stains before they set.

9. Cell Phone - Bring your cell phone for ease of making/receiving international calls.

10. Copies of Important Information - Bring copies of your airline itinerary, passport information, and credit card account numbers and leave them on your hotel safe so if something happens, you will save hours of headaches. For some additional ideas of how to store this type of information, read our Checklist of Things to Do Before You Leave Home.

11. Washcloth - Parisians do not use washclothes on the face as we do in the States, and most hotel room in Paris come equipped with plenty of towels, but no washclothes. If you like to scrub your face in the shower, consider bringing your own or using disposable face/make-up wipes (e.g. Ponds, Neutrogena).

Don't Pack

1. Hair Dryer - Virtually all hotels, large and small, have hair dryers in the bathrooms. Save some room in your bag and leave your dryer at home.

2. Fanny Pack/Backpack - Fanny packs and backpacks make irresistible targets to pickpockets. Besides announcing "distractible tourist" - think when was the last time you wore a fanny pack/backpack when walking around your home town - these items are easily accessible to thieves. One tug at zipper behind your back and an experienced thief can clean you out without you realizing it.

3. Expensive Jewelry - Leave the "bling" at home. You're in Paris - that is impressive enough. You're not going to feel comfortable in tourist areas wearing anything too "showy", and why bring your valuables across the Atlantic to sit in a hotel vault. If you find that you are besides yourself without your diamonds, waltz into Cartier on the Champs Élysées to get your fix.


Author: Cheryl Montgomery

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