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The following is a guest packing list from Meg Rulli.
Paris, the city of love, is a bucket list destination for quick-visit vacationers and long-term backpackers alike. No matter who you are, you most likely want to visit Paris with a bit of style while also packing light enough to have extra room for souvenirs from the Eiffel Tower or clothes from a French boutique.
Because Paris is such a fashionable city, it’s easy to get carried away when packing.
Before you go stuffing your bag to the brim with fancy shoes that are impractical for long walking days, we have a practical light packing list that will keep you comfortable, and looking good at the same time.
Yes, even with the unpredictable spring weather.
The Weather in Paris in Spring
It’s spring in Paris from March to May and the weather can vary between months. Early mornings and evenings can be quite cold but it can get hot during the day. Don’t be surprised by light showers throughout the season.
March: The temperature in March is around 55°F during the day and 41°F at night (that’s 5-13°C).
April: In the middle of the season, daytime temperatures peak at about 63°F (17°C). The nights warm up slightly to 46°F (8°C).
May: By May the temperature during the day warms up to around 68°F (20°C). Nights are still slightly chilly at 52°F (11°C).
It’s good to note that the weather in Paris in spring is UNPREDICTABLE. While these are the average temperatures, it can be hotter or you may find it incredibly gloomy.
The following packing list for Paris in spring is a guest packing list from Meg Rulli. It was originally submitted in 2012 but it has some great tips so we thought we would update it!
Meg traveled around the world with only a 32L backpack. Paris was just one stop on her journey that took her to 14 countries. While it might seem daunting, you really don’t need a ton of stuff to travel comfortably for a year.
Meg’s Complete Packing List: How to Pack Light for Paris in Spring
When I visited the city of lights, I was 4 months into my RTW trip. I had a tiny 32 Liter backpack (that was supposed to get me 12 months around the globe) and was on an incredibly tight budget.
If you aspire to pack as light as Meg, but don’t know how she could have possibly packed so light for a year long Round-the-World trip, you might want to check out the HPL Packing Method course.
With the limited room in my backpack and the desire to look hip in this whimsical city, here was my perfect packing list for Paris:
- 3 Solid Color Tees Or Tanks – I prefer the solid prints because they are casual and versatile. You can dress them up with accessories for a more hip look!
- 2 Bras – I always like having the option to exercise, so I always pack my sports bra along with my regular bra.
- 5 Pairs Of Underwear – I love my Exofficio Give-N-Go® Lacy™ Bikinis.
- Editor’s note: Exofficio no longer makes the Lacy range, but find their other options in our blog post, ExOfficio Underwear: Are they worth it?
- 2 Pairs Of Socks – Be sure to pack one heavier pair of socks in case it’s rainy and cold in the city.
- Check out our Travel Socks Guide to find your perfect pair.
- 1 Wool Cardigan – The weather in Paris is pretty unpredictable and yucky. One minute it can be a beautiful sunny day, and the next it is raining cats and dogs. As such, packing a warm sweater that you can use as an extra layer to your cute Paris outfit is advisable. Cardigans are great as a layering piece and look elegant to boot! The one I brought was a black North Face wool cardigan that kept me nice and toasty while walking to and from all the Paris sights. I didn’t have a light jacket with me, but this might also be a nice thing to have in your suitcase!
- 1 Raincoat Or Umbrella – Like I said previously, Paris weather can be yucky and it rains A LOT. Be prepared… Enough said.
- 1 Scarf – Every female traveler/backpacker should have a scarf on hand in her backpack. Scarves are a wonderful multi-purpose accessory. In Paris, they are great to have because they class up any outfit, add a little colorful pop to your wardrobe, and also keep you warm on colder days. In addition, French women love their scarves, so why not join the party?!
- 1 Pair Of Jeggings – My husband Tony thinks that jeggings are the most fascinating piece of clothing for women. He always teases me for wearing them. I like to think that he is just jealous that he doesn’t have a pair. They fit your body like skinny jeans, can dress up any outfit, are easy and compact to pack, and don’t wrinkle. I am so glad I had these to wear around Paris, as opposed to my convertible hiking pants, which screamed tourist! As an added bonus, jeggings are uber stretchy, which can come in handy if you are binging on all the delicious cheese, wine, and sweets that Paris is famous for. I sure know that they came in handy when I traveled there!
- You can find some more travel pants options in our blog post: What Are the Best Travel Pants for Women?
- 1 Wrinkle-Free Dress – If you are looking to spend a night on the town or dine out at a nice French restaurant, then you want to dress the part and fit in with the trendy locals. Having a cute dress in your bag can come in handy when you want to step up your wardrobe a notch. My recommendation is to bring a low-maintenance wrinkle-free dress. This way you don’t need to worry about finding an iron when your plane lands.
- Check out our Top Travel Dresses for Every Trip + How to Pack Them Right or take a look at the Best Fabrics for Travel Clothing to see which of your current dresses will be the best travel option.
- 1 Pair Ballet Flats – Before arriving in Paris, Tony and I had spent three months hiking around South America. Most of my gear and clothing was made for hiking. However, I refused to wear my big clunky hiking boots perusing around downtown Paris. Luckily, I packed a pair of Puma ballerina flats. These flats were sensible enough to walk around comfortably in the city, while also looking somewhat dressy. As an added bonus, they were bendable and rolled up into a little ball, taking up little room in my backpack.
- 1 Pair Sneakers or Hiking Shoes – Like I said previously, I enjoy exercising when I can. But on colder or rainy days in Paris, you might want to wear sneakers or hiking boots to stay warm. Just be sure they are waterproof! If you have extra room in your suitcase, rain boots might be the way to go on this one.
- 1 Pair Flip Flops – I like having my flip flops on hand in case it’s a warm day out!
- The Puma Ballerina Flats aren’t available anymore, but we love the Tieks Fold-up Ballet Flats for a packable and good-looking alternative. Although, they may not be as comfortable for long days of walking. Instead, look into the Crocs Kadee Flats (and alternatives).
- If you want something with a bit more support than a pair of flip flops, you might want to try Chaco Sandals, Teva Tirra Sandals, or Birkenstock Madrid Slide Sandals instead.
- If you’re still struggling to narrow down your shoe choices, take a look at How to Choose Your Travel Shoes.
- Shampoo/Conditioner/Soap – TSA friendly of course!
- We love solid toiletries for travel, it makes traveling carry-on only so much easier! If you can’t part with your liquid toiletries, check out this post on How to Pack Liquid Toiletries.
- Toothbrush/Paste – With all the red wine I drank in Paris, having my toothbrush handy was key!
- Deodorant – Especially for the warmer days.
- Razor – Same reason as above.
- Brush – You’ve gotta have nice looking hair in Paris…
- Makeup – …Same for your makeup!
- Hair ties – I have thick thick hair so this is a MUST pack item for me!
- Sunscreen – Even though it may be cloudy out, you still want to protect your skin!
- Tums – With all the rich foods we ate in Paris, we sometimes ended some of our days with a belly ache. Be sure to bring some Tums or antacids to help your cause!
- Camera – This one is pretty obvious, but it’s the #1 item you do not want to forget to pack. Paris has so many wonderful sights that you are going to want to photograph, like The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame to name a few. You do not need to go crazy and buy a ginormous and expensive DSLR, but you are going to want to bring a high-quality camera that takes high-quality pictures.
- If you don’t have a fancy camera, don’t worry. These days your smartphone can take photos that look almost as good!
- Kindle – I am obsessed with my Kindle and it is perfect for traveling, as it allows you to have tens and hundreds of books in one journal-size electronic reader. If you travel to Paris, bringing a book to read is a MUST. Try Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast”. You can imagine Paris in the 1920s as you sip your coffee in the present. One of the best activities to do in Paris is to spend a day hopping around the adorable street side café’s. Why not join in with the locals and get your read on while you are sipping your cappuccino and people watching?!
- Necessary Chargers – Remember: You will need a European adapter plug!
- Passport And Necessary Visas – For visitors from the United States, a visa is not necessary if you are staying in the European Schengen Zone for less than three months out of the next six.
- Deck Of Cards – Good for playing games with your travel companion at a local café.
- Stain Stick – If you are a lady who adores food (like me), you will be eating LOTS of food and drinking LOTS of wine while in Paris. After all, it is the food capital of the world! If you are ALSO a slob like me, then you might be prone to spills (especially when eating messy Nutella crepes), so packing a Tide 2 Go or a traveling stain stick can keep your wardrobe looking fresh, no matter what!
- Take a look at our Essential Pack Items for Hand-Washing Clothes on the Road.
Paris Packing Essentials and Tips From HPL
If you get cold, a light jacket is essential
While Meg didn’t pack a light jacket, if you get cold, you’ll probably be happy to have one. A light jacket that doubles as a rain jacket is even better! Something like a North Face Triclimate Jacket would work well. Wear just the outer shell during the day when it’s warm and rainy but add the inner fleece layer when it’s cooler in the evenings.
A travel purse for all your daily essentials
You’ll probably want a day bag to carry your phone, money, passport, and other essentials in. If you’re looking for the perfect travel handbag you might want to take a look at our blog post How To Choose the Perfect Travel Purse (with Options).
Alternatively, go handbag-free with 14 Products to Help You Ditch the Purse.
Invest in a Diva Cup for your travels
Don’t take up unnecessary space in your bag packing tampons and pads and don’t worry about shopping for these items in a different country. Rather, get yourself a DivaCup and change the way you travel on your period.
Pack clothing you can layer
In transitional seasons when the weather is still variable and you don’t know what to expect from each day, we highly recommend packing items you can layer. That way you stay warm in the mornings and evenings when it’s cooler, but as it starts to warm up you can take off your layers and stay comfortable.
Focus on temperature-regulating clothing
Even better if you have some items made of Merino wool or bamboo viscose which are temperature-regulating. Meaning they keep you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot. Some Merino brands we love are wool&, Icebreaker, and Merino Country. Check out Bamboo Body or Cozy Earth for bamboo clothing.
Some Extra Resources From HPL
If you’re planning a trip to Paris, you might want to check these articles out:
- Practical Tips for Visiting Paris in 2020
- 10 Tips for Making Paris More Enjoyable
- Let’s Fix These Reasons You Feel Frumpy When Packing Light
- First Timer’s Guide to Public Transportation
Have you ever been to Paris? Have we left anything off this packing list that you thought was essential?
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Book a Viator Tour for Your Trip to Paris in Spring
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Skip the entrance lines and head inside this fantastically macabre tunnel system filled with the skeletal remains of more than 6 million Parisians.
About Meg: “Carpe diem” is Meg’s favorite cliche and also her motto. She is a high-energy girl who loves being active (and the naps that follow), spending time outdoors, and eating (A LOT). Meg and her husband left their jobs in January 2012 to go RTW. They visited 14 countries in one year which they documented on their travel blog LandingStanding. Meg is now the owner of a commercial wine label, Flipturn Cellars.
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