Packing List for a Spring Trip to Paris
Paris... <heart eyes>
I've been in a handful of major cities in the world but Paris still feels like one of the more elegant, yet comfortable people to get to know. Paris is the stylish one who always excels at looking effortless and chic. She's the one with whom one can stroll, soaking in the peace and friendliness of the early roses and sunshine.
She doesn't mind stopping often to peer in shop windows or chase after a vintage set of earrings, and because she always wears sensible shoes we can walk far in comfort.
PACKING LIST FOR PARIS IN THE SPRING
Even though I've traveled a fair amount there is one weakness that keeps following me to foreign destinations: taking a sweater that's not warm enough. To save space, I pack sweaters that are thinner and then, when the cold winds hit (which they always do in spring seasons or summer trips far north) I shiver and think of the turtleneck left at home. Next time I travel I'm taping a sign to my suitcase:
TAKE WARM SWEATER
Mistake # 2 was assuming my ankle boots were broken in for an average of 9 miles a day of walking. They weren't, so foot pangs were suffered some days that were too cold for my comfier sandals. The best decision I made was buying a pair of comfy sandals before we went. Easily half the days were warm enough for them, and even when it wasn't quite the sandals saved me aches and pains that made having a cold toe or two worth it.
In the end, I took 4 things I would either have replaced with something else, or forfeited entirely.
- Leather boots that weren't broken in all the way
- Sweater with three-quarter length sleeves. Also, it was in a print so it didn't go with everything. Rookie mistake for a semi-seasoned traveler to make.
- Umbrella. Never carried it, never needed it. Unless the forecast is completely rainy (whole days of rain vs. spotty showers), I'd leave it at home next time.
- As much as I love my market tote from Urban Southern, it's just a little large and heavy for my style of traveling. I really only used it for the plane trip over and back as I didn't want to carry it around for an entire day of walking in a city; it would've been better to go with a smaller version. Thankfully I had included a small backpack inside the bag for actual carrying around each day and loved it. It wasn't easily accessible, but it was definitely the most comfortable I have ever been while lugging around the water bottle and few necessities it takes for a day in the city.
Clothing Packing List
One of the better decisions in deciding my wardrobe was going with a classic color palette of blue with occasional pinks. With the exception of the sweater I could mix and match everything and it made the day's options feel even bigger than they really were. The navy was a good neutral-classic, and the pink was the spring-time pop of color.
If I could tell you one thing it would be to know yourself. What other people choose to do might not work for you, and while others offer great advice, in the end you have to know which outfits or accessories you are more likely reach for in the morning. For example: I discovered several trips back that taking more than 2-3 dresses/skirts will mean that the excess won't be worn. While touring I prefer the comfort of jeans, and especially in cooler climates and being outdoors most of the time, find they register higher for practicality. But see? That's just my two cents. Different people, different preferences.
10 Articles of clothing that I loved wearing on the trip
- Flare jeans
- Cotton sailor pants
- Skinny jeans
- Floral dress
- Blue striped dress (graciously loaned by a friend)
- Navy and white striped midi skirt
- White button-down blouse
- Comfy grey tee shirt
- Bebe Trench coat
- Silk scarf
It was more than I needed, but it fit into my tiny carryon so it wasn't too worrisome and for cities like Paris it's fun to pack some extras. We could do laundry in between, which was nice to save having to bring home a suitcase full of musty clothes.
Electronics are always pretty simple. I packed some of my favorite gear & accessories.
- Phone, chargers, and battery pack.
- Adaptor for French e-power
- Fuji X100t Camera + chargers
<in praise of the Kindle>
This definitely isn't about necessity, but having a Kindle for the trip was da bomb. Parisians are always reading: on the train, in parks, and even in cafes and I loved having the option as well.
In a stroke of serendipity I choose a story where Paris featured predominantly in the story, with interludes of French that I pretended to read. I didn't know at first that the story coincided with the destination, but found it extra fun to identify the places mentioned.
A FEW EXTRAS
1. Someone introduced me to the idea of buying a special scent for an epochal vacation, and while I didn't buy a scent exactly for the week this fragrance was the one I wanted for a trip to France. Called, Thé Matcha, I picked it up at Urban Outfitters awhile ago and loved it better than french fries. They have a whole line of these fresh scents right now, and while this was my favorite, I'd love to try others as well. This was just the sort of perfume that I wanted for everyday in Paris: fresh, noteworthy, yet not bold. Just like Paris.
2. One of the best ways I've found to really absorb the magic of places visited is to sit and sketch them, and then write a journal entry next to it. To do that I bought a Strathmore Watercolor Journal and these watercolor pencils.
I'm not a skilled artist, but this afternoon spent at Luxembourg will always shine in my recollections of this trip.
My conclusion? Take everything I (or others) say to do with a grain of common sense. I often have my head in the clouds before a trip and do inadvisable things like taking a floral sweater and boots that haven't been walked in for more than a mile. You can learn from things, but it's still your decision.
For an alternate look at a packing list, check out the stripedpineapple and her list. She packed differently and it worked out well for her.
Do whatever will make you feel confidant, warm (or cool) and comfortable. That way you can truly enjoy the destination without the distraction of clothing or discomfort.
P.S. My number one guide for traveling is to consider what I know about the culture of a place. If there are laws of propriety there, I'd like to respect them. Also, as Americans it's easy to just take whatever we wear to watch basketball at home. Consider cleaning up a little as another form of respect to the people around you. You're in "their" home. Be yourself, but be respectful. -L.R.