When it comes to packing for a holiday, France is probably one of the countries that generates the most excitement for traveling babes. Images of perfectly manicured French ladies prancing around in their Chanel outfits immediately spring to mind and one can’t help but dream about stylishly strutting down the Champs-Elysees, shopping bags in hand and blowing kisses at cute Frenchmen.
Whilst France is undeniably beautiful and romantic, it isn’t always all ‘love and macarons’ when it comes to traveling. This may be the home of Dior and Louboutin but it’s also the country of treacherous cobbled streets, never-ending subway tunnels and non-existing lifts. And don’t even get me started on public bathrooms and the lack of room for luggage on trains…
Of course I’m not saying that you shouldn’t aim to look stylish in France. I mean, what would be the fun in that?! But this is definitely a time where a small bag packed with a few classics can go a long way. After all, French women perfected the art of ‘simple chic’ so what better time to take a leaf out of their book?
Below is a list of what I would pack for a 10+ day holiday to my home country. I’ve also included some extras/variations depending on what time of the year you’re traveling. Have I missed any items? What would you pack for a little French vacay?
It’s no secret that French women love Black and neutral colors. Which works out really well for you as a tourist since these colors are so easy to mix and match! When picking your clothes for France, aim for a ‘smart casual’ look. It’s also a good idea to keep jewelry and accessories to a minimum. You will be less likely to attract the attention of pick pockets and you will look even more Frenchy. A scarf on the other hand is almost a necessity!
- Five Tops (for example: 1 striped tee-shirt, one black top, one neutral top, a nice blouse, a shirt)
- One or two pairs of pants – I love ponte pants as they are light, don’t wrinkle and basically go with everything. A smart, dark wash pair of jeans is another versatile option.
- One skirt – again try to stick to colors such as black, grey, navy or sand.
- One pair of shorts
- One little black dress – for romantic dinners
- Two casual dresses
- One blazer or a trench coat
- One cardigan
- One scarf
- Seven pairs of underwear+3 bras
- One nightie or pajamas
- One pair or two pairs of socks
If traveling in winter:
- Swap the blazer for a thick coat
- Choose long sleeves tee shirts and tops in thick fabrics
- One pair of woolen tights
- One or two woolen sweaters
- An extra pair of socks
I know that many of you will ignore me if I say to leave your heels at home so I’ll strike you a deal here. Pack two pairs of easy-to-walk in shoes and then if you’re still feeling like you need a bit more height after a week buy a pair of gorgeous French shoes. You know you’re going to anyway…
- One pair of comfortable shoes such as cute ballet flats or chucks – No trainers please (unless you want to scream tourist!).
- One pair of boots or wedges – I would opt for wedges in summer, ankle boots in spring/autumn and knee high boots in winter.
- One bag – Cross over bags are a great option because they are less cumbersome and easier to keep away from pick pockets (not that France is full of pick pockets but they can be a bit of a pain in touristy areas).
- A few pieces of jewelry to jazz up your daily outfits (i.e. a couple of pairs of earrings and a necklace).
- An umbrella
- Make up essentials: As for everything French ladies like to keep it simple when it comes to make up. That’s not to say they’re above a beautiful red lipstick and a few coats of mascara. The idea is to look ‘effortlessly polished’ (yeah I know – easier said than done!). I’m a big fan of the Urban Decay palettes and I always travel with my Naked eye shadow palette. I also love the Benefit and MAC palettes for their compact size. In terms of foundation, I tend to choose one with long lasting, light to medium coverage to take me from day and night. I also can never resist buying make up at Sephora when I’m in France – their selection is so great!
- Your signature perfume
- Travel sized shampoo, shower gel, face wash, moisturizer etc. Although you could easily buy all those on site. French pharmacies have an amazing selection of beauty products from brands such as Nuxe, Avene, etc.
- Camera + charger
- Power adapter (those can be easier to find overseas than in France, although check out a local FNAC store if you happen to forget yours)