Packing Tips for Paris – What to Bring and What to Buy There
Paris, the City of Lights, with its culture, entertainment, and beauty, is more than a travel destination. It’s a life experience. Visited by tens of millions of tourists every year, Paris has something to offer to anyone, no matter if you are there for a short but intense city break or a prolonged vacation. If you booked your flight tickets already and a cozy room in a nice hotel, now it’s time to pack!
It should be easy to get your luggage done when traveling to Paris – after all, we should all feel comfortable and channel our personalities and sense of style. However, Paris (and Parisians) has its own style. And if you don’t want to look under-dressed and (unintentionally) disrespectful towards the city and its people or sloppy, your bags should contain some essentials to help you blend in better, and you should buy some things there to really make your trip count.
So, today let’s step up the game: we will take a look at some items that you must bring along to Paris and some items you can buy there to make your travel experience greater.
1. Bring a Pair of Flats
No respectable Parisian man or woman would be caught dead wearing sandals, thongs, flip-flops, Crocs or running shoes. If you want to feel at ease in Paris and blend in, make sure your shoes are comfortable but also come with an elegant-edgy flair. If you plan to walk on foot a lot and see or do everything possible in this city of endless opportunities, then it’s highly recommended you wear a pair of walking boots. Slick and stylish, they can take you from museums to chic restaurants with no problems.
2. Buy a Pair of Heels/Leather Dress Shoes
Have you seen those movies where Parisian women wear high heels all day long, even when they run their errands? Or men look slick and sharp even if they’re just grocery shopping? Yeah, well, these aren’t just movies. Parisians don’t get out of the house without looking at their best, so if you’re a lady wanting to turn your Paris city break into a life experience, buy a pair of heels there. If there is a place that knows shoes inside out, it’s this European city of fashion.
Have the time of your life at Bon Marche, Printemps or Galleries Lafayette and splurge a little. This is also true for men: Parisian men love their leather, and there is no place like Paris to get an amazing pair of Oxfords or Derbies to make you feel like a movie star.
3. Bring Your Suitcase
If Parisians wear something even less than flip flops, it’s backpacks. If you are a traveler, ditch the backpack when you prepare for Paris. Nothing screams “American” more to them than your fanny pack. If you want to be comfortable and look great, your trolley suitcase will do just fine.
4. Buy a Messenger Bag
Parisians frown upon backpacks, but they do love stylish crossbody bags for women or messenger bags for men. You don’t have to bring one along with you, as the bags department stores in Paris will be more than satisfying. For an intense shopping experience, try the shops on Rue Saint Honore. If your budget starts crying at the sight labels and price tags, try the small shops and the street vendors for great deals and unique designs.
The beauty of crossbody bags or messenger bags is that they are versatile enough to get you anywhere from morning to night. Get one with a detachable strap. Have a cross-body in the morning for museum hopping and a stylish clutch (or briefcase in men’s case) for the evening.
5. Bring Sunglasses
When you travel, you should have at least two pairs of shades because you may never know what happens. But when you go to Paris, sporting a stylish pair of sunglasses is mandatory. Parisians are in love with their shades and for all the good reasons. It’s not like you can’t buy sunglasses in Paris, of course, you can, but it’s better to have some already with you.
Paris has a rather capricious weather, and it is also recommended to have a travel umbrella on you, but you can’t be caught in the streets of Paris without a chic pair of shades. We’re not talking about some disposable plastic sunglasses, but high-quality ones that make you stand out of the crowd.
6. Buy the Scarves
Parisian women and men made a staple out of scarves with expensive fabrics and stylish designs, so you don’t have to fill up your luggage space with scarves and shawls because once you see the Parisian versions of them, you will want to buy them all. Monoprix, Tati, Bon Marche and, of course, street vendors are the best and most budget-friendly places to buy scarves, shawls, comforters, neckerchiefs and so on.
7. Bring Your Own Medicine
It’s not like you can’t buy some aspirins in Paris, but due to the way they spell names differently and have their version of the usual pills, you should consider bringing your own first-aid kit instead of running havoc trying to finding the French equivalent of your regular stomach ache treatment. All seasoned travelers know they should bring their own “in case of emergency” medicine as you never know what pills are available without a recipe in a foreign country.
8. Buy Cosmetics and Skin Care Products
Once you land in Paris, you will probably be too busy learning your way around or visiting some of the most important landmarks, so you should have some cosmetics around for the first day or two. But you can forget about them once you enter the magical world of Pharmacy City, which is not a city in itself, but it can be considered a neighborhood. This is THE place to shop for cosmetics, skin care products, medicine, lotions, potions and things you never dreamt existed.
Everybody shops here, from celebrities to the average Joe, so do yourself a favor and spend a day there. Keep in mind that you can get a VAT refund if you are not an EU citizen and you spend more than $175 – which is not that hard, really. However, there are so many perfumeries, beauty shops and cosmetics malls in Paris, so you have plenty of options to spoil yourself.
If your budget allows, you can bring along just the clothes you wear on the flight and buy everything else in Paris – after all, the Lafayette Galleries are the mother of high-end shopping. However, if you still want to keep some money for museum fees and morning croissants, then pack some essentials and hunt for some special items around the city.
About The Author: Dana K. Hughes is a photography student and travel enthusiast, addicted to planning and organizing unforgettable trips. She is also a dedicated writer, who loves long walks through unknown cities, spying on people’s outfits. Dana is currently doing an internship at http://serbags.com, where she writes original articles that inspire readers to showcase their individuality and bring out their personal style.
Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4
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