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Royal Monceau Hotels


Her Packing Tips for Paris


Get those suitcases ready! With the help of Journey Women worldwide, we've put together a list of appropriate fashion tips and clothing items from experienced travellin' women who've already been to Paris. You'll find several tips that keep coming up -- for example -- pack fashionable walking shoes rather than sneakers. We've made no effort to take these repeats out; we thought leaving them in for emphasis was a very good idea.

P.S. This is an ongoing packing list. If you have any of your own clothing advice to pass along, please click here. Thank you everybody for your input.

What should she wear...

Always check the 5-day forecast at your destination on the internet. You never know when it's going to get really cold. However, even in February I didn't need the lined boots or hat I'd brought along. A visitor needs to
remember that the Metro is a large, underground system and as one goes between stations and waits for trains, a heavy coat gets even heavier.
Arlene, Washington, USA

I travelled to Paris in December - a scarf is a must! Everyone wears a scarf, they can be any color and any material and when you get home you won't know how you ever got by without one in the past. Younger people do wear sneakers occasionally, but European sneakers are not the same as U.S. - they look a lot more like bowling shoes. Plenty of high heeled boots and leather pants on women of EVERY age. Remember, to look truly like an American tourist, just wear a baseball cap and hang a camera around your neck (this works for whatever country you're in).
Julie, Rockhill, USA

Avoid wearing tennis shoes (Nikes etc.) because it tells everyone you're a tourist. Black shoes are a necessity if you want to go into most nightclubs. Also, bring along black pants and try to avoid jeans. Black is very common and works well for traveling (small stains don't show up).
Julie, Minneapolis, USA

Wear a tame knee length skirt, flat shoes and a tame top suitable for the weather.
Amber, Akron, France

French women are by American standards always dressed up. If you don't wear black high heeled shoes and a scarf (or sweater) around your neck, you'll be spotted as an American from a mile away...not that that's a bad thing, just something to keep in mind.
Megan, Toledo, USA

The Parisian women dress with style and if you don't approximate a little bit of it yourself, you'll feel under dressed and dowdy. Bring along some scarves, costume jewelry and forget your jeans and white athletic shoes. I've discovered a wonderful fabric that drapes beautifully without being revealing. It is lightweight and doesn't wrinkle and comes in several dark colors--brown, black, purple, navy. I bought my pieces at Chico's and they call it "scrunchy". It is also available as Supplex through TravelSmith.
Trisha, Atlanta

In Paris, in order not to be perceived with disdain, leave your baseball cap & sneakers in the hotel room. Save them for tramping around sites away from the city.
Alix, Toronto, Canada

When visiting Paris, "dress up" more than you would in most other places. This involves a creative use of scarves, costume jewelry, decent looking shoes and watching what the Parisian women wear. This may be the one city in which you abandon jeans, athletic shoes and warm-up suits for a more attractive form of dress.
Trisha, Atlanta, USA

The sales help in Paris can often be indifferent and even rude. To brace yourself for shopping in Paris, try to be as chic as some Parisians -- while you don't have to dress to kill, it's a good idea to dress smart, and favor slacks and blazers over jeans and sweatshirts or tee-shirts. Women should make up lightly, and men should be well groomed.
Rachel, Paris, France

In France, as in most of Europe, women "of a certain age" dress their age, i.e., a skirt or slacks (no blue jeans or shorts) and proper shoes (no running shoes). By "of a certain age" I mean everybody over around 30.

If you want to look French, use black as your basic color and wear a scarf somewhere on your body (around your neck, your hair, your waist, or tied to your purse).

Looking as if you belong protects you from "draguers" on the street who sometimes follow foreign-looking women, asking them for a match or for directions to some well-known site. Do not think that if you dress down (in other words, look unattractive and grubby) it will protect you from the advances of men. Dress poorly and you will only attract a lower class of weirdo! Frenchwomen like to make the most of their appearance. If you do, you will blend in.

One last tip: don't smile too much. Frenchwomen don't; it's considered a come-on.
Karen, Seattle, USA

Nobody in Paris ever wears sweatpants. I think it is the only city in the world in which if you are a young woman, you must wear a tight miniskirt in order NOT to be stared at.

People here actually wear leather pants just to go to the grocery store.
Jennifer Wade, Cambridge, USA

Bring good walking shoes but not sneakers which immediately identify you as an American tourist. Dress neatly and fashionably but comfortably. The well-dressed Parisian woman always looks stylish, has even begun wearing
flat and comfortable shoes, never uses color on her short, well-kept manicured nails and has a fabulous way with scarves, regardless of the season.
Arlene, Washington, USA




For tips on what to pack around the world, read Let's Have a Cyber Packing Party.

Back to GirlTalk Paris...



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