stephmodo: A Packing List for France

A Packing List for France

• 05 May 2011

Usually when we travel to France (or anywhere for that matter), I am ill-prepared in the clothing department for one reason or another. Either I try too hard to wear the right things, which ends up feeling unauthentic; or in one instance, we ended up staying for much longer than anticipated (during the renovation) and I rotated the same four outfits over and over. While what you wear isn't the most important thing in life, there is something to be said for feeling confident about how you dress yourself.

This time around I was forced to pack quickly, with no time to read up on the latest fashions in Paris. Having absolutely no idea what was of-the-moment in Paris, I chose what I felt were the most classic, understated pieces in my closet (note to self: investing in timeless pieces is worthwhile after all). Although I typically wear jeans everyday in the US, I forced myself to dress up a little more in France by allowing just one pair of jeans in my suitcase. It felt good to get out of my comfort zone and put to use pieces I don't typically wear often.

Since it was quite cool in France last April, I decided to pack "early spring" clothing, which is basically a mix of warm and cool weather fashion. It turned out to be a much warmer holiday than we anticipated (!!), and while I still felt somewhat unprepared (could've used a swimsuit it turns out), I felt a lot better about the way I packed this time around. Kind of ironic that the less you think about something, the better it turns out. Here are several pieces I was happy to have in France:

1. dark blue jeggings
2. my favorite pair of broken-in riding boots, all gussied up from a recent trip to the cobbler
3. comfortable ballet flats (mine are from Aerosoles a few seasons ago)
4. two striped, knit tops (one is on sale here)
5. two of my favorite scarves
6. two casual cotton dresses for warmer days
7. my favorite belt (mentioned in this post)
8. two pleated, knee-length skirts with self-belts--one tan and one black

Still a little bewildered as to what you should wear to Paris? Here are some previous posts I've written on the subject: post 1 / post 2 / post 3. Also, I also like the visual aids in this 2011 post about warm weather fashion on Paris Escapes, although I'm admittedly wary of the reference to a neon trend in Paris...can any Francophiles, French natives or ex-pats confirm?

Bon voyage!

P.S. When uploading photos from our trip, I came across this image my 9-year-old daughter took of me one day when walking down to La Maisonnette from the top of the village. Giving our older kids a camera, albeit outdated, was one of the best things we did while abroad. Not only did it occupy them, engage them in their surroundings, and create excitement, but now we have a few hundred images we wouldn't have otherwise!

image by E. Brubaker


  1. I keep telling myself I'm going to make a packing list for each of my most frequent destinations-Moab, Lake Powell, etc. I haven't gotten to it but after making do with a men's colored pair of briefs and tank for a swim suit one time I pack a suit no matter how unlikely I am to use it! It doesn't take any room and has been used a number of unexpected times; it belongs on all my (future) packing lists!

  2. Carol, that's brilliance. I'll remember to do the same next time.

    Also, I love that you wore men's brief and a tank...that's a funny visual :)

  3. This post couldn't have come at a better time! We leave for France on the 13th and I've been fretting over my packing list... Thanks!

  4. Steph you always look fabulous. I like your 'note to self.' I remember Liz used to always say that during our summer abroad:)


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