What to Wear in Paris: Tips for Packing for Paris in the Spring (+ Packing List!)

What to Wear in Paris- Tips for Packing for Paris in the Spring

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I love Paris in the springtime…April in Paris, flowers in blossoms…  Great singers have said it all before, and spring can indeed be an enchanting time to visit the City of Lights. Between the parks in full bloom (don’t miss the cherry trees in the Jardin des Plantes and behind Notre Dame), and the first rays of sunshine, the Parisians themselves are in a – relatively – good mood. Besides, visiting Paris in the spring is also your chance to enjoy some beautiful weather without the crowds as long as you avoid the school holidays around Easter and les ponts in May. 

However, the weather can also be, literally, a bit of a damper. Between March and June, the temperatures vary with averages from the low 40s up to the mid-70s. Besides, rain showers (or, as the French call them, les giboulées) are just as likely to make an appearance than clear blue skies, all within a day. You guessed it, packing for Paris in the spring – especially if you don’ want to spend your next paycheck in luggage fees – can be a bit of a headache.

After multiple trips to the French capital, I have sort of figured it out so now you can learn from my mistakes. If you are visiting Paris in the early spring (March and early April), I would also recommend that you check out my packing list for winter and keep an eye out for what the weather will be like during your stay. I have experienced snow in Paris as late as mid-March!

  1. It’s all about layers

Yes, I have said it all before. It is true any time of year, but particularly during the shoulder seasons like the spring and the fall. The weather can change dramatically multiple times, leaving you either wet and freezing or sweating, all within the span of a single day.

You may seriously regret your choices of the morning by the time lunch rolls in, but don’t make a detour to drop off your warm coat at your hotel because you will likely miss it as soon as the sun goes down or the next rain shower hits. My advice would be to carry around a bag big enough to carry around any extra clothing and accessories so you can peel them off like an onion and carry them conveniently.

My scarves are my constant companions in any season, and they make a welcome addition to any outfit in the morning or once the sun goes down in the springtime. Bring both long sleeve and short sleeve tops to layer up comfortably. I would also recommend bringing a couple of warm but lightweight but warm cardigans (now is a good time to invest in that cashmere sweater you have been eyeing) in neutral tones to go with different outfits.

  1. Be weatherproof

The impromptu rain showers that make their almost daily appearance from March until May will be your biggest adversary when it comes to packing for Paris in the spring. They are often short but can be violent and leave you wet and shivering for the rest of the day. Not fun for a day of exploring! No matter what the weatherman may say in the morning, I would strongly recommend being ready to fend the rain at all times.

A travel umbrella is great to keep in your bag. It’s light, it doesn’t take much room, and you will be thrilled to have it when needed. Make sure that your outerwear is waterproof and preferably hooded. As always, when traveling to Paris, leave the technical gear at home and go for something more stylish. A classic belted trench coat is a favorite among Parisians and for good reasons. It goes with everything, will take you from a walk in the park to dinner at a fancy restaurant, and is light enough to carry around once the weather warms up.

  1. A jacket of all trades

As always, the key to a good travel wardrobe is to make sure that it’s a) easy to travel with, and b) goes with everything. In the spring, a reliable jacket is a crucial element to your capsule wardrobe. Depending on your style, go with classic choices like a leather jacket or a denim jacket. If you are planning a fancier trip or will be attending work events, a smart blazer is also a great way to dress up more casual outfits or a little black dress to go out for dinner.

You can layer your trusted jacket under your raincoat on chilly mornings and evenings or use it as outerwear once the weather warms up. All of these choices will fit right in with the Parisian crowd, and they are versatile enough to go with almost everything, from jeans to flowy dresses on the hottest days.

  1. Shoes for all-weather

Shoes are one of the most challenging items to settle on when traveling to Paris. You will most likely be walking a lot. You want them to be comfortable and sturdy enough to handle anything you may throw at them, from the stairs of Montmartre to the slippery cobblestones of the Latin Quarters or the gravel alleys of Versailles. You also want to make sure that they can handle the changing weather. If your favorite shoes are made of more delicate material (like suede or fabric), waterproof them before packing.

I usually recommend picking a single pair of shoes if possible, but spring is possibly the only time of year that may warrant bringing an extra one just in case. Sneakers were a no-no until relatively recently, but they are definitely in again, and not only with the younger crowd. Of course, this being Paris, expect fashion sneakers made of leather or neutral fabric, not the technical ones you wear at the gym. Personally, I like Converse. They are lightweight enough to pack in a suitcase as a complement of warmer, sturdier leather booties you can wear on colder days.

  1. Outfits you can dress up and down

With the ever-shrinking size of allowed suitcases on airplanes and the endless sea of stairs in the metro (or your Airbnb!) in mind, make sure you pack as light as possible. It can be a hassle when you are already planning all the cute outfits you will wear in Paris in the spring, but trust me: you will most likely end up with outfits you will not wear rather than missing things you left at home. Worst case scenario, you are in one of the fashion capitals of the world, and you have the perfect excuse to do a little shopping.

When packing for your spring trip to Paris, choose outfits you can dress up or down, not only from day-to-night but also according to the weather. A well-cut pair of dark jeans is always appropriate. Add a short sleeve t-shirt layered under a long-sleeve button-down shirt and cardigan, and you are good to go no matter the weather. A t-shirt dress can be warm enough all day long if you add a pair of leggings and a warm cardigan in the morning. You can always remove them discreetly in the restroom if needed if the afternoon. You get the jest.

What to Wear in Paris- Tips for Packing for Paris in the Spring

Packing list:

  • Long and short sleeve tops
  • Button-down shirt
  • Scarves
  • Cardigans
  • Travel umbrella
  • Waterproof trench coat
  • Jacket (leather, denim or blazer)
  • Leather booties
  • Fashion sneakers
  • Dark jeans
  • T-shirt dress

Packing for Paris by Season

Fall/Autumn in Paris
Winter in Paris
Summer in Paris

How about you? What is your must-bring item when traveling to Paris in the spring?

Illustrations commissioned from Linden Eller.

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Tips for Packing for Paris in the SpringTips for Packing for Paris in the SpringTips for Packing for Paris in the Spring
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35 Comments

  1. Bernara - In Her Stories
    February 19, 2020

    Hi Andi,
    Very useful packing tips 🙂 I’m planning to visit Paris in April, I will make sure to bring the items you mentioned. I love scarves and cardigans anyway, so just another reason to pack them for my trip. Oh, and you have lovely hand-drawn pictures!

    Reply
  2. Ashley
    February 19, 2020

    Great tips! I agree with layers are the best way to stay warm in the winter. Also a great tip on wearing outfits that you can dress up and down.

    Reply
  3. Nicky
    February 19, 2020

    Great tips here, especially the ‘bring layers’ comment. And of course, packing light means you can indulge yourself in the Parisian shops and it’ll easily fit into your bag on the way home! Thanks for the advice 🙂

    Reply
  4. Courtney
    February 19, 2020

    Lovely tips! Am a fan of scarves too! Hehe the first tip really reminds me the beautiful English weather! I agree with a small umbrella is a must just in case, and the idea of layering!

    Reply
  5. Jan
    February 19, 2020

    I love your tips! Layering is the best way to keep warm. Also adding a short sleeve t-shirt layered under or even over a long-sleeve button-down shirt is just perfect! Tights or leggings inside your pants adds more layers. Thanks for this lovely blog! 🙂

    Reply
  6. Shafinah Neville
    February 20, 2020

    Oh yes outfits you can dress up and down is definitely very important!

    Reply
  7. Jay Artale
    February 20, 2020

    Yes definitely all about the layers. We’re traveling around France for 3 months (we’re half way through our trip) and as we’re traveling around by train, a few of the routes have meant that it’s easiest to go up to Paris and then come back down again. So even though we didn’t intent too, we’ve had 2 trips to Paris so far. The weather has been so changeable during our stays, that we’re constantly having to adjust the layers we’re wearing.

    Reply
  8. Retha
    February 20, 2020

    Layers are so important! I always tell people that, but no one ever listens.

    Reply
  9. Jenn | By Land and Sea
    February 20, 2020

    These are great tips for Paris! We are headed to Croatia this spring and I think I’ll apply these tips to that trip as well!

    Reply
  10. Amber
    February 20, 2020

    I have not been to paris in the spring yet so this list is super helpful! Had no idea what to pack.

    Reply
  11. Slavka
    February 20, 2020

    Great tips. Definitely layers, waterproof shoes and a foldable umbrella 🙂 A this packing list is useful for all European countries on the same latitude as Paris 🙂

    Reply
  12. Heather
    February 20, 2020

    I’ve always wanted to visit Paris. I would have no idea what to wear!

    Reply
  13. Marta
    February 20, 2020

    You definitely have to have sneakers that are both fashionable and functional. As you’ve mentioned, wearing them “out” used to be a faux pax.

    Reply
  14. shayna
    February 20, 2020

    I’ve never been to Paris, but it sounds lovely! If I ever do get a chance to travel there I will certainly keep these fashion tips in mind!

    Reply
  15. Nadalie Bardo
    February 20, 2020

    Such a perfect post! I’m sharing with a friend who’s taking her mom to Paris soon. It’s hard to know what to pack and wear on trips. This is great!

    Reply
  16. Kim Byars Croisant
    February 20, 2020

    Cute Outfits you can dress up and down is definitely very smart.

    Reply
  17. Wendy Lee
    February 20, 2020

    Great tips for what to wear in Paris in Spring. And actually, much of it is good advice for many types of travel. I always love the illustrations in your posts–they are so fun and whimsical.

    Reply
  18. Fae Celine
    February 20, 2020

    These are very helpful tips when packing a trip to Paris during spring. I love layering and packing light so there’s extra room for shopping

    Reply
  19. Christa
    February 20, 2020

    I love Paris! I was last there on April and layers were definitely a must-have. All of these suggestions are great.

    Reply
  20. menty
    February 21, 2020

    haha, I was just back from Paris for a weekend. It was lovely! (with a big night rain)
    Actually I find it not-that-cold as I imagine, so my packings are absolutely ok. The shoes are the biggest thing, as I did pack the wrong shoes (with heels). The solution is buying a new pair of Converse immediately which did cost more than in Italy’s or Hongkong’s sales season price. I absolutely agree with the point of “a pair of fashion sneakers”!

    Reply
  21. Yukti Agrawal
    February 21, 2020

    I visited Paris in spring and that time I was not knowing about how to pack for Paris and I took all winter clothing. But it is great that you listed all and yes layering is really important here. Dark colored jeans and leather booties are my favorite thing to carry for holidaying in spring to Europe. Thanks for all tips.

    Reply
  22. Natalie
    February 21, 2020

    Great tips. I’m heading to Paris soon so this is really helpful.

    Reply
  23. Ashleigh Hogan
    February 21, 2020

    Great post, Paris is always a good idea and so is layering upi!

    Reply
  24. Angela
    February 21, 2020

    These are great ideas! Paris in the Spring is gorgeous, just love it there!!!

    Reply
  25. Renee | The Good Hearted Woman
    February 21, 2020

    I’ve never been to Pairs, but we are headed to Milan this spring and I imagine that the weather there is quite similar, so this will come in very handy! Thank you!! (I’m a native Portlander (Oregon), so a few spring showers don’t scare me!)

    Reply
  26. Suvarna Arora
    February 22, 2020

    I am dying to visit Paris in spring and this is very useful guide.

    Reply
  27. Maria
    February 22, 2020

    Great advice! With Paris weather you can never be sure, so best is to be weatherproof indeed

    Reply
  28. Jean-Marie
    February 22, 2020

    Your love for Paris is infectious; I love it! Thank you for sharing this list. Super useful.

    Reply
  29. Karen
    February 23, 2020

    Yes I believe in layers for everything from winter camping to visiting Paris.

    Reply
  30. Mariah
    February 24, 2020

    Great packing tips!! I always try to pack outfits that can be dressed up and dressed down if need be! I totally agree with the jacket of all trades!

    Reply
  31. Eileen Cotter Wrght
    February 27, 2020

    What a pretty watercolor! I’d print that out and hang it as a reminder of what to pack! This is a wonderful list of items for all sorts of European cities, super helpful.

    Reply
  32. Juliann
    February 27, 2020

    Scarves are always a must for me when I visit Paris. Not necessarily for warmth, but for the Parisian flair I think it gives any outfit. The rest of your packing list is perfect, too, but scarves are my “must” for blending in with the French as much as I can.

    Reply
  33. Farrah
    February 28, 2020

    Great tips! :] Layers are definitely the way to go, and a jacket of all trades + all-weather shoes are so important!

    Reply
  34. Jenn and Ed Coleman
    February 29, 2020

    I’m having such a hard time packing for spring in my hometown, let alone Paris. The weather can change so much in a single day and it’s always so wet. Layers are a great idea and you have to a plan if any one piece of your interchangeable wardrobe gets soaked. The big issue is shoes. I think I would pack a pair of full waterproof shoes, like duck boots, that are relatively light and bullet proof. That way, you’ll always have one pair that’s suitable for all weather. It might not be the height of fashion, but at least it’s not sneakers.

    Reply
  35. Ashley Hubbard
    March 2, 2020

    Great packing list for Paris! All of your Paris posts are making me want to go back. I’ve only been for one day, unfortunately. Layers are a great idea anywhere I think!

    Reply

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