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

Packing for Paris in the Fall Autumn Blog

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Fall is one of my favorite times to visit Paris. The crowds in front of the Louvre are finally starting to die out. The trees turn into gold in the Tuileries gardens. Most importantly, the temperatures are beginning to cool down enough to appreciate some of the finest foods the city has to offer – you can read more about the subject here. However, the downside is that the weather can get wildly unpredictable. The skies may turn gray, and the air cools, but summer does not die out on September 1st. You can easily have the feeling of getting through all four seasons in a single day. Showers are a common occurrence, especially later in the season. Temperatures average between 55 and 70F in September down to 43F and 52F in November. Not completely freezing, but certainly cool enough to regret not packing an extra sweater (been there, done that). It can make packing for a fall trip to Paris challenging.

There are some things that you should pack when visiting the City of Light no matter the season. But packing for fall requires even more thought if you don’t want to spend your trip regretting all the clothes you left at home and staring at your suitcase in disgust every morning. Let’s just say this packing list is the result of several years of trial and errors. Maybe I can save you some of the discomforts I have experienced by sharing exactly what to bring in your bags during your next autumn excursion to Paris!

Here are some of the things to keep in mind when traveling to Paris in the fall.

  1. Outerwear is everything

Fall temperatures are generally pretty pleasant to explore Paris. Until it starts raining. Sure, there are plenty of places you can explore during a rainy day in Paris, but it would be a shame to miss out on everything else that the city has to offer. The solution? The right type of outerwear. With a good waterproof coat, you will be ready to explore the quaint cobblestones streets, grand avenues, and legendary gardens that make Paris’ reputation.

A classic waterproof trench coat in tan, gray, navy or black is an excellent choice for traveling to Paris in the fall. It is part of every Parisienne’s wardrobe, and it should be in yours too. It is light enough to carry around once the weather warms up, but it will serve you well during a rainy day as well. You can also layer it according to the temperatures, which is very convenient since they might vary widely during your stay.

A relative newcomer that I have seen more and more during recent trips in Paris is the “cirés,” those gum raincoats that are traditionally worn by seamen and often come in a cheerful yellow (mine is navy with white stripes). I’m not sure how many of these wannabe sailors spend their weekends on a boat in Brittany, but they work quite well for the Parisian rain!

Another outerwear you will see everywhere are leather jackets. Wear it with jeans during the day and with a smart dress at night.

  1. Bring the right shoes

The wrong shoes can quickly turn your dream trip into a painful nightmare, especially in Paris, where you will likely spend a lot of time exploring the cobblestone streets of the city or stomping around museum grounds. Much like outerwear, you will want shoes that can handle a day of splashing through puddles and uneven pavement.

I love my Jambu on a day-to-day basis, and they indeed work out great on a dry day. But make sure to pack a pair of waterproof shoes for your fall trip to Paris for an extended time in the rain (Jambu has them too!).  I don’t recommend rain boots: they are cumbersome and nowhere as popular in Paris as they are in the United States.

My favorites are a sturdy pair of weatherproof leather ankle boots. They work well with pants and dressier outfits as well. Make sure you sure to break them in before your trip to avoid blisters which are even more unpleasant than wet feet. If you have room in your handbag for an extra pair of socks on rainy days, your feet will thank you.

If you are planning on visiting one of Paris fancier restaurants like the Grand Véfour, don’t forget to bring a dressier pair of shoes as well.

  1. Think layering

Brisk in the morning, warm in the afternoon and rainy in the evening, the autumn weather in Paris can be finicky. Dressing for the day can be tricky, especially if you want to spend some time exploring the outdoors. The best way to go about it is to bring enough layers so you can mix and match depending on the forecast and what you are planning on doing that day. Just stick to a neutral palette (Parisians are not known for their extravagant tastes in colors anyway), and it should be a breeze.

Bring several long sleeve and short sleeves t-shirts as well as some dressier options like a blouse and a classic white shirt. You can add layers with cardigans and sweaters. If you are visiting Paris later in the fall (end of October and November), it might be worth allocating some of that precious suitcase real estate for a warmer pullover or two. As far as bottoms go, dark wash, well-cut denim should be your staple no matter what time of year you visit Paris, but even more so in the fall.

Dresses are a convenient travel companion. They instantly make you look put together (don’t even think about visiting Paris without a little black dress in your suitcase), and you don’t need to get a headache matching top and bottoms. With the days getting chillier in the morning and the evenings in the fall, I like to bring leggings to layer them up under lighter dresses if needed. Jersey and sweater dresses travel very well, and they are versatile enough that you can wear them for a day of exploring or a fancy night out.

  1. Accessories can save the day

I never travel anywhere without a couple of my beloved scarves in tow. It’s a habit that I picked up while I was living in France and working in Switzerland, and it has served me well throughout the years. You would be hard-pressed to encounter a Parisian in the fall, no matter their age, gender, or social status, that is not sporting one. It’s a great way to add a touch of color to your outfit, and it will warm up an outfit if needed.

Hats are stylish as well as convenient. You probably have seen them on the head of every blogger under the sun. However, there is no denying that they also come in handy on a cold morning or during a rain shower. Not to mention the occasional bad hair day.

Finally, if you are visiting Paris in the fall, make some room in your bags for a travel umbrella!

My packing list for Paris in the fall:

  • A trench coat or other waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof ankle boots
  • Long and short sleeves t-shirts in neutral tones and stripes
  • A white shirt
  • A dressy top
  • Cardigans
  • A warm sweater if traveling late in the fall
  • Dark-colored jeans
  • Knit dresses
  • Black, thick leggings for layering
  • Scarves
  • Hat
  • Travel umbrella

How about you? Have you ever been to Paris in the fall before? What is one thing you are glad to have brought? Is there anything you wish you had with you? Do share!

Illustration commissioned from Linden Eller.

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27 Comments

  1. Holiday
    October 3, 2019

    …and the parisians tend to be more dressy than most of us, so I recommend a nice pair of comfy boots not trainers. Lovely post, love these packing lists. How big will your luggage be?

    Reply
  2. Candy
    October 4, 2019

    I went to Paris after Christmas a few years ago and agree with your list! Make sure you love your coat as it will be in all of your pictures. Great list, thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  3. Ericka
    October 4, 2019

    one day I will be able to visit Paris. It’s one of my goals to take the whole family.

    Reply
  4. Jen
    October 4, 2019

    Paris is one of my family goals to visit. You have great lists here, I love that you give a heads-up with the travel umbrella. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  5. Amanda
    October 4, 2019

    Oh how I wish I was in Paris this Fall. Your packing tips are so spot on–and I would recommend a little striped Parisian flare, too!

    Reply
  6. Kimberly
    October 4, 2019

    I wish to go to Paris one day! I love these outfit ideas too.

    Reply
  7. Sarah
    October 5, 2019

    I’ve just had my first experience of unpredictable Parisian autumn weather this week. So I certainly need to up my game when packing my suitcase for next week.
    I totally second your advice on layers. And i do need a waterproof coat (forecast for next week is absolutely dreadful, six days of rain in a row). Would love a Cires, keep toying with the idea of buying one whenever I go to Brittany.

    Reply
  8. Patricia @ Grab a Plate
    October 5, 2019

    Great recommendations! I especially love the tip to bring along scarves. I agree that they can really make an outfit pop — so easily (and they’re easy to pack, too)!

    Reply
  9. Brianna Simmons
    October 5, 2019

    Your Paris packing list sounds like how I want to dress everyday, perhaps a trip to Paris is in order?

    Reply
  10. Christa
    October 5, 2019

    Reading this is making me want to book a trip to Paris! It’s such a beautiful city any time of the year, but there is something special about fall – as long as you have a great coat. 😀

    Reply
  11. Amanda Martin
    October 6, 2019

    These are great tips! I’m in the UK right now and had the hardest time packing because I couldn’t remember what 55 and cloudy felt like being from Oklahoma where it’s still 90 and humid this time of year!

    Reply
  12. Becki
    October 6, 2019

    I can imagine the Parisians dress similairly to us Brits, BUT with more style! I’ve neve visited Paris in the fall, but I bet it looks amazing with the colourful leaves.

    Reply
  13. Bliss Eatts
    October 6, 2019

    This is a great list. I think I need to wannabe sailor rainjacket! They sound fun.

    Reply
  14. Amanda
    October 6, 2019

    I’m all about layering and comfy shoes when I travel!

    Reply
  15. Sage Scott
    October 6, 2019

    These are great tips. I tend to opt for comfort over style anywhere in the world. Add in the fashionable sophistication of France, and I usually feel a bit lost on what to pack!

    Reply
  16. Kristina
    October 7, 2019

    Ill be in Paris in 3 weeks and have been endlessly researching the weather. This post has come at the perfect time. I tend to layer my clothes when im unsure about the weather. Sometimes its sunny in the morning and gets colder throughout the day
    Thanks for the tips🙂🙂

    Reply
  17. Iuliya
    October 7, 2019

    I love that you gave a list of what to pack, and I totally agree about layering! Makes all the difference 🙂

    Reply
  18. Sam Sees World
    October 7, 2019

    Great tips! Paris is the city of style and I always feel like I need to dress my absolute best when visiting :)! Great tip about layering becuase it is so important to stay warm while looking good and exploring!

    Reply
  19. Eric Rafael Gamble
    October 7, 2019

    Man Andi, you are going to get me in so much trouble if Darcee sees this cause she is dying to go to Paris and she loves the FALL! SO I buess I really need to get my packing list for what to wear in Paris in the Fall so I don’t freeze to death! Very smart to recommend the layers cause I can imagine that some days are beautiful and warm and then suddenly the next day might be a wee bit nippy!

    Reply
  20. Heather
    October 8, 2019

    First of all, I must comment on “while I was living in France and working in Switzerland”. Ohhh how I hope this sentence could come out of my mouth one day! Having only been to Paris in the summer (both times), I haven’t had to pack for cooler weather but I totally agree with layering, scarves as the top accessory and a neutral color palette. You’re right…Parisians aren’t known for flashy colors anyway. But this is a packing tip I stick too all the time-usually one color scheme (mine is usually black) so I only have to pack what works with that or around that!

    Reply
  21. CANDY
    October 9, 2019

    I’ve never been to Paris and think all your suggestions are great. Layering is always key when visiting a city during the Fall months. You mentioned not to forget to pack a LBD. Why is that? Do you need to wear a LBD to many of the places in Paris? Good tip about the travel umbrella too!

    Reply
  22. Yukti Agrawal
    October 10, 2019

    Thanks for sharing very useful tips on what to wear in Paris during Fall. As during fall, it becomes very confusing that what to wear but it is great to you shared some useful clothing list. Layering clothing and right choice of shoes looks perfect for me.

    Reply
  23. Delphine
    October 10, 2019

    Dressing properly when visiting Paris is important. I am from Paris but I haven’t lived there for over 20 years and I have to pay attention not to look like a tourist, otherwise I would get targeted by pickpockets… The ankle boots are essential. I used to wear out my shoes living in Paris so I definitely recommend a good quality, waterproof pair!

    Reply
  24. Kelsey
    October 10, 2019

    Such a helpful list – thank you for writing everything you packed! So helpful for chronic overpackers like me lol

    Reply
  25. Mirela | The Travel Bunny
    October 10, 2019

    I appreciate the lack of skirts, I’m usually feeling colder than others. I’m looking forward to a list of what to wear in France in the winter. We’ve got a tour de force to see the entire family for the holidays!

    Reply
  26. Erica
    October 12, 2019

    I agree with your packing list, enough to keep warm without overdoing it! The coat is a key piece as you´ll be wearing it, so I´d recommend bringing one you LOVE, or better yet… hit the shops in Paris and grab a coat as a funtional souveneir for the trip! And I´m totally with you on the scarves – they add a unique twist on the outfit when you´re repeating the same few pieces!

    Reply
  27. 5 Days in Paris in Winter
    October 24, 2019

    […] Take warm jackets and an umbrella because Paris’s weather in winter can be chilly and wet. Check out Andy’s guide on what to wear in Paris in Fall. […]

    Reply

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