For when France seems too far away. Shop for inspiring images of France and discover travel tips, packing advice, recipes, book reviews and more.
For when France seems too far away. Shop for inspiring images of France and discover travel tips, packing advice, recipes, book reviews and more.

Successfully Packing For France


Style and confidence Packing for France

As I promised I would be, I’m continuing to ponder the stack of questions I’ve received recently from Distant Francophile readers.

One query that I realised I’d better answer in a hurry was around the success – or otherwise – of my most recent vacation packing efforts. I was also asked to share the most valuable pieces in that specific packing capsule.

Naturally I’m more than happy to let you know how my travel wardrobe performed before that particular trip disappears entirely off my radar. Let’s face it, I’m already well advanced on planning the next French adventure!

To refresh your memory, you can check out how I plan and pack here. And this post outlines what made the final cut into my carry-on sized suitcase.

Now, before we get into this, I have to share that around a decade ago when I was packing for some of our first trips to France I was an absolutely dismal packer. I made every mistake possible. My bag was too heavy. Not all of the pieces could be combined into multiple ensembles. I didn’t really travel with enough of what I’d call appropriate outfits. I packed clothes that I would never consider wearing at home. Not everything I packed was comfortable. And I certainly by-passed style, thinking instead that practicality was somehow more important.

I’m not entirely sure why I thought a practical wardrobe was the right thing to pack for Paris. Let’s just say that it was my early visits to France that sparked my interest in style…

Packing For France – How Did I Go?

I’m pleased to report that these days, after years of advising fellow travellers on packing for France and, of course, evaluating my efforts for our own visits that my packing skills are vastly improved.

And I’d nearly go so far as to say that this recent packing attempt might have been my most successful yet. Here’s why.

  1. The weather on this particular trip is what I’d describe as ‘typical French spring’. During our time in France, the daily high temperatures ranged between six and twenty-nine degrees celsius. As a result, every item I packed was worn. For me, this is a mark of packing success. There is nothing more annoying than lugging clothes to the other side of the world for no apparent reason.
  2. I didn’t have to buy any additional pieces to accommodate the climatic changes. I’ve been forced on earlier trips to buy clothes and shoes to deal with unexpectedly hot and cold weather. This is especially annoying when the purchases replicate pieces I already own. I really don’t enjoy spending vacation funds on ’emergency’ clothes.
  3. I didn’t get bored with my travel wardrobe. Sometimes I find myself wearing the same pieces over and over again – and when that happens, I can get very bored, very quickly. But the pieces I packed this time were multi-functional and I felt like I had way more outfits than I had time to wear.
  4. I felt appropriate and comfortable for all the activities and events we had planned.
  5. My bag wasn’t too heavy. I managed my solo trip from Trier (in Germany) to Paris with no problems at all.

So – Which Pieces Were Most Valuable?

Although I’m very pleased that every item I packed earned its place (and that I avoided vacation wardrobe boredom), you won’t be surprised to learn that some items were on higher rotation than others.

On this trip, silky technical weave button down shirt and my cropped leather jacket assumed the roles of most valuable pieces.

Interestingly, both of these pieces are black. When I think back to our trip, on the surface it is difficult to understand why black was such a go to colour. After all, we were travelling in spring and we were lucky enough to experience some very warm and sparkling weather. From a spring weather perspecive, black sometimes seems heavy and inappropriate. But travellers can never pack too much black. It’s chic and transitions easily from day to night. And, perhaps more importantly, it doesn’t show the dirt you inevitably encounter while travelling.

There are clearly many reasons behind the French love of black. No wonder Parisians wear it year round!

I’d love to know – how do you go about packing for France? Are there any pieces that you’d never travel without? Please share your advice in the comments section below.

And until next time – au revoir.

P.S. Feel like you might need a little help packing for France or another special destination? Don’t forget that I offer a specialised packing consultation service – my Effortless Packing Masterclass. Click here to find out more.


The photo of Scott and I – featuring my black leather jacket – was taken back in 2015 by Carla Coulson.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

2 thoughts on “Successfully Packing For France”