Paris Packing Tips – One Thing I Never Leave Home Without

Packing Tips Investment Piece Cross-body Bag

‘If you could recommend just one thing to pack for a trip to Paris, what would it be?’

This was the tricky question that was casually tossed my way recently by a friend. And it sent my brain into a tailspin. 

Seriously, did she really want me to narrow the focus to just one thing? 

After all, a stack of packing tips had popped into my head immediately. 

You need to pack comfortable shoes. You shouldn’t leave home without something warm, regardless of the season you are travelling in. And of course, you’ll want to pack a scarf – you’re headed to Paris after all. 

But then I realised that all of those items are probably rather self-evident. My friend was looking for some less obvious advice. 

Culling the conspicuous packing tips made it a whole lot to settle on one item. 

From my perspective, if you are travelling to Paris, or anywhere else for that matter, you must pack a cross-body bag. 

Why I Recommend Cross-Body Bags For Travel

  1. They free up use of your hands. Are you likely to be navigating the Métro? Perhaps doing a spot of shopping? Or maybe checking a map? Then having your hands free will make everything a little easier. 
  2. Cross-body bags are available in a multitude of sizes, fabrics, styles and price points. Which means there is a version of this bag out there to suit every taste.
  3. Generally speaking, cross-body bags are secure in that they have a full closure. Yet they are also accessible in that zips and buckles can be easily opened without you needing to remove the bag from your body.
  4. And because you can hold the bag to the front of you, they are handy in crowded spaces, or in areas where pickpockets might be an issue. You can also keep them on your body while you stop at a café or restaurant.
  5. They are versatile enough to take you from day to night, particularly if go for an elegant option in a neutral tone.
  6. Finally, cross body bags can hold everything you really need. I laugh when I think about the bags I carried on our first few visits to Paris. I seriously carried some of the biggest bags in history. And what’s more, I filled them to the brim. So much so, I would develop shoulder pain by the end of our trip! Who knows why I thought I had to lug all that stuff around with me. Over the years though my bags have become progressively smaller, yet I still manage to carry all of the essentials, including:
  • Cash and cards
  • My passport
  • A phone
  • Tissues and travel wipes
  • Sunglasses
  • Lipstick
  • An EpiPen (for my allergies)
  • Keys

Your turn now. What’s the one thing you’d recommend packing for a trip to Paris? Please let me know in the comments section below. 

If you are keen for more packing tips then check out my top five reasons for travelling light. And if you are in the market for a new handbag, make sure you read the five key elements of the perfect handbag.

Until next time – au revoir.

About Janelle

I believe that everyone can bring French elegance and inspiration to their life, no matter where they happen to live in the world. They only need to learn a secret or two to be on their way. When you join the Distant Francophile community, you’ll have access to the secrets that allow you to bring the best of the French lifestyle into your everyday life. I’m talking about things like style advice, recipes and book reviews. And you’ll also receive regular doses of French inspiration, as well as travel and packing tips galore.

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11 thoughts on “Paris Packing Tips – One Thing I Never Leave Home Without

  • Noelle

    I always take a tiny nylon backpack that fits in my crossbody so if I get too warm for my sweater or the rain stops so I don’t need my rain jacket, I can stash them and still be hands free. Not elegant but so useful.

  • Denise Linkson

    Hi Janelle, we mostly stay in apartments which usually have a washing machine so I always pack a Sards wonder stick to rub on any stains before popping them in the wash (works like a charm) & a pack of ziplock sandwich size gladbags which come in incredibly handy for cheese, chocolate , pates etc. that you pick up in one spot & want to transport to the next spot. And of course my cross body bag which is a given!!

    • Janelle Post author

      Great tips Denise. Thank you for sharing. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to buy ziplock bags in France. Apart from transporting food, they are also ideal for making sure you don’t end up with a perfume purchases or other liquids ruining your clothes while you are on the road. Given how much of a fan I am, you’d think I’d remember to pack them before I leave home!

  • Alisa

    I cannot imagine traveling without an oversized rectangular shawl; a good size is 30 x 70 inches. (75 x 175 cm)
    In the winter, camel or gray or navy cashmere or wool.
    In the summer a silk, cotton, rayon or other drape-able fabric in a neutral clear color like coral.
    It can be used for so much more than a shawl! The wool can be a big cozy neck wrap or even worn under one’s coat for extra insulation. Also very handy to pull over oneself for a nap during a long airport layover or a bit of extra warmth in the plane.
    The summer shawl is for unexpected chill in a restaurant or museum or anywhere else. If the fabric is fine enough, it can even be tied around the waist for a sash or layered over a slim dress as an overskirt. The summer shawl can also serve for a swim coverup.
    (And, when traveling in countries where modesty is expected in churches and religious sites, the shawl will provide that modesty over a sleeveless dress or can be the overskirt for a short skirt.)
    I can’t imagine travel without at least one! (In the summer, I generally take a solid and a small print that coordinates with my clothing.)