Fashion

What to Pack for Summer in Paris

by Diana Liu

Once you’ve secured your summer vacation dates, booked your plane tickets to Paris and spent hours scouring blogs for the trendiest restaurants, the most fashionable boutiques and the off-the-beaten-path adventures, there’s only one last hurdle before jetting off: figuring out exactly what you pack for a vacation to Paris.

An open suitcase being packed for a summer vacation in Paris with a laptop, camera, sandals, sunglasses and other summer clothes.
Anete Lusina, Unsplash

Getting ready for the world’s fashion capital may seem daunting, but it’s completely possible to sightsee in comfort and blend in with the stylish locals. To look and feel like an effortlessly chic Parisienne (even if it’s your first time visiting), here are our top five Paris summer packing essentials.

Shoes for cobblestone streets and rooftop apéros

For Parisienne-approved summer footwear that’s both chic and comfortable, bring along a pair of espadrilles or sneakers – either the super-trendy and colorful “dad shoe,” or the classy espadrille version à la Sézane. These shoes will get you up the Eiffel Tower, down the cobblestone streets, and into a hip rooftop bar.

Red and cream espadrille summer shoes from Parisian brand Sézane (left) and the dad shoes trainers from Nike, for walking around Paris (right).
Sézane / Asos @legrosbordel

Outfits that’ll take you from a day at the Louvre to a night on the Seine

Parisian summer attire is all about breezy, natural pieces that are just as perfect for strolling the city’s arrondissements as for a soirée along the Seine.

Fashion influencer Sabina Socol in summer in Paris, wearing a flower-print dress, sitting on a doorstep (left). Infuencer Rue Rodier sitting on a ledge close to the River Seine, wearing a light summer dress and espadrilles (right).
Sabina Socol / Rue Rodier

So bring along a printed dress – it’s elegant, versatile, and one of fashion influencers Sabina Socol and Rue Rodier’s favorite Paris essentials – as well as other local-approved pieces like a fitted white or vintage tee and denim shorts, a denim jacket, and a men’s cotton button-up shirt.

Accessories à la Française

There are three bags that many chic Parisians can’t live without: their spacious ultra-chic Goyard tote and Vanessa Bruno cabas (celebrating its 20 years this year) as well as the classic Chanel boy bag. However, they don’t come cheap.

A woman in summer wearing a Goyard bag in Paris (left). A woman jumping up, only her legs and white 'dad shoe' trainers are visible (right).
Fashion Jackson / Zip House Design – Unsplash

Instead, opt for a stylish cross-body bag or a simple fabric tote bag that’s light, trendy, and that won’t take up too much space in your suitcase. To complete your Parisian look, bring along a pair of retro sunglasses and some delicate jewelry.

A blonde woman wearing barely-there natural makeup in Paris (left) and red lipsticks from 'clean' makeup store Oh My Cream in Paris (right).
Oh My Cream!

Barely-there makeup (with good skincare!)

Leave the heavy eyeliner at home – French beauty is light, dewy, and minimalist, except for the occasional red lip. Think the Glossier look: moisturized skin, a hint of concealer and blush, and some lipstick or gloss patted on for a more natural look.

Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen (Parisians like light sunscreens from pharmacy brands like La Roche-Posay or clean cosmetics store Oh My Cream!) – a sunburn in the city is neither chic nor pleasant.

Environmentally-friendly chic (and something for the rain)

There’s nothing more sophisticated than environmentally conscientious traveling, so don’t forget to bring along a reusable water bottle and refill it at one of the many beautiful Wallace drinking fountains scattered around the city.

A custom designed water bottle by 24 Bottles for cutting own on plastic use, held up by influencer Elena Salmistraro (left). A young woman seen from the back feeling the heat of Parisian summer as she walks on the Petite Ceinture railway in Paris (right).
24 Bottles Elena Salmistraro / Etienne Boulanger – Unsplash

Speaking of water, you’ll know if you’ve ever watched the opening scene of Midnight in Paris that sudden summer downpours are not uncommon, so come prepared with an umbrella just in case.

And lastly, according to Coco Chanel’s timeless advice, before you leave your house, “always take one thing off” (or out of your suitcase in this case)! It’s better to pack less and leave room to pick up some Parisian essentials when you are here. After all, Paris is the best city for a shopping emergency.

A young woman in Paris dressed in an off-the-shoulder rust colored top and ripped jeans (left). A young woman visiting Paris in the summer, with the Louvre's glass pyramid in the background (right).
Romain Lohezic – Unsplash / Ke Atlas – Unsplash

Related Links

  • Looking for “clean” barely-there makeyup? Check out Oh My Cream!
  • If you’re shopping for little ones, we round up Paris’ best baby stores.
  • Too intimidated for luxury shopping? Read our tips.

Written by Diana Liu for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.

Written By

Diana Liu

Diana Liu is a Paris-based writer and photographer who is currently completing her Master in media and creative industries at Sciences Po. She co-founded ChopChicks in Paris, a blog and community dining experience that brings people together to discover the wealth of Asian restaurants and Asian culture in Paris. She's written about food, fashion, art & culture, and French politics for Inspirelle, ChopChicks, Wheretoget Magazine, and other publications. See more of her photography on her Instagram @sheandhercat, and discover Paris' best Asian restaurants and join her for dinner at ChopChicks in Paris. View Diana Liu's Website

5 comments on “What to Pack for Summer in Paris

Hi Jo – I was referring to their tote bags with the sequined straps 🙂 They have a wide selection on their website!

Diana, Thanks for the tips. Which Vanessa Bruno Cabas bag are you suggesting that is popular?

Remember mosquito repellent for evenings in Paris, especially in parks, near (or on) the Seine, and the Canal St Martin.

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