Visions of the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, delectable cheese, fresh baguettes, and chocolate are dancing in your head – inspiring your decision to whisk off to Paris and experience that certain je ne sais quoi.
As a backpacker, off-the-beaten-track travel and typical outdoor wear – shorts, t-shirts and hiker shoes – seem like the norm. Paris, however, is a different story. Perhaps you’re unsure – or even intimidated – about fitting into this fashion mecca as a budget traveler.
Fear not! We have your ultimate Paris survival guide with specifics tips on what to pack for Paris for being practical and stylish – while fitting everything you need into a carry-on size backpack. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Let’s get started, oui?
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The Ultimate Paris Packing List
Nomatic Travel Bag
- Capacity > 30L
- Price > $299
Nomatic Navigator Carry On
- Capacity > 37L
- Price > $400
GoPro Hero 11
- Resolution > 5k
- Price > $400
Arc’teryx Beta AR Jacket
- Price > $600
Insurance From World Nomads
- Price > Click For a Quote
There really isn’t a need to over-pack for Paris. The chances are, you will be staying for only a few days and mostly eating out. Therefore, the clothes in your pack plus a change will almost in itself be enough. But let’s take a closer look at what to bring to Paris.
Best Luggage For Paris: AER Travel Pack 2
You don’t need to pack too much stuff for a Paris trip, just the essentials. There are no weather extremities and the chances are you are not headed to Paris on a camping trip. Therefore this AER backpack is fully featured, big enough to hold an extended weekend of clothing, and tough enough to last years of travel abuse.
I have taken the AER Travel Pack 2 on multiple trips and since then it has risen in the ranks as my go-to travel backpack.
Check out our AER Travel Pack 2 review to learn more.
Best Suitcase For Paris: Nomatic Carry-On Pro
Are backpacks not your thing? That’s ok. Our friends at Nomatic are back again with a great alternative to their badass Travel Bag; the Nomatic Carry-On Pro.
This suitcase is ultra-durable, sleek, and comes with a handy tech compartment for transporting your laptop and other electronic bits. Nomatic has been an industry leader when it comes to travel gear and that reputation is reflected in the quality build design and functionality of the Carry-On Pro suitcase. These things fit all you need for a Paris trip but are a bit of a pain in the ass to carry on and off the metro.
Check out our Nomatic Carry-On Pro review to learn more about this epic suitcase.
Best Camera For Paris: GoPro Hero9 Black
For most of us, our smartphones now feature cameras with stunning photo capabilities.
But… if you are an aspiring photographer who wants to take next-level photos and video beyond iPhone selfies, I recommend going with an action camera like the GoPro Hero9 Black.
It does deliver pro-quality video and gives you a bunch of different angle options and shooting speeds to work with for photos (including a selfie mode).
Think of a camera purchase like this as a long-term investment that will have you capturing epic shots well beyond your time exploring here. If you are looking for something cheaper for video specifically, check out these epic GoPro Alternatives.
Best Sim For Paris – HolaFly eSim
The good news about Paris is that there is extensive 4g and 5g Internet coverage, taxi apps, and food delivery apps. Phone connectivity is good if you have a working sim – but, your native SIM card will most probably not work and so you will not be able to access any of this online goodness until you rectify that particular situation.
You can waste time hanging around phone shops queuing to get a plastic sim or you can simply install an eSim onto your phone before you leave home. You just access the HolaFly site, choose the relevant package, download it, and off you go – you are online the moment you land at the airport.
eSims are easier to set up and better for the environment than plastic sims. The downside is that not all phones are eSim-ready.
Packing Cubes For Paris – Wandrd Packing Cubes
In case you have never used them, packing cubes are little compression cubes that allow you to neatly pack clothes in order to help facilitate better packing. They allow you to pack more stuff, and keep it all better organised, without taking up too much space.
For the longest time, I thought that packing cubes were a superfluous indulgence, but boy was I wrong. Now I never travel without a few.
These ones from WANDRD are of fantastic quality and excellent value for money. Get them on your Paris packing list now!
What To Pack For Paris Checklist: Personal Gear
Paris does experience seasons. Spring and Autumn are generally pleasant, summer often sees a stifling heatwave and winter can inspire some serious cold snaps. Still, I expect that you will have something in your wardrobe for all eventualities so deciding what to wear in Paris shouldn’t be too tough.
However, do bear in mind that Parisians dress quite smartly so cargo shorts mixed with socks and sandals will earn you some of that world-famous French snootiness.
If you’re still wondering what to bring to Paris then these top picks are a good starting point.
Best Walking Shoes For Paris – Salomon X Ultra 3 Low Aero
Visitors to Paris have a tendency to underestimate the amount of walking that is part of the day-to-day Paris experience. But the city is huge and the main attractions are very spread out. Whilst public transport is good, there is still a lot of walking to be done. In fact, exploring the Louvre alone clocks up a fair few miles. Besides, Paris is simply one of the cities best explored on foot.
I admit that most shoes that are also good for hiking are not the most attractive pieces of footwear and bearing in mind that Paris is still a fashion capital, that kind of matters. But they are some of the most comfortable walking shoes and deliver good ankle support for a long day of walking about town. These ones are not too garish and will look good in chic Paris.
Check out the women’s Salomon X Ultra 3 Low Aero.
Best Jacket For Paris: Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody
Depending on when you’re visiting Paris, you’ll be in need of a warm, but light jacket. Granted if you visit Paris in the summer you probably won’t need to bring this. But from October temperatures plummet in the city and you’ll be happy to have this ultra-warm down jacket with you.
It weighs just under a pound and provides an excellent weight-to-warmth ratio. If you don’t go for one of the super bright colors, it is pretty stylish and city-worthy also, and ideal for those rainy days!
If visiting Paris in the winter, then consider something even thicker.
Check out our best travel jackets article for more inspiration.
Best Daypack For Paris – Osprey Daylite Plus
The days spent exploring Paris can be long. Therefore taking a good daypack like this small backpack is often a good shout. They are great for carrying water, hats, and jackets and for packing sandwiches for lunch. We love Osprey products and this daypack is our personal pick if you are packing for Paris.
The Osprey Daylite Plus has a mesh-covered panel to keep your back cool and fresh by minimizing contact with the back of the pack itself and allowing air to get between you and the pack.
Check out our full review of the Osprey Daylite plus for more details.
Additionally, you can attach it to other Osprey packs in case you want to add more capacity and carry just one piece of luggage… but the reviews on this feature are mixed.
Travel First Aid Kit
You don’t need to tote around half a pharmacy, but a well-stocked first aid kit should be in all our backpacks. Stuff happens on the road and it’s inconvenient and embarrassing when you can’t manage small situations like a cut finger or hangover migraine.
You can tuck this lifesaver away in a forgotten pocket – and it’ll be there when you need it.
Tip: Add a few bits and pieces to the first aid kit after you purchase it, like extra headache medicine, any personal meds you need (like allergy pills), whatever you take to calm your stomach, and a few more plasters.
Travel Insurance From World Nomads
ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.
They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.
SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!
Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.
Money Belt – By Pacsafe
Whilst Paris is not particularly dangerous, petty crime and pickpocketing do still happen and tourists are sometimes targeted; therefore it’s important to travel safely.
Therefore it is always a good idea to use a money belt to hide your cash just in case something does go wrong. We recommend trying not to carry too much cash.
As well as this, take care on the Metro, in busy tourist spots, and also take good care of your bags.
Water bottle – Hydroflask Vacuum Bottle 32 oz.
Packing a reusable water bottle is probably the best thing you can personally do to combat single-use plastic bottle use whilst traveling. There is simply zero need to buy plastic water bottles.
In theory, tap water in Paris is fine to drink. However, I spent a lot of time in the city and found it does not agree with me personally at all. What I do is buy a big water bottle from Lidl (under $1) and fill my reusable water bottle each morning before I head out.
We love the Hydroflask Vacum Bottle for its quality and because it keeps cold water cold for many hours and vice versa for hot beverages. This bottle is the ideal reusable water bottle to get not just for your Paris trip but for daily use. Please don’t be that person buying plastic water bottles. We are all judging you…especially mother earth.
If you go with the Hydroflask, you’ll probably never need to buy another water bottle again.
The Basic Stuff To Pack For Paris
On top of the essential items listed above, here is an additional suggested checklist of what to pack for a Paris trip;
- 1-2 pairs of comfortable pants/jeans
- 1-2 pairs of shorts (summer/late spring)
- A few pairs of socks
- (Sexy) underwear x 2/3
- Ladies: a few dresses, pants, outfits, or desired lady apparel for a night on the town.
- Dudes: A few collard shirts or something halfway decent for a night on the town.
- Smartphone with a good camera for photos if you are not bringing an actual camera
- Portable power bank for charging your phone on the go
- Phone charger
- Copy of your passport just in case
- Cash (not too much, there are ATM machines everywhere!)
- Packable Towel
- Wear comfortable walking shoes
FAQ on What to Pack for Paris
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Final Thoughts on What to Pack for Paris
Ok, friends – there you have it! Your complete Paris packing list with a helpful checklist, including our breakdown of the seasons and how to pack for each. We hope you’ve found our packing tips for women and men helpful, along with our advice on what not to pack and what bag to carry all the stuff you do pack. Remember to check the weather forecast as that will help you pack light with exactly the items that you need.
Focus on packing smart and packing light – with a stylish edge. Remember that just a few essentials, mixed and matched correctly, will get you a long way. And remember those things that will keep you comfortable and safe!
So, now all you have left is to get out there and have an epic time – au revoir!
Check out our EPIC TRAVEL ADVICE for more travel tips for broke backpackers.
Updated by Megan Christopher January 2023.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!