14 things you need to pack for Paris in summer

I’ve been a tourist guide in Paris for over 15 years, and one of the most frequently asked questions by my clients before they arrive is what to wear and what to pack. Since Paris is the world’s number one fashion capital, many are also wondering how to dress Parisian and how not to stand out as a tourist.

Summer in Paris is the busiest time of the year and May, June, July and August are the high season months. The temperature in Paris can vary greatly even within a day, with morning and evening temperatures ranging from the 50s to the mid-60s, and daytime from the 70s to the mid-80s.

There are exceptions, and Paris over the past 10 years has had its share of heat waves, with temperatures reaching well into the low 90s, which can be a problem as many attractions, cafes , restaurants and even some hotels do not have air conditioning.

I have prepared a list of essential things to pack if you come in the summer, so that you are prepared for any type of weather.

1. Comfortable shoes

At the top of the list are comfortable shoes, and I can’t stress that enough. Paris is a pedestrian city and you cannot move through the streets without proper shoes. A few years ago I had a client who showed up in high heeled sandals and about 15 minutes into the tour we had to stop at a shoe store so she could buy a pair of running shoes.

Bring at least two pairs of rubber-soled shoes or trainers with good support. Mephisto is a great brand that offers super comfortable shoes with great support. Ark is a popular French brand of women’s shoes, all of which have thick rubber soles and are both fashionable and comfortable.

Women should also bring a pair of semi-dress or dress shoes for the evening. I don’t recommend wearing sandals because of the cobbled streets.

2. Waterproof

The weather in Paris can be so unpredictable. The famous expression applies: “If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes.” Although summer is not the rainy season in Paris, we frequently receive sunny showers, during which a downpour can sometimes last a few minutes or even up to 20 minutes. A light raincoat or trench coat is helpful, and if you have a very light one, you can roll it up or fold it up and put it in your tote bag, backpack, or purse. A nylon parka or rain poncho will serve the same purpose.

Editor’s note: Need a raincoat? Discover our Review of the best raincoats 2022.

3. Umbrella

Also put a portable umbrella at the top of your list, preferably a lightweight umbrella. Alternatively, if you forget to pack your umbrella, many four and five star hotels will provide umbrellas in the lobby.

4. Light sweater or jacket

Since the temperature can drop to 60°C at night and in the morning, it is advisable to bring a light jacket, sweatshirt or nylon parka, preferably light and packable.

Light layers work well, so if you’re out all day, you can take your layers off as the weather gets warmer.

5. Scarf

Although it can be hot in summer, Parisians always wear light cotton or linen scarves to protect their necks. So if you want to fit in like a local, bring a fun patterned or colorful scarf.

Pro Tip: Go to YouTube to find videos on how to tie a French scarf.

6. Men: dress pants or khakis

It’s okay to wear walking shorts or jeans during the day, but if you’re going to a restaurant, bar or club at night, I recommend men bring a pair of khakis or dress pants, as well as a pair of leather shoes, either moccasins or oxfords. Add a polo or button down shirt to complete the set.

7. Women: casual or dress pants

Women should bring at least one dress, not too formal, to wear in the evening to a restaurant, bar or club. You can wear them with a casual flat shoe or a ballet flat. Repetto, which is very Parisian. Alternatively, a nice pair of dress pants will do instead of a dress.

8. Shorts?

Until about 10 years ago, it was taboo to wear shorts in Paris, and if you did, you were immediately labeled a tourist. In recent years shorts have become more acceptable and you see Parisians mainly wearing walking shorts. Denim cuts, cropped shorts and running shorts, unless jogging, are prohibited. Flip-flops and oversized sports singlets also scream for tourists, so leave them at home.

9. Sunscreen

The sun can get very strong in Paris in the summer, so I recommend sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 or more. The best French sunscreen brands include La Roche-Posay, Clarins, Bio-Dermaand Avene. If you can’t find these brands at home, know that almost all pharmacies here have them in stock.

10. Water bottle

Bottled water in Paris can be expensive, up to $8 for an 8-ounce bottle at a cafe in a tourist area or an upscale restaurant. There is a series of 85 drinking fountains around Paris, called Fontaines Wallace. They are named after a wealthy Englishman, Richard Wallace, who designed the beautiful green cast iron fountains with four goddesses holding them upright and donated them to the city in 1871.

Pro tips: You can buy a six-pack of 1.5 liter Evian water for $4 at the supermarket. That said, tap water is perfectly safe to drink, and drinking water in Paris contains plenty of minerals. When you go to a restaurant or cafe, ask for a water pitcherwhich means a carafe of water.

11. Converter sockets

Converter outlets are another item to put at the top of your must-pack list. The voltage in the USA is 120V and in France 220V, which means that the sockets are different. You can buy sets of these with multiple outlets to charge your computer, tablets or cell phones.

12. Power bank

A power bank is another essential item to extend the battery life of your cell phone, so you don’t run out of battery when you can’t find an outlet.

13. Copy of your passport

You don’t need to carry your passport with you all the time, and for security reasons it’s best to leave it in your hotel room safe. However, it is advisable to have a hard copy or a photocopy on your mobile phone. You will also need it when you want to claim the 12% VAT refund when you spend 175 euros or more in a store.

14. Copy of your prescriptions

If you take any type of prescription medication, it’s a good idea to have a hard copy or photocopy of your prescription on your cell phone in case you run out or need to refill your medication.

Optional: Portable Steamer

It’s not essential, but packing a mini steamer or iron is a good idea to de-wrinkle your clothes after they’ve been crammed into a suitcase for days at a stretch. Summer fabrics such as lightweight cotton, silk and linen tend to wrinkle very easily.

Pro Tip: Hotels sometimes provide irons in rooms. Check online or call ahead.

Paris Women’s Packing List for 5-7 Days (Summer)

  • Two pairs of rubber-soled shoes or trainers
  • A pair of comfortable flats or low-heeled shoes
  • Two or three pairs of lightweight cotton or linen pants
  • Scarf in lightweight cotton, gauze, silk or cashmere in a neutral or printed color
  • Cotton sweater or hoodie
  • Raincoat, rain poncho or trench coat
  • Linen or cotton blazer
  • Two pairs of stylish walking shorts
  • Optional: a pair of running shorts (only if you plan to jog or run)
  • Five to eight blouses, tops and t-shirts
  • A casual outfit
  • Cotton or straw sun hat
  • Small tote bag with sections and zipper or small backpack
  • Sun glasses

Paris Men’s Packing List for 5-7 Days (Summer)

  • Two pairs of rubber-soled shoes or trainers
  • A pair of dress or semi-dress shoes (these may have a rubber sole)
  • Two pairs of jeans or khakis
  • Two pairs of walking shorts
  • Optional: a pair of running shorts (only if you plan to jog or run)
  • Five to eight polo shirts or short-sleeved t-shirts
  • A buttoned cotton shirt
  • Blazer or casual jacket
  • Cotton sweater or hoodie
  • Raincoat, rain poncho or trench coat
  • Cotton or straw sun hat
  • Sun glasses
  • Small backpack or nylon backpack

If you forget to bring something on this list, don’t worry. Paris is a great shopping city, and everything on the list is easily accessible in the thousands of shops and boutiques.

The best place to get most of the above items under one roof at reasonable prices is a chain store named Monoprix, which is similar to Walmart or Target in the US. You will find one in almost every neighborhood. Other major stores include BHV, Galeries Lafayette, Springand The Good Market.

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