Authored By:

Kira F.


DISCLAIMER: I'll publish a "first few days" post soon, but first I want to write about packing. This is just for the people like me who spent way too much time looking for the “perfect” packing list. At the end of both semesters I will do updates on what I wished I had brought, what wasn’t neccessary, etc.

Packing was one of the most daunting tasks during the entire process of preparing for France. It was worse than any application, Visa appointment, and hours of stressing over how to navigate the Metro (which I rode alone for the first time today!). I spent countless nights watching videos and reading blog posts called "The ultimate gap year packing list" or "How to pack for a year abroad". While everyone mentioned different clothes, shoes and accessories, there was one common theme:


This could not have been more helpful. It is so much easier to create 10 different outfits with one black shirts, a pair of jeans and different accessories than it is to have one scarf, 3 patterned shirts, brightly colored dresses, shoes that only match that one pair of get the point.

The other reason to have basics and neutrals besides creating endless options for outfits is because Paris is très froid (very cold)!!! It's only September and I'm already starting to bundle up in. If you have neutrals, you can layer every single shirt you own and still look decent (Paris is all about looking good, no?)

Here is what I would consider the basics that anyone would need in Paris plus examples of what I specifically packed:

-One black long-sleeve shirt

-One white long-sleeve shirt

-One gray or neutral long-sleeve shirt

-One striped shirt (It IS France. Everyone needs one striped shirt)

-One thermal shirt (This is optional, but I get cold easily)

-One casual shirt for layering under sweaters

-One nice blouse

-One pair of blue jeans

-One pair of black jeans

-One pair of other versatile pants (I brought some olive colored jeans from ZARA)

-Some thin sweaters for layering (I brought one gray and one blood orange. They're both thin, but they'll keep me warm)

-A chunky sweater (I brought an olive green cable knit, a black and white knit and a big white sweater that fits over lots of layers)

-Jackets/Outerlayers. I may have overdone it on this one, but I couldn't decide. I brought:

--Large chunky cardigan (Black and olive green..neutral)

--Oversized jean jacket

--Leather jacket

--Olive Army jacket

--Reversible red wrap. This is the only red in my wardrobe besides my scarves. It's good for a pop of color over all black.

--Rain coat!!! So important! It rains a lot in Paris so you’ll need rain protection. I got mine in Spain and I love it a little more that one should love a raincoat. It’s mustard yellow and has a striped jersey lining. I’m a strong believer in brightening up a dull day with a pop of color. Try it!

-Dresses. This isn't for everyone, but I have a few staple dresses that I wear a lot. We'll see how well I hold up wearing them in the winter with fleece tights:

--Gray sweater dress

--ONE patterned shift dress. Even though it is patterned, it is simple enough that it goes with most of my scarves, sweaters and jackets.

--A simple black dress for layering

--A nice dress...It's always good to have one nice dress or outfit just in case ;)

Shoes! This was the hardest for me because I wanted to bring all of my shoes, but they weigh down your bag and make it impossible to stay under 50lbs! Bring whatever you want, but my advice is that they’re all 1. Comfortable. Parisians do a LOT of walking. Comfortable shoes is a must. 2. Have tread on them. Yes, shoes without tread are fine for the fall and spring, but I’ve only been here two days and I’ve already slipped on some surfaces that got rained on. Tread is good. 3. Warm. Warm. Warm. Don’t even try to bring sandals. Just don’t do it. These are the shoes I brought:

--Duck boots. I don't think I would ever consider going without them in the winter. I got shearling insoles to adapt to Paris weather and the rubber makes it a cuter rainboot!

--Converse. Stan Smith’s are the most popular fashion sneaker for girls my age, but I didn’t feel like buying a new pair of sneakers when my converse work just as well.

--Gold fashion sneakers from ZARA. I got these in Cyprus over the summer love wearing them on rainy days (Which there are a lot of in Paris) to brighten up an outfit. They’re also comfortable for walking which is must.

--Tall black boots. Mine go past my kness. Block the wind, block the rain. Black. Great.

--Short putty colored lace-up booties. I had to choose between these, brown and black. I could have all three here and love it, but again...putty is just such a neutral color that it goes well with a lot. They also have the tread of a hiking boot (not in an ugly way). They are what saved me from falling flat on my face in the metro today!

-Scarves. Arguably the most important item on your list. I love scarves at home, but in Paris they’re an everyday essential. I brought the following:

--Simple gray jersey scarf. Good for layering or days that aren’t too cold. Also good for the plane.

--VERY chunky purple infinity scarf that my good friend, Ilana, knit for me one year.

--Blanket scarf in camel colored Burberry plaid print.

--Blanket scarf in Black and white

--Extremely fluffy infinity scarf for the coldest days

--Knit, chunky, gray tube scarf

--Light blue normal scarf for another pop of color

-Underwear, bras, socks (At least two pair of warm wool socks for winter)

-Pajamas. I just brought a pair of sweatpants, a pair of shorts, one short sleeve, one long sleeve and a hoodie. It works for me.

Last but DEFINITELY not least: A COAT!!!

I live in Georgia therefore I don’t know a real winter. With the help of those who live/have lived in the north, I got my first real winter coat. It is so puffy with down feathers that I look like the Michelin Man’s larger twin. I haven’t warn it yet because it’s not too cold, but wearing in for a few minutes in the comfort of my air-conditionned home made me sweat.

Overall, it’s whatever you want to bring. Besides clothes I tried to bring as little as possible. You can get all of your toiletries here (just bring enough for the plane and the first day or two) and if you really need something that you’s Paris, not a random island in the middle of nowhere.


Bon chance!