How to Pack for France in the Winter

December 15, 2015

How to Pack for France in the Winter | Alyssa Pacaut

The first time we went to the France in the winter I made a rookie mistake and didn’t pack very well. In my own defense, I’m Californian and was totally unaware of what a real winter entails.

With only a thin coat, no knowledge of layering, and boots that had me slipping all over the ice, I was freezing and uncomfortable. That is, until my mother-in-law came to the rescue and clothed me in all of Arnaud’s old winter clothes. While I wasn’t exactly the picture of chic, I was finally warm and that was all that mattered.

Cut to a couple of years later: Winter was coming and we were planning another trip to France. Since I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice, I did a ridiculous amount of online research and crazy girl list making. I even took notes during the trip on what was necessary and what I had missed.

So, below are the fruits of my OCD labor: A list of things that will allow you to weather the elements while also looking pretty and put-together.

6 Tops: Striped long sleeve tee, white long sleeve, black long sleeve tee, gray sweater, black sweater, and denim chambray button-up.

3 Jackets and Coats: Black collarless light down jacket (layer under other jackets and, huge plus, it folds up into a tiny bag), black leather motorcycle jacket, and black wool toggle coat.

2 Bottoms and 1 Dress: Black skinny jeans, dark denim skinny jeans, and black shift dress.

2 Shoes: Black leather Chelsea boots and chic sneakers.

Accessories: Toiletry bag, silver men’s watch, silver studs, silver bracelet, gray scarf, bra, undies, socks (not pictured), black tights (not pictured), and sunglasses (not pictured).

Don’t forget your passport, pajamas, iPhone, phone charger, and adapter! I usually leave all the other electronics (laptop, iPad, camera, etc) at home.

Also, you’ll probably say, “Sneakers, really Alyssa?” Lots of other travel guides will say that sneakers are a big no-no in France, but guess what?! Times change.

Last time I was there all the ladies were wearing white Stan Smiths with tights no less, and, of course, they looked chic as hell. I’ve also noticed that Veja sneakers are popular with the French fashionista I follow on Instagram. Plus, Vejas are made responsibly so win-win!

P.S. Not surprisingly, this looks a lot like my winter wardrobe and here’s my spring/summer wardrobe if you are interested.

4 thoughts on “How to Pack for France in the Winter

  1. Chloe | Conscious by Chloe

    You’re my hero!
    I’m packing for France, like right now. My flight departs early tomorrow morning and I’m always super anxious when packing.
    But I won’t be as chic as you as I’m also packing for a trip to Iceland on the way back from France. So here’s what you will randomly find in my suitcase:
    Hiking boots and ballet flats
    Black sheer tights and heat tech leggings
    Evening dresses and a down jacket
    A sleeping bag, cameras, a hobo knife, a mug, a lantern, a boiler.
    And presents for my family.
    Man, this will never fit into my suitcase…

  2. Alyssa Pacaut Post author

    An evening dress with a down jacket sounds pretty bad ass slash chic to me. Can’t wait to see photos from the trip!

  3. Jessica

    May I know what brand and the specified name of the purse in the picture? I want to find something similar to that purse as I like the design of it. Thank in advance.

  4. Alyssa Pacaut Post author

    Bonjour Jessica! It’s the Kate Spade Saturday Mini Satchel. Though not currently available, you may be able to find some for resale on sights like Poshmark.

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