As I pack to return to the states I how differently I would have packed had I known what I know now.
When packing for my two months here in Paris I made sure to check the weather and read as many blogs as possible on what to wear in Paris during the summer. The weather is normally very nice in the summer so I felt like I could pack a good range of spring to summer layers. That mindset was all fine and dandy until I kept seeing that no one wears shorts in Paris. And beyond that people will for sure judge you for wearing them.
This is not true.
Culturally, Parisians (and Europeans in general from what traveling I did outside of France) don’t wear shorts until June. But people do wear shorts. So no worries! If you’re spending time in Paris during the summer months of June, July, and August then it’s totally okay to pack shorts. Don’t let the other blogs scare you into just packing jeans, skirts, and dresses.
I would also have left my more business style clothes at home. I wasn’t sure how I was required to dress while in the office so I prepared for business casual, but found that casual was perfect office wear. This is specific to my job and other companies ask for business casual to business professional, so if you’re working while in Paris make sure you clear this up with your boss.
Overall I packed:
rain jacket/light jacket
jeans (in a few colors/washes)
closed toed shoes/flats/one pair of black pumps
and whatnot. I somehow managed to be 10 pounds under the weight limit for baggage and had more than plenty to wear. But by the end of my trip I had thrown out two pairs of shoes, a pair of jeans (my favorite pair ripped and I almost cried), a straightener, a couple shirts that I never wore, an umbrella, and what little shampoo, conditioner, and soap I had left.
I wish I had known to leave the business clothes behind and pack for more rainy weather. They said we had an unseasonably rainy summer (I mean… the Seine flooded) so I would have brought better shoes for rain. Instead I had to buy some, and luckily the Paris summer sale was going on so nothing was too expensive.
And be ready to throw things away. The streets of Paris killed two pairs of shoes and really beat up another pair. I found out H&M takes textile donations and recycles fabrics so I took a few things to them if I never wore them. Because if I wasn’t going to wear it with a limited closet in a span of two months then I knew the chances were slim of me wearing them back home.
Overall, I would have packed a bit differently, but I made it work. Pack to the weather forecast. My advice would be to be prepared for chilly, rainy days as well as hot, sunny days. Bring comfortable shoes that you can walk in everywhere. We all have different styles and tolerances so really no one can tell you the best things to pack, so pack what makes you feel most comfortable.
My suitcase going back is a bit different going home than it was coming here (not including the souvenirs), but I’m hoping I can make the weight limit again. I’ll keep you posted.