Spring in Paris — The 13 Essentials for Timeless Seasonal Style

Apr 14, 2020

I don’t know about you, but Paris has indeed been on my mind. More broadly, France has been on my mind and when the next time I will have the opportunity to hop the Atlantic and enjoy a fresh baguette and croissant and chocolate anything and . . . this list could be very long, so I will spare you my longings when it comes to the French culture, but the larger point is, we will be able to return to France and when we do, we want to feel good knowing we have packed what we need.

Last season (winter) I shared in episode #277 of the podcast, The 15 Essentials for Timeless Seasonal Style in Paris and previously I shared a similar list for visiting in autumn. Today, I would like to share a list of what to pack when you have the opportunity to visit Paris in Spring – printemps.

No matter how long you are staying in France, specifically in Paris, pack with a week’s worth of clothes and two to three pairs of shoes (unless of course you are only stay a couple of days). In other words, even if your itinerary has you moseying about in the country of France for more than a week, you really only need one week’s worth of clothes as you will (1) have the opportunity to launder them; and (2) have the opportunity to go shopping for anything you discover you need and didn’t have or didn’t pack or love and want to welcome into your wardrobe to make the time spent in Paris far more enjoyable.

While the five times I have traveled to France, none of them have been in spring, it has been a dream to book a plane ticket for the months of April or May. And when it does eventually happen, this is what I will be packing.

First, here are the logics to keep in mind:

If it’s spring in Paris, there is a strong liklihood it will rain frequently, so pack accordingly. However, with that said, temperatures average from 60°F to 70°F (16°C to 21°C) as a high and the average low temperature is between 42°F to 57°F (6°C to 14°C). And do not worry, it won’t be raining every day, so be sure to pack for both types of weather and in layers.

Occasions for which to Pack:

  • Walking about during the day, exercising your best flâneur or flâneuse skills.
  • Dining in the late morning at a café to sip your café au lait and nibble on a croissant.
  • Having dejeuner (lunch) on the terrasse
  • Daily apéro time – your shirtdress would be perfect, but so too would be a seemingly effortlessly pull together pair of skinny jeans, blouse and loafers.
  • Dinner at a bistro or special occasion restaurant (these could call for two separate outfits, but not necessarily).
  • Attending a concert, play or film.
  • Visiting museums and shopping, taking tours, etc.

1.A Fine Knit Sweater

A sweater you can layer under a jacket or wear on its own without a jacket when the weather warms up is a smart item to pack during a time of year that is fickle and hard to predict.

2. Loafers and/or suitable walking shoes

Whatever type of shoe is most comfortable for you to walk about the city in as you make your way from a musuem to a cafe, to a [insert your favorite must-see destination], pack it; however, keep in mind that it must look better than a pair of worn-out running sneakers. Don’t get me wrong, there are some trés chic sneakers out there that would absolutely be a perfect choice for what you will want to do in Paris, just make sure you pack these and not the former.

As for the loafer, you know your itinerary. You know how much walking you will be doing, but whether it is a lot or little, pack a flat pair of shoes that are not sneakers but rather something effortlessly simple and chic, i.e. the loafer (or ballet flat).

3. A Shirt Dress

The shirtdress has been en vogue for a couple of seasons now, but it will always be a timeless choice. The good news is that now we have more choices in hem-lengths, sleeve lengths, colors, fits and prints. Choose one you love and pack it. Make sure it fits with your loafers or pair of flats that you have packed or the ankle boots that are listed further down on the list. I am loving Shirtini’s shirtdresses this season and last’s.

4. A Versatile Scarf or two (you’ll inevitably pick up a couple while traveling about Paris), but pack one or two before you leave for Paris.

No matter what the season, a scarf is a must-pack, non? I tend to always return from France with at least one new scarf, and while I may not wear every scarf I initially pack, I always pack scarves before I head out to visit France. Choose one you would use for day to keep you warm, but that is not extremely heavy or dense. Simply choosing a versatile color in a cotton or soft-to-the-skin blend will be a comfort and an accessory you will appreciate having on hand for any outfit. As well, pack any specific scarves for any pairings of outfits you have on your packing list.

5. A Shoulder Handbag

Whether it is a shoulder handbag or a crossbody bag, choose something that is not too small, but is not a tote either. Save the tote for the plane/train ride to Paris and leave it in your hotel or vacation rental. The shoulder bag will hold what you need, but not be too bulky and will easily be worn freeing up your hands to just relax.

6. A Midi Skirt

I love midi-skirts and have for some time. Of course, everyone’s style is different, but what I appreciate about the midi is that is versatile in where you might be wearing it. It’s also extremely comfortable due to its length and doesn’t require tights if the weather gets too cold.

7. Jeans – your most flattering fit

Pack them and wear them paired with the blouses and tops listed below, the sweater listed above and accessorize with any shoe you have brought with you as well as the jackets you need to bring as layers of warmth as they are necessary. Jeans are a must-pack, so bring one or two that fit well, look good casually or amped up a bit (I always gravitate toward dark denim) and go about what you came to Paris to do!

8. Jacket (stylish, warm, but not too warm)

From a leather jacket (or faux leather jacket) to an oversized blazer, to a short trench, pack a jacket that is light, but still can provide that warmth you need as well as a jacket that does not hit much further than you waist (or even just at your waist).

9. Ankle boots (close toed and weather proof as well as not weather proof, i.e. leather)

It will rain, so cover those toes and have an alternative to leather when you need it. Flat or with a slight heel, choose a style that can work well with jeans as well as a skirt or a dress.

10. Short-sleeve blouse and/or top

Whether silk or a cotton collar button-up or anything in between that can be worn with more than just your jeans, pack it (if you love wearing it).

11. Long-sleeve blouse and/or top

Ditto to #10, just with long-sleeves.

12. A pair of black pants

This could be a pair of denim black pants, but think dress pants here as well or something that can be dressed up or down easily. Ankle length is my favorite as it can be casual but also dressed up with a pointed to flat or pump or sandal.

13. A classic trench (choose a color you love)

You will not need a heavy down coat anymore in Paris, but you will need a longer coat than a jacket from time to time, and you will want to look good but more importantly remain dry, so pack your favorite trench. It doesn’t have to be khaki (although that is a timeless decision), just make sure it is something that works with your wardrobe (and shoes).

With that said, since it rains, if your trench or jacket does not have a hood, make sure you pack a travel umbrella. Most likely your vacation rental or hotel will have one, but just be prepared.

I don’t know about you, but I am more than ready to hop on a plane to Paris right now. Yes, I realize it is locked down for at least one more month, but you know what that gives us? Time to plan! Not only our wardrobe, but where we wish to visit, what we want to taste and exactly where we want to stay and explore.

If nothing else, as with so much we love and are currently having to wait to enjoy, I have no doubt that this time unable to travel will make us more fully appreciate it when we do. In the meantime, be sure to stop by TSLL for French-Inspired posts and if you’re new to the blog, check out TSLL’s Archives – French-Inspired.

~Image: from TSLL’s 2018 trip to Paris – Sebastien Gaudard rue De Martyrs



9 thoughts on “Spring in Paris — The 13 Essentials for Timeless Seasonal Style

  1. French reader here : Alas my dear, you might have to wait a bit for your next travel to France. We are officially on lockdown until May 11, and then will very progressively open up. However frontiers with non-European countries are going to remain shut for a while. We had our president explain all of this on his broadcast last night. So we’re shut in for another four weeks, and our kids might go back to school in May – I say might, as some teachers are already protesting the idea.
    After that we will be required to wear face masks in public, at least until treatments are found. It’s going to be a long process for us.

    1. Ah, but we will eventually, and that is what makes me smile and gives me hope. Myself and so many readers plan at least a year in advance for a trip to France, and it is always worth the wait. Stay well. 😌💛🇫🇷❤️

  2. Having lived about 4 years in Germany, we visited France several times. I could never get enough. Your posts and 2 books are what I’ve been devouring this past month as an escape from the quarantine reality. Thank you so much. You’ll never know how much I appreciate all your writing.

  3. So timely! I was just dreaming of a return trip to Paris on this morning’s walk. (Italy entered my mind, too…) We so enjoyed our Paris visit last fall, as it only inspired us to plan a return trip, likely in a year or two. Packing lists are always appreciated and I like how you understand that dressing in Paris is more of an extension of our views about ourselves. Dressing well conveys respect and all the items on your list do this well. Hope you can get there soon!

    1. Deanne, To you as well! Having something to look forward to, even if it is a long distance out in our calendar is helpful during this time. And Paris and France more broadly is always a comfort. Thank you for stopping by and wishing you many lovely walks in the days ahead. xo

  4. You have your planning down to an art.It’s a great time to dream and plan especially for visiting la belle France. We are still locked down until May here 🇫🇷 but who knows if that will be extended. I think that we’ll all be seeing things with fresh eyes after this crisis has passed.
    Maybe a typo but le petit dejeuner is breakfast not lunch😀

    1. Thank you for the spelling catch. I have updated the post. 🙂 You are exactly right and I appreciate immensely your positive framing of this situation. Yes, now is a wonderful opportunity to plan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *