Table of Contents

27 Top France Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

Eiffel Tower in France
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France’s gorgeous landscape and many tourist attractions make it a top-of-list destination for many travelers. It’s one of our favorite countries to visit!

If you haven’t been there before, though, it can be hard to know what to pack.

To help you, we’ve prepared a guide to what to wear in France, what NOT to bring, and answers to some of the top France FAQs to make sure you get the most enjoyment possible out of your trip. Bon voyage!

Asher and Lyric
Our family on a 2-week trip through France.
See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.

What to Pack for France – 27 Essentials

  • 1. Universal Power Adapter

    Having this device on hand will allow you to use your American electronics in French power outlets without damaging them. This one pictured is great because it also comes with 2 USB ports and works in over 100 popular countries. It also has a built-in fuse to protect your devices and comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee.

    Universal power adapter

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 2. Jet Lag Relief

    If you’re traveling overseas for your trip to France, chances are you’ll fall victim to the negative effects of jet lag. It can be 10+ hours on many direct flights to France and that’s before any layovers or long transfers to your accommodation. To prevent and treat any exhaustion, simply take these homeopathic jet lag relief pills and make the most of the first day of your vacation in France! I never travel far distances without them.

    jet lag relief

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    After having my credit card number stolen at an Airbnb in Paris, I know the importance of a VPN. Hackers in Europe are modernizing their predatory tactics and the most common type of cyberattack in France is ransomware (when the thief places a malware block on your files so you can’t access them and requires a ransom payment to unlock them). Keep your passwords, credit card data, and other sensitive information safe and protected from potential hackers by using a VPN like NordVPN whenever you connect to public Wi-Fi sources.

    You’ll likely often be using Wi-Fi in cafes, hotels, and airports during your trip, so it’s pivotal to make sure your information is secure. A VPN will defend your online privacy and ensure you are an anonymous web surfer while also limiting any local censorship that can hinder your internet access. Some of your favorite websites (like Netflix, PayPal, YouTube, or apps needed for work) could be blocked, but a VPN will give you a truly private network.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    View NordVPN.com Options ➜

  • 4. Neck Wallet

    A good neck wallet is an incomparably useful item to bring with you on any vacation abroad, and France is no exception. Whenever you’re in particularly touristy or crowded areas, you’ll want to keep your valuables, like cash, credit cards, passport, and smartphone, organized and tucked away. I’ve had my wallet stolen in Paris right on the subway train, I barely felt it but knew something was gone immediately. This can be worn under your shirt so no one can even see your essentials!

    Neck Wallet

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 5. Comfortable Flats

    Tasteful flats with good traction are your best bet pretty much everywhere in Europe. These shoes enable you to do a lot of walking around during the day but they also keep you from having to pack a second pair to wear to dinner at night. They are also a good way of coping with the occasional hazards posed by cobblestoned streets, uneven pavement, and slick stone staircases.

    flat shoes

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 6. Travel Insurance for France

    The French healthcare system is one of the most expensive in the world. This is why travel insurance is critical since your domestic provider will generally not cover you overseas (this includes Medicare and Medicaid). Trust us, you don’t want to get stuck paying out-of-pocket for six-figure medical expenses, and we’ve seen friends save nearly $50K by having protection against common issues like theft, baggage loss, cancelations, delays, international hospital bills, and costly medivac transits.

    We’ve been blown away by Faye because they have unique plans for every type of traveler. They reimburse you at the time you need it most by handling the claims process and wire transfers through their mobile app. We’ve told all of our loved ones and readers about this awesome company because they are modernizing insurance (not to mention making it way less daunting!) Coverage is very affordable and will offer you great peace of mind against anything that doesn’t go according to plan. Trust us, you can’t afford to travel without it.

    Travel Insurance for France

    Get a quote in less than 60 seconds with Faye ➜

  • 7. Packing Cubes

    Using packing cubes is a super useful way to remain organized and avoid overpacking during your trip to France. This set comes in a variety of fun colors and allows you to organize your clothing and belongings into separate cubes so you’ll never have to dig around your luggage searching for one specific item. It even has laundry bags to divide your clean and stinky clothes properly.

    Available on HeroTravelSupply.com with an exclusive 15% discount using the coupon code “HERO”.

    packing cubes

    Or view them on Amazon.com ➜

  • 8. Anti-theft Backpack

    Don’t underestimate the usefulness of having a good daypack on hand. This item can serve as a purse, daypack, a beach bag, or a shopping tote. You want something that’s big enough to hold all your daily essentials without being overly large and unwieldy. This one is perfect for a day out in France and stylish, so you’ll blend in with the locals!

    Anti-theft Backpack

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 9. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    Don’t travel to France without your quick-dry towel. This will come in useful if you’re spending a day on the beach in the South of France or if your accommodation doesn’t provide a towel or if the one provided isn’t up to your cleanliness standards. It’s lightweight and dries quickly so you can toss it in your bag whenever you need it. I use it as a seat cover on dirty public transit seats, packing cushion, and more.

    Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 10. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    If you plan to use your phone or camera during the day while you’re out and about in France, you’ll be glad you brought along a lipstick-sized portable charger. Simply toss it in your purse or daypack and always have a backup battery if yours runs out at an inconvenient time. It’s the power bank of all power banks!

    Lipstick-Sized Charger

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 11. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    The weather in France can be unpredictable so you’ll want to make sure you have a sturdy, windproof umbrella in case of rain. Toss it in your daypack so you’ll never be unprepared! We love this one because it can fit two people underneath and it’s very resilient against gusts of wind.

    travel umbrella

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 12. Scarf

    Not only is a scarf quintessentially French, but it will come in clutch as an evening shawl on a chilly night or even a modesty wrap for certain attractions. Many churches and sacred sights will not allow access to patrons with uncovered shoulders or exposed legs. Or you can tie it around your neck like Grace Kelly to complete the look! This wrap is small to pack, and you won’t regret having it.

    Scarf

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 13. Brita Water Bottle

    A good water bottle will pay for itself before a trip is over. The tap water in France is perfectly safe to drink and doing so can save you several dollars per day. This Brita water bottle will filter your water before you drink it, adding an added layer of health and protection. It noticeably improves the taste too.

    Brita Water Bottle

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 14. Luggage Locks

    Send your checked luggage to France without worrying about your belongings getting snatched. With a set of TSA-approved luggage locks, you won’t have to worry about anyone going through your luggage besides TSA. Luggage locks are also great for securing your day bags while exploring crowded areas. You’d be surprised how easily pickpockets can get into your bag and snatch your things without you even noticing. This is the land of gypsies, and they are pros!

    luggage locks

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 15. Discounted Tickets for French Experiences

    Booking your ticket in advance is always recommended so things don’t get sold out. Get Your Guide is our favorite excursion platform to find the coolest local activities!

    You should see the obvious attractions in Paris like the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and Disneyland. But the real highlight of France is its day trips. As someone who’s lived in France for many months at a time, I’d recommend spreading out to see the country in its entirety.

    You will find mountainous provinces in the North like Mont-Saint-Michel, and Mediterranean beaches in the South like the breathtaking Calanques. Tours that are easy to access from Paris include the Palaces of Versailles, the historic châteaus of the Loire Valley, and the Champagne region!

    Discounted Tickets for French Experiences

    See all France attractions at GetYourGuide.com ➜

  • 16. Stylish Raincoat

    Bring along a nice raincoat with your umbrella in France and be prepared for any weather situation. You want something like this that’s darkly colored and fairly stylish so that you’ll blend in more with the locals. You’ll definitely want to leave the rain ponchos at home, as the locals generally don’t wear them. Linked below is one for women and here’s an equally chic rain jacket for men.

    Stylish Raincoat

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 17. Cooling Towel

    Don’t be fooled by pictures, France gets hot! And a cooling towel is a really refreshing way to cool off on those smoldering days. Whether I’m exploring a city, hiking, or relaxing by the sea, I find it really nice to have a cooling towel to help escape the heat. They’re chemical-free and easy to use. All you do is wet the towel, wring it out, and it instantly becomes 20-30 degrees cooler than the outside temperature for up to an hour. Wet again for more frosty relief! Boom!

    towel pink

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 18. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    If there’s one thing you should know about Europe, it’s that the bathrooms are so small that they’re referred to as ‘water closets’ and the countertop space is virtually nonexistent! This hanging toiletry bag will be your best friend because it creates a shelf-like system for any bathroom. Simply hang it on a door, hook, or pole and it will hold all of your hygiene items, shower products, towels, makeup, etc. in a vertical organization system. This maintains your routine and your sanity!

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 19. French Phrasebook

    Though many people in France will speak some level of English, it will be much appreciated by locals if you make an effort to use some French. This phrasebook will give you all the essentials so you can get by in a basic way. This will be especially helpful if you’re traveling to the countryside or more rural areas where less English is spoken. I promise a little effort goes a long way here.

    French

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 20. Activated Charcoal

    Though France is renowned for a variety of delicious food and wine, you don’t want to be unprepared if you end up eating or drinking something that doesn’t agree with you. Food poisoning is common when traveling because your body is adjusting to the local cuisine. Take these activated charcoal pills if you start to feel sick and they’ll quickly absorb and expel the toxins in your system. You’ll feel better in no time!

    Activated Charcoal

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 21. Waterproof Pocket Blanket

    France is probably my favorite place on earth to shop for a picnic from the beautifully stinky cheese shops, les boucheries (butcher shops), and local produce markets. This waterproof blanket is perfect for picnics, Eiffel Tower gazing, parade watching, concerts, festivals, and park lounging. It won’t leave your clothes stained from the wet ground and it folds into a small pouch about the size of your hand, making it perfect for travel.

    Waterproof Pocket Blanket

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 22. Deodorant Wipes

    Especially if you plan to travel in the summer and if you’re doing a lot of walking or hiking, you’ll be glad you brought a pack of deodorant wipes. They are incredibly refreshing and will keep you feeling clean and invigorated when a shower is not available. We promise this is better than sprinkling your pits with sink water in the public bathroom, been there!

    Deodorant Wipes

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 23. Gorgeous Outfit

    A capsule-style wardrobe is best when traveling so that you can mix and match, and do laundry only when you need to. However, you will want to bring at least one gorgeous outfit that makes you feel great – wear it when you go out to a nice dinner or take in local nightlife, and you’ll look and feel confident! This jumpsuit is a power look, it will turn heads, guaranteed.

    Gorgeous Outfit

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 24. Compression Flight Socks

    While the risk is low, blood clots are more likely to occur on flights over 4 hours. And in general, swelling is very common due to the pressurized cabin and lack of movement on long flights. This is why flight attendants wear tight stockings for long flights – and you should do the same to keep your blood circulating well. These compression flight socks are a no-brainer and I really regretted not having them the last time I flew to France. Never again!

    compression flight socks

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 25. Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    France has a plethora of incredible shopping to do, that’s why it boasts the fashion capital of the world! Between the clothes, jewelry, perfumes, macarons, Bordeaux wine, Champagne, and other treats – you’ll love having an extra bag stowed away for unexpected purchases and gifts. This one is virtually weightless with a duffle material, and counts as your personal item for the flight home to avoid carry-on fees. Voila!

    Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 26. Universal Waterproof Phone Case

    Since France is wrapped in over 2,000 miles of coastline – with water from the beaches of the Northern tides, to the English Channel, to the Bay of the West, to the Southern Seas – a waterproof phone case is a smart decision. This one allows you to film underwater and will protect against moisture, sun, sand, scratches, and debris. Too affordable to risk your lifeline!

    Universal Waterproof Phone Case

    View on Amazon.com ➜

  • 27. European Phone SIM Card

    Instead of paying a fortune to your phone provider for international and roaming rates – bring your own SIM card that will give you a local phone number. This is perfect for when you’re staying more than a couple of weeks but not longer than a month. It offers you hours of phone calls and 1,000 texts, it works for the entirety of Europe but this is run through the #1 network in France, which means it’s extra reliable here.

    European Phone SIM Card

    View on Amazon.com ➜

If you’re going to Paris, also check out our Paris packing list ➜

What to Wear in France

1) Stylish clothes in dark or neutral colors that can be worn in layers. Europeans tend to wear what Americans think of as “business casual” as their everyday attire. You’ll also want to make sure that whatever you pick out is seasonally appropriate. France tends to be warm in the summer, chilly in the winter, and somewhere in between the rest of the year so plan accordingly.

2) Scarves are always a good option, particularly those that are big enough to double as a lightweight blanket. You’ll want to take along one or two.

3) If you’re going to beach or the pool at any point, don’t forget your swimwear.

4) Having a sweater and a long pair of pants on hand is recommended, even in the summer. This will keep you from being cold if the temperature dips unexpectedly or you end up in an overly air conditioned spot.

5) Travelers who are planning on going to fancy places may want to take along a few nicer outfits, matching accessories/jewelry, and possibly makeup for these occasions.

What NOT to Take to France

  • 1.Weighty Items

    Overly large suitcases, heavy books, hairdryers,extra clothes and shoes all fall into this category. It’s better to leave extra items at home than drag them along the ride. The less stuff you bring with you, the less you have to tote around.

  • 2.Valuables

    If losing the item in question will break your heart or kill your budget, avoid bringing it with you.Even if you plan on going places where dressing up is mandatory, leave your family heirlooms at home in the safe. Bring along tasteful but inexpensive accessories to dress up your outfits instead.

  • 3.Touristy Clothes

    The best way to avoid being a target for thieves is to blend in with the locals. You can manage that better by leaving your white sneakers, American flag paraphernalia, fanny packs, camouflage, and wildly colored clothes at home. You might also want to avoid bringing your berets along for the ride as well. They might have been a popular style decades ago, but nobody wears them much anymore.

  • 4.Lots of Beachwear

    If you want to fit in with the locals, you’ll need to avoid wear North American style beachwear (such as cut-off jean shorts and flimsy tank tops) in most spots. In Europe, this sort of attire is only acceptable at an actual beach.

  • 5.Uncomfortable Shoes

    Make sure your footwear is well broken in before you leave to avoid rubbing blisters on your feet. After all, you’ll spend a lot of time walking around to get from place to place.

  • 6.High Heels

    In some places, such as mountain-top towns in Provence, you’ll want avoid this kind of footwear for safety reasons.

FAQs about Traveling to France

  • 1. What’s a good basic daily budget for visiting France?

    Keep in mind that Paris is generally more expensive than the rest of the country. Dorm rooms there run an average of $35 a night and prices on the weekends are even higher. A daily budget of $80 or so should nonetheless cover basic backpacking expenses such as a dorm bed, budget meals, metro tickets, and some attractions. Of course, if you plan on staying solely in private rooms or doing a lot of activities over the course of your stay, you’ll want to factor those costs in as well.

  • 2. Where are some cool places to visit in France apart from Paris?

    There is little doubt that France is one of the jewels of Europe with its incredible history, love of food and wine and gorgeous landscapes. It’s easy to fall in love with Paris and never go anywhere else in the country but there’s so much to see! For example, there is the French Riviera on the Mediterranean with towns like Nice and Marseille, on the Atlantic side there is Bordeaux and there are the French alps and countless others town such as Lille, Alsace, and Toulouse. Lille is only a couple of hours north of Paris and if you want some inspiration, check out this guide to the top things to do in Lille.

  • 3. Do I need to tip in French restaurants?

    Europeans generally leave the change as the standard reward for good service and often leave nothing if they don’t feel like the service merited a tip. While waiters everywhere do tend to be among the more underpaid members of society, the cost of their service is normally factored into the overall cost of dining out in Europe. You may even see service charges already on the menu. In those cases, tips are not generally expected. Of course, if you plan on eating at a fancy place, be sure to leave at least a 5% tip or be prepared to be branded a cheapskate.

  • 4. What’s the best way to get from Paris to Marseille?

    Once you factor in the time it takes to get to the airport, the TGV train is certainly the fastest way to get across the country. It’s also the most expensive. Taking a slower train is can be somewhat cheaper but it may require several changes en route. Budget flights are only worth your time if they greatly outstrip the cost of train tickets or you’re headed to somewhere like Corsica that’s not easy to otherwise reach by public transport. Just be sure to factor in cost of getting to/from the airport into your calculations along with any baggage charges that might apply. For travelers with more time on their hands than money, the bus is certainly another option. There are even some overnight services available.

  • 5. Where are the country’s major airports located?

    There are three airports in the north of the country near Paris: Charles De Gaulle (CDG), Orly (ORL) and Beauvais (BVA). There are also busy airports at Nice (NCE) near the Italian border, Lyon (LYS) in the middle of the country, Marseille (MRS) on the southern coast, and Toulouse (TLS) in the south near the Spanish border. Most flights from the United States land near Paris at either Charles De Gaulle (CDG) or Orly (ORL).

  • 6. When is the best time of year to visit?

    Like most of Europe, France tends to be at its most expensive and busiest during the summer months. Nice weather, midrange pricing, and uncrowded attractions are all good reasons to visit in either the early spring or the early fall. However, Paris is known to be pretty damp in the springtime. Travelers who plan on spending the majority of their vacation in France’s northern regions might therefore be better off planning to visit in autumn.

  • 7. Do you have any money-saving tips for travelers?

    France is one of the most expensive destinations in the world. However, aside from paying for hotel rooms and a very pricey TGV ride from Marseille to Paris, I didn’t spend a lot when I went there several years ago. For me, the trick to staying under budget and getting the most for my money has been discovering hostels. Having an extra $70 per night can quickly add up. Of course, I’d rather be doing fun things than throwing down large amounts of cash on a room that I only plan on sleeping in. Another trick I’ve found to saving money is to eat breakfast at my hostel and cook for myself rather than dining out constantly. It’s also a good idea to walk where possible and avoid taking taxis. Travelers passing through Paris should nonetheless buy carnets rather than purchase individual metro rides because it’s cheaper to do so.