9 things to pack for Paris to not look like a tourist

9 things to pack for Paris to not look like a tourist

9 things to pack for Paris to not look like a tourist

There is something about the city you are visiting that is very satisfying. And not only being stopped by someone who is obviously a tourist, but also by the locals and asked directions is a compliment I’ve received in many cities around the world, and I really get a kick out of it. But in Paris, this compliment is always even more exciting.

The much-discussed Parisian chic is something many people strive for, analyze and try to emulate, but when it comes down to it, it’s actually really simple. Classic basics not only add to a Parisian look, but also make it a lot easier to choose what to wear and pack for a visit.

And trying to look like a local instead of a tourist doesn’t mean you have to give up comfort, convenience, or safety. You can still wear shoes that you can walk in for hours, you can wear comfortable clothes and maybe even a backpack – read on for that.

After about 6 years of calling Paris home, there’s one thing I’ve learned, and that’s how to tell a tourist from a local in 100 steps. If you want to channel your inner Parisienne and avoid looking like a tourist, follow these easy steps when it comes to packing for your next visit.

1. Neutrals and Classics

Parisians tend to live in shades of black, blue, white, beige and caramel, with a pop of color for effect. In the summer you get more colorful outfits, floral dresses and airy tops, but to keep everyday outfit selection and packaging very simple, try to stick to two or three main colors and avoid too busy prints. All the above colors can be combined with each other – yes, even black and blue – and always look good.

Timeless pieces are more Parisian than high fashion, but you’ll find that Parisiennes tend to mix and match, something classic with something quirky and fashionable; something vintage with something just bought, or something on the high street with something really luxurious.

2. Be comfortable in jeans

Parisians love their jeans, and truly, since this great invention in 1873, there has been no more durable piece of clothing that lends itself so perfectly to travel. But don’t just try to splash out on a pair that fits your body perfectly, and, depending on your age and figure, remember that dark washes often look smarter than those very faded, but that’s up to you.

Jeans can easily be paired with one of the suggestions below and will work all day long for all your excursions, even for dinner in a beautiful brasserie – just add heels instead of flats and a more elegant top.

3. Turn your T-shirt into a Mariniere top

You know that oh-so-French look, that blue and white striped top? That’s called a Breton top, or mariner, and has evolved from naval and fishing uniforms. If you think this would be too cliche to wear in France, you’re wrong. You’ll see it everywhere, and what’s even better is that it’s comfortable and goes just as well with jeans as it does with a tulle skirt, should you want to pack one. If it’s good enough for Coco Chanel, who brought these tops into every Parisienne’s everyday wardrobe, then it’s perfect for a Paris city break. Just add a pearl necklace.

Pro tip: Don’t have one? In this case, you could either use this as an excuse to go to Brittany where you get entire shops full of these beauties, or go to Saint James, a shop all over Paris that specializes in a variety of striped t-shirts. good quality .

4. Flats, boots and sneakers

Paris is the city that invented the flâneur, that person who leisurely strolls through the city, taking in the small details. Walking is a must in Paris, as are comfortable shoes. That goes for visitors and locals alike, even if you spot the odd Parisienne slipping her high heels into the old cobblestones.

But flat doesn’t mean hiking boots, or clunky, neon-colored sneakers. Sneakers are fine, but preferably in white and made of leather, that goes so well with your blue and white striped top and your jeans. For normal sneakers, try to keep the design and color scheme to a very limited palette (see above), unless you are under 25 years old.

Pro tip: Depending on the season, ankle boots, preferably black, with a low, chunky heel for comfort work well, as do ballet flats, especially if you go for a pair of Chanel-inspired two-tone flats that work just as well with your jeans as they do with a little black dress and save your packing space.

5. A trench coat and blazer

In Paris, the weather can easily become less sunny. While your first thought may be a nylon raincoat, try to resist that thought and opt for a camel-colored classic Burberry-style trench coat or a navy blue coat. These are light, look great and can withstand a downpour, if not a tropical downpour. But for that, you can go to Monoprix and buy a cute little umbrella. For other days, pick a fitted or oversized blazer with rolled up sleeves, in a neutral color that goes with everything.

6. Wear a scarf

Man or woman, old or young, there is no Frenchman who does not wear a scarf, not even in the summer. A scarf, whether long and thin or a Hermès-style foulard, is every Frenchman’s favorite accessory, and it gives you the chance to add a pop of color to your neutral tones. Tie it to your handbag, around your neck, use it as a belt for your trench coat or wear it Grace Kelly style to cover your hair. They don’t take up much space and will instantly change your look, while also allowing you to stick to simple jewelry and not have to carry those heavy statement pieces with you.

7. Alternatives to Tourist Backpacks

You can tell a tourist from miles away by their sturdy backpacks, which are often carried on the front rather than the back. Yes, they are perfect for carrying everything except the sink, and wearing it like a kangaroo with a joey on the front will reduce the chances of your bag being stolen. But at the same time, you look so much like a tourist that the pickpockets immediately zoom in on you.

One thing to keep in mind is that in a city like Paris you don’t have to carry the proverbial sink with you, as you can get water or snacks on every corner, you can easily pack your travel guide into a smaller bag, or carry scans on your mobile phone. To feel safer, opt for either a leather backpack if you really can’t let go of the idea, or a crossbody bag that’s comfortable to wear and allows you to travel from day to night.

Pro tip: Opt for a crossbody bag with an outside zip pocket that’s big enough for your phone, but with that side pocket that sits on your hip when worn. This gives you faster access to your cell, but also allows you to store it more securely.

8. Think and pack layers

Layers are always a good idea for European city breaks, as the weather can be somewhat changeable, especially in the spring and fall. Take simple t-shirts, both long and short sleeved, simple shirts that don’t wrinkle too much and can be worn open over the t-shirts, and a light neutral cardigan that goes under your trench coat and with all the t-shirts. Bring a pashmina as an alternative light covering that can serve as a blanket for an impromptu picnic.

9. What not to bring

If you don’t want to stand out like a sore thumb in Paris, leave the sweatpants and sweatshirts, especially those with “I Love Paris” on them, at home. For a two-in-one solution, don’t wear berets, shorts, or those “practical” pants with zips past the knee; and please leave the baseball caps at home. If it’s sunny and you need to cover up, grab a small straw hat and large sunglasses.

Last word: Paris is the undisputed fashion city. When in doubt, pack less and go shopping. Not only do you get something authentically Parisian, but you also get some souvenirs that, when you wear them home, will take you right back to Paris. And even if the luxury labels of Rue Saint-Honoré may be out of your reach, stores like Monoprix offer fun fashionable items as well as great classics at extremely low prices. Or go hunting in the dépôts-vente for a beloved designer piece. Why not? It is Paris after all.

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