Explore in Style During Any Season
So you and the family are tackling Paris, and you're not sure what kind of clothes to pack. It's tempting to worry about appearances when hitting one of the world's fashion capitals, but when it comes to happy travels, comfort is key.
Paris is large but easily navigable by foot or public transportation (namely the metro). Keeping everyone comfortable means packing outfits that you and the kids will be happy to stand and walk in all day—whether it's waiting in line to see the Sainte-Chapelle or meandering the Louvre for hours. You'll also want to take into consideration the food at hand: Between the kebabs, cheese spreads and countless croissants and macarons, you might want to keep forgiving waistbands in mind, as well.
Otherwise, your packing list will largely depend on the season.
The jazz greats sang of April in Paris for a reason: The city's spring season brings greenery, blossoms and a pre-summer buzz. Still, it's not the warmest time of year. Between March and May, expect the maximum temperatures in Paris to range between 53 and 68 degrees F, with temperatures warming, but rainfall rising as the season progresses.
If you're planning a springtime trip, make sure you and your family have the following season staples in your suitcases:
- Light sweaters and long-sleeve tops
- T-shirts for warmer days
- Light quilted jacket, ideally a waterproof one
- Waterproof boots or booties
- Comfortable sneakers and/or flats (Converse and ballet flats are both popular options among Parisians)
It's the high season. Paris is warm, crowded and beautiful, and you'll most likely want to take on the city by bike at least once. High temperatures between June and August fluctuate between 73 and 75 degrees F, with more rain than in the spring. You'll want to dress accordingly in light, comfortable and water-resistant attire.
Here's what to make sure you and the kids have with you:
- Light skirts and summer dresses
- Comfortable flat sandals
- Light sweaters
- Comfortable sneakers (running shoes in Paris scream "tourist," but if you don't care about that, then go for it—if you do care, opt for Converse)
The fall is a wonderful time to visit Paris, with its colorful fallen leaves and even early Christmas decorations. Autumn is also festival season in Paris, so you might expect to hit a big fair or festival in your time there, meaning plenty of physical activity.
As for the weather itself, temperatures fall sharply by December. Where you can expect an average high of 70 degrees F in September, that number slips to 61 degrees F by October and 52 degrees F in November. You can also expect plenty of rainfall.
Long story short, don't leave the States without:
- Waterproof boots
- Cozy socks
- Warm stockings or tights for the girls
- A sturdy pea coat
Paris' winters are relatively moderate, with average high temperatures in December hovering around 50 degrees F, and high temperatures in January and February falling to about 43 degrees F. Still, the city does see occasional snowfall and its fair share of rain.
If your family vacation is booked for winter, you'll probably be spending most of your time indoors, warming up in cafes and museums. Still, to make sure you're prepared, double check your suitcases for the following:
- Beanies and gloves
- Waterproof boots
- Warm socks, stockings and/or tights
- A sturdy pea coat
- A puffy down coat (They make everyone look like marshmallows, but Parisians love them and they're undeniably warm)
Fashion in Paris
Once you've resolved your family's practical packing issues, focus on the fun part—dressing like a Parisian. You're visiting a fashion capital, so you might as well dress like it.
Here's a few tips for navigating Paris' fashion culture as a tourist:
- Keep your colors simple. Wear neutral shades, and include only two or three colors in each outfit.
- Look presentable. Leave your flip flops and sweatpants in the hotel room—when you're on the town, dress to impress.
- Accessorize. Spice up your basics with scarves, sunglasses and handbags.
- When in doubt, wear black. It's always in, especially in Paris.