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Let's talk about packing for Paris, please

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I'll be in France in late May, and after a few days in the Alps I will take the TGV to Paris for 6 days. How big of a bag should I realistically be taking with me? I usually travel to NYC with a huge suitcase (at least 26"), and pack another bag in the bottom of it to bring home all the clothes and stuff I buy there. I don't think this is going to work for me in France. The hotel rooms are small, the rental car for the start of the trip I'm sure will be small, and I will have to drag my luggage to a new location after the first few days. How big a bag did you take? Do you use a regular suitcase, or the kind that can also be used as a backpack? Or something else? Did you buy much on your trip, and if so how did you get it home? Do they check and stow bags on the TGV, or do I have to be able to take it on the train with me?

I will have a few months to figure out how to pare my wardrobe, toiletries, and miscellaneous carry-on stuff down to a minimum, but I guess I am wondering just how pared down I should go?

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