Ok, what to wear in Paris

May 5th, 2000, 06:38 PM
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Ok, what to wear in Paris

We're off to Paris this month for a week of sightseeing and to enjoy the flavor of the city - literally. We expect to visit a few of the bistros and maybe a baguette, some cheese and wine and just relax on a bench somewhere as the parade moves by. Hopefully one evening we can splurge a little or a lot and have a dinner at say, Le Grand Vefour, if we can secure a reservation. We don't want
to take more clothing than necessary so please someone tell me what is sort of standard and for a bit of a special night out.Hope my husband doesn't need to take his formal attire. Just kidding. Thanks for your help.

May 5th, 2000, 07:41 PM
Bob Brown
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I say wear what you normally wear as long as it isn't tacky spandex supressing globules of fat, or other attire that makes you stick out like a sore thumb and shout here I am, pick my pocket. I took along a blue blazer, a dress shirt, and grey slacks and a tie which I wore to the opera. My wife had a semi formal long black dress for the same occasion.
We thought we were properly dressed for our seats near the stage until we sat next to a French gentleman clad in a T-shirt. I presume it was a formal T-shirt because it was black.
If you go to one of the more expensive places to eat, you might want to dress a little more you would for the Burger King, which where I live means something only a little more covering than a California bikini.
To keep from looking too touristy, wear dark pants and dark shoes. But I figured my appearance gave me away anyhow, regardless of what I had on, so I wore my standard attire. Knit shirt and navy blue slacks with black walking shoes. My wife is a conservative dresser, and she blended in so well that clerks behind counters automatically started speaking English to her when she approached, as did the waitress at Bistro de la Gare. However, this particular girl was quite fluent in English. Had she not been so pushed, she would had a real chance to practice her English.

I don't think it matters what you wear to places like Versailles because the predominant species of people there are tourists anyhow. And we saw garb of all sorts at Musee d'Orsay and the Louvre.
May 5th, 2000, 09:31 PM
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Good advice from Bob above. My wife and I lived there for two years. Nowadays business takes us back a few times a year, her more often than me. When we go for more than a week we take wash & wear and a bottle of Woolite so we can limit the number of bags we carry.
I usually take one navy sport coat in the event of dinner at a very good restaurant. Otherwise, no tourist stops require more than a polo shirt or simple seasonal attire. Lands End (or any other brand) seersucker short sleeve shirts can go anywhere you're apt to go, dry fast, and need no ironing. Trousers can be the same universal khaki types we wear here in the States. My wife tells me she brings almost all Lands End casual wear and a dress for the once or twice that we will hit a Michelin 1,2,or 3 star restaurant. (By the way, let the Michelin Red Guide be your method of chosing restaurants. A Michelin one star restaurant will be as good or better than all but the very best American restaurants.) My personal favorite is the Restaurant Recamier at 4 Rue Recamier (100yd from the Sevres-Babylone metro stop) not too far from the Ecole Militaire, which specializes in beef burgundy (boeuf bourguignon). It is an authentic Art Nouveau setting, service is excellent, the waiters speak English if you don't speak French, and the food is out of this world.
A second choice for a restaurant would be the Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tour. In the US, a restaurant located at a big tourist spot would be a rip-off. Not so in France and definitely not so, the Jules Verne. Get reservations, though. The Recamier on week nights will be no problem as it is not a tourist stop.
Back to clothes. Please feel very comfortable in wearing what you wear in the States. The French dress as we do. The French women will, however, be a bit more "to the nines" in any setting than would an American woman. They definitely avoid the sack-like denim dresses that seem so popular among the American soccer-mom set and Frenchwomen in general focus on a personal statement in their office attire. For you nice slacks, a skirt, and for most tourist spots, shorts, will be quite alright during the day. At night go skirt or dress. Men will put a sport coat over their polo shirt or open collar shirt.
If you go 2 or more stars on a restaurant it's coat and tie with comparable women's attire.
And of course, madame, on the beach you can leave off your top if you think it might be too much added weight in the suitcase.
Bon Voyage!
May 6th, 2000, 08:31 AM
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I agree, Bob's right. Black slacks, grays and muted colored tops, black shoes and jacket for women by day. In an upscale restaurant slim dress, skirt or suit. For men dark dockers and shirt for daytime with comfortable rockports(black). At a nice restaurant, throw on a blazer and you'll do fine. Your idea is good. I would have enjoyed more meals from the pastry and bread shops and the heck with the prices of the cafes and brassierres. You can go to really good restaurants for dinner. For reasonable prices, pick up a copy of "Cheap Eats in Paris."
May 6th, 2000, 11:17 AM
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You can make reservations for Le Grand Vefour (in English) at www.reservethebest.com - note that this is one of the most elegant restaurants in Paris, and you'd probably want to be dressed accordingly.
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