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SuzInAZ Jun 24th, 2008 04:10 PM

Packing light -- 12 days in Paris in June/July
I read a few past packing list threads (for my 6/26 departure to Paris) and found them inspiring me to pack light. I'm not sure if I Im not sure if I really have it down, though. Would you expert light-packers look over my list and let me know what you think.

will likely wear:
black loose crinkle cotton cropped pants
1 white long, tent-like tank
white thin cotton cardigan

will likely pack:
black capris
black knit gauchos
flax linen cropped pants
khaki Bermuda shorts
pinstriped Bermuda shorts

3 snug tanks for layering: black, cream, white
1 white tshirt
1 white ribbed tshirt
2 black tshirts, 1 long & rouched at stomach
1 red tshirt
1 maroon/khaki print tshirt
1 maroon princess-seamed top
1 short-sleeved tailored/embroidered top
1 black/white/maroon/gray belted thin sweater/top
1 short-sleeved crisp white shirt, ties at waist

1 black/white/gray print short-sleeved sundress
1 black/white polyester/spandex dress rather dressy
1 black shoulder wrap/shawl
1 rain poncho

Im having trouble deciding on shoes:
black strappy sandals (to go with dressy dress; will pack easily)
black Mephisto Babata sandals help! I just bought these to have cute, stylish, but most-imporantly serious daily walking shoes, but I have never paid anywhere NEAR this much money for a pair of shoes. What do you think??
English tan Born my everyday summer shoes, but not good arch support, likely not good for walking all day
black Born bowling shoes were not good for ALL day walking on my last touristy trip; maybe better w/heel & arch support insert?

So, any suggestions? Much thanks!!

SuQue Jun 24th, 2008 04:23 PM

I just spent three weeks in France including a week in Paris and this is more than I took. I would eliminate both pairs of shorts as a start.

SuzInAZ Jun 24th, 2008 04:49 PM

I know my list needs trimmed, but I'm not sure I can part with the shorts. I live in Arizona, and I'm in my 30s; I live in shorts. Taking only two pairs feels like a fairly serious concession to the Parisian way.

Therese Jun 24th, 2008 04:55 PM

Your list looks great, if a bit long. If the shorts fit in your bag then there's no reason not to bring them, but you don't need them and may not necessarily feel comfortable wearing them in town. But if you do then go right ahead.

As for your shoes, do the Mephistos feel great on your feet? Did they feel like they were made for you the very first time you slipped them on? Do you want to wear them around all the time? If so, perfect: go put them on this very second and start breaking them in. Never mind how expensive they are, just how good they feel. Or don't feel, and if that's the case then send them back.

I wear orthotics in all my walking shoes. The brand I prefer is called WalkFit, and I literally won't wear anything other that very dressy "sitting down" shoes if my orthotic can't be accomodated by the design of the shoe. I have never found a shoe that offered sufficient support (very expensive shoes included) all by itself.

janisj Jun 24th, 2008 04:57 PM

That is about twice what I'd take:

Including what you wear on the flight that is two dresses, six pants/shorts, and <b>fifteen</b> tops.

for 12 days, I'd take 1 dress, 1 skirt, 3 pairs of pants/capris (including what I wear on the flight) no shorts - but if you are set on taking shorts throw in 1 pair, and about 7-9 mix/match tops.

Travelnut Jun 24th, 2008 05:09 PM

Agree about breaking in the shoes - you will walk and climb a lot, more than you even intend to.

cheryllj Jun 24th, 2008 05:47 PM

That is also about twice what I would take. You can easily cut that list in half and still have plenty of outfits.

You need a different top for every day of the trip without wearing anything twice? And TWO dresses on top of that? Cut the tops in half. Take one dress. If you live in shorts, forget the gauchos and cropped pants. Two pairs of shorts, 1 pair of capris, 1 pair of pants, and a dress should do (although I would take a skirt instead of the dress, one that goes with most of the tops).

Cathinjoetown Jun 24th, 2008 05:50 PM

Don't know where you're staying in Paris but there are usually drop-off wash and folds or self-service laundromats around--I know of at least one in the 6th (rue de buci) and one in the 7th, can't remember the street but was directed there by my hotel which also explained the need for jetons--tokens instead of coins for the machines. I plan to use one to cut down on what I pack. Same day dry cleaners abound. I'd rather pay than carry.

frogoutofwater Jun 24th, 2008 06:08 PM

I would recommend against wearing white tops for your travel day. What if you spill something? Keep in mind that seating is cramped on a plane, and it's awfully easy to spill something (or for someone else to spill something) when you're eating from a tray table that's a few inches from your nice, white tank and cardigan.

I would also point out that some black clothes travel well and some don't. Crisp black clothes often pick up lint (e.g. from the blanket provided on the plane) and can show dirt more than you'd expect. I'm not suggesting that you ditch your black-based travel wardrobe altogether - just that you think about whether your black clothes will travel well. The crinkle cotton pants for the plane sound like a good choice.

I usually travel wearing heathery colours and khaki, which don't seem to show dirt or wrinkles as much.

I would agree with others who have suggested that you're probably packing a little too much. I would also add something to your packing list, though. Are you planning to pack something lightweight and loungy to change into when you get back from a day's sightseeing and want to relax in your room before going out? I always travel with lightweight cotton pjs (e.g. men's style, or a pair of cotton knit pants and a tshirt or tank). They don't take up a lot of space, and lounging in pjs will make your &quot;outside&quot; clothes last longer.

ParisAmsterdam Jun 24th, 2008 07:03 PM

I would never be so bold as to comment on what a lady should wear
or pack but I will suggest stopping
by a travel goods/luggage store
and buying some of the large ziploc
type bags for packing.

On a recent 10 day trip to Greece I
couldn't believe how much they allowed
me to pack into my one 20 inch roller
carry on.


SuzInAZ Jun 24th, 2008 10:28 PM

Ah, this is exactly what I needed. Thanks for the feedback. Ive trimmed a good deal.

To wear:
snug black tank (also for layering under sundress)
khaki 3/4 sleeve thin cardigan sweater
black loose crinkle cotton cropped pants

To pack:
black capris
flax linen cropped pants
khaki Bermuda shorts

black knit skirt
black/white/gray print short-sleeved sundress

white long, tent-like tank
white ribbed tshirt
long black tshirt, rouched at stomach
maroon/khaki print tshirt
maroon princess-seamed top (maybe with a khaki tank for layering; it's a little low cut)
black/white/maroon/gray belted thin sweater/top

black shoulder wrap/shawl
white thin cotton cardigan

thin chemise
black shorts &amp; tshirt for lounging (Thanks for the reminder!)

Im still not sure about shoes.
** black Mephisto Babata walking sandals have been wearing these around the house most of the day; theyre a touch snug across the instep, but I think theyre beginning to soften already. They feel almost exactly like my first pair of Birkenstocks, which I LOVED after a couple days of use.
** English tan Born sandals will likely take these for a little variety in feel and color
** black strappy sandals (to go with dressy dress; will pack easily)
** black Born bowling shoes not exactly summer shoes, so I think Ill leave these at home
I did pick up some of the WalkFits tonight, though, so Ill have to try those out. Do I start with the medium arch support and adjust from there?

I think my husband thinks Im crazy. He will be on business for a full week of the trip and is likely taking untold number of slacks, button down shirts, and huge mens shoes. And I am certain that he will spend every possible down moment in cargo shorts. Cest la vie! :)

I did think I would do laundry (or send it out). Unfortunately the conference hotel is in the 14th but its the Marriott though and paid by the company! Then the last weekend, well probably be at Hotel Bonaparte in the 6th. A little pricier than I wanted to go on our own tab, but I think location will be key for the three days that my husband has entirely free.

Thank you, Rob, for the Ziploc suggestion. I do have a box or two of really large Ziploc-type bags. Might have to try that if I need the room. Dont they wrinkle the clothes, though?

Truly, thanks everyone for the tips! And feel free to keep them coming. Im pretty green on these issues.

travelbunny Jun 25th, 2008 12:15 AM

..I noticed all your trousers are cropped or capris..Dont you want 1 long pair that you can dress up or down?..Id still cut things down more though..tops esp tanks can be washed in the sink. I spent 4 month in Europe with one suitcase which fit on my lap and only went to the laundomat once and a dry cleaners once. I now keep a small tote in the car for quick trips to unknown destinations..I can get everything in this bag which is designed to sit above a rolling bag and am gone for up to week at a time and I can end up in Europe, N.A. S.A. or Asia so have to cover all weather possibilities.

dlejhunt Jun 25th, 2008 12:48 AM

I am in Paris now and this is what I wish I had brought:

One nice, travel friendly black dress to wear out at dinner.
One pair of well cut jeans (i.e. straight leg, cut close to body).
One pair of black pants, in style similar to the blue jeans.
One skirt, either in denim (I saw someone wearing a great pleated denim skirt yesterday), or in black or in a neutral color. Knee length. Maybe two skirts.

Cardigan sweater to wear over black dress, and with pants.
One or two jackets to wear with jeans, skirts and pants (i.e. khaki or white).

Close fitting t-shirts and knit tops to go over pants and skirts. This is how I would have added color to the black, beige and denim. If you want to check out a sample of the current colors that Parisian women are wearing, log onto the Petit Bateau website. I would only bring 6 or so and then do a wash halfway through.

Casual, cotton-type long scarfs to wear with everything! Gap and Old Navy are selling some cute ones now and I see scarves similar to these all over Paris.

One mid-length trench coat (this is worn on the plane).

Most importantly - one pair black ballet flats. I have seen MANY women wearing these.

One pair stylish, comfortable flat sandals (probably black).

When we arrived it was cool and the Parisian women were attired in jeans or black pants, flats, jackets over tees or knit tops. Scarf tied around the neck (how do they do it?). A mid-length trench coat often took the place of the jacket. And of course, they wore those ballet shoes. Lots of black but I have also seen some subdued metallic colors and white.

Now that it has warmed up, all I see are skirts! Mostly very casual, worn with a tee or knit top. Half will be wearing flat shoes (ballet slippers) and half will be wearing sandals.

Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip.

luveurop Jun 25th, 2008 01:02 AM

Definitely leave the shorts at home.

Don't forget to pack an umbrella!

Ackislander Jun 25th, 2008 03:12 AM

Definitely, definitely, definitely wear your Mephisto sandals at every possible moment before you leave.

I only wear Mephisto shoes, and they all require breaking in. Sometimes they are not completely comfortable until the second season. But then they last and last. The pair I had on yesterday, I bought in 1994.

Why go to all the trouble? Because they are like hiking boots in giving really good arch support, which can make a huge difference when you are on your feet all day.

Therese Jun 25th, 2008 04:01 AM

I use the WalkFit insert that the orthotics come with, and have never tried the other size inserts that come with it. You have to try them and figure out where you feel comfortable. I'd been wearing orthotics of some type for most of my life, so knew right away which size worked for me.

The suggestions of ballerinas upthread might be a nice substitution for the Bjorn bowling shoes, and with orthotics would be much more walking friendly. But you'd need to get them right now and start breaking them in.

Alternatively, you could wait until you get to Paris and pick up a pair (yes, the exchange is terrible, but you can find cute things and there are plenty to not-too-expensive shoes stores in Paris) and only wear them for short periods there. A nice souvenir.

djkbooks Jun 25th, 2008 05:10 AM

I love sandals for walking all over all day every day - but if anything rubs, pokes, pinches, etc., they will not go the distance. For me, Mephistos in particular feel okay for an hour or two, then NOT. Thick, cushiony, soles are essential.

I totally agree with packing regular slacks and a skirt, and leaving the cropped pants, shorts, etc. at home. I find a fuller, longer, skirt much more comfortable in the hot weather than shorts, and you can go anywhere for dinner without returning to the hotel to change.

I used to pack tan/beige bottoms &quot;for a change&quot;, but now pack only black, because it's just so much more practical when you're out and about, riding public transportation, sitting outdoors, etc.

I pack only white or ivory tops, and add color with a cardigan, scarf, shawl. I pack only tops that can be washed in the sink and hung to dry overnight and don't require ironing.

A lightweight raincoat is better than a poncho - for the pockets, for one thing.

All depending, you may not be able to wear your strappy dressy sandals after doing a lot of walking all day (your feet may be too swollen).

And, I always pack something for chilly (mornings, evenings...). Either a polartec jacket (for casual) or wool blazer (for dressy). You never know when there will be a cool spell, and you need something warmer for open air boat rides, strolling along the Seine, etc. And, airplanes tend to be chilly.

No matter the forecast, it's essential to plan on warmer or cooler.

kelliebellie Jun 25th, 2008 05:20 AM

I totally live in shorts all summer, but not in Europe, especially Paris. They are just going to think you are a rube. Instead hit the mall and find some light cotton skirts on sale. Or even skorts. Wear them with plain colored t-shirts. You will still feel casual, but won't look so out of place.

I'd trade the white sweater for a black one. You can get more gunk on it before it gets noticed.

Don't take any shoes you can't walk far in. Even ones that are dressy. Usually you want to walk to dinner and around afterwards and you will probably get lost which adds a few miles to the trip. I had some ballet flat type shoes that looked good with skirts, but also felt great on my feet.

Have fun!

maryanntex Jun 25th, 2008 10:59 AM

The very most important thing is comfortable shoes. If you don't have those, your trip will be ruined. Don't even take any shoes that aren't comfortable. I love Mephistos, and have about 8 or 9 pairs. They are good for walking, but if you are going to be walking 10 miiles a day (as we did when in Paris), you need another pair of comfortable shoes to alternate with them. I ended up wearing my running shoes almost all the time after the first couple of days. I changed before going out at night.

suze Jun 25th, 2008 11:43 AM

I say keep the shorts. I think all crops is fine, I never wear long pants in summer-time.

But lay out all the tops and then get rid of about half of them. Absolutely no reason for so many.

The most important is the thing you haven't figure out. Comfortable shoes. If you have any doubt about the Mephistos, don't take them.

My shoes for summer in Europe are flip flops for around the hotel, two pair of sturdy but reasonably attractive sandals (Naot), and a pair of sneakers for walking.

Myself I'd have no need for the dressiest dress, the strappy sandals or the shawl.

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