Packing for Spring, Paris
Luggage and bags:
Bring luggage tags. French trains require that all baggage are tagged.
Bring additional bags, you will shop.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Pack for light weather (long-sleeve tees/tops, dresses, jeans etc) BUT bring a jacket/cardigan/light coat with you. Warm scarves are a must, though you can buy there. The temperature can range from 9°C in the morning to 23°C in the afternoon. You will wish you have a spring coat/ light jacket and scarf with you in the morning and just your normal clothes and a pair of sunglasses in the afternoon. Shoes, dressy sandals and converse sneakers, and boots are fine. Remember: Sunglasses, scarves and light coat/jacket are ESSENTIAL.
For concerts/operas: The indoor heating is really strong. Wear normal clothes with a coat & scarf which you can take off once indoors. If not, with wool clothing, you'll sweat for the next 2 hrs.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Bring a mini compass. You will need it when you pop up from the metro (especially at Invalides) with no sense of direction. It comes in useful when you need to orientate yourself with your map (which always starts from N).
Luggage and bags:
Let me start by saying that I am notorious for packing way more than I ever need. That said, I made a real effort to take only what would fit in my one and only suitcase. My daughter says you might have to pay extra if your bag weighs too much. I can't verify that, but my French wasn't good enough to argue with a French ticket agent.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: We traveled in March and we knew the weather would be in the 40's most of the time. I really think you could take 2 pairs of black slacks (washable if possible), and a few tops or sweaters and do fine. I stuck to black, but took more than I needed. If it's cold, who knows what's under that coat. I threw if a few pashminas (my daughter swears I took a dozen!) to add some zip to my somber wardrobe. We noticed that most of the Parisian women had scarves all wrapped in different ways. I felt tres chic!! My daughter took a short black peajacket and I took a black raincoat with a zip- in lining and used it. We forgot gloves. A mistake. For the first time in my life I didn't take a dozen pairs of shoes. Whatever you take ,they better be comfortable. We found black shoes with rubber soles were perfect and weren't too sporty so we got by with 2 pairs of shoes for the whole trip. Don't forget a small, collapsible umbrella!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I understand that in order to bring prescription drugs into France it should be in the original pill bottle. I took one set in my tote and another set in my suitcase to be on the safe side.
Photo Equipment: My camera had a rechargable battery , and I just bought a disposable one as a back up. I think some cameras don't use anything but rechargable ones. In that case, spring for an adapter. If you have a digital make sure you take a backup memory card. You will want to take a zillion pictures in Paris. I am sure they can be purchased there but wouldn't want to have to try and find the right kind.
Miscellaneous: You might consider a smaller fold up type tote in case you have lovely items you buy that you can't squeeze into your suitcase. Also, I always try and take some zip type plastic bags for dirty clothes, and anything that might spill. If you forget something who cares! You're in Paris. Won't it be fun to shop for a replacement!
Luggage and bags:
I've noticed that Parisians have a minimum of baggage when they travel. They don't hesistate to repeat the use of their clothing!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Bring outfits that you can mix and match. Depending on the weather, women can make use of scarves adn accessories to change the mood or the style of their outfits.
Elegance is important! We can tell who the tourists are. Keep your colors discrete, this would also make it easier for you to mix and match clothing.
Bring comfortable walking shoes! A good old pair of sneakers can be a tell-tale sign of a tourist. But one can find many good, comfortable and stylish walking shoes nowadays... Puma, Adidas, Camper, etc.
Ladies, save your heels for short distances and sit-down dinners! :)
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: In Paris, you would easily find all the toiletries that you're used to.
Just remember that the dispensing of medicines in French pharmacies is very strict. If you don't have a prescription from a local doctor, you will have to see one first before purchasing any medicines there, other than usual over-the-counter drugs. It would be better that you bring along all the medicines that you need.
Refer to this link for information on pharmacies in Paris that are open 24h a day, and everyday: http://www.aquelleheure.com/pharmacies.htm. Most pharmacies have limited hours, closing at 7pm and are not open on Sundays.
I've been to Paris twice in the Spring. If you're traveling to Paris in March or April, it will probably be cold and a bit rainy. Be prepared! Bring a good umbrulla and warm clothing (in layers, just in case it warms up).
I highly recommend bringing a scarf and gloves in addition to a warm coat. If you plan to spend a lot of time outside, pack a pair of long underwear. Better safe than sorry!!