Packing for Winter, Paris
Luggage and bags:
We planned on taking the RER directly to our apartment. I wore a convertible backpack (internal frame) that we checked in, put a carry on tote on the stroller and pushed the stroller. My husband wore a daypack and pulled a large rolling suitcase. We wore our coats on the way to the airport and packed it into our check-in before boarding the plane. This really helped because we didn't have to fetch coats and we didn't need them on the plane or at the airport as we wore layers with a sweater on top.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If going in Feb, bring layers to keep warm and take off when it gets warm from all of the moving you'll be doing. We were only cold when we stopped. When in motion, we were quite comfortable. The apartment we rented had an umbrella, but we just used out hats. We took a chance, but never got soaked and it was something more for us to carry to Paris and with us during the day. We both brought 2 pairs of shoes and rotated. If one got wet, we had another one. This would elaborate to the fact that we packed the min. amount of clothing for 4 days. We had a washer at the apartment and we knew we will use it. Besides, since our toddler slept early, we knew that we could do laundry at night. For our toddler, we packed 5 outfits - the cutest, warmest ones he had. If you have children or a baby, it really helps if they look as cute as possible. People seem to be more helpful.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring all medication that you may ever need for your toddler (i.e. fever reducers, nasal aspirator, antihistimines, etc.) Know your child's weight in the units of measurement that the country you're in uses. Also, take some time and get a cheat sheet of phrases to describe medical emergencies or problems. Small tub toys really helped our toddler get used to the new bath tub.
Miscellaneous: This is something that is very important when traveling with a toddler, buy lots of small, easy to travel with toys - wrap them up and give them to your toddler on the plane or when you need to. That extra 5 - 10 minutes of avoiding a melt-down is well worth it. We also used a portable DVD player on the plane. We had all of his favorite DVDs and this helped A LOT. You also need snacks. Pack the snacks your toddler likes because most likely you won't find it where you are and you don't have time to look for it. Bring at least 2 or 3 sippy/straw cups, 3 snack cups that you can fill every morning, a flask to keep your milk hot or cold throughout the day, and stroller toys to attach. Read my tip on "How we carried all our stuff"
Compared to other places in Europe buried in snow in this period of the year, we've been lucky during our stay in Paris.
The weather was quite ok, the temperature was around 5-6 degrees above 0 and we had a light rain in two days, but nothing that could stopped us walking all day long.
As I said before, Paris is not a small town and for sure the pair of comfortable shoes was my best friend.
I haven't got a hat but when I climbed Tour Eiffel was windy and it would have been great having one.
For a perfect journey in Paris in this period of the year it's mandatory to have: a pair of comfortable shoes, hat, umbrella, warm clothes, a small bag (for not having problems with the pickpockets in the metro or in other crowdy places), but also an elegant outfit for a nice night out.
Luggage and bags:
Pack as light as possible if you are planning on taking the RER and metro from the airport as it is almost guaranteed that you will have to walk up at least one flight of stairs.
Alternatively you could bring a big strong man with you to help you carry it :-)
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: -Waterproof, warm coat-I brought a Columbia mid weather jacket with an interior pocket to protect valuables. I then layered with a fleece pullover and turtlenecks and was plenty warm
-good walking shoes, 2 pairs if one gets wet
-hat or earmuffs
-scarf, all Parisians seem to wear one :-)
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: If you are staying at budget hotels, you might want to bring along your own toiletries, our hotel toiletries were pretty limited.
Photo Equipment: Well, of course you must bring a camera! I was glad to have a digital camera so I could take lots and lots of gargolye pics!
Miscellaneous: -Streetwise Paris map is excellent and laminated so it's waterproof
-Guidebook, I love the Eyewitness Guides, the one for Paris is good
If you are from a warm climate like us (Brisbane, Australia), be sure to pack heaps of thermal underwear, thick socks, scarves, mittens, etc. We thought we'd be nice and 'toasty' with what we had packed, but even wearing all of this didn't prepare us for what was awaiting us at Disneyland - 'cold' just doesn't even seem to measure up!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Again, if coming from a warm climate, be sure to pack some "Chapstick" / lip moisturisers - that was one of the first things we bought when arriving in Paris.
Photo Equipment: If you have a digital like us, be sure to take your laptop (like we did), or failing that, a couple of 128mb cards. In 13 weeks we took a total of 3,550 photos, and probably about 550 of them, were of Paris city alone....
Berets seem to have made a comeback this year in the City of Light. This year, as no other, I've noticed berets all over the place. This was one huge surprise as even on le Parisians one saw berets. Most beautiful was a stylish red one on a grandmotherly 80-ish woman on le Metro. I was glad to see that it had made its comeback since there were so few during my last visit in 2003.
Photos: February 2006
Luggage and bags:
IF YOU ARE USE TO WARM PLEASANT WINTER THAT ARE NOT TOO COLD...PLEASE FOR YOUR OWN COMFORT.. TAKE SOME REALLY NICE WARM CLOTHING TO PARIS DURING THE WINTER !!!
YOU HAVE TO TAKE PLENTY OF PICTURES ..SO STORE UP AS MUCH FILM OR BATTERIES AS YOU WILL NEED..
TAKE SOME TISSUE ALSO IF YOUR NOSE SEEMS TO BE SNIFLING TO THE BRISK COLD TEMPERTURE .. : )
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: COMFORTABLE SHOES.. .YOU MAY WALK MORE THAN YOU EXPECTED !!!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: SOME ASPIRIN.. .IN CASE YOU MISSED TAKING A PICTURE THAT WAS A KEEPER!!!
Photo Equipment: PLENTY OF FILM!!!!! OR /AND PLENTY OF BATTERIES !!!! AND ADAPTER!!!!
Miscellaneous: PLENTY OF SOCKS !!! OR BETTER YET. .SOME REALLY THICK WARM SOCKS !!!! ALSO TRY AND TAKE SOME SUNSHINE WITH YOU !!!
Another thing i noticed, and it shouldn't be too surprising in such a fashion-conscious city as Paris, were all the fur coats (real & faux) I noticed this winter. Normally, I suppose you'd expect to see them in the ritzier parts of town such as the 16th, 7th or 8th arrondissements (particularly around and about the Champs Elysees) but these beauties were noted around the Place de la Bastille. Perhaps they were tourists, perhaps natives - who can tell?
Photos: February 2006
Warning, if you are going to Paris in the winter months, take very thick jumpers, it is freezing!!!!!!!!! Something to do with the Mistral, a vicious wind that blows down through France from Siberia (apparently!)
I'd also take chapstick cos I had hell of a job trying to explain "chapstick" to the shop assistant!
Photo Equipment: Lots of film/memory sticks. It's so beautiful and with so many famous landmarks you'll be snapping the whole time!
All the guidebooks tell you "Don't wear jeans! You'll be underdressed!"
Well, if you're under 30, wear them. We didn't see any young people NOT in jeans (this in 90-degree heat, too). Absolutely ignore this one piece of guidebook advice.
Luggage and bags:
Travel light. You'll probably need to do some walking with your bags, so consider that when packing.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Paris has a pretty mild climate, at least by my standards (see my pages on Omaha, Nebraska). You probably won't need a big, heavy coat. Pack a few sweaters, sweatshirts, and a jacket, dressing in layers. It rarely gets cold enough for really thick winter wear.
If visiting Paris in the winter, make sure to bring lots of clothes to dress baby in layers. Also, a heavy winter suit or coat is necessary. It can get extremely cold in Paris for the winter and most Parisians dress their children very warmly. You may even want to purchase a footmuff for your stroller.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: If your baby is used to a specific brand, like mine, then be sure to bring enough for your whole trip. For example, Johnson & Johnsons cannot be found.
Also, be sure to bring Infant Tylenol, Dimetapp, Desitin, etc., as you may not be able to recognize the french equivalent should you need any.
Miscellaneous: Make sure to only try to bring a lightweight stroller. Many places are not stroller friendly and you will have to either carry baby and stroller as one up and down stairs, or take baby out to carry separately. We brought the Maclaren Volo stroller and it has been really good. Soon after we arrived in Paris we bought a rain cover for the stroller from Natalys and that is very useful to protect our son from rain and wind.
Also, we purchased a backpack carrier for our son (Deuter Kid Comfort I) and my husband is able to easily use it on the Metro and on other outings throughout the city.
I would also suggest that you bring plenty of sippy cups, pacifiers, and other accessories for your baby. These items are not sold in many places and again, your child may be accustomed to a particular brand or style.
Luggage and bags:
Pack light for traveling to many cities if you did as I do.....many cities at a time.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: A warm coat or leather coat would do for the time I went there. October and end of January were the months I went and would recommend mid to warm
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Even when it's warm during the day, it cools down quickly in the evenings in Paris. I always try to pack extra light, and since I was going to Spain after Paris, I decided to leave behind a jacket. Mistake! It felt seriously chilly there once the sun went down. No wonder all the women go around in coats and scarves in the middle of summer.
i agree with everyone. cold is pretty relative depending on where you live. i am from santa barbara county, california. i went to paris in jan. '08 and although it wasn't snowing, it was freezing and windy and dreary. it also rained for about 4 days. it kept our exploring to mostly indoor venues. museums, restaurants... we walked but ended up just being too cold to be on foot outside all day. bring a heavy coat. inevitably, you will be standing in a long line outside before entering the museums, if that's what you decide to do with your time.
still enjoyed it! would do it again. there's just never enough time to see all of paris!