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Paris in the spring: packing essentials

GargoylesParisRecently, I returned from a solo trip to Paris, France. It was a wonderful experience that I can’t wait to repeat and I learned a whole heckuva lot about myself. One of the takeaways from the trip that I am most proud of  might be a little unexpected, however. I patted myself strongly on the back on this trip for being such a good packer!!

This may seem a little odd to those of you who are normally stellar packers, but you’re talking to a girl who could easily take 10 pairs of shoes for a 3 day trip. What if I need dressy heels for a dinner out? What if I need casual heels to wear with jeans? I might need these water shoes in case we go canoeing. Folks, it is BAD. So when I fit all of my items for a week long trip to Paris in one small suitcase (ok, it was slightly larger than a carry on, but STILL), I was pretty darn proud of myself.

Since I’m now feeling like quite the pro, I wanted to pass along a few of my packing essentials to you guys. This list is for ALL travelers, but would especially benefit anyone traveling to Europe in the spring.

First and Foremost: The Bag!

It’s really important for any traveler to have a well built, sturdy suitcase that will last you a long time and-most importantly- has lots of pockets! No one wants to buy a new suitcase every year, so spend a little more and invest in one that will last a loooong time. I got mine at TJMaxx for about $70- a great deal! The Samsonite Luggage Silhouette Sphere Expandable is a great suitcase for a great price.

Secondly, you are going to want a carry on bag that can fit all of your essentials. I stuffed my Stella & Dot bag to the brim with things like: Bose headphones, a journal, a book to read, a bottle of water, snacks, glasses & contact solution and various other travel needs (have you guys tried these wipes from Ban?? They were seriously my jam after a 9 hour flight.


I had been told by a few people that layers are necessary for Paris in April. The forecast was in the 60s so I wasn’t too worried BUT I’m still glad I packed a few coats and scarves- 60s in Paris felt very different than 60 in Tennessee!
My proudest moment was packing only 2 pairs of pants (1 jean, 1 black pant) and 2 (that’s right, TWO) pairs of shoes (these and these.)

Beyond that I took one lightweight coat (similar to this one), one dress that could be dressed up or down, and a variety of tops. I packed mostly black items so it was very easy to mix, match and rewear. Stripes are essential in packing for France, and these were a few of my choices. Luckily for you, they are all on sale now! If I could pack differently in one way, it would be this: PLEASE take some actual sneakers! I thought my feet would be fine in the Vans, but turns out, those are not so comfortable after multiple days of walking 9+ miles. The Sam Edelman boots were also quite comfortable but, again, not after all that walking. I finally broke down on my next to last day and brought a pair of Nikes- a chic, black pair!- but Nikes still. I swore that I wouldn’t be one of those Americans wearing sneakers and jeans, but I was surprised how many French women I saw in leggings and sneakers throughout the week. If you are going somewhere to “see the sights”, take it from me, you need a pair of real sneakers.
Quite possibly THE MOST IMPORTANT thing I packed was this- an extra bag!! No matter your destination, you will almost always buy more than you think you will. You will see things for your mom, your friend, your roommate, yourself that you just cannot leave behind- and don’t! I have not regretted any of my purchases (and if you are going to France, I highly recommend getting some great French skincare!). I took this bag and it was perfection. This bag has 3 great qualities: 1) it laid perfectly in the bottom of my suitcase- I just packed all of my clothes on top of it 2) the bag unzips and EXPANDS so you can buy even MORE things! 3) This sucker is carry on size so it costs you no extra fees!These were my basic essentials and I can’t wait for my next adventure so I challenge myself to do even better and take even less. Tell us what are YOUR travel essentials?

Bon Voyage!

Musee-D'Orsay-Clock Paris
I am thrilled to share this guest post from LeeAnn, who recently took a solo trip to Paris. LeeAnn is one of my dearest friends from Nashville who happens to be hilarious, fun, and one of my fashion icons. 

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