Packing for a holiday to France this summer?
The clothes you are going to need will depend largely on the activities you have planned and type of holiday you are planning.
We plan a casual, relaxed holiday, staying in holiday lets, or in B & B’s and reasonable hotels. We self cater, occasionally dining out at a restaurant and do a lot of walking to take in as many attractions as we can.
We spent two weeks in the Burgundy region during July, exploring villages and chateaux, visiting wineries and enjoying outdoor activities.
If you are planning dinners in five star restaurants and visits to the opera, want to be part of the Paris fashion scene, or an adventure holiday with lots of outdoor activities, your packing list will probably be much different to mine.
Even in the summer months, France has a much cooler climate than Australia.
The Burgundy region has an average July temperature of 14-27 C (57-81F), however we did experience some scorching 38C days. You will also experience the odd cooler day.
Multi functional wardrobe
You will need a multi-functional, interchangeable wardrobe – items that can take you from a day’s sightseeing to dinner at a restaurant or cafe.
You will want lighter clothing, with a jacket for the cooler evenings, and a light jumper if you are planning to head into the alps. If you are planning trips to churches and smaller villages, revealing dresses and singlet tops are not appropriate.
You will also want clothes that can be washed and dried quickly and easily and require little or no ironing. Irons are not normally available in European hotels and accommodation and in-house laundry is exhorbitantly expensive.
I love the “capsule wardrobe”, which simplifies your holiday packing. Basically it comprises of a number of pieces that you absolutely LOVE and will mix and match together.
Planning your wardrobe
Before I bring out the suitcases I start by laying what I think I am going to need out on the bed and cull from there. Then pick a colour theme – black, white, red and taupe was my theme last trip.
Start with black pants and skirts with white tops and shirts, as these can easily be dressed up or down with scarves, necklaces and accessories. I also tend to choose tops, pants, shorts and skirts over dresses for their versatility.
So, based on our experience last year, here is my packing list for two weeks in Burgundy, France.
Lesley’s packing list:
- 5 sets of underwear – these can be washed out in the bathroom every couple of nights.
- Two summer night gowns
- Two pair black pants. These can be teamed with T-shirts by day for sightseeing or dressed up with a blouse and accessories at night for dinner.
- One pair of comfortable casual pants or jeans.
- Two pair of shorts (one which can double as swimming shorts if it really is warm enough to swim).
- Three short sleeve T shirts – white, red, taupe and black
- Two long sleeved T shirts – white, and black
- One lightweight jumpers. -As well as saving space in your suitcase, a lightweight jumper can be layered over a long sleeved T-shirt when walking in the alps and won’t be a nuisance if you need to take it off and pop it in your day pack.
- One light cardigan – taupe
- 3 light – red, white and black. Can be dressed up with accessories over black pants or skirt for dinner.
- one iron free skirt – can be worn day or night
- Two iron free dresses.
- Two non-iron evening tops- can be worn with any pants
- Taupe leather jacket – can be worn over every outfit in wardrobe.
- black swimsuit
- white “foldable” sunhat
- sturdy walking shoes, black “ballet flats”, white sandals and one pair black evening sandals.
- necklaces, scarves and earrings to accessorise outfits.
- Light rainproof jacket, which can easily be folded up in your daypack
Ian’s packing list
Ian’s packing list is devised along similar lines – his clothes are mostly grey, navy, green and taupe.
- two pair PJ’s
- five sets of socks and underwear
- Two pair of jeans
- Three pair of casual pants – can also be worn to dinner
- One “good” shirt and tie in case we go to a fancy restaurant.
- Three pair of shorts – one can double as swimmers
- Two T-shirts
- Three”polo shirts”
- three short sleeved shirts
- One lightweight jumper
- One light jacket
- two belts
- walking boots or joggers, casual shoes (will “pass” in a nice restaurant), sandals.
- Light rainproof jacket
Unless you are planning serious hikes in the alps, hiking boots are not essential. You will need comfortable walking shoes such as joggers, which take up less room in your suitcase than hiking boots. Sandals may be cooler on hotter days in the villages and towns, but are not really kind to your feet on the cobblestoned streets. Don’t even think about high heels.
- tote bag -plastic shopping bags do not exist in France and you will need to bring your own shopping bag. Also useful for a day roaming around the villages
- Battery pack phone charger, which will give you five full charges on your phone.
- Lightweight day-pack that can fit jumpers, rainjackets, tourist leaflets, waterbottles and snacks
- A larger scarf of pashmina can live in your tote, and is great if you need to cover up to enter a church, or to ward off a slight chilly breeze.
- If you have enjoyed this post and would like to learn more about planning a trip to Europe, click on the Amazon link at the bottom of the page, where you will find a range of travel guides which we found helpful. We do earn a small commission from any sales