Long and short sleeved shirts, sweater, rain jacket, jeans, lightweight pants, umbrella? I'm going the last week in April and a few days in May. Thanks for any suggestions.
In 2018 I was in Paris during the same time period. It was beautiful when I arrived on April 27/28, then rained the next day and high was 39 Fahrenheit. Although I had sweater and raincoat, I wound up buying a down jacket at Uniqlo. May 1 was gorgeous although still not warm but continued to warm up in the following days. Down jackets squeeze down to practically nothing so next time I will fit one in.
Footwear with Rubber or waterproof soles...able to walk on cobblestones.
I agree with the last suggestion about footwear, it's really your most important clothing decision. I think the sweater and rain jacket should be enough, especially in the city where you can spend time indoors if it gets too cold. A wool or synthetic knit watch cap weighs very little and gives you a lot of heat retention value if necessary.
But I'd suggest leaving the jeans at home. If it rains, your rain jacket won't keep your legs dry. If the jeans get wet you'll be cold, and they'll take a long time to dry. If your lightweight pants are nylon or some other such fabric they should do for you, and you've saved some weight in your bag.
Also I'd leave the umbrella at home, even if your rain jacket doesn't have a hood. You don't want to be carrying it around, it will interfere with your mobility and vision (a lot of Paris' beauty is above our normal sight lines), it's vulnerable to wind. If there's an unexpected downpour, people will miraculously appear on the streets selling ultra-cheap, ultra-fragile mini-umbrellas. That can be insurance for a true emergency. Another item I always pack is one of those single-use plastic hooded ponchos you can buy in sporting goods stores for a couple of bucks. It's good for more than one use (but not many), and good insurance against heavy rain. My travel pants have cargo pockets, and I keep the poncho in one of those.
Thanks, great suggestions. I was thinking of cargo pants. I will take a few cheap plastic poncho too. Would you even bother with the short sleeve shirts? Long sleeved shirts can be rolled up. Although I'm going to Venice too where it could be a little warmer.
Instead of a down jacket maybe a long sleeve t-shirt under the shirt.
I always travel with very lightweight silk long underwear in black.
They weigh nothing, can keep you warm under other clothing, can be used as pj's, the bottoms can double as leggings, and the top as a t-shirt.
Don't bother with an umbrella; instead take a good quality rain jacket with a hood.
If you wear a baseball cap under the hood, the brim stops the hood from falling over your eyes!
Good idea. Where would you buy silk long underwear? What do you wear on your feet when it rains?
Waterproof shoes a must. April is always showery -- May often is.
I also travel with black silks --I get mine at REI -- they are super lightweight, some people use them for pajamas too -- I once traveled to Spain in late April after 'cat sitting' for a friend in Paris -- I sent my heavy warm clothes home since I didn't want to schlep them and then it was cold in Spain -- the silks under my lightweight slacks and tops saved the day.
I always wear jeans -- but then I use an apartment with an American style dryer. I find them durable, comfortable and the right weight for spring and fall.
I also have a scottevest.com trench coat with 18 hidden pockets --- and then layer under it with silk, turtlenecks , light down vests and polartek or cashmere and that has always been enough this time of year. But as someone else noted there are Uniqlo stores in Paris and you can pick up a lightweight down jacket if you need it., In fact any wardrobe misjudgment is easy to remedy inexpensively in Paris (except shoes -- you want those to be comfortable and broken in.)
I use a travel shirt -- one of those with the tab sleeves and the hidden pocket under the breast pocket as a sort of lightweight jacket over a t-shirt on unexpectedly warm days -- which we might get in Paris in the spring. Most of the time just adjusting the layers under the trench coat is adequate.
It tends to pour for brief periods in the afternoon. An umbrella is nice to have then. Or you can duck into a cafe and wait it out -- most cafes have awnings that protect outdoor tables.
Thank you for those ideas.
I got silk underwear from Land's End, and yes, it travels with me regularly. Mine isn't black though; my first set was light blue, my second set off-white. Yes, it does eventually wear out, especially the bottoms.
I can't recommend cheap plastic ponchos for travel. I've used them for years at home to slip on to clean horse stalls in Arizona rain but they were useless and a mess traveling. I took several to Italy in May 2019 which was unusually cold, rainy and windy. Like wearing wind-whipped saranwrap. After going through two throwaways and searching for days for a decent, packable poncho or raincoat, I finally found a poncho in Sorrento. It was an unexpected souvenir but the red plaid goes with my travel clothes and more fun that basic black. I need to sew the side seams together to make it a bit more windproof, so I can take it to France in September.
Layers and rainwear!
“April in Paris”is supposed to be ideal.
When I was there in April it was cold and rainy one day and incredibly hot a couple days later. Be prepared.
We were in France in June of 2012. The first two weeks in Paris and the north were very wet and cold. People were wearing puffer coats!
You can get long underwear from Land's End in a variety of top styles, colors and fabrics including Merino wool, silk and a synthetic made of 94% polyester/6% spandex. It being the end of the season, the colors and sizes are limited.
These are the ones I have, but there are many others to choose from. Just go to Land's End and search for long underwear.
As for waterproof shoes, I prefer practicality over fashion, even in Paris. I wear waterproof lace-up ankle boots, but there are some more fashionable waterproof ankle booties. I prefer lace-ups for their support, comfort and stability. They've kept me from stumbling or turning an ankle on cobblestones and rough sidewalks on more than one occasion.
These are my current stock, but there are many other brands and styles to choose from.
KEEN Terradora II Waterproof Mid Hiking Boots. The blue color called Majolica/tapestry is my favorite.
Dansko Posy. These are equally as practical and comfortable and I love the colors.
I don’t have these Dansko Lizettes, but they are an example of more fashionable waterproof booties.
Now for the socks. Most people recommend Smartwool. I tried them, but they didn't work for me. I wear Sockwell lifestyle moderate compression socks for comfort (I've never had a blister), support, increased stamina and fun. This little search will take you to some examples.
Adding to the long underwear discussion, you can find some at Costco. Inexpensive and efficient enough for your use.
I always travel with jeans. I wear Levi’s and they are lightweight with some stretch. I’ve never tried sink washing them, but washed in a machine they can hang to dry within a day if you don’t have a dryer. They can be worn multiple times between washes as well.
There’s an umbrella shop called Parapluies at 56 Boulevard St Michel in the 6th arrondisment. They carry the Doppler brand and they are very lightweight. I can fit mine in my coat pocket and I don’t even feel it.
Do they silk underwear at Costco, as everyone thinks that's the best? Would rubbers over my shoes be okay in Paris? If it's really cold as some people have experienced, what would it cost to buy a puffer jacket in Paris?
Same at home. However when you're traveling and only have one pair of shoes and you're out all day in wet shoes, it could be pretty uncomfortable.
You may be more cold tolerant than some! Do you wear a base layer when you are out and about in Denver in the winter? I do here in North Idaho if I am doing outdoor activity but others don't!
I looked at Costco and don't see any long underwear on their website although you might find some locally. The brand they had this winter was 32 Degrees which I like a lot. I see on the 32 Degrees website they are having a sale on base layers if any of the colors and sizes work for you.
I've got 2 32 degree puffy vests from Costco and they are excellent. I don't like how wrinkled they get when they go into their own stuff sack so I just fold and squish them into a quart ziplock.
I've got a number of the Lands End Heat Crew shirts Lo mentions. I size up and wear them all winter as a regular shirt under a quarter zip dri-fit. They last well although I have not gotten any this winter so am not sure what the current quality is. The one I'm wearing today is at least 7 years old.
I wear a shirt, that's all, and a coat. If it's really cold a down parka. I can't take a big coat or parka to Paris. I have to think of the rain, so a rain jacket and layers underneath sound better. And if it's freezing maybe buy a puffer jacket, whatever that is in Paris, although I'm afraid of the cost.
There are lots of things that are easier if you live in a place e.g. losing your wallet or passport, having wet shoes, not having the right jacket. All those things are much worse when you are half way across the world in a town where you don't speak the language and your time is limited.
Nothing makes traveling grosser than wet shoes that don't dry out or get stinky and moldy. If you live there, you can stuff them with newspaper and wait a few days and wear one of your 6 other pairs of shoes. Soggy trainers or other shoes that take days to dry are a misery when you only have one or two pair. Thus a pair of lightweight hiking shoes that are waterproof or other water resistant footwear is perhaps the difference between minor misery and comfort.
What type of rain jacket? I looked up some and reviews said they didn't really keep you dry. Maybe with an umbrella too.
I'm a fan of Eddie Bauer rainwear. I had a long Weatherdge one that kept me totally dry in heavy sideways rain on Orkney. It was great but bulky and not easily packable. It went to Goodwill when I became too small for it.
I replaced it with a packable EB Rainfoil jacket, well actually 3 of them in black, loden green and purple, all bought at different times and on sale. This is the link.
One of them will go with me to Ireland and Wales in the summer. I hope the weather will be warm enough to avoid taking a puffer jacket to wear under it and that I'll be able to wear lighter layers instead.
"If it's really cold a down parka. I can't take a big coat or parka to Paris. I have to think of the rain, so a rain jacket and layers underneath sound better."
Actually what I was thinking was that if you don't routinely wear a base layer/long underwear in Denver in winter then you'll probably not need it for April/May in Paris. I was not thinking you'd need a winter parka at all, lol!
Definitely go with a rain layer and layers underneath. It looks like there are a bunch of REI stores in the Denver area. Maybe you can go look at waterproof jackets, try on a few brands (they all fit differently in my view, lol!!) and crunch the fabric. Now they are a lot softer so don't crinkle every time you move your arms, lol, but some are better than others. This will give you some ideas on what might work for you. If you've got a puffy vest wear that to see what will fit over it, otherwise, wear layers you think you might wear in Paris. Through the years I've had Columbia, Marmot and now have a store brand waterproof from Cabelas.
I looked back at my notes from April 2019 and April/May 2017. It looks like I was comfortable wearing a long sleeve tee, a quarter-zip DriFit shirt and my rain layer. On the 2019 trip I was there early April and Late March and wore a puffy vest under the rain layer at times.
I have 2 different colors of the packable Eddie Bauer rain coat that Lo provided a link to. We don’t get much rain where I live, but I have tested the jacket and some rain pants on a long walk in a driving rain and both passed the test, as did the shoes I was confirming were actually waterproof. I get cold easily and the thought of suffering with wet clothes and shoes is something I don’t want to worry about. My rain jacket is roomy enough to put my down “puffer” coat from EB underneath. The coat is lightweight and warm, and can be easily stuffed into a small stuff sack. It’s the Cirrus series if you want to look it up. EB is having a good sale right now.
On the subject of long underwear (which you may decide you do not need): For use in Paris in April, I think a lot of things would work.
I started my long john adventures with silk. I needed it for annual 10-day trips in January, often to cold cities (St. Paul, Cleveland and Boston among them). I was spending most of my time indoors, sitting in a coolish ice arena. I'm very cold-natured, but most people who spend hours in that environment find it chilly. My problem with the silk was that, even hand-washed, it was rather fragile.
A friend who's a very active, outdoorsy person (leads hikes) suggested that polypropylene long johns (like Cuddl Duds) would be perfectly fine for my purposes (mainly indoor use) and would be cheaper. That was true. Polypropylene is also not as fragile as silk; it can be machine-washed.
But for travel, you potentially have rain in the mix. From reading posts on this forum, I learned that merino wool performs well even if it gets wet. I got caught in persistent, heavy rain several times in 2019 on days cold enough that being really wet would have been miserable. I found merino wool under 97% nylon slacks was a good combination. However, when I wore my medium-weight merino top under just an open jacket, it developed some pilling where it was rubbed by the strap on my cross-body bag. I assume that's because I bought the cheapest merino wool I could find; I haven't seen complaints from others, and after all, what I bought wasn't intended to be an outer garment.
All of the above (silk, polypropylene, merino wool) come in different weights. Especially for the first and last, heavier weight will drive up the cost. I can't imagine heavy long johns would be needed in Paris in April, even by me. I'd go with whatever you think might be most versatile and useful both at home and on future trips. For emergency sleep garments, silk might be nicest, but I doubt that I'll buy more silk because of its fragility.
I suppose you have to protect merino wool from moths, though; I try to keep mine in Zip Lock bags at home.
As someone who has lived in very, very cold climates in the U.S. (such as northern North Dakota and the high plains of Wyoming), I have to wonder about those suggesting wearing long underwear in Paris. Anytime. Especially in Paris in springtime. It's incredible someone would recommend that.
Just wear normal clothes. A pair of pants. Socks. A shirt. Layers of outerwear so you can adjust to different temperatures, at least one of which should be water resistant. And pack a small collapsable umbrella in your bag or backpack. No need to bring one from the U.S. They're widely available and inexpensive in France.
I say layers of outerwear because the French tend to like their interiors pretty warm. Warmer than I like; especially stores. You'll want to be able shed a layer or two while in one. But outside, especially if there's wind, you'll probably want those layers back on.
A colourful, flowing scarf can be useful three out of four seasons, maybe less so in the dead heat of summer. Keeps you warm; looks cool. Buy one there as a souvenir. And this is a unisex suggestion.
We are also in Paris last week of April into May, before heading to Italy. We are planning on layers, but hadn’t given a thought to long underwear. We have the Costco ones, which are very light weight to pack, and don’t take up much space. I guess we will see how the packing goes and decide then whether to add it in. Trying to pack light, but they really do add a comfortable extra layer if needed, and take up way less space than a large coat.
The deal with spring travelers, though, is that most don't want to take a bulky coat to Europe. I take a fleece jacket and a rain jacket. That combo keeps me fairly warm above the waist but doesn't do anything for my legs. Thus: long johns.
As you are from Colorado, I would think you might adjust more like me than people from further south. I travel in the winter, preferably, (and I don't own long underwear...I hated it even when skiing). The only times I ever wore a waterproof jacket (rain jacket) during travel was to work in a community allotment in less than stellar weather and on a bike/barge trip. ALL my other trips, and there have been many as I'm in my late 60's, have not needed waterproof outerwear so I would never wear it 'just in case' (but never say never, I guess). I do carry a 1"X1" packed plastic poncho...never came close to needing it. (I wonder if it is not melted together after all these years. LOL) I've been to Paris several times and once in April...Paris is lovely in April. Don't fret. You don't need to guard against the rain with waterproof this and that and I say that as a person who will walk all over Paris regardless of weather.
For cold days, I layer an unlined leather or water resistant spring jacket, over a light sweater of wool (merino or boiled), over a long-sleeved tee shirt and/or blouse. I would also pack short sleeved tees. (So 2 long sleeve and 2 short sleeve tees. I love Landsend modal tees). I carry a small, light umbrella...you usually only need it for a short time anyway. Umbrella people might pop up in the tourist areas, but knowing me I would not be in the tourist area and I prefer a light, small, well constructed umbrella. I also carry leather gloves for cold damp days, which, IMO, make all the difference, rain or not. I will pull my decorative scarf up around my neck, too. I'm talking the cold yucky days here. I also include black NYDJs (jeans) and if they got wet, they would dry overnight. I don't ever remember having to worry about that. Shoes: Leather shoes work fine. You don't need waterproof unless you will be out hiking or camping. IMO
Edit: I just looked up the average temperatures and rain for Paris in April: Hi 62, Lo 46 (f), and 8 days of rain. I'm sorry, but this is my perfect weather. With all the walking you will be quite warm (and dry). Dress normally.
Since I don't take many changes of clothing, a set of long johns is manageable for me. I don't pack for averages. I look at the actual, day-by-day, historical weather data on timeanddate.com, because I find it's the extremes that make me uncomfortable.
For all of the last ten days of April 2022, the low temperature in Paris was below 46F. Not far below, so not terribly cold. But if I just looked at that average of 46F, I'd assume the end of the month would be warmer than that at night, but I'd have been wrong this year. The high temperature in Paris was 54F on both April 29 and April 30 this year, well short of the monthly average of 62F.
My suspicion about averages works on the other end of the temperature spectrum, too. Seville seems to be considerably hotter in actuality than the temperature averages lead one to expect.
There are so many different views on this. I usually go so overprepared everywhere. I really want to get it lighter on this trip. I'm only carrying a carry on bag, which actually have to check on the flight to Venice and back because it's about 1 to 1 1/2 inches to long! Please don't tell me they are not that strict. It's too late. I should have asked about that earlier.
"Please don't tell me they are not that strict. It's too late."
Assume the airline will be that strict. To me an inch is huge. There is nothing wrong with having to check a bag BUT you'll have to get it to your hotel in Venice and that will include carrying it up over the bridges there which are steps not ramps.
If the long underwear discussion is making your head spin...here is what I see:
- You live in Denver not South Florida.
- It doesn't look like you usually wear long underwear in Denver in the winter.
- Paris will be way milder in April than Denver in January.
- If it's chilly in Paris you do a museum day or a church day instead of a day where you are outside in gardens.
- Maybe do a trial pack and see what your suitcase weighs when it's packed.
Maybe get out a piece of paper and write out your own pros and cons of all the answers you've gotten on your various threads. That may help you make the decision that is right for you.
Waterproof outer layer? For me, that's non-negotiable. Long Underwear layer in April in France? For me, no...for others non-negotiable. You'll have to figure out what will work for your cold tolerance.
" “April in Paris" is supposed to be ideal. " So goes the title of a well known song by Vernon Duke . It should , by the composer's admission , be " May in Paris " . But the music requires two syllables on the first lyric , so we have the misleading title as far as the weather is concerned - but this is beautiful , rain or shine https://youtu.be/u2OkHbT5yFQ
Aimee., In Denver it doesn't rain a lot I just take an umbrella from the house to the car and the car to wearever I'm going, if it's" a decent rain. A very light shower, maybe nothing for the rain but I don't walk around outside all day. If it's warm, I wear a shirt and jeans, if cold, a hoody, or warm jacket or coat, depending on how cold it is. Our weather in Denver can be 70 one day in April and the next a big snow storm. It changes all the time. We don't get a lot of rain like you do. It sounds like the weather in Paris is changing a bit like everywhere. So I guess I have to be prepared or put out some bucks when I'm there if it's really cold. When you're out all day as a tourist is, it's not great to get wet and stay that way all day and wet and cold is even worse. My question now is how good would a purely polyester rain jacket do with an umbrella. There is a pretty cute and I think adequate for the rain, but if I could get away with something a little lighter with an umbrella I would save room and a little weight.
The great thing about silks is that if you end up in a cold snap and only have lightweight clothing, it adds that layer that keeps you comfortable and yet it isn't hot. I wore silk longs in Seville in late April when I ws out and about all day and it was unseasonably chilly and all I had was very lightweight linen pants because i expected it to be warm.
At home -- you go home, or change clothes -- but traveling with limited wardrobe, layers can be a godsend.
I have rarely used it in Paris in Spring or Fall -- but it takes no space and is a kind of insurance policy when you are traveling with very few clothes.
I find plastic or nylon or polyester clothing unwearable. Most of the 'travel wardrobes' are made of various knit plastics and to me that is like wearing a plastic bag -- so cotton, silk, wool
In my experience of a dozen springs in Paris, a serious raincoat is not needed nor serious plastic boots. Paris tends to be showery -- we have been there when it pours for hours but very very rarely during the day. My trenchcoat, sprayed with water treatment, does fine until I can nip into a cafe or under an awning. If I were hiking cross country I'd have different rain protection -- in Paris a lightweight trench and an umbrella and water resistant hiking shoes suffice.
I looked up 2020 weather in Paris on 'wunderground', in late April. It was is the 60's and up to 70 a few days. I don't think I need long underwear. Silk underwear is about $100 also and I'd never use it here. It seems it rains everyday, so a rainjacket and unbrella sound good and layers.
I had a pair of silk long underwear that I must have gotten on a good sale, and I loved them, but I find tights and leggings work just fine if I need another layer. Cuddl Duds long underwear is currently on clearance at my local Target for under $9 a pair.
kerouac2, I have wondered how important it is to have actual waterproof footwear or if spraying waterproofing on my current shoes will suffice as I will have another pair of shoes with me. What do you think?
We leave for Paris on April 30, so this thread is of interest to us, too.
Just take a pair of leggings, then.
They should fit under your long pants.
Count Basie put lots more ooomph into his version of April in Paris. This recording includes a notorious fake ending:
Definitely wear a rainjacket, but it doesn't have to be super technical - you are unlinkely to be under the rain for hours on hand.
Short-sleeve T-shirt + sweater or flannel shirt + lightly padded or unpadded rain coat (e.g. trench coat) or a more outdoorsy rain jacket do the trick for me. There is nothing extreme about the weather here at that time of the year.
Same for shoes: leather sneakers (such as Stan Smith) are waterproof enough without spraying in my experience, but spraying the seams won't hurt if you are worried. I also own sturdier waterproof boots (Timberland), but these are too warm for a typical April.
By the way, for packing: you could just wear your rain coat/jacket on the plane, and have that be your only outer garment. And I'd use the saved space for a pair of lightweight canvas sneakers to avoid wearing the same shoes all day, every day - my feet do not like that.