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Clothes in Paris

I'd like some advice regarding how to dress in Paris for museum hopping, etc.

I want to be comfortable but don't want to insult the local folks. I'm thinking jeans or slacks and blouse with tennis shoes for all the walking but don't want to look out of place too badly.

What would be typical for shopping and eating in the cafes, etc?


I also think it would be helpful if the Paris Rick Steves book mentioned it.

Posted by
80 posts

It depends on what time of year you are going, but jeans are fine. The first time I visited Paris I listened to everyone telling me they never wear jeans in Europe, so I didnt take any. Everywhere we went the locals were wearing jeans. The last time (9/06) I wore my jeans. I also took a pair of slacks that could go either way, casual or dressier for nicer restaurants. I dont see a lot of tennis shoes, but I say wear what you are comfortable in for sight seeing. I wore my lands end clogs for most sight seeing and casual going out at night and brown sandals for warmer weather in the south. I took a sleeveless brown knit wrap dress which could also go dressier or more casual depending on the occasion. For cooler weather I threw a sweater over it. I wouldnt take shorts, for warmer weather take skirts. It's also frowned upon to have exposed shoulders and knees in churches and cathedrals, although you will see tourists dressed this way.

Posted by
421 posts

I brought Jeans on my first trip but was prepared to not wear them, well there were jeans everywhere.

Also I saw a fair amount of shorts, but younger 20 to 30ish and only on men. No tennis shoes but the trendier Puma style were popular.

Posted by
138 posts

It has been a few years that I've been to Europe last time, and of course I don't know if things changed meanwhile, but it used to be an absolute no-no for the bra straps to show. Coming to US for the first time, I was shocked to see so many women wearing spagetti strap tops and the bra straps showing all over. In fact, even after 16 years here, it is still jarring to my eyes.

Posted by
80 posts

I agree, bra straps are tacky worldwide!

Posted by
2002 posts

Yes, Rick's travel guides give a generic packing list for women, but I think he should tailor them for the big cities of Europe, and the smaller towns, and for those who are going in summer/winter, etc.
I think most women like to fit in, and dress like the other women in the cities. And Paris is argubly the most fashionable place on earth, so why not join in as much as you can? Dark, nice jeans are fine. I would wear black tennis shoes, not white ones. With a nice blouse and light jacket, this will be fine for almost any daytime activity --museums, cafes, churches. For dressier occassions/night, black slacks and top, perhaps some nice sandals, a scarf or a bit of jewelry to dress it up. If the weather is going to be hot, substitute jeans with lighter fabric slacks (in dark color) or a skirt.
I could go on and on about dressing for Paris, but just be conservative and tasteful and you will do fine.

Posted by
529 posts


I agree with BG if you want to look nice. I travel light so I don't do the nice jeans thing but all the 20-30 crowd wears em. Bright skirts were everywhere too but that was last May.

I use a skirt, 2 slacks, cardigan, light jacket-blazer, scarves, costume jewelry, 3 camis/tanks, 3 Sl(1 is dresier top) & 2 LS(1 is nice blouse), black walking shoes,& slip on shoes.

Don't forget a small umbrella, and depending on when you go a lightweight rain coat.

It's nice to dress appropriately just like you would here. Accessorize well and you'll have a fun wardrobe.

You could always take the bare essentials and have fun outfitting yourself there.