Please sign in to post.

Paris - in July - Proper Dress - Packing

I've been told by several that one shouldn't wear shorts in Paris. Is this true? If so, would it be comfortable enough to wear khaki/cargo pants w/ a dry-fit collared short sleeve shirt? (I sweat a lot and don't necessarily want to wear long sleeve shirts as it might be warm and prefer dry fit shirts while travelling - such as a Nike golf dri-fit shirt). My wife wonders what she should wear? We are also going to do a Fat Tire bike tour when we first arrive - day trip - okay to wear shorts on that? Any suggestions are appreciated.

Posted by
12040 posts

Wear what you want and find comfortable. Only certain Michelin starred restaurants have an enforceable dress code. Anyone paying attention will know you're a tourist no matter what you wear. I'm a heavy sweater as well, and between the choice of looking like an obvious tourist and walking around soaked with perspiration, I'll take being dry, thank you.

Posted by
78 posts

You will certainly see people wearing shorts in Paris in the summer.

If you were in NYC, LA, or Chicago and saw a group of tourists would you care what they were wearing? No one in Paris will care whether or not you wear shorts, slacks, jeans, tennis shoes, etc.

Wear what you want and don't worry about others. That being said, use common sense and dress appropriately if you are going to a church, dinner party or expensive restaurant.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you all! Any ideas what to wear to a Mozart symphony at Paris' Church la Madeline? In Fort Myers you can show up to the symphony in short sleeve shirt and khakis and not be out of place. Don't necessarily want to bring a suit w/me.

Posted by
4 posts

Don't worry about the white tennis shoe thing. I'm only in my mid 40's so we don't wear the "condo commando" gear yet of white tennis shoes, plaid shorts and white belt!

Thanks everyone for your assistance!

Posted by
9110 posts

Paris population is two million. The city has forty-five million visitors a year. Exactly which people are you more likely to see when you're walking around?

Posted by
1010 posts

Do not wear shorts in France. Don't wear regular white tennis shoes, or light blue jeans either. Don't wear baseball hats if you are a man. Wear either black of dark denimn trousers for men or women. The woman wear a lot of scarves in Britain and France. Elaine, Mission Viejo, Ca.

Posted by
8064 posts

Please wear whatever shoes you like. It does NOT matter if they are white. You can wear whatever color of jeans that you like, you can even wear shorts.

*Alert - the white tennis shoe thing is a huge myth.

Posted by
774 posts

For your wife, I suggest a skort; I travelled with one to Italy and was very comfy. I didn't have to worry if I wanted to sit on the ground and picnic because of the short part of the skort. Many golfing places have skorts in quicker dry material. I found a cheap skort at my Costco this year (after buying a very expensive one at Tilley a couple of years ago). I can't speak to the shorts issue as I haven't been in Europe in the hottest part of the summer. I myself take the coolmax type of shirts easily washed and dried in the sink. No need to wear long sleeves. There has been some chatter previously on this list about capris for both men and women. I have a pair of pants that have a button to shorten them into capris (I think they are Tilley too).

I agree with other posters to wear your most comfy shoes, well broken in. My last trip I wore a pair of Naots and a soft sole Birkenstock sandal. I did wear socks with my sandals, European style, on some days if I needed to give my feet a break from the other shoes. I find I walk and stand so much more on my European trips that no matter how comfy the shoes, I will still have sore feet at the end of the day. I think I spend more time pampering my feet on a trip than at any other time. Have a great time.

Posted by
4555 posts

James....your concern is unnecessary. There have been plenty of posts from people here asking how they should dress in Italy and Spain....it's not limited to France or putting any one group on a "pedestal."

Posted by
25 posts

Honestly, it makes me laugh how many people are so concerned with "not looking like a tourist" when the minute you open your mouth you sound like one anyway. I was in Paris last summer for the week around Bastille Day, and it was HOT. I wore plain t-shirts and bermuda shorts everyday. No one took a second glance at me. I echo the advice: wear what you're comfortable wearing. I'd rather stay cool than "blend in."

Posted by
355 posts

Paris, while locals dress a bit nicer and with more style than some other cities, is basically like anywhere else. You should dress appropriately for the activity and the establishment. If you are out for an afternoon walk along the Seine or a picnic in the Luxembourg Gardens or a bicycle ride, shorts are fine. If you are going out to dinner, whether it's a Michelin star restaurant or not, you should dress for dinner. If you are going into a church, remember that it is a place of worship for many people and should be treated as such. It's a matter of respect. Just use common sense and you'll be fine.

Posted by
1939 posts

Way to dress. Why are we so worried about this? Dress comfortably/no short shorts/no spaghetti straps in churches/are you really going to see these people again? I usually wear a jumper/can wear it several days in a row with different tee shirt/only problem is that in pictures there I am in a different city with the same jumper/no different than my son who (unknown to me) wore the same darn awful shorts every day in Disney for seven days but he was only seven/the only way we knew where we were was the background. Enjoy trip and don't worry so much.

Posted by
4 posts

I love this topic! It reminds me of my sister telling me to purchase black socks before going to Europe so I "didn't look like a tourist."

I said, "well, if they don't know I'm a tourist then they are idiots."

Posted by
251 posts

We were in Paris the first week in June. Keep in mind that the French don't have the excessive air conditioning that we have here in the States. The buses and the metro will be warm. Museums will be warmer than you'd expect. Dress for comfort and for style-you can be comfortable and still look good!The first time I was in Paris as a student- wore jeans the entire time. I promised myself when I returned that I wouldn't look grubby! I took casual skirts,casual dresses, capris and a dress for a special dinner out.

Posted by
988 posts

Years ago I was told I should not wear pants in Montreal. I did. The city did not come to a complete stop nor was I deported. None of these Countries has dress codes. My #1 priority is to be comfortable, and if my most comfortable walking shoes are white, Ill wear them. Same for clothing, dress comfortably and dress for the weather.

Posted by
1210 posts

I just returned from Italy and it was HOT. My favorite outfit was a short, little sundress with white capri leggings. It was cool, I felt covered and comfortable, too. I was surprised how popular leggings are in Europe right now.

Posted by
85 posts

I'm in Paris now. It is hot and everyone is wearing shorts. Wear what you like.

Posted by
85 posts

I'm in Paris now. It is hot and everyone is wearing shorts. Wear what you like.

Posted by
4 posts

This is hysterical! I have been living in Spain for a year, and some people say I still look like a guiri (Spanish version of a gringo). But truth be told, I AM a guiri, I am not from here, so I do not expect to look like I do. (On the flip side, I always smile when someone speaks to me in Spanish, obviously I sometimes look like a local!)
You are going to be in Paris, a HUGE melting pot. Don´t worry about it. Dress in the most comfortable way you can, especially your shoes. In the areas you will be visiting, there will be more tourists than locals, so don´t sweat it...sorry, had to say it.
I think even in Notre Dame you can wear what you wish.
Like someone mentioned before, the minute you open your mouth, pull out your map, or snap a picture, everyone will know you are a tourist. Doesn´t matter how sharply dressed you are.
I have generally found, over traveling the past year, that the population is more casual in Europe than I thought it would be.
For most restaurants though, I might choose one step up on the fancy fashion scale, just to be safe. It´s just courtesy and classy I suppose.
Have funnnn!

Posted by
79 posts

Haha! Sorry everyone! I think the whole "no white tennis shoes" myth started because of people like me - those who struggle with fashion and just stick to the simple black trousers with varying coloured tops. I think I look utterly ridiculous wearing white tennis shoes with black trousers, so I don't.

Why people worry about it? I don't know, but this reminds me of that old camera commercial. I can't remember the brand of camera but the commercial was boasting about how the camera was so small that it could fit in your pocket (rather than having it hang around your neck) "so you won't look like a tourist." Then the camera pans back from the pocket you just saw the camera go into, to the man dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, Gilligan hat, shorts, and white tennis shoes with (I think) black socks pulled up to full height. Of course, he's standing there proud of his ability to NOT look like a tourist because all the locals won't see his camera.

So I guess we Americans have been somewhat conditioned to believe that we're loud and mis-matched dressers (or ar the very least "too casual") when it comes to vacation wear in comparison to Europeans. Of course we've also been told how incredibly fashionable the French are, especially the Parisians. So perhaps Paris is the bar and maybe it's believed that whatever you wear there would be considered acceptable in Munich and everywhere else in Europe.

I'm NOT saying these things are true about Americans, or the French. Maybe they once were, and not now, I don't know, but it's obviously coming from somewhere and that's the best guess I have.

Posted by
71 posts

My theory is that the "ugly American" thing has become confused with "looking like a tourist". Just because you're carrying a map and wearing comfy shoes does not mean you're going to start demanding hamburgers in a loud voice in English in Parisian restaurants! You can behave respectfully and still be comfortable.

Posted by
74 posts

Craig, when I was in Paris, I did not want to wear shorts. Somehow it seemed disrespectful, especially for purposes of visiting a church. Instead, I wore chinos, shortsleeve shirts and sneakers. Undoubtedly I did look like a tourist, and my "Parlez-vous anglais?" would confirm that impression. But I would say that many visitors to Paris wear shorts as much as they can, so you will not stick out like a sore thumb if you do.