Vacation Packing Checklist for France

Make Sure You Have All Crucial Items

Woman ready to go on vacations
Tetra Images / Getty Images

People from around the world love traveling to France in Western Europe, whether it's to see the historic Palace of Versailles, swim and check out the art in Nice, or try local wines. Others tour the famous 19th century Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum in romantic Paris, the capital known for culture, cuisine, and fashion. No matter what part of France you're visiting, ensure you don't forget any needed items—but don't go overboard, as it is always more productive to pack light.

Cross out items you will not need on your packing list or add personal preferences. Keep the list by your suitcase to check necessities off as you pack so you don't skip anything. 

Also, try to pack your carry-on bag with a few essentials. If the airline misplaces your bags, you might need a few items to tide you over until your luggage is restored to you. Remember that liquid items must be 100 milliliters or under and must all fit into a single quart-size, clear plastic bag that zips on top.

Though it might be pricier, you can shop in the airport for some of these items; you will be allowed to carry on your duty-free purchases in a separate bag.

Carry-On Bag

Make sure you bring the essentials you would like to have safely by your side on the airplane and can't risk losing to an airline mishap.

  • Emergency medical kit including toothbrush and toothpaste, makeup remover, moisturizing cream, and eye cream
  • Any medicines
  • Spare underwear
  • Spare pair of jeans
  • Spare shirt
  • Spare socks
  • Spare nightwear
  • Laptop (double check the rules which may forbid you from taking your laptop in your carry-on bag)
  • Phone and laptop chargers

Packing Essentials

Along with your airline tickets, passport, and picture identification in your wallet, there are many things to bring that will make your trip flow more smoothly. Double check that these items are in your suitcase for your trip to France.

  • Cash (in euros)
  • Traveler's checks (keep the checks and receipts separately)
  • Copies of hotel, rental car, and other confirmations
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Contact numbers to report credit cards or traveler's checks lost
  • French/English dictionary
  • Guidebooks
  • Maps (including point-to-point directions to lodging)
  • Currency converter
  • Plug adaptor
  • Telephone adaptor

Self-Care Items

Jetlag, long flights, and moving from place to place on a trip can be tiring, so include items to soothe your body and help you stay healthy when going to France.

  • Travel alarm clock
  • Umbrella
  • Reading material or books on your tablet
  • Binoculars (particularly useful in French cathedrals for carving details and the stained glass windows in places like Chartres)
  • Addresses and pens
  • Glasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses
  • Hand lotion
  • Small first aid kit
  • Travel pillow
  • Earplugs
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Lint roller
  • Cotton swabs

Medical Items

Traveling abroad, being in new climates with time differences, and eating new foods can sometimes cause health issues. Being prepared will make your trip as hassle-free as possible.

  • Prescription and over the counter medications
  • Tampons
  • Birth control (many chemists have machines outside their shops to buy condoms)
  • Antibacterial hand gel or wipes
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunburn soother
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine
  • Adhesive bandages 
  • Bug repellent
  • Pain reliever
  • Sea or car sickness pills

Security Items

While most travelers have no problems, it is always good to be prepared so that safety is not an issue.

  • Luggage locks
  • Luggage name tags
  • Hidden money pack

Clothing Care

Take care of your clothing while traveling so that it looks fresh. In the spirit of packing light, washing and caring for your clothes enables you to wear things more than once, if needed.

  • Travel-sized laundry detergent
  • Sewing kit
  • Clothesline
  • Sink stopper (some French sinks lack one)
  • Wrinkle-free spray
  • Compression clothing bags
  • Oversized sealable plastic bags with cardboard to pack clothes flat, avoiding wrinkles

Women's Clothing List

When packing for their French vacation, women can include not only something to wear for all the necessary situations but clothing for potential special occasions and weather changes.

  • Bra
  • Underpants
  • Skirt
  • Dress
  • Shorts
  • Slacks
  • Jeans or casual pants
  • Pantyhose
  • Jacket or cardigan
  • Sweater
  • Shorts
  • Pajamas (save space by using casual T-shirts for sleeping and daytime dressing)
  • Shirts (long-sleeved, short-sleeved, casual, and dressy)
  • Hat (that can be crushed)
  • Scarves (a couple take up little space, but are great for making the same outfit look different)
  • Gloves, knit hat, and coat (in winter)
  • Bathing suit and sarong (in summer)
  • Sneakers/walking shoes
  • Socks
  • Heels
  • Workout clothes

Men's Clothing List

Men should pack for typical situations like meals and outings and also plan for different types of weather and special occasions.

  • Undershirt/T-shirts
  • Briefs or boxer shorts
  • Shirts (long-sleeved, short-sleeved, casual, and dressy)
  • Dress slacks
  • Jeans or casual pants
  • Tie
  • Jacket, blazer, or cardigan
  • Suit (if needed)
  • Sweater
  • Shorts
  • Pajamas (save space by using casual T-shirts for sleeping and daytime dressing)
  • Hat (that can be crushed)
  • Casual shoes
  • Walking shoes (particularly if you plan to hike in France)
  • Dress shoes
  • Sandals
  • Gloves, knit hat, and coat (in winter)
  • Swimwear
  • Workout clothes

List for Baby or Toddler

When packing for young children, don't forget items that make them feel comfortable when in a new environment away from home, along with their clothes and other necessities.

  • Formula and bottles
  • Oatmeal and baby food jars
  • Food containers and spoons
  • Small bottle of dish soap
  • Small laundry detergent bottle
  • Onesies, pajamas, and dressier outfits
  • Socks
  • Wipes
  • Diaper bag
  • Diapers
  • Pacifiers
  • Stroller/car seat combo
  • Sling or backpack baby carrier
  • Toys and rattles
  • A familiar object that helps babies soothe themselves to sleep
  • Travel sound soother
  • Travel crib (if none will be available at accommodations)
  • Sunscreen

List for Children

Include belongings that make the vacation and the airplane ride enjoyable for kids, such as games and travel journals, as well as clothing and other needed items.

  • Travel games
  • Play outfits
  • Dressy outfit
  • Underwear and socks
  • Shoes
  • Books
  • Sunscreen
  • Travel journal and pen
  • Blanket
  • Stuffed animal

Toiletries

Be sure to include a toiletries bag with all your must-have items, from toothpaste to soap. Take familiar products in sizes currently approved by airlines.

  • Small bottles
  • Toothbrush, holder, and toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Tweezers
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Small brush or comb
  • Cosmetics
  • Soap
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Sunblock
  • Deodorant

For Souvenirs and Memories

So that after you return home you can always look back fondly on your vacation, bring a few things that ease your souvenir hunt and make memories.

  • Empty collapsible bag
  • Camera
  • Backup batteries
  • Extra film or memory card
  • Journal and pen
  • Addresses (you can ship some gifts duty-free)

Shopping in France

Many of the items you'll want to pack can be bought in France, and shopping locally is one of the joys of traveling abroad. But you may not have time, and if it's your first visit, you may take a while to get used to perusing supermarkets and opening hours of shops (sometimes eccentric).

Try to get to some of the discount malls and outlets; if you're going to Champagne, stop at Troyes for the McArthur Glen and Marque City malls. And if you're heading to France from the U.K., Calais is a great shopping city.

Before you go, check out the top travel tips for planning your vacation, and the saving tips when you are in France. 

Was this page helpful?