What to wear in Paris
What clothing to wear in Paris depends upon when you go
Ooh-la-la—the exclamation is a vintage one but one that’s nonetheless a part of American lingo. The phrase lends itself to describing anything French that has a flirtatious flair. A man might exclaim ooh-la-la upon watching a saucy lady with a well turned ankle saunter down the street. What to wear in Paris brings to a woman’s mind visions of high fashion—sleek, form-fitting dresses and hats with brims that enable a sideways glance at one’s lover—or the pool boy. In contrast, some couples armed only with travel favorites say that when they think of things French, they visualize the Eiffel Tower—a monument completed in 1889 to welcome crowds attending the International Exposition of Paris, whose festivities commemorated the centenary of the French Revolution.
Other tourists thinking French praise the Louvre Palace, formerly a royal fortress that now guards a world-class museum filled with artistic treasures. Sometimes, folks who wonder what to wear in Paris conjure up images of creamy soufflés and mellow wines sampled at bawdy bistros whose highlights include lively music, dancing ’til dawn and lots of champagne. What to wear in Paris depends upon the activities planned for the day and the time of year a visit will be made. Ladies dress to be pretty. But comfort is the watchword for men. In fact, there’s a sensual surplus of classic linen sport coats, crewneck pullovers and even clearance specials that make any man’s question about what to wear in Paris an easy one to answer—on any ooh-la-la night or daytime adventure.
Comfort is the key
Paris is a go-go-go city. French classes and city maps can prepare one for making an itinerary that will limit packing to basics that are classy yet functional. Any reputable travel agent also will give clues as to what to wear in Paris on a trip at any time of year. Hotels, restaurants and museums abound and many offer indoor air-conditioning but many do not. A light sweater is a must for both women and men who want to fend off a chill on the shoulders.
The wettest months are May and June. A steady rate of precipitation averaging 25 inches per year is the norm. But few couples will object to huddling beneath an umbrella that when turned sideways provides enough privacy to steal a kiss and launch a Paris springtime romance.
The hottest months are July and August. These are the months when countrymen with work schedules whose perks include a vacation head for the seashore or the mountains. That’s where a lot of tourists go, too. They find that the answer to what to wear in Paris during the summer is: as little as possible.
The winter months are December and January. Women and men alike find it’s easiest to pack apparel that is versatile. Winter in Paris brings grey skies but the temperature rarely drops past freezing. Snow is rare. One all-weather coat may suffice. Clothing that can be layered—or shed—is a good choice.
Tourists are fewer in winter
Wouldn’t it be nice to know not only what to wear in Paris but when to go to Paris? Some travelers like crowds. Some will do almost anything to avoid crowds. If you are one who likes to move through the monuments, museums and night spots of Paris without stepping on the heels of those ahead of you, opt to travel to Paris during its winter. It’s a time when attractions are all but deserted. And the off-season is the ideal time for visitors with mobility issues; handicapped persons surely will be more at ease at that time of year. There are many sights to enjoy without the hassle of oppressive crowds.
• Musee de Louvre: See the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo
• Chateau de Versailles: See artworks and architecture near Paris
• Hotel de Ville: There is ice skating here, at the Paris City Hall
• Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris: See the Nativity story reenacted
Travel in Paris is easy
Paris is a small city, less than four miles in diameter. Rental cars are easy to acquire but anyone wondering about what to wear in Paris may enjoy knowing that a ride on public transportation—busses, shuttles, taxis and the Metro subway system—is a most casual affair. Pack light. Pack right. If it is raining, hide behind your umbrella and steal a kiss to launch your own ooh-la-la vacation. Just don’t steal that kiss from a stranger—especially one wearing a badge.