Packing Tips in Retrospect

Julia Himmelberger
December 15, 2021

My time in Paris is coming to an end, so here are some packing tips for things to bring from home and things to buy here that I’ve discovered since arriving to Paris!

Tote Bag

Bring a tote bag (or 2!) from home. You’ll need 1-2 for grocery shopping, and everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) uses them around Paris for carrying their things (instead of backpacks). Personally, I’m a big backpack person and used one for all my class days, but on the weekend, or day trips, having two tote bags was KEY. I brought one canvas tote and one packable tote from Ikea that folds up super small so I could keep it in my backpack for spontaneous grocery shopping!

Small containers of shampoo, toothpaste, etc.

My mom convinced me at the last minute to bring a little bit of shampoo and conditioner in 3oz. containers, and I’m so glad she did! They were super helpful for the first couple days when I arrived and hadn’t gone shopping yet, and I used them on all my overnight trips. It’s hard to find travel-size containers/bottles, and it was also nice to have a little bit of the products that I use at home with me. I decided not to bring my own shampoo/conditioner with me (in big size) because I didn’t want them to take up space in my suitcase and I’m not super picky about my hair products. I very easily purchased shower products at Monoprix (kind of like the Paris version of a SuperTarget). 


They warn you that it’s rainy in Paris, and they’re not lying! Parisians are huge umbrella fans. They also don’t wear rain coats (but I brought mine anyway, and I’m glad I did). I chose to buy an umbrella in Paris (5 euros at Ikea!) so that it wouldn’t take up space in my bag, and it was a good choice. I keep my umbrella on me at all times, tucked in the side pocket of my backpack. You really never know when it’s going to rain, and I hate getting wet!

Measuring cups

If you’ll be living in an apartment and like to bake or cook, you might consider bringing measuring cups and spoons with you. I did this (also under the recommendation of my mother) and really liked having them so that I could make recipes I knew from home. I made pancakes many times, and also used them for measuring out rice to get the perfect rice to water ratio (if you know, you know). 

Laundry bag

If you’re living in an apartment, you’ll also want to have a laundry bag to transport your dirty clothes from your room to the laundry facilities. This could be a reusable grocery bag, a mesh laundry bag, or even just a larger plastic bag. If you’re worried about washing your delicates, bring a smaller mesh bag to wash them in. 


This is really up to you. You can find just about anything you need so long as you're not married to a specific brand. If you are, then bring those from home (or do some research to see if they're sold in France - you can look on the Monoprix website, which is a store that sells just about everything!).  I ended up bringing my facewash from home but bought my shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. in France to save space in my bags.

Happy packing!

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Julia Himmelberger

<p>Hi! My name is Julia (she/her) and I'm from Wellesley, MA. I study French and Political Science at St. Olaf College. I love to read, play ultimate frisbee, and swim!</p>

2021 Fall
Home University:
St. Olaf College
Wellesley, MA
French Language
Political Science
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