Every year since that one, my husband and I have said we would go to France. But every year something else has gotten in the way. We were moving, we didn’t have enough vacation time, we needed to use the money for other expenses such as buying a house, buying a car, or paying the tuition on my masters degree. It didn’t seem a responsible investment of either our money or our time.
But sometimes we have to be irresponsibly in pursuit of our dreams, and I was already there. On January 1st I announced to my husband that this year, ten years after my last tour in France, I would return to the country with or without him. It was time.
Thankfully, he was on board. The only problem was my husband had an entirely different idea of what a France vacation should look like. We would hike the Haute Route, he told me, traversing the alps from Chamonix to Zermatt, hiking xx miles and climbing xx feet over the course of 14 days, all of which would be spent without bathing.
I tried to get on board, really I did. I mean, anything that would get my husband to finally go to France with me right? But the more we planned the trip, the less I was excited about it. With a packing list that included hiking boots, crampons, waterproof pants, and a parka, it wasn’t quite turning out to be the France I fell in love with.
So we decided to change course. Since I was not willing to give up on my France trip (remember the whole “I’m going with or without you” thing?) my husband suggested that due to limited vacation time, and an intense desire to “explore more of the U.S. first,” why don’t I just go with my girlfriends instead? DONE AND DONE. Within minutes I had texted four of my besties and the trip was on.
We booked our flights a couple weeks later and rented airbnb’s in Paris, Marseille, Corsica, and Nice. With a 20-day trip planned in the Champagne and the Cote D’Azur we were resolutely agreed on one important point: there would be no hiking boots on our trip. This was a girls trip to France, and we would enjoy it thoroughly in style.
As most of our days would be spent on the Mediterranean, we agreed on a wardrobe that required a modicum of propriety and an ample amount of elegance. The swimsuit would provide our daily base, topped with layers of shorts, shirts, and sweaters as the weather provided, and all fit snugly into one backpack that would travel around the countryside with us.
So, inspired by my Audrey Hepburn Capsule Wardrobe, I created my France Capsule packing list.
Here’s what I’m packing for Paris:
Two shawl sweaters
One light sweater
One heavy sweater
Two long sleeve button downs
Two black tees
Two black tanks
One black tank dress
One black t-shirt dress
One “at the beach” dress/coverup
One pair leggings
One pair jeans
One pair shorts
One pair capris
One black one-piece swimsuit
One black two-piece swimsuit
One pair of blush flats
One pair of leather sandals
Black jammy shorts
Pink jammy top
Accessories: two curling irons, one blow dryer, outlet converter, small bag of makeup, two set of jewelry, two pairs sunglasses.
Misc: Passport, purse, wallet, phone, iphone cord, sleep mask, vitamins, toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razor, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, deodorant, perfume), skin care (face rinse, rose water, face spf, face argan oil, face vitamin c oil), sunscreen, 2-3 books.
I will wear the heavy sweater and leggings on the plane with a button-down shirt, a pair of flats, and all my jewelry. Everything else will go in my backpack apart from a smaller bag that would contain everything I need for the flight including books, food, an eye mask, and Advil pm.
And there you have it! A capsule wardrobe for France that is Paris Perfect. Bon Voyage!