GUEST AUTHOR: Mai Tran, Spotahome Student Ambassador

So you just got accepted to a school or an internship in your dream destination: France. After the celebrations, it’s time to prepare for your trip.
Here are a few tips to ace one of the most painful steps that we all have to go through when preparing to go abroad: PACKING

Don’t pack too heavy

A general rule when packing for France is to go for the essentials. No need to pack school supplies or small appliances - leave that table lamp and that rice-cooker at home! - and avoid hefty fines at the airport baggage drop-off.

To your (pleasant) surprise, you’ll see that you can find everything in France for a reasonable price. On top of traditional retailers like Fnac or Darty and supermarkets like Carrefour or Auchan, there’re plenty of peer to peer platforms like Leboncoin where you can not only purchase second hand goods but also re-sell yours before leaving.

When it comes to fashion and beauty products, France is a true shopping paradise. So you can definitely buy clothes and cosmetics in France instead of packing extra. In particular, if you come from a tropical country, you might want to purchase your winter wear in France because the materials will be more adapted to the French cold winter.

Keep in mind that the French highly value simplicity. In the streets of France, you’ll mostly find plain-colored basics. National favorites include cropped skinny jeans, leather jackets, white sneakers, and ankle boots. Of course, if you want to bring extravagant outfits from your closet, just do it! There’s nothing wrong with standing out, as long as you feel good in your own skin.

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Una publicación compartida de FRENCH STYLE INSPO (@frenchstyleinspo) el Nov 25, 2015 at 4:15 PST

Instead, save some place for memories. These can be polaroids, a diary, or a birthday card from your grandma. Even though you’ll be entering a new chapter of your life where you’ll meet new people and make new friends, it can be hard to be in an unfamiliar town away from your family. Make sure to bring things that will remind you of home and your loved ones.

Think ahead

As mentioned above, sneakers are the national uniform in France. This is because living in France means a lot of walking (A LOT), so for footwear you might consider packing some sneakers or other types of comfortable shoes.

Do not forget to bring some work outfits for formal occasions like career fairs, or a more formal outfit for a romantic night out at a fancy French bistrot. A vivid color tie or a little black dress will help you blend right in with the French.

At the same time, do not leave out festive clothes and swimsuits. Expect to travel a lot - there is no shortage of holidays France! Summer shirts, big hats, espadrille wedges, sundresses, and shoulderless tops are some beachwear classics. And, of course, don’t forget the sunglasses!


Last but not least, you might want to scan all your important documents and put them on a usb key and/or an online storage platform (Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.). French paperwork can be troublesome, and you will thank yourself for doing this.

Make a list

Even though you’ve thought about it a lot, you may end up forgetting to pack a thing or two. This is normal when you have so many things to bring. The best way to avoid this is to make a packing list.


A really cool app to help you with your packing is PackPoint. This free app, available on Android  and iOS, automatically generates a customized packing list based on your destination, your expected date of travel, the purpose of your trip and the activities you plan on doing during the trip. Unfortunately, PackPoint only include business visits and short holidays for the moment, so it might not be optimized for moving abroad. However, it is really handy in suggesting items that don’t always come to mind, and it’s super easy to use! There’s no need to say, the traditional pen-and-paper checklist also work.

Expect your taste, both in fashion and lifestyle, to change as you stay in France. So bring only the essentials and keep your mind open to trying new things.

Soon enough you’ll be a baguette lover and red lipstick wearer!

Source: Ross Helen

If you don't have accomodation in France yet, check Spotahome.

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