Parisian Style: What to Wear in France in the Summer

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First of all, France in the summer can get hot! Whether you are touring the city of lights, enjoying the picturesque Alsace villages, soaking up the sun on the French Riviera, or getting lost in the Provence Lavender fields, dressing for France in the summer is all about lightweight, easy breezy pieces with a polished finish.

What I’m Wearing: Red Spell Solstice Cropped Blouse \\ Rag and Bone Denim Shorts \\ White Free People Dress (similar)

Parisian women are known for their chic French Fashion, with many staples that can be mixed and matched and worn for many summer months to come. The capsule wardrobe is an iconic staple of Parisian style that helps elevate French women’s own confidence and individuality. Some key pieces that may be included in a Parisian-style capsule wardrobe are:

  • A classic trench coat
  • A well-fitted pair of jeans
  • A tailored blazer
  • A white button-down shirt
  • A little black dress
  • Ballet flats or loafers
  • A striped Breton top
  • A silk scarf
  • A leather handbag

While the Parisian style serves as a timeless and elegant inspiration, when deciding what to wear in France, take cues from classic Parisian style while adding your own twists to create a summer wardrobe that reflects your individuality.

While I love the classic, effortless feel of traditional French fashion, I also love color and prints and wear plenty of matching sets and colorful dresses during summer in France. I always try to look pulled together and never wear anything too revealing, tight, short, or obnoxious that screams tourist.

From the streets of Paris to the south of France, here are some suggestions for what to wear in France in the summer.

What is the Temperature like in France During the Summer Months?

In France, during the summer, the weather can vary depending on the region, but generally, it tends to be warm and sunny. Evenings can become chilly, so a light jacket or summer trench coat is recommended.

Eastern France in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region is considered the chilliest region in summer, with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s (degrees Fahrenheit).

Temperatures are usually mild in winter and hot during summer along the Mediterranean, rising into the upper 70 degrees Fahrenheit at a minimum and into the low 90s during a heat wave.  

Check the weather forecast for the specific region you will visit, as weather conditions vary across the country. 

What I’m Wearing: Red Spell Set \\ White Linen Pants J Crew

General French Style Dress Code

While there is no official dress code, French women’s style is often considered effortless, elegant, and chic. It embodies a sense of confidence and individuality while maintaining a classic and timeless appeal. French women focus on quality over quantity, investing in well-made, versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create various stylish outfits.

You’ll see a lot of French women in neutral colors and clean looks, complete with classic basics, including well-tailored blazers, high-quality jeans, crisp white shirts, little black dresses, and well-fitted trousers. These pieces are the foundation of their wardrobe and can be dressed up or down for different occasions.

French women avoid looking too polished or over-styled and embrace a “less is more” approach. Many locals will dress with an effortless classic style in mind.

What to Pack for France in the Summer

Parisian fashion is about investing in timeless pieces that never go out of style. This includes well-fitted blouses, classic-cut trousers, tailored blazers, simple dresses, and high-quality knitwear.

As a tourist, you’ll want to avoid sticking out, not only for Parisian fashion’s sake but not to be targeted by pickpockets. Skip the oversized graphic tee, baseball hat, short shorts, tennis shoes, fanny packs, and cropped cargo-style capri pants. Elevate your look with classic basics, including ballet flats, Brenton stripes, lightweight blazers, and tailored linen pants to emulate a chic French style. 

Dressing slightly more polishedly is appreciated in France, so avoid overly casual or beachwear-style outfits when visiting restaurants or more formal settings. Think simple, well-tailored pieces that exude understated luxury.

What I’m Wearing: Asos Sherbert cutout dress \\ Spell Hibiscus Lane Off-the-Shoulder Dress

Also, consider any specific planned activities, as you might need appropriate attire for sightseeing, dining out, or attending cultural events.

Because of the hot summer days, packing lightweight items in breathable fabrics, such as linen or cotton, are recommended for your summer wardrobe. Neutrals like black, white, grey, navy, kaki and creams are the most popular color pallets that exude the French girl style. Pairing simple pieces with pretty pastels, a straw hat, a handwoven basket bag, or a summer scarf are great options.  

French summer style includes comfort and practicality. French people prefer walking-friendly shoes and clothing that allow them to move freely throughout their day.

The Best Tops to Wear in France in Summer

I love a summer blouse that is thin, lightweight, and airy. A crisp white blouse paired with tailored denim, linen shorts, or pants is an excellent option for casual days. An oversized linen shirt is a perfect option for the beach on hot days. 

The classic Brenton stripe is another fantastic top option when it comes to traditional French style. This classic striped shirt was first introduced in 1858 as a French Navy seaman uniform. It is now an iconic staple in all Parisian summer wardrobes.

The Best Bottoms to Wear in France in Summer

Linen pants and midi skirts are terrific options for your summer vacation. They are lightweight, breathable, and easily paired with a quality crop top, straw bag, and sun hat for an effortlessly chic look. A pair of denim shorts is a good option for warmer days but opt for a longer inseam and darker wash without distressing for a clean and classic look. Straight-legged white jeans are another great option for a clean look, especially on the coast. 

The Best Dresses to Wear in France in Summer

Add some charming pastels and floral prints to the mix with your summer dresses. Maxi dresses are perfect for your Paris packing list and French summer wardrobe. You may want to take it up a notch and add a little black dress and kitten heels to your Paris outfits if you plan a fine dining experience or a photoshoot in front of the Eiffel Tower. A relaxed summer dress is suitable for casual days in the countryside, frolicking through lavender fields, or enjoying a day on the Riviera. Pair them with strappy sandals or white sneakers for sightseeing or relaxing on the coast.

The Best Outerwear to Wear in France in Summer

With more warm days than cooler days, you won’t need a lot of outerwear, but just in case of rainy days, a summer trench coat or light jacket is a great addition to your France packing list. A lightweight denim jacket is a fantastic basic that easily pairs well with almost anything and offers enough warmth for cooler nights. Consider a leather jacket or a linen blazer in a soft neutral for a more polished look.

The Best Accessories to wear in France in summer

Unless you are hiking, you won’t see a ton of backpacks, fanny packs, and baseball caps in France. Parisian women are skilled at accessorizing their outfits to add interest and personality. Scarves, belts, and elegant shoes are common choices to elevate the overall look. French women love to pair their summer outfits with basket bags or tote bags in all different sizes and shapes. Classic basket bags are straw bags in soft neutrals that help elevate a look with a clean, classic feel. Throw on a summer scarf, a straw hat, and classic shades for a complete look. A summer scarf can even be worn as a headpiece for added flare. 

What I’m Wearing: Spell Jolene Lace Cut-Out Dress

The Best Shoes to Wear in France in Summer

You will probably be doing a lot of walking down those cobblestone streets, so wearing comfortable walking shoes is important when deciding what to wear in France. Comfortable ballet flats, classic white sneakers, or strappy sandals are good options. Avoid wearing brightly colored tennis shoes, grungy flip-flops, and uncomfortable high heels during the day or at sit-down dinners.

An espadrille sandal is a clean and classic shoe style with a nautical feel that is very popular along the coast, especially when paired with a Brenton Stripe top. Espadrilles come in many silhouettes, from wedges, slingbacks, and flats, and look great with practically every outfit.

The Best Swimsuits to Wear in France in the Summer

Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit or two. While bathing suits may seem a little more skimpy in France (especially for men) and topless beaches are a thing, it is still appropriate to wear a classic suit that fits well on most beaches and always have a coverup on hand.

***

There are so many beautiful areas to explore in France in the summer, all with their own character and pizazz. Whether you’re strolling along the promenades, enjoying beachside dining, or exploring the charming villages, embracing a chic and relaxed style will help you blend in with the fashionable ambiance of the French Riviera, the charming countryside, or the grandeur of the big cities.

Enjoy your summer in France, and don’t forget to wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water when sightseeing. One thing to note, Air-conditioning is a luxury in France in the summer, so do your research and choose an accommodation that suits your needs!

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Sam wearing backpack and hat walking through town.

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