5 Things Not to Pack When You Move to France

About a year ago, I wrote a post out of frustration about what to pack when you move to France. There were a lot of things in the beginning that I had a heck of a time finding at a reasonable price.

Update for that post: I really like the black hair bands that they sell at Sephora here. They last a long time, unlike the grande surface/grocery store brands that I've tried so far, and are completely affordable.

Today I wanted to talk about some of things that you should definitely not pack when you come to France. Whether you're big into packing light, or you believe in coming super prepared, no one wants to waste space on stuff that they won't need.


This might seem like an obvious one, but I promise that there where at least 2 or 3 exchange students during my time that brought nearly all their bedding with them in an extra suitcase. The problem is that beds and even pillows are different shapes/sizes here, so chances are high that none of your American linens will fit, even if they're from Ikea.

They do sell bed sheets here. I promise.

Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, etc.

You can get many major American brands here fairly easily (Dove, Pantene, Head & Shoulders, etc.), and they're reasonably priced. Unless you have an uber-sensitive scalp and need a super special shampoo, extra toiletries will just take up precious space. Even worse? Sometimes these products leak in your bag and wet all of your clothing. Not worth the risk  in my opinion.

Honestly, people have been showering in France for a very long time. You should be covered.

Hair Dryers, Straighteners, Curling Irons

Generally, the voltage of American curling irons and other bathroom paraphernalia is not compatible with the voltage in France. It's just not, and you might set things on fire or just kill your hairdryer. I bought a cheap hair straightener and a hairdryer from Carrefour my first week here 4 years ago, and they're both still going strong.

Your Cellphone

I know that people get really attached to their phones and all of your contacts are on there. Everyone needs a cell phone nowadays, right? The problem is that bringing one in from American is going to be complicated and probably cost you loads of money. There were two students here during my time that absolutely refused to get a new phone because their parents were paying for their American cellphones.

Do you know how much cell phone service costs per month in France?
2€ for 2 hours a month of calls and unlimited texts - or 19€ for unlimited calling, even to the States!*

Do you know how much they student's parents were paying per month?
$100. Such a waste of money. Not to mention, it took them over a month to get things hooked up properly.


Extra tip: You probably don't need to bring a 3 year supply of the pill. Just bring a few packs to hold you over until you can see a gynecologist. The pill is often partially or almost entirely covered by social security in France, so there's no use wasting your precious pennies. I pay 1€ for a 3 month supply. As always, make sure you check with your doctor/insurance before leaving home, but this definitely something you should ask about.

*Exact prices depend on the provider you're using, but currently I'm paying 2€ a month with the provider Free.


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