In a question a bit related to Winter apparel for Europe (November-December), would a leather jacket (thinner lamb jacket) be okay for traveling Spain/France/Italy during November/December?

I also plan to take a SmartWool longsleeve base layer + (t)shirt + hoodie. Would that be enough layers? I also have a not too thick down puffy jacket but I guess it is way brighter (brightish green).. and for some reason I wanna look "good" in Europe :). It would probably be warmer though.

I'm currently living in San Diego, to give an idea of what I'm used to now, though I did lived in Seattle for a bit, and the puffy/down one kept me warm enough by itself during winter, the leather one was a bit chilly if worn by itself, but I never tried with a proper base layer and warm middle.



I'm planning mostly to visit cities and towns, not snowboarding or so. For France (which I believe is the coldest of those 3 countries) pretty much just Paris and nearby towns. Italy is where I'll spend most of my time, and my plan is to start in the north and move south all the way down to Sicily, where I would be ending my trip and coming back home.

As an aside, are rain jackets really needed/recommended? Or would a simple expandable umbrella be enough?

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    That would really depend on where in Italy/France you are planning to spend time. If you are going to the Alps, higher in the mountain it can be rather colder than in Seattle in winter. I remember -20C (about -5F) in January in the French Alps.
    – Aleks G
    Oct 31, 2014 at 11:16
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    Europe extends from the Mediterranean to the Arctic. There is no such thing as a "European winter", just as there is no such thing as an "American winter". Mar 4, 2016 at 16:28
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    A rain jacket is highly recommended. You can easily get light rain with high winds. Umbrellas are extremely inconvenient and often not terribly effective in such conditions. Wool or synthetic trousers are also useful if your rain coat is not long.
    – phoog
    Mar 4, 2016 at 17:00
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    @FranciscoNoriega Northern Italy includes a Mediterranean coastline and some of the highest mountains in Europe. Imagine somebody asked you about the "American winter" and then made it a little more precise by saying they were going to California. Still makes quite a difference whether they're going to San Diego or the Sierra Nevada, right? Mar 5, 2016 at 21:00
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    @phoog, a bit late but your rain jacket tip was totally accurate! So glad I took one! Jan 24, 2017 at 0:32

2 Answers 2


It should definitely be enough but you should take the warm jacket with you just in case.

But you can judge yourself. Temperature Averages in Paris in November are about 7°C (41°F) and it can be quite rainy (15 rainfall days in december as seen on holiday-weather.com). A rainjacket is advised, but depends on your personal preference. If you don't mind holding your umbrella, then of course you don't need a rain jacket.

In the other places the temperature will probably be similar or a bit higher (up to a 10°C/50°F average in sicily's december.) with similar rainfall days.

Keep in mind that these are the average temperatures and it can get colder than that.

I live in Switzerland, where it can get quite cool in November/December and on a cold day, a tshirt, hoodie and warm jacket keep me warm. But then again, you are probably used to warmer temperatures, so a layer more won't hurt. If you can easily take the warm jacket, then do it, because it does get chilly, especially if you plan on visiting "mountain-y areas".

Better be safe than sorry, so pack the warm jacket also and test whether or not you need it.

Have a good and warm time in Europe.



Understand that having properly shaped clothe is MUCH more important than the quality.
In cold weather, a jacket must protect you from the top of your throat to the bottom of your hip. A basic rain coat matching this rule is better than a $1000 fur coat 5 cm too short.
Your wool and Tshirt should also go as low as possible.

Seriously, 3 layer of summer clothe matching those rule are OK for mild winter (down to freezing point) (with good gloves and shoes)

That said, December in southern Europe is not too cold. If you keep away from the mountain and eastern France, you shouldn't get below 5°C.
Rain jacket and waterproof shoes highly recommended. A 5°C rain is worse than -5°C snow.

Sorry if I sound like Captain Obvious to some. I assume you've never saw winter

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