February 12, 2018

Packing for Paris

February 12, 2018 (043/365) • J-8 avant Paris

“I took only one suitcase and a cosmetics case...but I was worried about books."
~ Martha Gellhorn (aka Mrs. Ernest Hemingway III), Travels With Myself and Another

There are so many iterations of "What to Pack for Paris in the Winter" articles and blog posts, and here's one more: 

  • LUGGAGE & HANDBAGS: Even when I check a bag, my Swiss Army carry on is the perfect size for a week to ten days in Paris. I also love eBags Packing Cubes to keep my things organized. For my electronics and carry on essentials, I usually take my Lancel Elsa bag (similar to this one, only older -- purchased in Paris in 2009). For everyday walking around, I prefer a small cross-body bag like this one from Coach or this Chanel WOC (purchased in Paris in 2013) to more safely carry my essentials (passport, cash, bankcard, phone, etc.).
  • FOOTWARE: My #1 bit of packing advice is take COMFORTABLE walking shoes! Poor shoes impact one's feet, back, and attitude! Don’t be a slave to fashion (even during Paris Fashion Week)! That being said, there are a lot of boots and flats that are both comfortable and fashionable. Here are my choices for this trip: Bandolino flats (I have these in black and burgundy) and these Lucky booties.
  • OUTERWEAR: The average high temperature in Paris for February is in 40’s. Although mild weather is expected next week, Paris has experienced both flooding rains and significant snow accumulations this month. I plan to be prepared for a variety of weather situations. A good mid-weight coat is key, along with accessories such as gloves, scarves, sunnies, and, despite what Audrey says in Sabrina, an umbrella.
  • CLOTHING: In Paris, black is always chic, but to avoid being boring, I pack a variety of jewelry and accessories. A good capsule wardrobe is appropriate for everything from a stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens to tea at the Ritz.
  • PERSONAL ITEMS: Don't forget pajamas, slippers, undergarments, and socks. I pack my favorite hair and skincare products, toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush and hairdryer (Yes, I do need my powerful, ionic hairdryer), daily contact lenses, makeup, Advil, and band-aids.
  • ELECTRONICS: Some people are able to unplug when on vacation, but I enjoy staying connected. These days, I travel with quite a bit of technology:
    • Voltage converters and plug adaptors for France. A voltage converter is absolutely essential to avoid frying your phone battery and even your hair.
    • Laptop: My 12" Macbook is perfect for everything from editing photos to watching movies -- all set in Paris, of course.
    • Mobile phone: iPhone X with the Verizon TravelPass (for $10/day, I can use my phone exactly as I do in the US, including calls, texts, and data)
    • Camera: As much as I love my Sony a6000 DSLR, I think I'll rely on my iPhone X this time. I intend to focus on the daily delights that make Paris special rather than yet another requisite tourist photo of each landmark and monument. I'd like to try to enjoy the moments as they happen rather than obsessing over lighting and focus. 
    • iPad Mini 4 for movies, photos, Facetime with Piper (and Eric), and especially books. Unlike Marty Gellhorn, I no longer worry about the bulk that essential reading material adds to my suitcase. So, all my francophone and francophile friends, what should I read this time? Send me your favorite set-in-Paris reading suggestions. Merci!