I leave for Paris next week, so this month’s Currently feature is mostly about planning and packing.
READING: Maybe it’s because I’m headed to Paris again, but I am currently on another Hemingway binge:
A Moveable Feast (Ernest Hemingway) - It’s one of my favorite books and definitely my favorite Hemingway. It also features one of my favorite quotes: “There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home and in Paris.”
The Hemingway Women (Bernice Kert): Based on letters and interviews, the book draws comparisons between Hemingway’s heroines and their real-life inspirations.
Hemingway’s Paris: A Writer’s City in Words and Images (Robert Wheeler): This is a beautiful book filled with black and white photographs that depict Hemingway’s love affair with Paris.
A Drinkable Feast (Phillip Green): A history of the Lost Generation in 1920s Paris told through the lens of the cocktails they loved. I have to admit I do love this genre, including Tequila Mockingbird and Gone with the Gin.
I am loading up my iPad with books to read on the plane. Let me know if you have any favorites to compliment my trip to Paris.
WATCHING: Nothing new.
We are still slogging through The Americans. We just finished season 4 and are wondering whether we will continue with seasons 5 and 6.
Before I leave and probably while I’m in Paris, I will be watching movies that feature neighborhoods where we’ll be strolling: Midnight in Paris, Amélie, Funny Face, Charade, and An American Girl in Paris Part Une and Part Deux, the finale of the Sex and the City series. Any other Paris-based movies that I should add to my list?
PLANNING: Daily Paris Itineraries
It really isn’t about planning every moment of our trip, but, to maximize our time in Paris, I do like to organize days in walking tours that include attractions, favorite restaurants, and shops in the same neighborhoods. Here is my Google Map for our week in Paris:
Saturday, February 23: Arrival, outdoor market (avenue Président Wilson), Eiffel Tower, and possibly a boat ride on the Seine — that is, if we don’t get waylaid by protesters.
Sunday, February 24: Île de la Cité and the Left Bank — Notre Dame, bouquinistes, Latin Quarter, Luxembourg Gardens, Saint-Germain, and le Bon Marché
Monday, February 25: Champs-Élysées, Tuileries Gardens, the Louvre, Faubourg Saint-Honoré, and dinner at Le Soufflé
Tuesday, February 26: Marais: Village Saint-Paul, Place des Vosges, Canal Saint-Martin, Père Lachaise
Wednesday, February 27: Montmartre, Opéra Garnier, and shopping in the Grands Magasins and la rue de la Paix
Thursday, February 28: Shopping and strolling in the rue de Rivoli, the Palais-Royal, and Galerie Vivienne with stops for lunch or an apéro at 228 in Le Meurice (because it’s 2/28!), tea at the Ritz, and a cocktail at Bar Hemingway. What a great way to celebrate both my birthday and the end of our trip.
PACKING: For Paris…
I love my new Delsey Paris Cruise Lite hard-side carry-on. It’s always an adjustment to pack a new bag, but I tested this one on a recent trip to Florida and it’s so convenient. My only regret is that I checked my bag (since my fellow travelers were checking theirs) and there are already scuffs on it. Maybe a darker color would have been better.
I also love eBags Packing Cubes to keep my things organized.
Yes, I do like to carry-on whenever possible. To me the benefits outweigh the inconveniences:
You are responsible for your luggage in airports and on the plane. The greatest challenge for me is finding a kind soul to help me store my carry-on in the overhead bin — Oh the joys of being vertically challenged!
You have to limit your liquids and gels to a quart-sized bag. This makes you really rethink what you can do without for a week or so. Do I need all those facial serums? Can I use hotel shampoo and conditioner? How many hair products do I really need? Can I get free samples of my favorite fragrance, face cream, eye cream, etc.? (Yes, thanks to my favorites at the Nordstrom Chanel counter!)
You are responsible for your own bag — no one throws it around.
You can access anything you need while you are traveling.
Your luggage won’t get lost.
You must limit what you buy. Before purchasing anything, I consider if things are too heavy, too bulky, and over 3 oz. of liquid. This keeps me from taking home too many books, Diptyque candles, French pharmacy cosmetics and culinary delicacies (wine, mustards, etc.), and expensive fragrances (maybe a con because I love these things, but definitely a pro for my budget).
You also have to limit what you take. To me, this really is a benefit. In Paris, black is always chic. A good capsule wardrobe is appropriate for everything from a stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens to tea at the Ritz.
Here’s what I’m packing:
Outerwear: The average high temperature in Paris for February is in 40’s. Currently the forecast of our week in Paris is mostly in the 50’s! However, last year’s bitter winds and snow taught me to be prepared for a variety of weather situations. A good mid-weight coat is key. I’m taking a little trench/peacoat hybrid.
In my carry-on:
4 pairs of skinny black pants (89th + Madison) and maybe a skirt
5 tops: blue tired shell (Maison Jules - out of stock, but like this in solid French blue), navy shell (Loft), black shell w/sheer overlay (no longer available), floral shell (Loft), and black boat neck blouse (similar to this)
2-3 pairs of shoes (depending on the weather). 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)! There are a lot of boots and flats that are both comfortable and fashionable. Here’s what I’m taking: black ankle boots (Blondo), black loafers (Donald/Pliner - similar to these), and black ballerinas (These are very reminiscent of Chanel ballerinas, super comfy yet very inexpensive. I’m on my second pair.)
Unmentionables, pajamas, slippers, tights, and socks (Have you tried these?)
Personal items: cosmetics, contacts, hairbrush, toiletries (see above), contacts, Advil, band-aids, a curling rod, and maybe a hairdryer (I have to verify the wattage of the one in our Airbnb.)
Copies of my passport and insurance card
In my tote:
Wallet: passport, bank card, insurance card, and euros
Coin purse — I always end up with a lot of change in Paris.
Cosmetic touch up kit, fresh contacts, and toothbrush
Electronics: voltage/plug converters (I really like this one), Macbook (for editing, curating, and sharing photos as well as watching movies set in Paris), iPad (for movies, photos, Facetime with Piper and Eric, and especially books), iPhone XS with the Verizon TravelPass (for $10/day, I can use my phone exactly as I do in the US, including calls, texts, and data), Powerbeats 3, Theta 360º camera (for a school project), and charging cables. As much as I love my Sony a6000 DSLR, I will only use my iPhone on this trip. I want to focus on the daily delights that make Paris special rather than obsessing over lighting and focus.
Merino scarf (doubles as a blank on the plane)
Reusable water bottle
Have I forgotten anything? What are your recommendations for books, movies, packing, and strolling in Paris?
This post contains many links to books, movies, and products I love, though none are affiliate. That being said, if any of the companies or Paris shops and restaurants that I mentioned are interested, I would love to work on a project together!