Currently • February 2019

I leave for Paris next week, so this month’s Currently feature is mostly about planning and packing.

Espresso w/Paris napkin

READING: Maybe it’s because I’m headed to Paris again, but I am currently on another Hemingway binge:

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.

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:

    Cons:

    • 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!)

    Pros:

    • 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

      • 3 black sweaters: a cardigan (Loft), a turtle neck (J Crew), and a boat neck (Maison Jules)

      • 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.)

      • Accessories: jewelry (including my watch and charm bracelet) headbands (black, leopard print, and tortoise shell), and a variety of silk and wool scarves

      • 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.)

      • Sunglasses, gloves, and despite what Audrey says, an umbrella.

      • 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!

Week 50 - Composition: Golden Ratio

(344/365) “When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day.” - Ella Woodward

Glitter Gold Latte at  Goddess and the Baker

Glitter Gold Latte at Goddess and the Baker

Often called Fibonacci, the spiral leads the viewers eye to the subject, compose your image using the Golden Ratio. #dogwood52 #dogwoodweek50

100 Days

(319/365)

Coffee in Paris

“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting” - Andy Warhol 

(In 100 days, I will be enjoying my coffee in Paris!)

French Friday: Au Café

le 27 avril 2018 (117/365)

« Le monde, d’ailleurs, se divise en deux classes : ceux qui vont au café et ceux qui n’y vont pas. De là, deux mentalités, parfaitement tranchées et distinctes, dont l’une — celle de ceux qui y vont — semble assez supérieure à l’autre. » - Georges Courteline

But First...

February 19, 2018 (050/365)

"A morning without coffee is like...sleep." - Anonymous. Today, I could use more of both!

Thanks a Latte

December 7, 2017 (341/365)

“Coffee -- the drink that comforteth the brain and heart” - Sir Francis Bacon

To "Saint Nick" who left Panera treats in my mailbox today, thanks a latte!

French Friday: Café Kitsuné

September 28, 2017 (271/365)

“Le comptoir d'un café est le parlement du peuple.” ~ Honoré de Balzac

Strolling through the Palais Royal in the 1er Arrondissement is one of my favorite Paris pastimes. I love the sublime symmetry of the architecture and the rich history. The signage on some of the storefronts are historic monuments to past shop owners. Number 51 Galerie Montpensier was once the home of Parisian Watchmaker, Charles Oudin, who opened his shop in the Palais Royal in 1801. The mosaic tiles on the threshold read Charles Oudin Horloger de la Marine Française  (Clockmaker to the French Navy). These days, Oudin's legacy lives on among the famous jewelry shops of the Place Vendôme. In 1865, number 51 became S.A. des Filatures et Tissages Jules Tournier et Filsthe historic artisans who created fabric for the royal family since 1630 and for the uniforms of Napoleon's army. Today, number 51 is home to Café Kitsuné, one of my favorite places to enjoy a cup of coffee.

Fika

August 3, 2017 (215/365)

"Coffee is a language in itself." - Jackie Chan

As a nod to my Scandinavian heritage, I occasionally enjoy a fika. This Swedish coffee break usually includes something sweet -- a simple pastry or a conversation with friends.

French Friday: Café de Flore

March 10, 2017 (069/365)

"Cafe De Flore speaks of love, its joys, its pains and its dramas - to love and to lose."  - Vanessa Paradis

Le Café de Flore was, and perhaps still is, one of the most fashionable café in the world. French actress, Simone Signoret wrote in her memoirs: "I was born in March 1941 at night on a bench of the Café de Flore." Singer/Actress Juliette Gréco moved to Saint-Germain-des-Prés in 1946 and immersed herself in the neighborhood's post-war bohemian lifestyle. Jean-Paul Sartre said that she had "millions of poems in her voice" and she became the Muse of Existentialism at the Café de Flore where she also met Miles Davis and Jean Cocteau. 

In the 1960s, the café became a meeting place for filmmakers and actors, including Roger Vadim, Jane Fonda, Jean Seberg, Roman Polanski, Brigitte Bardot, Alain Delon, Yves Montand, Catherine Deneuve, and Jean-Paul Belmondo. Fashion designers like Yves Saint-Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, and Karl Lagerfeld began frequenting the Café de Flore in the late 60's; Lagerfeld can still be see there on occasion. 

Everything here feels special, even the placemats designed by Hergé who illustrate the Tintin comics.

These days, the café's website says that "Saint-Germain-des-Prés has become the most famous village of France in the World" where once in a while, you can still spot international celebrities. The café's literary tradition also continues with play readings on Mondays and philosophical debates at 8:00 pm on the first Wednesday of each month.

When I'm lucky enough to be in Paris, I love to sit in a café, sipping expresso or a lovely glass of wine while scribbling in a journal. Although there are great terraces all over the city, it is always a treat to visit one of the iconic cafés of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Sure, the prices a bit higher, but along with a beverage, patrons enjoy a side order of literary and cultural history.