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!

French Friday: La Semaine de la Mode

le 28 septembre 2018 (271/365) • La Semaine de la mode

« La mode n’est pas quelque chose qui existe uniquement dans les vêtements. 

La mode est dans l’air, portée par le vent. On la devine. La mode est dans le ciel, dans la rue. » - Coco Chanel

It's Fashion Week in Paris again. I was there for the Fall/Winter installations in both 2017 and 2018.  I thought I was pretty stealth when I snapped these photos last February in the Palais Royal, but the look on her face indicates that I'd been spotted! Zut!

French Friday: Les Réflexion

le 6 avril 2018 (096/365)

« Glace: matière à réflexion. » - Léo Campion. Of course the dresses and handbags in the Dior windows are beautiful, but it is the reflection of Paris herself that is most stunning.

Givenchy

March 13, 2018 (072/365)

"His are the only clothes in which I am myself. He is far more than a couturier, [Givenchy] is a creator of personality." ~ Audrey Hepburn 

Iconic French couturier, Hubert de Givenchy, passed away yesterday at the age of 91. Givenchy's New York Times obituary states that "Mr. Givenchy was emblematic of a generation of gentlemanly designers who established their couture houses in postwar Paris, nurturing personal relationships with customers and creating entire collections with specific women in mind." The woman with whom he had the closest relationship was, of course, Audrey Hepburn. Givenchy's designs appeared in many of Audrey's most memorable films including Sabrina, Funny Face, Charade, and How to Steal a Million -- all of which are set in Paris and all of which we watched during our recent trip. In fact, we were so enamored with Audrey and Givenchy dresses that we visited the flagship atelier and I purchased this charming book.

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!