Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Packing for Paris

Whew! Now that I've got those memes done and shown you Pater's new shoes, I can get to some of the posts I've been thinking of over the last week or two. I also have a huge file of garden photos to share, altho' I'll try to save most of those for May Garden Bloggers Bloom Day next week. Just a quick preview -- here's the Clematis Alpina I luckily remembered to look for the other day and found they'd popped into bloom -- I love, love, love this mix of light and dark purple against the green.

Since I'm soon going to be walking the streets of Paris, gazing in shop windows, sitting on cafe terraces drinking wine, visiting galleries of inspiring art . . . Sorry, did I mention I'm going to Paris soon? I tend to get a bit distracted these days . . .At any rate, I thought you might be curious about how and what I pack. For two of our last three visits, each of which was 9 to 12 days long, Paul and I have managed with a carry-on bag each, altho' last year we indulged and took the next size up. One year, checking in with carry-ons only, we were congratulated on our packing skills by the ticket agent, who was quite impressed. When I replied that if I found I was missing something, I'd be in Paris where I could happily shop for what I needed, though, he quickly offered his condolences to my husband. DrĂ´le!


While I'd probably pack more heavily if we planned to go to Michelin-starred restaurants or to jazz clubs night after night or to the ballet or opera, for our Paris activities, I'm pretty confident we'll be able to manage with a carry-on. Because we have an additional ten days this year (which we'll spend in Portugal), we may need to find a laundry at some point, but that will simply provide another European experience, no? I've simply heard too many stories lately about luggage not arriving with the traveller, and in some cases, never appearing at all. I'd rather have a few well-chosen items with me than have lots of great pieces having a great time in Hawaii while I'm in Lisbon. Besides which, our hotel room in Paris is small and the closet's not at all capacious -- we'll just be more comfortable with less stuff in the way.


So in case you're curious about how much I can pack into this carry-on, I'll take some pictures for you over the next two weeks. I'm going to try to wear pants on the plane and pack two pairs of jeans. I'll wear a long-sleeved cardigan with a heavy cotton short coat over top on the plane and fit my very light black somewhat dressy rain slicker into my case. I know I can roll up a silk skirt and maybe another light skirt, three dresses (two of which work over leggings and or jeans as well as on their own), and six t-shirts plus a tunic top or two. A bathing suit for the pool in Portugal. My toiletries/cosmetics can fit into the requisite see-through zip-loc bag for inspection. Anything that can't will be on my shopping list for the first day in Paris. Heeled sandals, silver Birks (don't comment, really, they do wear these in Paris -- they're a very simple thong in a metallic silver and I can walk for miles and miles and miles in them), black ballet-ish shoes by Nike, and my Cydwoqs will be on my feet. It will work -- I'll show you soon.


Meanwhile, I found and bought these at The Gap last weekend and I just love them. Wide-leg jeans in a crisp, fresh-looking denim, and they're designed as ankle-length (they also come in a longer leg, cuffed). In other words, short people like me don't have to have them hemmed! I've been wearing them around town with flats and I just know they'll be great in Paris.
They're a lighter weight than my usual jean, so they'll be comfortable if the weather gets really warm.I also bought a pair in a similar cut but in a linen/cotton tweed-y blend. These have a cuff, and I like them better with a heel, so I'm going to take them in to get them hemmed just as soon as I go back to try on the Cydwoq sandals I've been pining for (I went back weekend before last and they didn't have them in my size, so they're bringing some in). Given that I usually pay around $200 for jeans (Citizens for Humanity, Fidelity, Sevens), these pants are a bargain at just under $70 and a great way to try out the wider legs. The waist is just a tiny bit higher, just enough to make tucking in without anything bulging an option. I've been really pleased with what's happening at The Gap lately -- the whites designer collection's worth checking out, if there's anything left!

13 comments:

  1. Wow! I am SO impressed by your packing skills! Will you really just have the one bag, or can you also take a handbag/shoulder bag? I must say that I am a terrible one for packing everything 'just in case'. However, we went to the UK in April by Ryanair, which has a limit of 15kg checked plus 10kg in one hand bag, and I did myself proud. However, the boys each had only around 9kg in their cases, so we had lots of room to bring back things like Patak's curry sauce and our Amazon book order. Looking forward to hearing more about the process...! Patricia

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  2. P.S. Love those Gap jeans - we don't have the Gap here, I really miss it! P.

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  3. Rachel and I did the carry on only thing on our Boston trip and I must say it went really well. Made getting off much easier then on the way home we each checked a bag to carry our purchases. I really thinks it's the way to travel. Take a little, bring home a lot!
    Hilary

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  4. Patricia: You guessed my secret weapon -- I do have a rather large handbag which will be stuffed to the gills. And if I have to, I'll buy a small, lightweight bag to bring extras home in -- again, though, the problem is the risk of the airline losing all my newfound European goodies.
    I sympathize with the need for room to carry books though -- that must be a big challenge living abroad where English books cost a premium.
    Hil: Boston was a weekend, though, right? How much did you bring when you were in London?

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  5. Aha, the capacious handbag! Where airlines allow 2 carry-ons, I use an LL Bean leather backpack. As for books, I have started getting some second-hand - I belong to an association for North American women here and we have a book table at every meeting. The proceeds go to charity and the range is wide - I recently got 'Eat, Pray, Love', and now am reading 'The Sun Also Rises'. Patricia

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  6. I have and love those gap jeans---they are great. And, I have to say that I am terribly impressed with your mad packing skills. Do you rent yourself out? I could use some help. I am the kind of packer who would have done well in the days of trunks.
    p.s. as you asked so nicely I will not comment on your silver Birks.;-)

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  7. Patricia: sounds as if you have a few packing skills up your sleeves as well. And the bookswaps are a great idea. I'm trying to organize my books at the moment and there's definitely room for sharing!
    LBR: My mad packing skills, though, are probably tightly connected to my willingness to wear the silver Birks -- there's probably some mathematical formula to demonstrate the correlation. I will not look as chic as you while in Paris, it's as simple as that, but I will have fun and have much less to carry. A tradeoff!

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  8. No, I love the birks I have a great pair of mock python ones from Zara. black, pewter, faux zebra, cream I could go on!!!!

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  9. alison: We'll just have to keep it a secret from LBR!

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  10. Materfamilias: I heard that!!!!!;-)

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  11. LBR: Whoops, forgot about those weasel listening skills!

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  12. I agree that packing less is the best option. I generally opt for two tops per bottom, and with rinsing tops and undergarments in the sink, it all works out very well.
    I'm getting excited for your trip for you.

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  13. That sounds like a good formula, Gina. Glad to hear someone else makes good use of the sink as an in-house laundry while traveling.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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