February 4, 2014
Really, we’re not leaving until mid-March! But I always do this – start planning weeks ahead of time. I rationalize it that (1) anticipation is a substantial part of the fun, and (2) if I plan carefully, I won’t have to pack so much, and I can catch garments that need mended, or shoes that need tended, before it’s too late to make the necessary fixes.
When I left off planning, it was Tuesday morning – and I’m sure we’re going to go to the Musee Guimet. It’s Asian art, it’s beautiful, and it’s usually quite empty. We go there almost every time we go to Paris, and we’re never disappointed. Our plan for this day might include taking the train out to La Defense, the business development in the west of Paris. Belovedest has always wanted to see it… and we’ll walk around the Eiffel Tower. It would be wrong not to…
Sequins might seem sort of over the top for a weekday, but I’ll have a cardigan over the top, and a scarf, AND my coat, so the sequins are really only going to get an airing at lunch and dinner. Ballet flats aren’t usually good walking shoes, but these have Nike Air technology, and I’m pretty happy with how much time I can spend in them.
We’re going to take the train out to one of the cathedrals near Paris and spend a day sightseeing and eating. Right now, the plan is to go to Amiens (we’ve been to Chartres), but we reserve the right to change our minds as we continue to study cathedral architecture. The Great Courses has an excellent lecture series on The Cathedral, with lots of information about cathedrals in generals and numerous in-depth lectures about specific destinations.
Since my turtleneck and black trousers are back from the laundry, I’ll wear what I wore for the flight…
My favorite artist is Marie Laurencin, and every time we got to Paris, we stop in at Musee de l’Orangerie. It’s another one of those places that is seldom crowded, and always amazing. So Thursday, on our anniversary, we’ll try to stop in…
Again, this might look pretty dressy for wandering around during the day, but since I’ll be wearing a coat most of the time, it won’t really be inappropriate. And I’ll look sufficiently lovely for our special dinner.
Friday, we might shop… At a bare minimum, we’ll go into the Marais neighborhood, walk around, maybe stop into the Picasso Museum, and DEFINITELY queue up for falafel at L’As du Falafel. Yes, it’s just a storefront, yes, the guy taking orders is wearing a GROSSLY inappropriate tee shirt, and YES, it is the best falafel on our planet. It’s difficult to explain how really amazing it is…
And while we’re in the neighborhood, we always go into Muji. One of my favorite dresses of all time came from here, and they always have interesting, beautiful, or just plain unusual things to see.
And I’ll return home in essentially what I wore to arrive – maybe switching out a white turtleneck for the black one…
This is what I’ll be packing, based on the clothing plans above. I almost always pack 12 pieces of clothing for most trips – it’s just a comfortable amount of stuff for me. And while it looks like 3 pair of shoes is overkill, the two pair on the bottom right will pack flat into the space that 1 normal pair of shoes might occupy.
If the weather is cooler than anticipated, I still have a large number of outfit options… or maybe if we’re stranded in Paris for an additional week? (where are those Greenland volcanoes when you need them?)
Oh, it sounds so very, very wonderful! Some of my favorite places on your list (Guimet & L'orangerie). Your ability to pack and combine is still a marvel to me. Enjoy, enjoy. Susan (Minneapolis)
What a wonderful trip!!! Love the outfits, I'm always amazed how few articles of clothing are required to make such a vast amount of outfits. I know this has probably been asked before, but are those your actual clothes or do you find similar and use them to make the posts? I know there are a few apps where you can photograph your clothing then use it to create virtual outfits, just wondering if you use one of them? enjoy Paris!
I've noticed that you often have items from stores in England and have wondered if you have gotten them there or order them, and if you order, does international shipping have any problems involved in it? Thanks for another lovely post.
Since I learned from you how to pack, I travel much the same way. I still marvel on how well Eileen
Fisher knits hold whilst being squished in a suitcase. Sadly, my destinations are never as exciting. :(
Le Square Trousseau is a lovely neighborhood restaurant off la Bastille. You won't see any tourists there.
I love the Hotel des Grandes Ecoles, near the Pantheon. Google it. Amazing. You will wake up to birds chirping, right in the middle of Paris. Not expensive.
L'Institut du Monde Arabe is very good, also. The building itself is a work of art, by Jean Nouvel.
I have some beautiful clothes from a little Marais boutique, A La Bonne Renommée. They do intricate insets of ribbons, very understated but unique.
Also in the Marais, at 41 rue du Temple, there's a dance school in one of the oldest courtyards of Paris. Look for Theatre de la Café de la Gare; it's right above it. You can sit outside and have a margarita at the Tex-Mex restaurant and watch, almost à la "Rear Window" as in one window dancers do flamenco, in another ballet, in another salsa, in another tango. It's a fabulous show.
Have fun! Catherine from Carcassonne
My favorite February hobby is dreaming about vacations, then picking out the clothes to take! Since these are always virtual vacations, I have no budget and can either "buy" all new clothes or "take" what's already in my closet. Love the thinking behind your selections — matching outfits to activities. That's one new element that I'll add to both my fantasy vacation planning as well as my real vacation planning.
What a wonderful trip! I plan to go to Paris soon, perhaps next year and your posts are giving me some great ideas about what to see and bring. I like the idea of planning day by day, that appeals to my super-organized side. And I don't think you're too far in advance, better to do it early and then you can relax the week before the trip.
Yes, anticipation is as good as travel itself. I have learned to make a list for myself of what I actually wore frequently (and, very occasionally,what I wished I had brought but didn't) on European trips and stuff it in the bag with my passport. It's always a revelation to consult these lists as I pack my suitcase (like you, usually several weeks in advance, and as lightly as possible) and be reminded how I tend to wear over and over again my most comfortable and flattering and tried-and-true favorites.
Janice, are still in touch with Vivienne, and do you get to see her when you visit Paris?
Janice Riggs says
Vivienne no longer lives in Paris, and is often not even in Europe, as she now works for Doctors without Borders. We tried to keep in touch for a while, but we have less and less in common every time we write, so the friendship is sadly diminished.
Thanks for answering, Janice : ) This will happen with friendships, sometimes. I feel though the chance to have met and the exchanges that followed are a very special memory for both. Have a lovely trip and anniversary celebration!
I thought I was the only person who did this…I call it "pre-packing". I'm so glad it's not just me. I love all of your stops. The Picasso museum is such fun, and the falafel stands are all very good. My must eat is a teensy place behind the Ritz caled le soufflé. You can guess the menu. I dream of it. It's a destination point because we tend to stay around Place St Germain de Pres
I have those Cole Haan ballet flats too…..they're the best. I'm so excited for you!
And happy, happy anniversary too!
Never apologize for dressing nicely, even if you do risk giving American tourists a good name! We plan ahead like this – often swapping slightly different choices, but making sure that everything is clean and ready to go when we finally put it all in the bag. Fortunately, the extra bedroom allows for plenty of "laying it out" space.
Enjoy your trip and happy anniversary!
Too many pairs of black pants. Puh-leez don't wear the skirted leggings in public in Paris!
I'm another non-fan of the skirted leggings. I think they are ridiculous unless the skirt is totally covered and then why bother with having a skirt? Why not just have leggings? However, I am curious as to why you say not to wear them in public in Paris. Is there a particular reason?
Scratching head as I see one pair of black pants and one pair of jeans…
Jane H. says
2 summers ago my family rented a lovely apartment in the Marais and we discovered the falafel shop you write about. They were the absolute best!! One evening we sent our teenagers out to pick them up and bring them back to the apartment for us to eat in. On their way to THE falafel place they passed another falafel place with no line up and figured that "a falafel is a falafel right?" Wrong. I was almost tempted to send them back out, but we ate the ones they brought and learned our lesson. Enjoy your trip!
Thank you for the gifts of knowledge that you give us! I have learnt so much.
I can only dream about travel. But when preparation meet opportunity , who knows what can happen.
Always love the packing posts! I hope you have a fabulous anniversary trip! Just a wee bit jealous. : )
Bring back lots or inspiration for us please.
Coco Colmani says
Thank you for sharing the planning and anticipatory enjoyments! There are lots of good tips here for holidaying in Paris … And I hope you both have a lovely anniversary.
One question: How much is your carry-on allowed to weigh? I took one to Europe last September from Australia and found I could include (apart from what I wore to travel) only one pair of pants, one jumper, three sets of underwear, three shirts, three scarves, one set of pyjamas, minimal jewellery. That got me to 7kg in no time. I took a second pair of shoes and minimal toiletries in my tote. We are allowed only 7kg for domestic flights and 10kg for international and I have to take a domestic flight to get to an international airport. Perhaps you are allowed more weight? Then again, 7kg is about as much as I want to be lugging up and down stairs, on and off trains, in and out of overhead lockers, etc.
Anne and Kirk says
Great outfits! Today as we train up to Paris from Aix we have to include umbrellas and whatever else we can use to protect ourselves from the rain… boots, gloves and scarves for the chill too. My suitcase is filled with mostly black and scarves…will do for a couple of days. And I agree, the anticipation adds so much to the pleasure of a trip!
Do you have the Danish store COS in the US? If not, you could check it out in Paris. The clothes have the deconstructist shapes you sometimes show but I haven't seen you feature COS items in your selections.
I have an ulterior motive : the clothes are well-priced and well-made but I have no idea how to put them together so perhaps if you showed some in your selections I could figure out how to wear them!
Have a great trip!
Izzy Blair says
I also love COS clothes, they are cool and a bit edgy so sometimes I wish I was the same! They are Swedish, started by the same founder as H & M. In London there is also Other Stories – very similar to COS and also founded by H & M.