May 22, 2019
She’s Very Excited…
Her company is organizing a pilgrimage from Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel! She’s never been there… She’s arranged for pilgrimages from Paris to Chartres, but this is new! (in an ancient kind of way!)
She’s going to drive up from Paris, along the route the pilgrims will walk. She will stop to walk small segments of the route, to make sure that there aren’t unexpected construction issues, or other blockages that will be a problem… And she needs to pack with a plan; her rental car is tiny!
Our heroine starts with her inspiration painting and color palette:
The weather will be warm when she lands in Paris, but she knows that she would be insane to fly without a cardigan or other warm layer; airplanes can be freezing!
She knows that she will be meeting with some very important people – priests, monks, restaurant and hotel managers – so she’s taking a few items that can “dress up” if she feels that is what’s appropriate. She’s also going to eat a couple of excellent dinners, which she wants to make into a bit of a personal “event!” After a few years, she’s finally comfortable dining alone…
She loves this part – arranging everything that she’s going to pack, before she tucks it into her bag. Anticipation is a big part of the fun of travel, isn’t it?
Why make sure that you have this many options? When you travel, your personal “micro-climate” might be in a bit of an uproar i.e. some days you might be freezing cold, or your might be warmer than everyone else. You might wake up in the mood to wear something pretty and printed, or you might want to wear simple, solid colors. You might tear a massive hole in something (I’ve done that!) and need to work around that missing garment. The place you’re visiting might turn out to be either insanely formal or ridiculously casual, so you’re wearing your skirt, or your jeans, frequently!
If you’re going to pack a tiny bag, at least you can still feel like you’re not limited…
Have you ever been to Mont-Saint-Michel? I haven’t, but it’s on my list!
p.s. In the interests of seeing how our heroine’s wardrobe might look, this is what her 2 packing capsules look like together:
Yes, we have been to Mont St Michel, twice! It’s easier for us, living in the UK. We have taken our caravan over and camped nearby. Our next thing is to visit during the very high tides which occur twice a year, when the sea rushes in and completely surrounds the Mount. Just can’t seem to fit it in! Still haven’t been to Paris though.
Hélène G. says
I went many times to the Mont Saint-Michel, because I lived very near during several years.
So, I can advice to bring very good walking shoes : the “main” road inside it is made with médieval stones… And it climbs very much !!!!
À raincoat is necessary too, because of the climate, which can change three times à day…
Anyway, I LOVE your clothes choices :)
For those visiting Le Mont, I strongly recommend staying overnight. The atmosphere is completely different at night and in the early morning, without the busloads of day trippers. During the day, although the architecture and views are charming, it feels a bit artificial, like an amusement park created to look like an ancient abbey. In the quiet hours, it is much easier to sense the history and the influence of the generations who built this beautiful place on an inhospitable rock surrounded by swirling tides and quicksand.
Agree with staying overnight! It’s lovely to wander the ramparts late at night and to feel the mystery of the place.
Yes, I third this recommendation! We arrived in the afternoon as the day trippers were leaving and had a lovely evening walk to the top. The next morning we were able to get to the abbey and be first in line. We were able to see it without hordes of people and it was very atmospheric and lovely. – nancyo
Love it ! Understated, yet so appropriate ! One addition , if it was available, would be to add an orange cardigan or shirt jacket to make a twin set for the two season approach .
I’m loving the green and navy in this wardrobe. I would totally layer more things like the blouse or tees over that dress, for a skirt look. Too bad it’s not a little longer.
So timely, I’ve just been looking for a tour that will take us from Paris to Mont St. Michel for a day trip! I’ve wanted to go since French classes in college.
Is it just me, but I never wear white on trips. I want to climb and explore (within reason) and I’d be dirty in the first 15 minutes. Not to mention that I’ve inherited my dad’s eating habits and the bust area is usually a victim of my snacking.
Navy all the way on trips. Tessa
Lydia Barnard says
My granddaughter visited there three years ago and I am sitting looking at her pen/ink drawing of the abbey which I purchased from her at an art show. Great looking collection of travel garments.
Joyce P says
Love the clothes, but the shoes! Not great for air travel, as they won’t stay on your feet if necessary. And for the walking, those those sandals wouldn’t fare well for me at all. As Helene G pointed out… medieval paving on the Mont ;-) We were there a few years ago, and I was grateful for my Keen sandals.
Staying overnight would have been a wonderful thing to do! We were bicycle touring and had our tents/bikes at a campground nearby, so it wasn’t an option for us that time. Will consider if we ever go back though.
lacrimae rerum says
Pilgrimages are in the air. Alas, I have yet to visit Mont-Saint-Michel, but this fall will be hiking the chemin de Compostelle from Le Puy-en-Velay. It’s an interesting challenge, putting together a very limited kit (since I’ll be carrying whatever I bring on my back for a few hundred kilometers), but I’ve noticed that the boots, hiking pants, hiking shirts, windbreakers, jackets, etc. that I’ve acquired over time are somehow managing to more or less adhere to the basic travel palette you devised upon request for a previous trip.
Don’t worry, I certainly don’t select hiking boots on the basis of color or elegance of appearance! Or any other gear or apparel, either, unless the manufacturer just happens to provide an attractive option. But underneath the mud and sweat I think I’ll be sporting a pretty well-coordinated ensemble nonetheless, no doubt thanks to the helpful advice collected from viviennefiles over the years.
Thanks for the kind words! I can vouch for not picking hiking gear based on color – my hiking shoes are grey and purple. Now, that’s a nice color combination, but they’ve managed to botch it up on these shoes…
Janice, Last August, during that miserable heat wave, my daughter and I spent a month train touring in France. On the day we were taking a mini van trip to Mont St. Michel from Paris, the temps dropped 20 degrees F, and it rained like a waterfall for most of the day. But, because I had worn my ponte knit black jeans to fly in and had my (black) White Sierra wind breaker, I was golden. The weather cleared, sort of, after we had made the climb all the way to the top. It was worth every slippery step. Hard to imagine the monks and villagers living there with none of the comforts and conveniences we take for granted.
My Whatever’s Clean 13 travel capsule was based on black and white with accents of red, pink and French Blue because those were the colors in my scarf and that wind breaker can be turned into a little grey pouch which was an excellent neck roll for plane and train travel.
Thanks for all your useful, and stylish travel advice. Can’t wait for our next adventure.
M. L. (Peggy) T.
Book Goddess says
Good morning, Janice! I was looking for a wardrobe with sage green and came upon this beautiful selection. I noticed that no one gave you credit for choosing the shell earrings and border designs as the symbol of the pilgrim. I’m delighted by your cultural knowledge and attention to detail as well as your style wisdom.
Have a wonderful weekend!