Friday, May 23, 2014

French Friday: Packing for Paris: Successes and Failures

I actually packed what I had planned to bring on my week-long April trip to Paris (which you may see here) with a couple of minor exceptions. At the last minute, I substituted a 3/4-sleeve tee (the plum one) for another bottom, a pair of dark blue cropped jeans. Also, at my friend Kate's genius suggestion, I added a corkscrew (for picnics complete with wine). I packed lightly and all fit inside a small 19" carry-on and a large tote which was my personal item.

For the most part, my packing was successful. With such small and lightweight luggage, I managed to carry them around the airport, train station and through the subway system with ease. Elizabeth struggled with her two heavy 21" carry-ons plus a nice camera. I didn't have to wait at baggage claim for myself, even though I did for my travel partner. I highly recommend traveling this lightly, or even lighter, with just a backpack if possible. Imagine how easy that would be going through turnstiles! Why be burdened with luggage, with stuff? I did sink laundry once and used the majority of items I took. Furthermore, I felt like I almost fit in with my clothing. We saw a khaki trench worn with a scarf and ballet flats everywhere.

There were a few items that I didn't use, but I still couldn't see not taking them. Sometimes you just don't know what will happen or what to expect. For example, I didn't wear my dress. I obsessively checked the weather in the days leading up to the trip and it promised a warm day on my 30th birthday. But, it was simply too cool and breezy that Tuesday to change into it. I wore a fancy camisole under a cardigan with dark jeans instead that afternoon and evening. I also didn't use my travel-size hair dryer with the European plug pins (which I purchased when I was living in Italy) because the hotel had a hair dryer in the bathroom. In addition, I didn't use my flips flops that were intended for use as shower shoes. The bathtub looked very clean to me despite hotel reviews about shabbiness. I will likely pack these for my next major trip again.

And now... for the failures. Oh my. Please pack aspirin. Remember my foaming-at-the-mouth incident with the effervescent variety (if not, read about it in this post)! My feet ached so badly and it would have been nice to simply swallow a couple pills instead of forcing myself to drink a half of a bottle of water with dissolved medicine which tasted horrible. I haven't read about it, but perhaps that is how Europeans take pain reliever. 

French Aspirin

It is difficult for me, traveler over tourist that I am, to say I should have worn more supportive sneakers over my ballet flats. I was confident in my shoe choice for walking on all those cobblestones and marble floors before the trip. My Naturalizer pair are known for their padding and comfort. I walk a lot daily. Plus, with a cap toe, I felt they were chic enough for Paris too. Since I endured so much pain, I will definitely research non-white sneakers for my next European excursion! 

I love cobblestones.
These are in Rouen.

It would have been great to have had my sleep aid as well. I think I was just so excited that I didn't sleep that much the whole trip. As a result, I got sick at the end. I suppose I didn't take these things because I don't use them on daily basis but they really would have helped me. Luckily, medicine is small so it doesn't take up much room inside of a suitcase. What can I say? I now know for next time. 

I know that I don't usually post on Saturday, but I actually have something scheduled to publish, so see you here tomorrow!

Have a fabulous kick-off to your holiday weekend!


  1. I am still unpacking from 10 weeks in Europe and taking note of what got worn and what did not. Really comfortable supportive shoes in addition to ballerinas is a very good idea. Those French women that you see are likely walking to the market
    or to work It is very unlikely that they are walking from the Marais to Montparnasse and back as I did one day (in agony!) Well, live and learn!

    1. 10 weeks in Europe, wow!

      That's right, you live and you learn. Supportive shoes are on the list for next time. My friend is moving to England for 4 years so maybe there!

  2. Very good info! I love reading other people's ideas and pros+cons about packing.

    Yes, I've found that in Italy, too, people usually take 'aspirin' like alka-seltzer, in water. I believe there are pills you can swallow with water, too, but Euros tend to like the fizz for some reason. lol

    For your next trip, maybe try a packet or two from this site (if you don't already know it!). I love the Help! series....they have travel packet sleep aids, ibuprofen, etc etc

  3. Thank you! A friend who lived in Lyon told me that i could have asked for something else that comes in capsule form. I will definitely bring my own next time!

    Thank for the link! I love shopping for travel stuff!