Packing for Paris, Part 1–Clothes & Accessories

My French friend, Antoinette, has been advising me on what it takes to be stylish in Paris, where she and I will be traveling this fall with a group of friends.

Jungle Pants are out, out, out! As are waist packs, fanny packs, and­–mon Dieu!–tennis shoes.

Instead, we’re to put on bright lipstick, stash all our gear in an enormous black leather purse, and tread the cobble-stoned streets in stylish stiletto-heeled boots and a basic black wardrobe accented with colorful scarves and big jewelry.  I went for the bright lipstick and black bag.  The black wardrobe isn’t a problem. Alas, the stiletto-heeled boots (or heels of any kind) are out for me. I’m opting instead for my comfortable walking shoes and perhaps some low-heeled dress shoes that I’ll drop into that big black purse and slip on at appropriately stylish moments. Done!

Or not.

Here are a few other things I always have I my “kit bag.” They’ve helped me out of a jam more times than I can count:


Rain jacket
Opera glasses – good for viewing stained glass windows as well as opera
Pocket magnifier (credit card size)
Pocket knife and small “leather lady” tool (in checked bag!). Great for wine & cheese picnics
Child-sized scissors
Small travel sewing kit
Glasses repair tool
Backup pair of prescription glasses
Notebook or journal
Extra pens and pencils
Quick dry travel washcloth
Small bar soap
A few travel packets of woolite
Small sandalwood fan
My favorite ginger tea
A few straws of sugar free electrolyte mix to “spike” my bottled water
A small currency conversion chart that I paste on the back of a business card

 When you travel what “special” items do you carry to make life easier?