packing again; decisions are made and we're almost ready

Most evenings when we're in a non-English speaking country are spent in restaurants. After a day of sight-seeing, climbing, driving, museum-ing, whatever, we like the idea of sitting somewhere pleasant and having people bring us things. Theatre, yes, although I spent an uncomfortable evening at the Comédie Francaise a few years ago. A production of a certain Molière comedy had received glowing, no, incandescent reviews, and we were able to get tickets.

We'd both read the play in school, and the thought of seeing it as grown-ups and enjoying the jokes and slapstick without wondering which parts would be on the final had some appeal. However, the reason the reviews were so enthusiastic was simple: the genius director had updated the play. It was now a subtle (or perhaps not) contemporary political satire centered on the then-current in-fighting in two (or maybe three) of France's major political parties.The allusions were beyond me. Have you ever been in a situation where you understand every word and yet the meaning of what's going on totally eludes you? Like being at a party where you don't know how people got their nicknames, Like, oh, people are laughing because Mr. S. is perhaps really not very tall. Or perhaps only tall in parts....Bronze Age Guy did not waste a minute in pointing out that we could have dined very well on what those tickets cost, and moreover we would have understood every word on the menus. So... an occasional concert or dance performance, but mostly the evenings are spent à table. And because that's the evening's entertainment, the evening's theatre, we just relax and enjoy it.

Sandwich on Baguette
Market Bounty
Lunch on the go is a different story. If we know (and we almost always do) that dinner will be an Event, then lunch will usually be as simple as we can make it. Favorites are: baguette sandwiches from a convenient branch of Boulangerie Paul, or from a convenient branch of Eric Kayser; failing one of these chains, any local boulangerie with a line of French people at lunchtime! Or, if it's a really fine day, we'll pick up a few slices of this, that or the other (cheese, pâtés, cold cuts, plus a good-looking bread from the nearest street market (here is a link Paris markets to a list of street markets in Paris, which are very strictly regulated by the government). Different markets are open on different days, only a few are open every day. We take our market bounty to a park on a nice day and pique-nique. Naturally my neurotic packing includes: paper napkins, wipes, plastic forks, plastic knives, plastic spoons (a few for cities, more for a road trip), and of course a corkscrew and plastic glasses.

So my travel wardrobe is generally: comfortable for the day, gorgeous and sophisticated for the evening dressier for evening. Day: pants (black) or jeans (black), short leather jacket (black), tee or shirt (you guessed it). This looks like a hot spring so the jacket may wind up in a tote bag for part of the day. And because friends are telling me that it's been in the 80s already, one or two pencil skirts, each with tank and cotton cardigan (thanks, J.Crew!).

Going out: stating the obvious, some places are less formal than others. Here I must say that as challenging as I find packing, it's even more frustrating to come home and unpack a bunch of unworn outfits! So for restaurant dinners, mostly I plan to wear black silk slacks, with either Missoni top or Rykiel striped silk sweater (almost tissue-thin), but I'm bringing a silk dress for the "splurge" evenings. And always, something to throw over shoulders in case of wayward breezes from strange air conditioners. I had some tailoring done: the Rykiel sweater had 3 gold buttons on one shoulder, which to my mind made it look mumsy and also made it impossible to add any jewelry. The buttons were on some kind of rivet, thus couldn't be changed without unravelling the whole sweater. So since the shoulder/neck business was black, I just painted the buttons black with 2 coats of a mysterious OPI nail polish which caused them to vanish. Maybe this isn't tailoring, but it's certainly an alteration. And the silk dress has a very graceful flow, which was clumsily interrupted by a side zipper that was simply too heavy for the fabric. I had no trouble getting in and out of the dress without using the zipper, so my tailor simply removed it.

Gaaaah, the striped sweater is back to full price! Talk about shopping karma!

Next travel post will be a summary of the itinerary!


  1. Hello:
    We have found you via Bourbon and Pearls and are so pleased that we did.

    We can identify completely with your previous experience in the French theatre. It happens to us frequently when we make forays into French cinema. Always a lot of moody scenery and little dialogue, but as for what the plot is, well we generally find that we, at least, have lost it!

    You clearly have a good knowledge of France and must, we feel, return often. This is something we very much like to do since one can then really get to know the place and the people. Evenings eating out...we are with you!

  2. Welcome, I hope you enjoy it here!

  3. Southern Belle Ph.D.May 24, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    HI WFF,

    Great to see another post!! I could swear today is Tuesday, the 24th but your post says Saturday the 28th!!! Trip planning may have gotten to you already.

    I hope the short leather jacket you are taking along is your recent RL purchase. You were really fortunate with that find.

    As always, I look forward to your next post!

  4. Nope, SB, I haven't tried time travel yet, SB, but sometimes Blogger do and sometimes Blogger don't. and as for my battles with Auto-Correct, well, they will have a post of their own very soon.

  5. That Rykiel sweater is beautiful- I love your solution to the button problem. I would have probably ripped them out and then have to come up with a drastic fix. eeps.

    I love those impromptu meals in the afternoon- I often find them more enjoyable and memorable than the restaurant, just because you get to choose the ambience (by a canal in Amsterdam or the Seine in Paris, a sunny park in Munich...)

  6. I'm bringing the black polish along in case of chips, too!

  7. Just wanted to say that I really enjoy your comments on JCrew Aficionada and that we seem to be stepping around each other. I just returned from a trip to NYC, London, Chunnel, Paris, Chunnel, NYC. In London, we stayed at Rough Luxe across from St Pancras and I can happily refer you spend the night. Tell Antonio or Leo that Gail sent you and have a great stay or just check it out. In NYC, we dined at Del Posto with a crew from Food Network at the next table, EMP and JG. In Paris, we did the requisite Guy Savoy, Christophe, L'Orangerie, Musee Rodin and the newly relocated Spring. Try Brown Paper Ticket to get a reservation at Spring Hope your trip is as wonderful as our memories are. Bon voyage.

  8. Wow, thanks, your trip sounds fabulous, we've been dying to eat at Spring, followed the saga of the reopening with high hopes, and then sadly the way this trip shaped up, our only open night was a Monday, which is DR's weekly closing. So next time. Still waiting on 1 or 2 more confirmations before I post the list of restaurants. Also planning to explore St Pancras (autocorrect does not like that word) station just for its lovely Victorian goofiness...

  9. How about Spring for lunch-it was magnificent.

  10. As to Rough Luxe-do not look at the website first. Just mosey on over and check it out for a real eye opener.


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