We’re Headed Back to Paris. How I’m Preparing!

Next month. Our annual Thanksgiving trip to Paris will resume.  Our last one was 2019.  Click This for a look at our last Paris Trip in 2019!  We all know what happened in 2020.

Oh how I can’t wait to be back!

We’ll be returning for a week. Oh, this has been a long time comin’ and, quite frankly, I cannot wait to arrive in the City of Lights. But this time, there’s a few more preparations we have been making.

french paris GIF

Unlike her, I’ll be stuffing my face with pain au chocolat

Most notably, the Passe Sanitaire—or, the Health Pass. This is a pass somewhat akin to the Willy Wonka Golden Ticket. It’s a hot commodity. And without it, we can’t go anywhere. Meaning we can’t gain entrance into museums or any cultural events and we do need it for going out to dinner.

France Requires Tourists to Hold Vaccination Passport to Access Certain Activities & Services - SchengenVisaInfo.com

And to think my husband wants me to put a damper on my iPhone! He’ll need his too!

The Frenchman was mumbling lots of naughty words in his native tongue in attempting to get our passes.  It’s a process.  I had to make copies of our marriage license (I have no idea why that was needed), our passport photos, our driver’s licenses and our Covid vaccination cards. Oh, and proof of address in the form of a bill addressed to each of us.

french mime GIF

True. The Passe Sanitaire process made my Frenchman angrier than if he had witnessed two mimes!

Now, under normal circumstances this isn’t that bad. It’s a rather simple procedure. But we’re talking about the French.  It’s only logical that I would scan two separate files with all the documentation needed. As in Monsieur Lartigue’s information and then a file with my information.

Non! Every document had to be separate and labeled.  I swear if he had a stale baguette within arm’s reach, he would have thrown it against a wall. Nevertheless, we are presently awaiting our passe.

Battle Fighting GIF by Team Coco

Actually, my husband would NEVER abuse a baguette. I worships that long wand of crusty outside and chewy inside!

Trust me, I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing either. In fact, I wish we had to show a pass of some sort here in the States—but it would offend a number of people and in America, we are so effing “offend-friendly”—honestly, this opens a Pandora’s Box of sorts for me so I’ll shut up on the subject.

Actually, the only thing that irks me is having to take yet another Covid test.  I swear, with the money I’ve spent on Covid testing, I could have purchased a Louis Vuitton Noé Petit bag!  Even being double-vaxed and having a Booster shot (along with flu shot) doesn’t allow me to skip the test.  But hey, it’s what we have to do!

These Home COVID Tests are CDC-Approved for Travel

And yet, more Covid Testing…

That out of the way, the real preparation starts for me. Packing the clothing.  Yeah, I know. I know. I have a little over a month to do this. However, I really like to be organized when I’m traveling. It’s all about efficiency and simplicity. And cohesiveness with the wardrobe.

The weather will be chilly. Actually, very chilly especially when we are walking around perfecting our ability as the flaneur and flaneuse—just wandering around aimlessly. That is, when we aren’t at a museum or cultural event.   Because of the cold weather, I’ll need a coat. And a hat because my wig will need to be kept warm. And gloves because my hands get cold.

Come Sale Away With Me! | Atypical 60

This is the coat I’ll bring. It was purchased at Galeries Lafayette on our last trip. It’s a great coat and will suffice well for the chilly November weather!

Hey Emily! Can You Leave Paris? S'il vous Plait! | Atypical 60

My beloved black beret. Purchased at a tourist stand for 2 Euros in Paris. I can’t find it.  I need to find it. Note to Emily in Pars. THIS is how you wear a beret!

Here’s where it gets weird for me. I love my blazers. And I’m pondering bringing one. What if the weather becomes unseasonably warm?  My heavier camel coat will be too heavy?  I doubt it will because that’s the coat I’m bringing.

The tan Schoolboy blazer is the one item I’m pondering about bringing. I’m definitely on the fence. You’ll see as you scroll below why I’m sticking to tan and not even thinking about navy.

I’ll sweat so much that passersby will mistake me for a Wallace Fountain and try to place an empty bottle at my body parts for water.

wallace-fountain-at-pont-neuf | Atypical 60

This is the Wallace Fountain across from Daniele’s apartment and from where we will be staying. If I get too hot from wearing too many clothes, I’ll sweat like a fountain and people will want to drink from me.

Since I’ll be cramming everything into a carry on (my husband brings a huge suitcase. I’ll throw my blazer and a pair of boots in his suitcase), I’ve got to give plenty of thought to what I’ll wear.

A week’s worth of clothes, shoes and wigs should fit in here comfortably. Okay, perhaps not comfortably but I’ll make it work!

I took photos of some ensembles.  These will be printed out in color and I’ll use them for reference for the final pack!

In sticking to a black and tan palette, I’m fortunate this faux-suede skirt manages to still fit me.  It’ll be worn with a black turtleneck and boots. This will be one of the dinner outfits that will be worn on repeat.

Two (or probably three) pairs of black knit pants will do . My J. Crew Pixie Pants on the right will work from day till evening. I picked up the pants on the left a few weeks back.  A Jegging if you will that’ll work while running errands and shopping!

Since we’ll be out and about, tee shirts will work well. You can’t go wrong with white tees and black ones!

A tan cashmere sweater from Quince is also on board for cooler days as is a black one!

Last of all, two scarves in the same neutral family. Honestly, I have no time to decide over color.

Now on to footwear. As mentioned previously, my boots (and only one pair) will be thrown into my husband’s suitcase.  When not wearing the boots, I’ll be wearing black ballet flats. These will be worn on the plane as well. They can easily be slipped off and back on for my friends at the TSA.  I’ll bring my black suede Dulci pumps from J. Crew (which, by the way, have been discontinued) for our dinners out.   Oh wait!! My black Geox pointy-toed booties with the cute heel. I need to bring those too. See why planning is so important?

The  shoes. Booties which I’ll wear only in the evening because I’m not traipsing around Paris in heels. The same goes for my J. Crew Dulci pumps. Evening wear.  The ballet flats and boots will be  worn during the day hours for touring and wandering the streets.

Contrary to the casual look, I enjoy dressing up for dinner when we go out. It doesn’t even matter where we are. In Philly, in NYC and in Paris I love to dress for the occasion. I don’t go all out, I keep it simple and this trip will have me wearing a plain, basic black sweater dress also by J. Crew.

This textured sweater dress from J. Crew Factory is a great item. I didn’t show her enough love last winter but this will be coming to Paris. Another dinner item.  I’ll wear with pointy-toed pumps (I’m going to tan before we leave because we all know that I abhor panty hose!), and a scarf. 

Sadly, none of my jeans fit at the moment because my pandemic weight gain is sticking around. Around my belly, ass and thighs.  That’s why I’m opting for knits. Besides—the knits are comfortable.

Correction!!! These Katy Girlfriend jeans by Kut From the Kloth fit. I might bring them and I might not. And this is why I plan ahead of time!

The underwear? We’ll be in Paris for 7 days and nights. I’ll bring a change of panties for each day and the bra that I wear. They will slide right into that carry-on!

Toiletries?  Naturally, toothpaste, a toothbrush, floss and deodorant will be packed. And those items will be placed in my husband’s ditty bag. And samples of moisturizer. I’m not chancing getting any of the good stuff confiscated by my friends at the TSA. CityPharma is a few blocks away so I can pick up anything else that I need.

Makeup?  It’s all compact and travel friendly!  I’m packing everything that can be thrown into my LY Neverfull bag.

Oh my dear friends. This trip has given me the opportunity to clean out this bag after almost two years. I’m a bag slob. I should belong to Bag Slobs Anonymous. You would NOT believe some of the stuff I found in the bowels of this tote!

My MOB Beauty face palette, my Subtl Beauty stack and a Trestique mini-kit. A few random lip glosses and my new MOB mascara. Absolutely no foundation.  And I would like a moment to discuss this. French women rarely wear a ton of shit on their faces.  The eyes and lips.  They take great care with their skin but as far as loading the heavy foundation, concealer and bronzer—they just don’t do it. I’m getting my French beauty on. I’ll stick to the eyes, blush and lips! And I’ll have to find a little empty perfume vial. I had a full-sized bottle of Guerlain’s L’Instant confiscated by my friends at the TSA a few years back so I no longer carry full sized scent. It’ll be too close to Christmas and my friends at the TSA like to do their Christmas shopping via confiscation. I’m not gonna be donating this year!

One of my three Subtl Beauty Stacks….

One of two Mob Beauty face palettes…

And one of three Trestique travel kits will be tucked away in my Neverfull.

All three are in there..

Along with a journal because I write every day when traveling..

..and a book to read while in the air. It all fits in the bag!

In a nutshell?  I travel as light as possible. During the colder months of late autumn into winter it’s difficult due to the outwear and heavier clothing.  But wearing on repeat and sticking to a very neutral, almost monochromatic clothing palette works wonders. You don’t need to pack as much!

Reservations for dinner have been made at various restaurants like Paul on Place Dauphine, Le Procope, and Allard.  We’ll have a kitchenette so a meal or two in won’t hurt and it’ll be a nice walk to Café Bonaparte for some serious comfort food!

Dinner reservations at three restaurants have been made. Will wing the rest!

Yeah. To some it may be a bit odd that I’m preparing so far in advance, but in the end, it’ll be less stressful and I love me a smooth trip.

Trust me I’m sure to be adding and taking away but it’s a head start on packing and being prepared!

How do you pack?  Well in advance? Last minute? Throwing everything into a ball?  Let’s talk!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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38 Responses to We’re Headed Back to Paris. How I’m Preparing!

  1. Susan says:

    I pack like you do! I take a carryon and a tote as a purse, wear some layers on the plane. It’s a great way to get organized. I’m cold natured so I might throw a couple more cashmere sweaters in there instead of the t shirts. I’ve been pretty cold there in October and worn every layer I had! What wigs are you taking??
    Bon voyage when the time comes!

  2. liliane says:

    A very useful post thank you! I always overpack at the last minute.. those Kut from the Kloth jeans look just great. I’ve searched for the Katie Girlfriend cut but nowhere to be found.. not sure why!

  3. Debra says:

    Well, I’m planning on spending a week in Edinburgh/London in the spring and 2 months (I hope) in France next summer and of COURSE I am already thinking about what I am going to pack for both of those trips.

    Your Paris packing list looks perfect, The last time I was there (for a week at the end of March 2019), I took only a carry-on and was fine. And a big YES to avoiding confiscation – I once lost a brand new bottle of Diptyque rose body lotion at Heathrow (my fault, totally, what was I thinking?) and that broke my heart. Never again! Actually now when I go to Paris I usually load up on beauty products at the local pharmacie and then check my bag (containing my new goodies) on the way home.

    I’m so happy, for the both of you, that you’re going back to Paris and look forward to reading all about your trip!

    PS Laughing about your husband’s swearing…we’ve been watching Engrenages and I’ve learned many, many different ways to use the f-word in French, Will be useful next time I am in Paris, I think.

    • Catherine says:

      Debra: ENGRENAGES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG. That series is incredible! Laure–she’s quite the gal! And the rest of the cast is incredible. You like the crime shows? Head to Amazon Prime for “Murder In….” Different murders throughout France. We. Are. Hooked!!
      Our routine: Get a cab to City Centre. Check bags at front desk till it is time to check our bodies in. Head to Cafe Buci for strong coffee and croissant (for the husband.–I usually have only coffee because they never have brioche). Then head straight to City Pharma! By the time we’re done at City Pharma it’s time to check in! XOXOXOXO

      • Debra says:

        Must hit up City Pharma – I usually just go to the local pharmacie or Monoprix.

        Yes, Laure – she’s the best. This is the season where she’s become BFFs (is that MMAs in French?) with Joséphine. Did not see that coming but I like it.

        I will check out “Murder In…” Thank you!

    • Juliet says:

      Edinburgh and London – super choices!!!! I hope you get to a couple of places en route between or as away days, (York is delightful as is Bath… I live in Carlisle – not so touristy but sweet enough), really hope the weather behaves and you have a super duper time.

      • Debra says:

        Juliet – it’s my spring break (I teach at a university) so I only have a week – a quick visit this time. I expect the weather to be awful but I don’t care, and in any case, we’ll be spending most of our time in museums and castles and such.

        I would LOVE to see Bath – next trip. Thank you for the tips!

  4. Susan says:

    Packing is a real “nail biter” for me too!!!! I try to pack as far in advance too!!!! You packing list looks perfect!!!!! I’m SO jealous – I can’t wait to travel abroad again!!!!! Can’t wait to hear all about your trip!!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Susan! Yeah. I’m really excited to be crossing the pond again. I went on the American Airlines site to see what movies that were available on overseas flights for October because I’m certain by next month things won’t change. The choices were not up to my standards. I need more Christian Clavier comedies to while my time away since I don’t sleep on the flight. XOXOXOXO

  5. Liliane says:

    Great post thank you! Those jeans look good and rather comfortable. I searched for Kut from the Kloth Katie Girlfriend but couldn’t find them. Any idea where they might be available? Thanks!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Lilane. I’m pretty sure Nordstrom Rack has them. I’m positive I saw them the other day and that started the ball rolling for me to try them on again! XOXOXOXO

  6. Diane B says:

    Oh how exciting. I get started with the wardrobe selection about a month in advance. I hang items on a rolling rack and add or subtract as necessary, keeping track of what will be needed for various occasions. I always overpack and yet, almost always wear it all.I am trying to train myself to whittle it down since it is not like anyone will remember what I wore 4 days ago. I do like colour so that is a problem with the basics, and I don’t wear much black. There is no way I could fly with just a carry on. We did manage to get out of having a new bottle of cologne confiscated in Heathrow, and not sure how, but so thankful.Sometimes I forget what is at the bottom of my ( large as allowed) bag.Oh how I want to get travelling again.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Diane. I love the way you plan! Adding and subtracting as you go along is very pragmatic. Yeah. the most color I use is plaid. But the bright colored sweaters and items I have mainly hang in my closet. For me, neutrals are just something I don’t have to think about. Ugh. Don’t get me started on having items confiscated! XOXOXOXOXO

  7. cathe says:

    I’m so looking forward to your trip as well. LOVE your posts when you’re in France! Traveling wardrobes require a lot of thought and you always nail it. If you end up needing something no worries you’re in Paris!

  8. Momcat says:

    So, so happy for you and M. Lartigue heading back to France. I can’t wait to get there! You are doing what stylish French women do…stick to black and another neutral. Black and Tan always a winning combo!! I couldn’t do ballet flats myself and would go with my high top leather sneaker as I am old and need more support than the flats. Did you consider your leopard skirt as an alternate?and a long sleeve black tee ( incase it’s is too warm for the turtleneck) Yup I take one nude and one black bra and clean panties for every day. I don’t do a lot of ‘underpinnings’ Are you carrying another purse? Or just the tote? Love that you dress up for dinner, I do too! I think it shows respect for the resto and staff. Not over the top but at least showing we made an effort and HEELS..they don’t have to be ‘talons très hauts’, enough with the sneakers and loafers! Good comment about the layers of make up as well, my friend in Germany said that ‘American women just trowel it on’ well Canadian women are guilty too and it looks soooo aging and fake. Work on the skin girls, keep the maquillage du visage to the eyes and lips and always a well kept manicure. That’s elegance! You got this Madame Lartigue, Enjoy!!

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Al! I actually did think about the leopard skirt but decided on the faux suede because I can move around in it more. I think with age we become wiser about what to wear when traveling. I certainly don’t care about being fashionable the way I did when I was younger but I want to look good. Paring down is always a good thing! Had I lost all my weight I don’t even think I would bring a bra-LOL!! XOXOXOXO

  9. Joan Brown says:

    I can’t wait to live vicariously through your upcoming Paris travel blog!

  10. Fiona says:

    Who needs foundation when most of it comes off on your mask? I hardly wear it these days. Interesting that you have to get a Passe Sanitaire, we UK residents are able to use our own NHS Covid pass in France.. (which is needed to go to nightclubs and some other places)
    So sensible to keep to a couple of colours for travelling, less luggage and stress. I always pack a big scarf, (it gets chilly on planes) travel sized toiletries and minimal make- up.
    Bonnes vacances!

    • Catherine says:

      Fi. You know what’s really funny? Last night when my husband and I were having our Saturday evening Aperitif’s, he told me I looked great without makeup (I did have eye make up on). I’m wearing less and less foundation these days. In FACT….this morning I took out an old but unopened foundation, applied it and threw it in the trash. It just didn’t look right! XOXOXOXO

  11. Marsha says:

    Like others have said, I am so happy for you that you get to go to France. I think you are very wise to plan what you are going to wear and agree that it will make for a more stress free trip. I know you have mentioned before, but I have forgotten where you like to buy the v- neck Ts. Could you say again?

  12. Kathryn says:

    I HATE to pack so I applaud your early efforts!! I am so looking forward to reading about your travels!

  13. Sandra says:

    I miss France so much (our last trip was in September 2019), so I am looking forward to your posts. Over the years I have learned to pack less and less; I keep a master list then adapt it for each trip. Once I have finalized my list, I don’t start packing until 3 days in advance. But even when we go to France for 6 weeks, I bring only one week’s worth of clothing as we do a weekly load of laundry. It is my understanding that most places in France have been accepting US vaccination cards without la Passe S. Wonderful art exhibits going on now (Georgia O’Keefe at the Pompidou and Vivian Maier at the Musee de Luxembourg and le Carnavalet has reopened). Bon voyage!

    • Catherine says:

      HI Sandra. Oh that Passe Sanitaire. I would rather err on the cautious side and go through the process of having it just in case. We rented a car so we’ll be able to drive outside City Centre when we want. I’m so itching to get back but my husband is ridiculously happy to get back. He hasn’t been home since November of 2019. We’re staying at Citadines next door to where his aunt lived so it’ll almost be like returning to Danieles’! XOXOXO

  14. Nathalie says:

    so happy you are coming in France ! despite the pass sanitaire , it isn ‘t very difficult to travel in the country ! enjoy !!!!amitiés !

  15. Shelly F says:

    Hi Cathy. Just a thought, but if you are only doing eyes, blush, and lips, you won’t need to bring any of those palettes and stacks you are packing. One or two lipstick, one blusher, and a single eye shadow should be enough. Perhaps a lipliner pencil, and eyeliner and mascara if you wear those. I always travel with just a carry-on, too, and I do not have a husband’s luggage to pack any excess items into, lol. Wishing you a safe and magical trip!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Shelly! Oh but I need those palettes for choices. At night I may want to go a bit darker. My makeup and wigs are more important than my underwear! LOL!!! XOXOXOXO

  16. Bonnie says:

    Hi Catherine
    I’m so happy for you two to be going back to Paris. I look forward to hearing all about it. i just looked up the hotel where you will be staying. iI looks great. I might try for that next time I go. A wonderful combination of hotel and apartment. And the location is perfect – easy to hop to the Right Bank too. Have a great time

  17. Juliet says:

    Oh how exciting – I am so excited for you, I would probably have packed and repacked and repacked half a dozen times by the time I was ready to go as I would be so over excited. Generally wherever I go – and thats been a while…. I have found less is more. The only place I have been recently has been down to Uxbridge/London where the husband has a flat for work – I can leave a few things there but really I want comfort and to have my bases covered so your post is a great reminder. Its not like Paris (or London) have no shops eh? My souvenir of choice is usually a nice scarf these days 🙂

  18. Juliet says:

    … Just wondered if you follow any French bloggers – Marianne Le Coeur or Dress Like a Parisian or Leonce Chenal??? Marianne was in a little local boutique the other week, I nearly died of delight – I can imagine you fitting in right alongside them, sigh – totally wibbly with delight for you

  19. junedesilva says:

    How wonderful that you are heading back to Paris. I am sending this from our house in France, nearly two years since we were last here – unbelievable! Have a great trip xoxo

  20. vavashagwell says:

    That Pass sounds like a pain to deal with! Is it only required in France, or throughout Europe??

    Your packing adventure is fun. Good move to stick to two colorways, very versatile! Looking forward to seeing your posts regarding this trip!!!

  21. Marze says:

    Hi Catherine,

    I just discovered your blog when googling sneakers on women over 50. I am traveling to England Ireland for a 10 days in November. It is going to be cold and rainy. Any suggestions for footwear and socks? The no sock thing is a pain when it is cold out. We will be hiking a bit, so I need footwear that can handle getting wet. I want to look chic but properly attired for the occasion. And, we are going to do just carry on, so I am limiting myself to three pairs. One will be an Aquatalia bootie for evenings. I have a pair of black, waterproof running shoes. I think maybe leggings or joggers with those? And then some skinny jeans with a pair of lug sole loafers. I am trying to limit myself to three pairs of pants. I’m working with black and cream. Any suggestions? Thanks so much!

    • Catherine says:

      Marze we are on the same page with the neutrals. I would use the running shoes with socks or perhaps loafers with light wool socks. Ireland is so beautiful. Enjoy your trip–Actually England is one place I would love to visit! XOXOXOXO

  22. Mary DesPrez says:

    Have fun. Just back from 10 days in England and Ireland. All carry on. You will have fabulous time! Your packing strategy perfect. To anyone traveling outside US, keep checking websites for countries you plan to visit. Updates on requirements regularly. Plus flights that change. Covid testing varies by country. One needs a negative Covid test within 72 hours of return to US. We needed a negative Covid test on day 2 in UK.

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