Monday, September 8, 2014

Paris Packing - Light Luggage for a Week

easy packing

 Hey everyone. I came across an article on Oh Happy Day - How to Pack for 2 Weeks to France in a Carry-On. It inspired me.

It's a pretty good, informative article. I'm a light packer too. Although my last Paris trip (2010, sigh) was only for a week, I think even Jordan has packed too much. Pack whatever floats your boat, but for my comfort a lighter suitcase is a better suitcase.

I would never pack 4 pairs of shoes. One extremely comfortable pair of boots or shoes on your feet should do. Two at a pinch. Shoes are heaviest, most clumbersome things to pack. Alegria shoes are the most comfortable thing I travel in. They are hell to pack though (and no backwoods hiking!) so I wear them on the plane. Security loves their huge soles!

If going in autumn  I would pack my most flattering, comfortable dress and a stand-out tunic or sweater dress for colour. Black tights and leggings, a black double-knit mini (or 2), a black turtleneck, a white shirt,  and a pair of black pants can be mixed and matched. Pick whatever colour,  but it's easier if its monochrome.  I would pack a heavy-knit wrap-around top and a light jersey cardi. A graphic t-shirt dress to sleep in. ( I will explain)  Everything can be dressed up with a colourful scarf or some chunky jewelry.

Things I would change from my last trip. I would add is a good pair of jeans and to switch the shoes for knee boots. I have to admit that no women I saw in Paris looked overly dynamic - Just jeans, leather boots, scarves galore and a good hair cut. I saw one really great coat on someone in the 4th Arrondisement, but all the craziness that one sees on the Sartorialist for example, must have been reserved for some other time and place because I saw none of it.

I would also tone down the stand-out tunic. I wore an orange sweater-dress from IVKO and I know that I was the only person in Paris wearing orange that day. They knew I was a foreigner, just ask the panhandlers that harassed me for blocks. Parisians still prefer dark colours. But if you want to stand out, go right ahead. I still might.

No PJs I just slept in a  long t-shirt dress. If you want to go to the disco. Wash it in the sink, dress it up with jewelry and accessories. I took a Roots Test Pattern T-shirt dress to sleep in (not the expensive Stella McCartney above). Needless to say (because I'm shy) I did not wear it out to a disco.

I've can come up with at least eight outfits from the above. Good luck if you are traveling this autumn. Bon Voyage.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A train through the Impressionist Countryside

From the lovely people at Paris Hotels Rive Gauche.

A train decorated with paintings from the Musée d’Orsay

To celebrate its voyage through the landscapes that inspired many an Impressionist, a train running between Saint-Lazare station in Paris and Vernon-Gisors (where you get off if you want to visit Monet’s gardens in Giverny) has just been decorated with details from paintings by Monet, Pissarro and others.
And as all the paintings in question belong to the Musée d’Orsay, there are few images in the museum too! Here are a few photos and a film of how the giant stickers were applied…Un train décoré avec des toiles du Musée d'Orsayline J just got a little less dreary – six cars of a train have just been decorated withImpressionist art, with three themes: Paris and industrialisation, water and gardens, and landscapes of line J.
Lovely-looking? Or a Gd-awful hot mess? You decide. The photos are © Christophe Recoura.
Un train décoré avec des toiles du Musée d'OrsayUn train décoré avec des toiles du Musée d'OrsayUn train décoré avec des toiles du Musée d'OrsayUn train décoré avec des toiles du Musée d'OrsayPlus d’informations : ici

Thursday, October 27, 2011

On Rue Descartes

photo: copyright Hazel Smith 2010

Photo copyright Hazel Smith 2010

Photo: copyright Hazel Smith 2010

The gist of this poem by Yves Bonnefoy is that although we pass a dirty city tree and look right through it, this is might be enough to remind us that it's still a part of nature, along with the sky, the birds and the wind. The poet asks the philosopher if he has looked at this tree on his street, if he did his thoughts will be freer.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Le Temps Passe Vite

I can't believe it's been a more than a year. Before winter falls, here are some more pictures of Giverny.

I didn't see him until now. I'll just pretend he's a ghost.

There are worse jobs.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Midnight in Paris

"Talk about a fulfilling movie. That's the kind of movie I could sit through again immediately" That's the sort of remarkable thing my husband sometimes says and what he said to my son and me as we exited our local rep cinema after watching Woody Allen's latest foray, Midnight in Paris. Our west-end Toronto street-scape is more like the Wild West than the cobbled, curvy streets of Paris but we sauntered home, with romance in our eyes, expounding on the virtues of this great film.

We're on a bit of a Woody Allen bender at the moment; seeing Annie Hall on Friday and Manhattan on Saturday. My two men were expecting another witty, urbane rom-com and they got it. What they weren't expecting was a little time travel thrown in.

In Midnight in Paris, Owen Wilson plays a Hollywood screenwriter working on his first novel. He's totally besotted with Paris; its beauty and its foibles. Disenchanted with his life, he longs for the days of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. His fiance, exhibiting the worst xenophobic American traits, and his soon-to-be-in-laws are in tow, soaking up the best Paris has to offer but putting the city and the French down at the drop of a chapeau.

Wilson's character, Gil Pender, distances himself from his betrothed, her family and their new know-it-all friends. At the stroke of midnight he magically finds the portal that takes him to his favourite time period: Paris in the 20s.

He's startled  to be hobnobbing with Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda, and Cole Porter. No explanations are given for the time warp and Gil doesn't seem to want any. He just wants to go back again, and soon.

Actor Corey Stoll plays an excellent Hemingway; "Who wants to fight?". Marion Cotillard is Gil's 1920s lovely love interest. In another hiccup in time, Adriana (Cotillard) and Gil find themselves face to face with Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas and Gauguin.

Rachel McAdams plays Inez, Gil's fiance. Michael Sheen (whom I saw arm-in arm with McAdams on Toronto's Bloor Street, yay!)  plays their pendantic friend. France's First Lady Carla Bruni has a cameo as a guide at the Rodin Museum.

When I saw Kathy Bates' name in the opening credits, I thought who could she be but Gertrude Stein. Check mark! The Surrealists had no problem at all with Gil's time travel. Adrien Brody's turn as Dali (Rhinoceros!) was so perfect I had to see it again. I told my husband I wanted to rent the film as soon as it came out.  "Rent it," he said, "I want to buy it." Could there be a better endorsement?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Paris Piquant by Philippa Campsie

Le Comptoir Colonial.   photo: copyright Philippa Campsie and Norman Ball

So many flavours, so little time...

Philippa Campsie, professor at the University of Toronto and a blogger about things Parisian at Parisian Fields, has been writing about the more piquant side of Paris. Yes, there is more to Paris than the ubiquitous macaron. Here's a link to her article at Bonjour Paris.

Insider's Guide to Paris - Articles | Travel + Leisure

Auberge Ravoux, photo Hazel Smith

Despite the fact that I found ordering and eating out alone in Paris the most daunting of tasks, I did manage to have the requisite crepe, Berthillon ice cream, macaron, and onion soup and chocolat chaud on my trip to Paris in 2010.

There are many reasons to love Paris - food is only one of them. When my husband and I were younger and on a shoestring budget we were downright afraid to enter Parisian restaurants. Especially after he ordered a andouille sausage and the pungent chitlins and tripe slid over his plate after the initial cut. One day I ate nothing but chestnut crepes from a hole-in-the-wall window and Mentos for the train trip to Amsterdam. We found a dozen other things to do in Paris besides concentrating on food.

I like good, innovative food but, akin to drinking good wine, after the third glass it all tastes the same to me. For me, it's the surroundings, and the ambience - the way that the waitress had to cross the street and fill up her canvas bag with bread from the bakers so I could have a Croque Monsieur - or that I could sit and people watch at the end of the school day as little girls, Madeleine-like, with their swinging coats and satchels hurried home with their Papas. Some people care about their food a lot. Here's an article from Travel and Leisure. The first 12 pages detail cool and classic foodie destinations in Paris.
Insider's Guide to Paris - Articles | Travel + Leisure