What to pack for Paris: Expectation vs. Reality



allo toute le monde, it’s been a real long time since posting last, the summer flew by and well, here i am heading back to paris tonight. it’s a quick trip with clients and I’ll be blogging from the markets so let me know if you’re looking for anything, i’ll be there till monday, staying at lorraine’s pied-à-terre in the marais. let me know if you’re interested in that too cause she rents it out and just did a makeover on it. i’ll take pics and blog about it if i get the chance.


in the meantime i’m doing my last minute packing. paris is a city of fashion and when it’s time to go makes you want to use your best stuff and be that girl (here’s where the expectation is way better than the reality). and since it’s been a summer of travel I’m on an austerity budget and want to use what i have.  it made me realize i’ve got what i need and didn’t spend much to get it.

google sesarch - what to wear in paris

i’m definitely not much of a clothes horse or label ho although i do love the workmanship and fabric of fine clothing. so after pulling up so many google images of pack lists that my head spun, i decided to make my own. the goal is traveling light and being ready for anything. my philosophy is ‘if you don’t have the dress, you won’t go to the ball” so here goes, what’s what and from where…

paris fall wardrobe

left to right and down, sorta:

Black velvet blazer by DKNY from Out of the Closet Thrift Shop

Black cashmere cardigan, J Crew

Navy sweater/shirt tail, J Crew

Black down vest, Calvin Klein, Marshalls

Navy silk dress, Tahari, TJ Maxx

Gray cashmere sweater, Tahari, TJ Maxx

Blue suede shoes by Gianvito Rossi, too small for Candy, a gift to me!

Black Nikes

Camel/gray/black jacket, Bloomie’s

Cashmere scarves, gray is calvin klein and the ivory is TPA

Black cashmere V sweater and Black tee, Helmut Lang,, Marshalls

RL travel set with blanet/eye mask/pillow, Xmas gift, thanks, Jean and Col!

3 jeans, Levis, Guess, Lucky

Black suede ankle boots, Adrienne Vittadini, TJ Maxx

Shoe bags/lingerie bag/nighty/socks

paris bags indian

bags from ethnic stores in paris


i fully expected to bring the muffin man but since i have clients, the reality is i’m afraid he’ll be too much of a distraction to bring this time. (i think he’s mad)…and of course since this is an expectation vs reality post, i have to include an ‘inspiration post’ of what i wish this one had turned into but that will be have to be another day when i have time to play on polyvore since i’m running out of time.  i’ll just use theirs as a cheat sheet and finish up:


finally in the spirit of the day, thought it would be a good time to offer two of my favorite books for a giveaway. both are by Jennifer Scott. the first is the original Madame Chic and her latest, At Home with Madame Chic.


If you’d like to be entered to win either of them, leave your name in the comments and we’ll draw on friday. Ok, i better get back at it, see you from the other side!

thanks for all the amazing comments, i do love and miss you all so much. here’s the all packed up pic a couple of you wanted to see. the bag is lucas and it’s lightweight, from tj maxx. packed up

September 23, 2015. Tags: , , . Fashion, Fleamarkets, Paris.


  1. Jill replied:

    Just in time. I’ve been frustrated with my wardrobe & am in need of inspiration. Safe travels.


  2. ann robinson replied:

    I so need this. I would be honored to received either book. Happy travels.


  3. Teddee Grace replied:

    Love the packing tips even if I may never make it. The books sound very interesting. Count me in! Thanks.


  4. My Gramas Soul replied:

    Please throw my hat in the ring for one of these books. I have been to Paris and did not pack nearly as cleverly as you have indicated. Wish I had know better then and could have saved myself a world of worry.



  5. Maryanne Flaherty replied:

    Have a great time, hope you can search some cool pooch carriers. Of course the sales will be on no????? Like your choice of what to bring at least it s not hot. Last time I went it was very hot sweating in Anne Fontaine…. Not fun. If you get a chance and haven’t gone check out Paul & Joe Sister in the Marais.. Mens shop but she is designing for women now,…;)


  6. Maryanne Flaherty replied:

    Oh!n And I could use a book too!!!!!!!!!!! Jeez.


  7. dllandgraf replied:

    Thanks so much for sharing! I enjoy your blog and living vicariously through your adventures. In addition, thanks for the terrific give away! I am excited to see if I have won!

    Warmest Regards,


  8. Deborah McReynolds replied:

    Love your packing tips. Also love the book giveaway. It is that time of year to curl up under an cover and read, read, read.

    Have a fun and safe trip.


  9. lucy roberts replied:

    I sooo needed to read this, since I will be going to Paris next year at this time, and this lets me know what to bring for fall type weather!


  10. Amity Yates replied:

    Going to Paris in December – my favorite city! Haven’t been in 10 years. This is so helpful! Would love one of those books too! Xo


  11. Terri Simon replied:

    Thanks for the packing tips. It is always difficult not to overpack–I usually do, then find the items I have are still not what I need! Would love to read Madame Chic. Have a great trip. It sounds just wonderful. Also, I didn’t realize you could bring pets so easily into Europe… Just France? Muffin man is absolutely adorable. Don’t know if I could part with that face!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sharon Carlson replied:

    Youv’e got it down!


  13. Marisha replied:

    Perfect timing for what to pack! Thank you!
    I would love a book:)
    Best, Marisha:)


  14. Rosemary replied:

    Okay, I want to see a picture of your bag after you’ve packed all that stuff in! When you do take the muffin man to Paris, how does he do on the plane ride?

    Oh yeah, count me in for one of the books. Merci beaucoup!


  15. Suzanne replied:

    OMGOSH Hello from Suzanne in New Mexico!!
    Love the books, but, IN LOVE, with this posting!!
    I HAVE to have total hip replacement surgery October 19, blek!!!
    But my friend, my BFF, is giving me as my BIG get well
    Gift to PARIS in May!!! I’m so excited! I thought you would want to
    Know. She gets back TODAY from, England, Prague, and today from Paris!!
    I think we WILL meet one day! Maybe sooner than later!
    In the meantime I’m scared!!!! LOL
    This is the best post!! XO Suzanne


  16. MJ replied:

    I’m saving your packing tips for my trip to Paris and I would love one of these books!


  17. Carol replied:

    Perfect packing list for Paris! Safe travels!!


  18. Amie replied:

    Hello, I love your packing list. I would like to see a picture of it packed too. That is half the battle, getting it into the suitcase. I hope to be going to Paris and Provence in the spring, would you do a spring packing list???? Thanks. I too would like to be entered to win both books too!


  19. mssevern replied:

    Would love these books!


  20. Marissa replied:

    I’m leaving for Paris and Bordeaux in 3 weeks and have totally been hitting a wall on what to pack! Your post came at the perfect time…I think I have some sort of most things you suggested … And I’d love to read those great books too!


  21. Denise replied:

    Ah…. Paris! What to pack?…..


  22. valinparis replied:

    I’ve printed out your lists! Thanks for saving me a lot of anxiety. Heading to Paris for Christmas and New Year, so excited! Oh, and welcome back. Have missed you.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Valery Shaw replied:

    Fun post- a dream for me is to go to Paris.– I would love to win either of the books too! -Thanks,-Valery Shaw


  24. Margot replied:

    Bonjour! This packing list is incredibly helpful to me as I am going to Paris (for the very first time!) in January and am beyond excited. Thank you so much, love your posts and would also love more info on Lorraine’s apartment for rent and will look for that in your blog. Have a wonderful trip.


  25. Carol Evans replied:

    Thanks for the inspiration, I have traveled to Paris 7 times and planning to go again soon. I never seem to get my packing right, I always take too much and not the right thing. Maybe I can get it right this time.


  26. Stacey Goldfinger replied:

    I have enjoyed your posts/emails for quite some time! I always look forward to your artistic inspiration, style and advice!
    Thank you!
    Stacey G.
    Chicago IL


  27. Cris S. replied:

    You said to tell you what we were looking for at the brocantes. If you could keep your eye out for white porcelain with a bright blue band and gold rims and monograms, I would love to have more. I came across 4 dessert plates 3 years ago when on a 20th anniversary trip with my husband. I’d love more! Here is what it looks like on The Paris Hotel Boutique that you introduced me to –
    And also old leather riding boots with the old wooden boots forms/lasts in them. I saw a pair for 600 euro in St.-Ouen but BOUGHT an equally lovely pair for 80 euro from Vanves. I’d love more!
    Have a wonderful trip!!!!!


  28. Lisa Harris Palazzolo replied:

    Loved this post! As usual…💓


  29. Catheirne replied:

    Some great ideas for light packing.. i will try this next time I go away, because always seem to be carrying too many bags. plus i love the tote.!!!

    Thanks Catherine


  30. jan finger replied:

    I think you have a great packing list. I really appreciate seeing the actual pieces. Now post pics in the outfits as the trip progresses.. Have a wonderful time.


  31. Krysten H replied:

    Great packing tips–hope one day I can use them :) Have fun.


  32. Anita Kirsten Kubin replied:

    Your travel pack is so much better than the other packing list. I love your style and the books look like fun too!


  33. Melissa Harrison replied:

    great travel tips for any time thanks, Have a fantastic time, can’t wait to see all you post and hope you do a new book to, One day I hope to get to Paris, but for now I will enjoy seeing it thru your eyes, as always,


  34. Lourdes replied:

    Great tips for Paris or when traveling to a big city!


  35. Susanne replied:

    Hi Claudia, nice to see what you pack! Great choice! Have a nice and safe trip. Just back from London, so Paris will be next on the list (even if it might be far from soon). I´m keen on the books as well.


  36. Lisa Hynes replied:

    Excellent packing!


  37. Nicole replied:

    Bon Voyage


  38. K L replied:

    Great post!


  39. Karena Albert replied:

    Claudia you have Paris packing down perfectly!! Love your choices and would be thrilled to win one of these great books!!

    The Arts by Karena


  40. Rebecca Grace replied:

    That first expectations vs. reality pic is hysterical. Reminds me of a trip to Maison et Objet one year with a group of other interior designers and these two women (from Miami, if memory serves?) packed like they were going to be on the cover of Vogue, the most ridiculous outfits and “limousine shoes” they couldn’t even walk in. You should have seen them hobbling around the convention center, the flea markets, the showrooms, complaining in loud American English all over Paris!


  41. Rebecca Grace replied:

    Love those ethnic bags, by the way!


  42. Brenda Hayes replied:

    Would love either book. Thank you.


  43. susasusa replied:

    Oi, oi, would love to win! Lots of pleasure in La Paris.


  44. Janet Perry replied:

    Would love to have these books for a trip to Paris!


  45. Mama Muse Me replied:

    At Home with Madame Chic is on my to-read list, so please consider me for that one. :) I bought Lessons from Madame Chic earlier this month… such a good book!

    Teresa from Mama Muse Me


  46. Susan Gerdy replied:

    Love the packing guide. I always over pack. I will keep this in mind for future shopping buys. I think it was you that posted the review on “The Paris Style Guide”. Bought it, loved it and gave as a gift to a friend going to Paris and she absolutely loved it. A must have. I would love either of those books. Anything Paris!!!!


  47. Janet replied:

    Good packing guide. Packing is one of those things I hate to do. The books look fun–anything Paris.


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