packing for london, paris and provence





let me just say right here that i don't even know where to begin with this post.
i try to talk about things i know a little about but since i've never been to europe or traveled for 21 straight days, i feel like this post should be written when i get back from my trip.
but we can all live vicariously through my mistakes.

what started out as a 10 day amazing garden tour to london has morphed into 21 days that will include paris and provence.

i'm pretty positive i'll get it all wrong but this is my best attempt at traveling light and yet somehow not looking like a complete idiot.

after reading tons of blog posts and articles, it seems everyone's number one regret regarding packing is that they always over-pack.
so i'm trying not to.
i can buy anything i need - after all i'll be in london and paris, so i'm going as light as i can.

shoes are the hardest for me.  the decision to not bring a pair of heels is almost killing me.
but like i said, if i really want a pair...i can buy them.

ok so i'm just gonna jump in with my packing list feel free to help me out.


3 pairs of skinny jeans (navy, black, white)
3 blouses (chambray, polka dot, silky navy)
4 t shirts
linen blazer
pj's
bikini
tennis shoes
booties
sandals
clutch
2 necklaces
toiletries
undies/bra

in addition to that, this is what i'm wearing on the flight...

black leggings
white t shirt
long cream cardigan
fatigue jacket
ballet flats




vintage barkcloth clutch by m. hadley that i purchased on etsy,
she makes beautiful clutches out of vintage fabrics.
there are so many gorgeous ones that it is hard to choose.
and btw, it is exquisitely made.
i highly recommend.

also taking this vintage chinoisserie pendant for good luck
and this all-purpose gold link necklace that can be worn longer or like a choker.

i will hopefully do another post on this packing business.
maybe with some outfit combo's if i have time.

my fingers are crossed that this all works out.

xo
janet





update...
***just to let you all know i am bringing a crossbody bag for daily use.  the clutch is for evening dinners.  and i'm not taking the white jeans even though i love them and they are comfy, i think they'll just get dirty too quick.  and i'm watching the weather daily and right now it is cold and raining in both london and paris so i'm packing accordingly***


170 comments

  1. Oh my gosh you are going to have so much fun!

    xxx's Kelley

    ps pack the heels

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    1. thanks kelley but after mucho consideration i think i'm not taking the heels. :(

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    2. THE BEST.
      I travel like this too, keeping to a strict clothing diet of mix n' match pieces. I refuse to check luggage, so even headed to india for several weeks it was strictly carry-on.
      I'm leaving for Italy in 2 weeks - Rome (5 days), Florence (5 days). and I'm currently packing in my head. any immediate thoughts on this?
      elise

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  2. Janet, I didn't know it had grown to three weeks, how fantastic! Packing wise, I never have enough, the last time in LA when it was unseasonally cold a stranger at the gym brought me clothes to wear as I had been in the same clothes for 4 days - such kindness.
    Can't wait to meet you in the flesh!

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    1. i know you are a light packer too. do you think someone will offer me clothes to borrow while i'm there? cannot wait to meet you too!

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  3. Maybe you should trade a pair of jeans for a skirt? I wore one a lot there because it was really hot in Paris. (That was in Sept though)

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    1. a skirt has been on and off my packing list so many times i can't even count. the weather is looking so cold so if i need one i'll have to get it there.

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  4. What a fabulous trip!!!! I'm so excited for you.
    I think this is a terrific packing list. The last time I was in France for 3 weeks I brought WAY too much stuff and I could barely get on and off the trains in time, my suitcase was so heavy, it was ridiculous.
    Where are you going in Provence? Oh my gosh you're going to have fun. If it is chilly you can always wear the sweater and fatigue jacket, I think your packing up is perfect. Can you wash your tshirts in the hotel sink and hang them to dry? That's what I did last time I was in Paris.
    I don't think you'll miss your heels and it's good you'll have 4 pairs in total, with all of the walking you'll do you'll want to switch them pretty frequently.
    I'm so excited you'd think I was going with you!!
    xox

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    1. so glad you commented b/c i know what a thoughtful packer you are.

      we will be in avignon and arles and make our way to nice. i can easily wash the t's.
      i'm thinking 4 pr of shoes are the minimum for this trip too!

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  5. How exciting! I can't wait for your trip pictures and that clutch is gorgeous!
    What you're taking sounds great - I'd definitely pop in a pair of heels, though. Take an umbrella, too. You'll need one in London, the UK is getting a thorough drenching! It's been very chilly here, too but like Dani wisely says you can layer the army jacket and cardi and that should be fine.
    Have a brilliant time! xxxx

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    1. i do have a small umbrella and i think layers are the key. can't wait to see your beautiful country! wish there was time for us to meet. :(

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  6. You will have an amazing time and I cannot wait for the pictures! I think you will be fine - maybe a wee umbrella??

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  7. Janet this is such an exciting post!
    I must be living under a rock because this is the first I have heard about your destinations.
    I would add one black dress a simple one perhaps made out of bamboo that is wrinkle free and can be rolled into a small ball.
    Please post pictures of your trip so we can see all the sights!
    Have a fabulous time.

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    1. leslie i haven't talked about this trip so you have not been under a rock.
      the black dress idea seems to be popular. maybe...?

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  8. I am so thrilled for you! My first time to Europe was when I went to Paris for my 40th birthday. Traveling to Europe absolutely changed my life in all good ways.
    My suggestion is to carry an extra outfit on the plane with you including undergarments in the event something happens to your luggage, which it will not, of course! Oh, and carry a pashmina or shawl of some sort for the plane ride. I use mine as a blanket, pillow, and even a cushion for the plane ride.
    Have a blast!
    xo, A

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    1. i do have a couple of lightweight scarves i am bringing. i forgot to list them.
      and an extra outfit sounds like a good idea.

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  9. Well I highly doubt you will make any mistakes, but my input...I would substitute a pair of jeans for a comfy skirt that you can wear with any of the t-shirts. Just because I am more comfortable in a summery skirt than jeans. I also agree with taking a shawl or scarf of some sort...for a rainy day, windy day or pillow for the plane.

    You are going to have such a fabulous time seeing all those beautiful places and meeting wonderful new friends! Are you sure I can't talk you into coming to Nebraska instead?! :)

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    1. if it were not so cold there now i'd pack a skirt but i can get one there if the weather improves. i'd love to see nebraska one day. you can be my tour guide.

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  10. Europe is well worth the hassle of packing :)
    Enjoy!

    I would also take a pair of heels-the Parisians dress like no one else, and you may want to wear them out while you are in Paris.

    BTW, I once read an article by a woman who only took a black jersey dress with her on a ten day trip. She washed it out ever night in the hotel shower; it was dry in a flash and she wore it every single day. I believe she had two pair of shoes and a jacket/blazer thingy as well. I thought she was crazy at first, but now I think it's kind of brilliant, and I would love to try it on a future trip.

    Looking forward to your photos!

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    1. the idea of one dress really has me daydreaming. wouldn't that be awesome? i don't know if i could do it for 21 straight days though!

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  11. Bon voyage! You will look beautiful and stylish, as always. The suggestions about one skirt, one black dress, and one pair of heels sounds like a great idea. Not taking your fabulous trench?

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    1. thank you. i don't think i'm taking the trench b/c it is so bulky.

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  12. I went to London and Paris for the first time last April. Loved it to death. I took lots of skinny pants and flat shoes. I saw on your list the white skinny pants. I have found that cities and public transportation and white pants are not compatible. Just brushing against a building or sitting on the wrong Metro seat can doom them very quickly. I take tan or khaki instead. I would also take the J. Crew trench! You never know. Have a fabulous time and post lots of pictures! Can't wait for the posts.

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    1. yeah the white jeans are prob a bad idea so i'll pass on them. i sold the jcrew trench awhile ago so that is out. but the fatigue jacket is warm and comfy and lightweight.

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  13. Have an amazing trip. Don't forget your toothbrush!

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  14. it's a bit chilly and wet here in London at the moment in case that helps - do you have a thin jumper?

    have a lovely holiday

    cathy

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    1. thank you and yes i do have a thin sweater.

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  15. Can you just fly down to Texas and come play in my closet with me? We can lay out my clothes all pretty like and I can dream of the trip you are about to take. HAVE FUN!!!!!

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    1. haha, if only there were time. thank you i will have a good time!

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  16. Hi J, I am worst packer so have no advice. Am taking 3 pairs of shoes. Is v. hard. xxxx

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  17. We went to Rome, London, and Cardiff for 22 days last September. I packed a single roll-aboard suitcase with several t-shirts, two pairs of pants, a midi skirt, two sweaters, a rain jacket, two scarves, a pair of Merrell boots, a pair of Abeo walking sandals, and a pair of shorts. And I was a little over-packed, to be honest. There was a little confounding washer in our Rome flat, and we were able to wash clothing. I bought a tank top there, and another scarf... But I really only needed one pair of pants and the skirt, to be honest. The shorts wound up un-used, because you can't enter any churches wearing them, and we never knew when we'd go to a church, so I wound up playing it safe the whole time and not wearing them. You're going at a much warmer time of year, though.

    One thing I will say: I'd be OK leaving out heels. Unless you plan to rent a car, you will spend a lot of time on your feet. There will be a lot of uneven ground, whether it is old pavements or straight up cobblestone. Up and down to the metro in London is a real climb sometimes. If you feel that you are really adrift without heels when it comes to dressing up, maybe make some space for them - but I've been following your blog for a while and you manage to look elegant without heels all the time.

    I also agree with the poster above who said white pants + metro = bad news. After riding the underground around London all day, I had dirt under my nails... like I'd been gardening. And obviously I had only been sightseeing. Sorry to any Londoners, but the underground freaked me out a bit with how grimy it could be.

    That's my rambling two cents!

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    1. yep...leaving out the heels and white jeans!

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  18. Your clothes sound perfect, but could you exchange the white pants for a basic dark skirt? I have been to Europe several times and I wore my skirt more than anything else. You will have so much fun and I can't wait to hear about your travels.

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    1. maybe i can find a skirt there. i'm running out of time here!!!

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  19. I agree, packing light is the way to go. Hubs and I went to Rome, Florence, and Venice for a total of 11 days last July and all I brought was 4 dresses and 4 pairs of shoes plus makeup and a hairbrush/hair ties. We washed what we wore every day in the hotel sink with powdered detergent we brought. It was 96 degree and we were walking 10-15 miles a day so our clothes got sweaty, the places you are going are much cooler so you may not need to wash. Don't worry about the heels, if you are walking on cobblestone it will be hard enough on your feet with comfy shoes. I would bring multiple pairs of shoes, I found switching daily helped keep the blisters down. Even though they were all comfortable shoes, walking that much on cobbles was really hard on the feet. I would probably throw in a comfy sundress too. I am so jealous of your trip, have a great time! Be sure to post about it.

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    1. i love your packing list. i wish it wasn't raining/cold there right now!

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  20. I agree with the two posters above too about the white pants. Traveling is a bit on the grimy side. Bring a coat for rain. I can't say enough about the importance of comfortable shoes. You are going to have a great time. I leave for London tomorrow, and of course, it's raining there:)

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  21. Janet,
    You'll look amazing as you always do! Maybe throw in a maxi skirt and another skirt? It was pretty warm the days we were in South of France and it was April. Have a wonderful time and safe travels!
    xo
    annie
    p.s. don't forget your umbrella!

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    1. i wish i had your weather while you were there. but maybe it'll improve the 2nd week.
      thanks annie.

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  22. I'm impressed. we went to France in September for 2 weeks and packing was hard! I think you need some kind of basic black dress that can be dressed up or down, work with any of the shirts you packed and a belt. Garnet Hill has some lovely ones and would be comfy for travel over the leggings.
    Have so much fun! Hope you will be posting while you travel!!

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    1. my plan for my dressy moments is the silky navy top with skinny dark jeans and my booties and a gold necklace. that'll have to do it.

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  23. Wow. That sounds like such a fun trip. Yes, as someone suggested, a skirt might be nice, a knit one that you could practically roll up. It's a nice alternative for an evening out. Always look at what you need and slash it a little more! (although you seem to be pretty spare.) When I taught teens at a 4-week summer camp in Poland (4 times), we had to bring so many teaching supplies, that there was very little room for my clothes (even with my 2 suitcases). Here's what I brought (we had to teach in dresses or skirts):

    1 dress
    1 black jumper (this could be dressed up for a couple special events we had)
    1 skirt
    4 tops/t-shirts
    2 light weight sweaters (it was usually a little cool there at first.)
    a pr jeans
    pjs
    undies
    1 pr sneakers
    1 sandals
    1 pr clogs to teach in
    a couple pairs of earrings, two necklaces, one bracelet
    umbrella
    Shoulder bag (for out and about)
    windbreaker jacket

    Everything mixed and matched, so I felt I had enough. We did all our laundry by hand too, except when we teachers pooled all our jeans together to be washed in the one washing machine. Also, we were not on the move, as you will be, except for some day trips in Poland with the kids, so I was not living out of a suitcase. Have a super time!

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  24. Agree no white jeans as London is dirty , can also be cold this time year - do you have a light rain jacket that can also take the chill off ? Your clutch is pretty but you need a waterproof shoulder or across body bag too for ease when walking. Have fun !

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    1. the clutch will only be for evenings and such. i'll bring my crossbody with me.

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  25. It looks like you're off to a great start but here is the best packing advice post I've ever seen. Enjoy and bon voyage!
    http://seventeenthandirving.blogspot.com/2012/07/tip-series-traveling.html

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  26. Congratulations on your first trip to Europe..so excited for you! Well I've traveled over there a lot in my life and I always take mostly knit tops as woven shirts wrinkled.. Until I discovered the neat little trick of spraying the garment with a little water diffuser and letting it hang overnight. I prefer other pants than jeans such as light weight twill. Jeans are heavy and take up space in the suitcase and difficult to clean and dry very slowly unless you can send them for laundering at the hotel.. Then that can be sometimes risky overseas. I agree with the others about white pants, perhaps you can substitute khaki. Also, this time of the year in Southern Europe can be very warm but I have always carefully planned for warm and cool. Perhaps you could substitute the white pants for a cute skirt. An all-purpose cardi is a must year round.

    Comfortable shoes are crucial.. How many trips did it take for me to finally resign myself to the fact that I would not be wearing the heels - unless I knew I was attending a special event. Almost slways I wore the same comfortable shoes everywhere. Really I needed only one pair! Have a great trip and I'm sure I speak for all your readers in saying: can't wait to hear all about it!

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    1. i have practiced with these 3 shirts and they are pretty wrinkle proof. i do have an iron in the room in case i need it. and no heels!

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  27. So exciting! You'll love the traveling experience. Here are my two cents on packing...Leave the white pants at home, pack a black skirt or dress that you can layer. I would absolutely bring your trench coat. You will see them everywhere and it is so stylish! I second (or third) the scarf/pashmina. I would also note that the style in most of europe seems to take a more nutral, lots of black. Hope this helps.

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    1. thank you so much for your advice. the trench is iffy b/c it is so bulky. will let you know what i bring in the end.

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  28. I would add just one more thing: I agree with the writer above about the clutch.. It is very beautiful but completely impractical for traveling. You need to have your hands free. I always travel with a medium sized shoulder bag that is adjustable for cross-body carrying and big enough to hold a bottle of water and a few other essentials. The strap can also be used to tie on your cardi for possible wear - tie it on the strap by the arms - a nice alternative to tieing it to you at the waist. There are some nice light weight nylon bags you can get at Magellans or other travel stores. Some are designed to help prevent theft... A growing problem in Europe. The thrives have special sizzors to quickly cut straps and take the purse. I almost lost mine twice in Spain last year. I urge you to consider getting a travel handbag- you won't regret it.

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    1. the crossbody is essential esp b/c of all the gardens i'll be seeing and the potential for rain. i'll need my journal and umbrella.

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  29. I am so envious! I am saving $$ right now for a fabulous trip in a few years. Until then, will have to live vicariously through you!

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    1. i've saved for a very long time for a trip like this. xoxo

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  30. Seriously I think you have packed just the right stuff! Bikini? Go girl!

    I love the color scheme of your outfits in the picture...would make a fantastic room plan!

    So stinking jealous! Are you on Instagram? If not, please get on there so we can follow along on your trip. It's only fair don't you think? :)

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    1. i hope to wear that bikini in nice while swimming in the med. wish me luck!
      i'm not a cell phone owner so no on the instagram! but i will take pics to share when i get back.:)

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    2. It was a long, long time ago but the women sea bathers on the beach at Nice mostly did not wear bikini tops so be prepared for the nudity (my boyfriend was pleasingly surprised). Frankly, I thought it was liberating and wanted to join in. Ten years later, I probably wouldn't have hesitated but, at the time, I was too young and intimidated to go topless.

      Geez, it's gonna be torture to not have you post for a month but it's great to look forward to some fun posts ahead. No pressure; you go have yourself a grand time and put everything back here out of your mind (except your Larry!).

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  31. What a wonderful trip!

    I am English(living in the US) and while I have not been back for a long time I am sure that the weather and the price of clothes has not changed much. It can still be chilly and wet in the UK this time of year. I don't think you will regret taking a very light weight little rain coat, the nylon kind that wraps up tiny. Don't think you will buy one there if you need it, it will cost much, much more in the UK and it is hardly going to be a stylish investment piece.

    Also make sure the sweater you wear on the plane is a warm one, incase it is cold in England.

    I also don't think you will regret taking one lightweight sunmmer dress and a pair of flip flops for warm places and days. They won't take up much room and I know I would be happy and comfy on vacation with one sun dress. Again, they will be costly in Europe.

    I agree with those who say don't take all jeans, a pait of lighter cotton pants would be a good idea.

    And yes, a practical and secure bag for camera, money, passport. I can' t say enough, it will cost you way more to purchase one in Europe, take one with you!

    This is exciting, I can' t wait to read all about it!

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    1. thank you for the wonderful tips! i'll share it ALL when i get back!

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    2. I had a cross-body bag and when I went to the Louvre in Paris, they made me ditch it at the kiosk/welcome center; I hated leaving it because my whole "life" was in there with passport, money, etc. Also, when we were in St. Peter's in Rome/Vatican and also at Windsor Castle outside London, my bag was completely emptied and checked. And I was with a tour and I did NOT look like a hippy. We had hippies back then.

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  32. How exciting! Do skip the white bottoms; sub with stretch skinny darkish chinos or longish dark skirt or jersey tank dress. Agree totally with Louise that stuff is MUCH more expensive in UK. The trench sounds better than the fatigue jacket--much more chic in France, too, from everything I've read. Secure cross-strap bag roomy enough for everything is a must--the clutch is cute, but not practical. Cardi or lightweight sweater a must for England in May, and I hope the blouses don't wrinkle--if they do, sub with knits. You want to focus on fun, not caring for your clothes! Oh--if you're doing a lot of garden touring, some kind of packable hat might be a good idea, a waterproof/sunproof canvas bowler that you can tart up with a scarf around the crown? Wish I was going!!!

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    1. choosing the fatigue over trench b/c it is so comfy esp for the plane trip. oh and i do have a packable hat for the trip!

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  33. This trip sounds wonderful! Here are tips I've learned from long trips abroad:
    1. Only bring jewelry you could wear everyday. You don't want to have to keep track of tiny, expensive or personally valuable objects unless you are staying in one place the whole time. If you have a diamond engagement ring - leave it home - they mark you as a "rich American" and therefore a mugging target - yes even in "nice" areas.
    2. switch a pair of jeans to a skirt you can wear casually or a bit dressier depending on your top. I always take my favorite white linen skirt. YES - white AND linen and am never sorry. I don't know London - but France and Italy have always been hot in the summer for me and I'm from Florida so I know HOT.
    3. a cardigan AND fatigue jacket on the plane? Do you need both? I agree with some others - a pashmina or, in summer, large cotton or linen or... scarf/throw might be more versatile. It's a blanket or pillow on the plane. Covers your shoulders in a church. Makes a stylish scarf around the neck.
    4. I always carry a stylish cross shoulder bag. It's easier on the back than a shoulder or hand bag or clutch. There are some very stylish ones out there now.
    I've learned about over packing the hardway - you CAN look great in only what fits in a overhead carryone and the one extra allowed. Have FUN!

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    1. i do need both on the plane as i freeze on airplanes! all i'm bringing is my small roller case and my crossbody handbag! wish me luck.

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  34. Hi Janet,
    Wow, you will have a great time. From my 2 trips to Europe I just finally learned to dress as “your” self, and as comfortable as possible. Things I wish someone told me are…
    Think Minimalist. You will be carrying your stuff all over Europe, would you carry that much crab hiking? Forget about fashion and what the locals are wearing. At least 2 different pairs of walking shoes and walking sandals are the most important, sore feet can ruin your trip. All of your shoes will get dirty, especially in Paris. White tennis shoe will look dirty. Ask yourself could you walk in these shoes all day and all night? Forget about making room for heels, your feet and back will thank you for it later. My jeans were always dirty, so white or khaki bottoms aren’t recommended. I’d wear dark neutral colors, no bright colors. The only time I saw color or Calif. style was in Provence. The one time I ventured out in a bright skirt I lasted through breakfast and went back to my jeans. You might want “a” pair of shorts, skirt or dress if warm weather is predicted. The metro tunnels in Paris can be cold and windy but inside the train was hot. Deodorant! The last trip I brought just a carry-on suitcase and day backpack. Bring day pack or travel bag that was recommended earlier, not your very cute must have clutch. As unfashionable a daypack was, it was very practical. My husband had one for his camera and gear. We were going to look like tourist anyway might as well look the part and be comfortable. I’d bring a hat for sun protection. If you bring shorts, don’t wear team in the city. In the country you’ll wish you had shorts.
    My husband brought too many dress shirts. He looked out of place most days, but had to wear them because he didn’t bring enough tee shirts. As many times he has traveled Europe, he decided this time, in Paris, he’d look nice but he wasn’t comfortable.
    Must go to Versailles and spend the whole day in the gardens!! Rent a bike, row a boat. I could have spent our whole vacation there. We rented bikes and I fell in a ditch, just one of the reasons why my jeans were dirty. And of course, Monet’s garden, gorgeous! Rent a bike and ride from the train to his house. Must tell you their bike seats are not comfortable but the bike ride was enjoyable.
    In Provence, if you make it to the town of Arle, they have a fabulous but very expensive restaurant called Cilantro, you can order both vegan and meat dishes there. There were so many different courses we had wished we had written them down, I think there were 9. We ate mostly at bistros, this was the only “nice” restaurant we ate at. Bringing nice clothing really wasn’t all that necessary (wish someone told that to me before).
    Your lifestyle isn’t going to suddenly change just because you are on vacation. Think about what you brought to Vegas, comfortable, practical clothing. Not the cute stuff in Palm Springs.
    You know, be yourself!
    Safe travels and happy packing,
    Tina

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    1. we plan to rent bikes and see the gardens! so sorry you fell in a ditch, i will try not to. haha

      i think being oneself while traveling is key. key!

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  35. Take a dress! Provence and Paris will be HOT this time of year and you'll want to die in denim. I wore a faded blue sundress, simple, classic 1940's-style in the south of France nearly every day with a big straw hat... I hiked in the hills, I sat in cafes - I felt romantic and feminine and right out of a movie. Don't restrict yourself to 21st century garb!
    Kate

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    1. i'm hoping the weather improves and a dress will be needed. right now it looks pretty miserable there weather-wise speaking.

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  36. Have a great time in France Janet! I just read some of the above mentioned tips. I think I will use some myself as well :-)

    Madelief x

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  37. WOO HOO WOO HOO WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!
    I am SOOO happy for YOU!!!!!!
    This. Is. WONDERFUL!!!!
    -Suzanne in Illinois

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  38. I'm afraid I don't have time to read all the comments, sorry if I repeat anything. I live in Switzerland, France and England.

    Hope that cardigan is warm and that you have a scarf or pashmina - London and Paris can be cold, windy and miserable at any time of year (especially if travelling underground!). And do you have something waterproof?? A hat that also shades from the hot southern French sun?
    White is not advisable in cities if your travelling is light, it gets very dirty very easily.
    French and British women wear skirts more than in the rest of Europe; you may wish to consider this. A black skirt or dress will take you anywhere, no matter how simple.
    American tourists wear flipflops. European women wear sandals or ballerinas (your feet stay cleaner in cities...). No boots once spring has arrived (well, the English might...!). The way we're going, waterproof ballerinas may even be the way to go :O

    You will likely have trouble finding vegan. We took a vegetarian friend to our home in France and our requests for vegetarian dishes often resulted in being pointed to dishes with "just a little" bacon... or you will be told, but it's organic. This is good and ethical, but if you are very strict, I guess you still won't want to eat organic meat! And nobody will understand your aversion to leather.

    Spring has been a month late in coming all over Europe but we're doing our best to catch up - however, that means April showers are still very much the name of the game!

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    1. thanks! i have a long list of vegan restaurants in london and paris. and no white pants!

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    2. Oh I think we wear more jeans/trousers, I have never noticed the skirt thing. It's too cold!

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  39. Stick with your fatigue jacket , much more practical than the trench coat others have suggested , and good walking shoes are a must

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  40. As previously stated, I have no business chiming in as my hoarding habits travel with me. But I would imagine that breaking in new heels isn't something you'd want to do on vacation when you'll probably be walking around even more than normal? Would one pair of just-in-case heels take up thaaaat much more room? But still buy the shoes in Paris. Because...because. :) what an incredible trip. I can't wait to read all about it. Are you going to meet Vix and play dress up with her?

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    1. thanks stephen. i wish i were meeting vix but my time in london is all consumed with the tour - thus no free time.

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  41. Oh, congrats; lucky YOU!!! JANET, you've simply GOT to contact Janice at The Vivienne Files blog. She does packing and clothing capsules all the time, tirelessly, based on the Project 333 (minimal clothing) and she's a genius; she writes regularly also for Tish Jett's blog which is Un Femme d'un certain age (I think that's how it's written). Janice travels the world frequently, especially Paris, lives in chicago and you could write to her and explain you've got this blog and let her design something quickly for you and then share it with us; do a cross-post between the two of you; seriously; FUN. Also, contact Sharon Santoni at My French Country Home. Another great blog. She's British, married to an Italian, living in Normandy, France. She travels to the south of France as well. She hosts antiques-enthusiasts/buyers and does tours; she has a guest house. She could give you all kinds of tips on what they're wearing in Paris and the countryside. She has excellent taste...in everything.

    I went to Central Europe only once when I was age 21 but I remember a lot vividly. Didn't have the slightest notion on how to pack. Started in London, ended in Paris, with much (especially Italy) in between; also over 21 days. Nice/Cannes/Provence (go to Entrevaux, a walled village!) was warm, i.e. HOT as soon as you left the beach; this was end of May, like the 30th. They'd just run the Grande Prix in Monaco. Nice is probably my most favorite city; there's a light/sun there that's like nothing I've seen, with the blue/aqua/teal colors of the ocean, the big whitewashed hotels, the promenade from the 19th century; a mecca for artists and writers. My vintage hotel room was the most gorgeous I've stayed in to date...and I don't get it, because I was on a budget tour with my secretary's salary. Big, dark, wood armoires and a wood floor but everything else in the room was snowy white...deep feather comforter, lovely antique chairs and tables, billowy white ceiling-to-floor curtains lifting in the sea air coming off the black wrought-iron balcony, French doors flung wide with the sea beyond. Oh, I'm in heaven just thinking about it.

    Have a wonderful, memorable time. Come back and share whatever you can so the rest of us can live vicariously through your travels. I got so tired of lugging a suitcase that I'd leave clothes behind for the maids in every hotel room. I wanted space in my suitcase for treasures/souvenirs. Clothes became burdensome. It was a long time ago; nowadays, you can buy and ship stuff back home, credit cards make things easier, English is widely-spoken although you should try to speak some French to be polite. Paris is so stunning at night; I wanted to walk down the Champs Elysee with the twinkly lights but we just ran out of time for so many things. There should be fresh produce for you; the French, largely from what I could observe or know, buy for today's meal, no matter if city or country. You can eat healthy in France. I don't know how it is in London now; veggies were fewer there when I traveled but I was a kid-young and not too adventurous out on my own on the street looking for markets. I hadn't yet made any friendships and was traveling solo.

    I just stumbled on yesterday some great leads on where to have tea in London. Go to Pretty Pink Tulips blog and then switch over to The Magical Christmas Wreath Company for other good tips on London high teas...and chocolate!

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    1. thank you vicki. i'm so looking forward to all of it!

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  42. Janet, I was just going back thru and looking at your clothes again. Nice color combos. You definitely, definitely need a lightweight, neutral (linen?) dress or a skirt. And I think also, as others said, that ballerina flats you can't go wrong with...as well, you will want to be hands-free as much as possible (purse/handbag) and French women are REALLY into scarves so, yes, the right scarf could be a belt or around your neck to change the look of any outfit but, hmmm, the weight of it is what gives me pause...the thing is, the weather difference between England and France could be pretty dramatic for you, obviously cooler in London, completely warmer in Provence. Another thing, have you ever looked into the blog Lost in Arles? Write to her; it's a beautiful blog; she's an American living in Provence and could give you SO, SO many ideas of where to go and what to see. She writes often of the area called the Luberon...don't quote me, but I kind of think that's the area Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are settling in, with some big castle/vineyard...

    In my other post I mentioned the writer Tish Jett and her blog; she did a whole series about French women on the street and what they wear, photo after photo, almost always with a scarf, not so much jeans/denim. Go to her archives...

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    1. contacted lost in arles and may do a tour with her!

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    2. OMG, I am so DROOLING. You are going to have such a fab time. Her name is Heather, isn't it? She is an incredible writer and I so love her dogs. Janet, I just can't wait for your posts. I'm sure you won't have time to blog from there but take notes via your photos and report back when you can. This is going to be SO much fun; thanks for letting us ride along!

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  43. Bonjour Janet, I am currently in Paris with my best gal pal, a 60th birthday present from my husband. The weather has been consistently in the low 60's, a downpour today for a short while, luckily we were in the musee D'Orsay while it was happening. The forecast for the next ten days is pretty much the same temperature, with scattered showers. I brought too many clothes, so cut back on what you think you will need because you can always purchase new things. I really believe that shoes are the crucial element in packing for a trip, especially if you plan to walk, walk, walk to all of the sights you want to see, or if you're taking public transportation. I brought a pair of heels to wear and now I'm asking myself, "What were you thinking?" If you have a driver or a car to get you from point A to B then it makes sense. I've been wearing, skinny black jeans, navy pants with straight legs, black skinny pants, etc. V-neck cotton J Crew cotton sweater or long sleeved cotton tops, all with scarves, of course, topped with a black trench coat. I wish I had brought my low heeled black boots, for comfort and warmth. Other than that, what you wear dictates how comfortable you will be walking around or sitting in a cafe. Have a wonderful trip and I can't wait to hear about it. If you have any questions, e-mail me. I'll be in Paris for another week. Bon vacances. Cheri

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    1. thanks cheri and thanks for all the email tips. mucho love.

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  44. That is a long time to be away (poor Larry, what will he do). I read most of the comments and now here are my 2cents. I guess trading out the white pants is a good idea (I love white pants though) Adding a Maxi skirt and a big shawl type scarf and small umbrella are smart choices too. You're going to have a great time. I really wish I was there to meet you. Just got back last night. I'll catch you on the next trip --now that you're a world traveller. I don't think you need heels either.

    Have a wonderful time! Can't wait to hear all about it.

    Julie

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    1. what are you talking about? this is a vacation for larry too. just think, 3 wks w/o me. what will he do??? hahha

      wish our trips coincided. dammit.

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  45. Hi! I love your blog and have only posted a couple of times. My husband and I went to London and Paris a few years ago and we went the last week of May and first week of June. The weather was in the 60s then and it was good weather for walking around the cities. The thing I remember was that my daughter told me to take a pair of sneakers and at the last minute I put them in my suitcase. The best thing I ever did! All we did was walk walk walk and take public transport. My feet would have been really killing me in the ballet flats I brought with me because they really didn't have much support. I only wore them when we were going in a cab somewhere in the evening. Also, I brought a medium weight jacket with me and a couple of scarves. I actually bought a scarf in Paris too. The scarf really kept me warm and also added a little flair to my plain outfits. I did get some stares on the underground while wearing my sneakers. We went to a very traditional restaurant in London and the door had a sign on it "No trainers allowed". There were some American women in there who didn't know what "trainers" were. Of course, from watching all the British shows, I knew exactly what they were -sneakers. That night, I had on my ballet flats because we had gone to the theatre and then out to dinner. So luckily we could eat there. Just a few little suggestions for you. I hope you don't mind. You do a lot of walking on these trips and you need shoes to keep you going all day.

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    1. thank you for the trainers tip. i can't imagine not being allowed into a cafe b/c of wearing them. wow. thanks hon.

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    2. Yeah, it can be more formal in Europe. I was on a budget tour but we had some very nice hotel rooms and meals sometimes included at surprisingly-nice restaurants. One evening in the hills outside of Rome, when we went to see the gardens of Hadrian's villa at night with the fireflies (OMG, it was so romantic...), we had a sumptuous group dinner at a hotel which did not allow women to wear slacks or pants; you had to wear a dress or skirt and men could go without a tie but they had to have a jacket. This was the late 1970s so I imagine it could be different now but you know, it's the thing with the churches/cathedrals, too, and respect. There's something that, to me, feels very wrong about entering a magnificent place of worship, where there are people who aren't tourists, where you find yourself whispering and wanting to be mannerly...and walking in with sneakers or flipflops/bare toes and wearing shorts just isn't right when little old devout ladies have lovely lace shawls or scarves over their heads. My own opinion, of course.

      There was a whole thing on CBS Sunday Morning...THIS morning...which featured a professor at Notre Dame who teaches a class on the absence of fine fashion at home or on the street in the U.S. today. She personally sews all of her own clothes so she can have the quality of beautifully-sewn seams and buttons, cuffs and embellishments. They were highlighting dress patterns from the 1950s and 1960s, when women still sewed, and how you could wear the latest Paris fashion to church or town even if you lived on a farmhouse in Iowa as long as you had a sewing machine. It used to be important that women look nice when they left their homes to go out, and I think they said that until the mid-60s in America, gloves were standard (I do remember babysitting for a housewife who never went out shopping in our nearby, more upscale city without her gloves). They say we got sloppy by the late-1960s or early 1970s when the "mod" fashions could be worn as easily by a woman of age 26 as age 6 (they highlighted a jumper). Notre Dame students were interviewed and were talking about how fellow students walk around in pajama bottoms which should only be worn in their dorm room and not outside of it. The whole point is that Americans have become a nation of slobs. (I guess we go for comfort!) I don't know how much I agree with that in entirety but there was a part of it that I thought rang true and that's to think each time you step outside your door...just do a little something to dress up a little...so I'm trying to learn to tie a scarf for starters!

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  46. Sorry, I forgot to say that Paris was rainy at the end of May and beginning of June so take an umbrella. It was more rainy than London on our trip! You will have some rain and then it will get sunny during the day on and off. The weather was not hot while we were there. It never got above 70 degrees.

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    1. yes it is quite dreary/rainy there now too.

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    2. 70 degrees is strip off high summer here!

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  47. Here in the uk its going from warm to rain to cold daily so you could well do with some form of waterproof jacket and at least a thin jumper to layer as previously suggested xxxxx

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  48. You lucky girl! Smart move on the white jeans and cross body bag :)
    Jana @ 333 Days of Hand Lettering

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    1. yes, i think the white jeans are OUT sadly.

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  49. I agree with cheri's post as I always pack black clothes with a few colors to perk them up plus cotton sweaters that can be sport or dressy (with jewelry added)...and comfy shoes. Those pashmina shawls are terrific as they can be stuffed in a shoulder bag, then pulled out and worn if it gets chilly (either in a restaurant or outdoors). Enjoy! Ann Z

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    1. thank you ann. hopefully my thin scarves will work. if not...shopping! haha

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  50. Your trip sounds wonderful and I think you've packed perfectly. I'd want to add a thin, cashmere scarf. It will flatten out in your luggage into almost nothing, but when you get chilly on Paris nights (think the top of the Eiffel Tower!) or on misty, London mornings, you'll be happy to have that warmth around your neck, or over your lap while riding. Great travels to you! Eloise

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  51. You are going to have such a good time! Can't wait to hear your stories. I would leave the heels at home, too. Best Wishes!

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  52. How wonderful!! If you can, take a short train trip to Claude Monet's home in Giverney, just outside of Paris. It is the most beautiful place I've ever seen. The roses, bridge over the pond, and all the flowers are breathtaking!

    I agree...take a LBD and a cashmere scarf.

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    1. oh i hope we make it to giverney. fingers crossed.

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    2. Janet, the gal I mentioned in another post, Sharon Santoni of My French Country Home blog takes Americans on tours of Giverny which is right near her gorgeous home. Seriously, write to her; I would melt to be able to go on one of her tours. She's an incredible resource. I adore her blog.

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  53. Janet, I'm so excited for you! I went to Europe about 6 years ago, this time of year too. Best packing tips I found-
    -one carry on and a crossbody bag. I also had a money belt around my waist, and wore it every day
    -took a microfiber short coat that was warm to wear (which I used a lot), rolled into a ball to use as a pillow on the plane, and shook out to wear again without wrinkles
    -sandals to walk in, and moleskin (bought a roll at Target, and carried a sewing kit with mini scissors) for my feet when the miles and miles gave me blisters. I'd leave the heels at home too.
    -took "traveler clothes," and soap and a clothesline for washing clothes along the way. I washed things in my sink and hung them to dry overnight. Ready to wear the next day. I packed pants and a skirt and wore them both.
    -camping rolls of toilet paper saved me many times ;) and so easy to pack.
    I have a great memory of shopping for clothes at a village flea market in southern France. A French woman near me held a dress up to her body, turned in different poses, and started asking me (in French) questions about how it would look on her. I'm assuming that, as I don't speak French - but looked like I did :)
    Have a terrific time!
    Colleen

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    1. ooo the moleskin is a great idea!
      you packed just like my friend is packing she is way smarter than me. :)

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  54. Looks perfect. Add a pashmina (or cozy scarf), flip flops and a ran shell jacket.

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    1. check on the scarf, got the sandals covered and an umbrella will have to do. :)

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  55. Janet,

    Well, lucky you! I have never been to Europe so I am a little envious. :) I'm sure you will have a wonderful trip!

    Smart girl, bringing tennis shoes. I made the mistake on a recent trip to San Francisco of deciding at the last minute not to bring them and I regretted it. I had brought only one pair of flats so I ended up buying another pair during our stay. You are packing a bikini? Sadly, I don't own a bathing suit of any kind anymore... :/

    Have a great time!!


    Linda
    xo

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    1. i will report back linda. didn't know you'd never been. thought i was the only one.

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  56. HI, it is really chilly here in this corner of Europe at the momnent, and Paris usually gets a lot of rain, thoguh less than London. You deffinitelly need a warmer cardigan and a pashmina is a really good idea. In Provance it will be a litte warmer, but when windy, it can get really unconfortably cold. I think what you have packed will be enough, just bear in mind to be able to have layers. Las time in Paris (and in Provance as well) I was constantly puttin g layers on or taking them of, the weather was changing constantly. Have a great time!

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  57. My goodness! 57 comments--you have some mighty loyal peeps here. :) I have done a lot of long trips as a travel writer and I have to say your packing is bare bones! But I do think that you might want to add a bit more. Like several folks have suggested, it has been raining a TON this year (yes even in Provence)--so perhaps a more rain friendly jacket would be good. That said, bring your white jeans if you love them! You can always get them cleaned overnight at a decent hotel. Yes, definitely at least one scarf (and you can buy more, France is ScarfLand) plus I would also add a lightweight black cardigan and something along the lines of a maxi t-shirt dress that can be dressed either up or down.
    Have a wonderful, wonderful trip and perhaps I will see you here in Provence!
    Heather
    PS. Something that I would do for such long trips would be to take one thing that I saved "for a rainy day"--not literally but for when I needed a pick me up--it always came in handy. :)

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    1. Yes, I too like to have one surprising item. The dress would be that, for me.

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    2. thank you for you comment and i thought the white jeans were gonna be my *rainy day* surprise. maybe they still will...

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  58. I know you are going to soak up all of this goodness! Can't wait to see these marvelous cities through you eyes.
    And thanks for sharing the etsy shop. I just went and purchased two zip bags!

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    1. thrilled, thrilled that you bought the clutches. you will be astounded at how gorgeous they are!!!!

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  59. I am also going to Paris-next week-and I cannot wait! These comments have convinced me that I don't need to feel badly about not bringing heels, so ok. I did buy a pair of Naot Mary Janes that will work for both daytime and evening. So far, they are the most comfortable shoes that I've ever owned, and they look nice, too. (Bought them at the Walking Company)

    I did read recently that some restaurants in Paris are not allowing patrons that are wearing tennis shoes! I'm assuming that they are rebelling against the white athletic shoes that we Americans love so much; so maybe if your tennis shoes are black you won't have any issues. Have a great trip! Looking forward to your posts on your return.

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    1. oh how exciting. it is so exciting to see all this packing advice isn't it?!!!

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  60. Hi Janet,

    I was in Paris 2 years ago in October. It does get cool, but once you go to the southern parts of France it can get quite warm. I think you will regret not bringing white jeans. Black is the big colour in Paris, but they also do alot of layers with summer clothes. Flat shoes are the common shoe is Europe. If you do bring a heel, a wedge is the best. Some roads are all cobble stone, and walking may be difficult with a heel. Also a lightweight windbreaker will come in handy.

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    1. thanks and flats seem to be the way to go.

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  61. Hi Janet!
    How exciting for you! Enjoy your trip to Europe!!

    Personally, I'd take that lovely Burbery trench coat of yours. I guess you won't regret it, especially on one of these typical rainy and windy London days. Don't forget a small foldable umbrella!

    Also I'd add more t-shirts as they don't take up too much space. Especially after hot days wandering around you'll be glad to be able to change into some fresh clothes.

    Good decision to skip those white jeans! As some said before I'd pack a skirt in a neutral colour. And don't underestimate the versatility of a pashmina shawl! Perhaps consider packing some shirts/blouses which can go with your black leggings as well. That's a comfy look and you can easily wash those leggings in small basin.

    Unless you are planning on eating somewhere very fancy I think you won't miss your cute clutch bag. Your cross body bag will just do the job.

    Shoewise I'd say skip those booties and pack some ballet flats and/or loafers.

    Anyway, enjoy your trip!!!

    Many greetings from Austria!
    Tanja

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    1. the burberry is so perfect but it is so bulky!

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  62. Piping up to say you might like to have a simple dress that goes fancy or not with accessories. Sometimes for nights at a restaurant you find yourself wanting not to be in pants. And if it gets hot, dresses save your life.

    Also the trench, IMO, in place of a blazer even.

    But who am I kidding? You will look fabulous no matter what...

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    1. those white jeans were gonna be my surprise outfit. dammit. maybe they still will be!

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    2. Janet, last year on my birthday trip I wore white jeans, it rained all the time and on the first day I had horrible dark splashes up the back of them. I didn't even wear the dress I had packed, it was too miserable and it was June.

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    3. I so agree about the need for a dress or skirt. Just one. I took all pants. From the time I was in Rome, all up the western coast of Italy and into the Rivieras and thru Provence, I was so darn hot (and I was a thin girl then!) I almost made cut-off shorts of my pants. This was late May going into the first couple days of June. Paris was cooler by June 5 but I felt incredibly under-dressed most of the time, back in the day. I couldn't afford a dress or skirt over there on my little budget. Buying one scarf in Paris, which today looks like a small hankie, took the rest of my spending money before we got home, but I just had to have one silk scarf from Paris!

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  63. thank you a million x's everyone for such good advice and i feel so loved! wow, can't wait to report back on it ALL. xoxo

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  64. I would suggest taking a scarf; nice when there is a chill in the air, on the plane, etc., and a quick way to dress-up an outfit.

    Sounds like a fantastic trip! Bon Voyage!

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  65. Your clutch is particularly at risk at night - just too easily lost or stolen. You will want to go strolling along beautiful streets after dinner. Some of my best photos fr taken at night or evening. You want to be able to do much with your free hands day and night.

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  66. Hi Janice,
    I have a bit more advise for you before you leave. I've lived in London and traveled in Eurpoe a lot and am so happy you get to see this part of the world!

    Here are a few things I don't think others have suggested: 1) bring a travel size bottle of Dr Bronners Magic Soap Castile soap. It is very concentrated and you can use it to wash your clothes or your body for that matter. 2) Bring along a copy of Rick Steves' London and Paris city guides (the really small sknny ones). They are packed with practical and fun info, including history, walking tours, museum tours, places to eat, etc. They are updated yearly. 3) If you have time to visit Bath, England, do so. It's a wonderfully quaint city a train ride from London. They have the best free walking tour that meets by the Roman baths each morning. 4) Rick Steves' website also has packing lists for women.

    Happy travels!

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  67. Hi Janet, I'm so excited for you! Your trip will be wonderful. My husband and I were in Paris and Strasbourg, France, five years ago this month! It was a terrific experience. In Paris, everyone told us the weather had been lousy until the day we arrived, and then the sun came out and it was WARM! My husband, who wears shorts year-round (even in 30 degree weather) couldn't stand wearing jeans so he switched to shorts, despite the looks and comments from a few Parisians.

    Your list sounds good, and your revisions are smart. I agree with someone above who said that if it's warm in Paris, like it was on our trip, you will be uncomfortable in jeans. I love the idea in one of the comments about the woman who wore a dress most days and washed it out every night. It's helpful to bring items that dry quickly. And definitely bring a shawl for the plane -- they can be so cold!

    What is your itinerary and when do you go? In Paris, we loved the Musee Rodin and I'm so glad we didn't try to do the Louvre because we only had 4 days in Paris. The Musee D'Orsay was another fabulous art museum not to be missed! I was in London many years ago as an 18-year-old. It's a lovely city. I've not been to Provence, but would love to go there one day. You'll have a blast. Safe travels!
    Claudia

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    1. It's what you can fit in, isn't it. If all of us had the whole summer or three months in spring, but we never do. I didn't see the Musee D'Orsay but if I'd missed the Louvre, I never would have seen the Mona Lisa...

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  68. Your clutch is stunning . Great to have the wow for evening after the practical day. Clothing

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  69. Hi Janet :) Very informative post! Happy for you and looking forward to hearing about your trip! My brother and sister-in-law travel across the pond frequently, for his work takes him to foreign countries and, thus, they have more mileage that they'll ever be able to use. Anyway, wanted to chime in, and the point in mentioning my brother's wife is the subject of purses. While traveling in Europe they were at a cafe, my sister-in-law sat her purse down on the floor next to her chair. When they were ready to leave it was gone. She lost A LOT, including a pair of diamond stud earrings. She no longer travels with designer bags as they are a Red Flag to thieves; she now uses a cross body style in black nylon that goes with everything. It has lots of zippers/pockets, with a special place for passport, just about everything. Also, think it's a good idea to record credit card info/phone # and keep it close at hand, other than a purse, in the event of loss. I'm thinking of pinning same inside my clothing, sort of like we did with our children when sending them off to camp. Perhaps I'm over cautious, however, after seeing the damage done to family, can't help but be concerned of that possibility. I'm traveling to Aspen in late June, with my dog as my carryon, so only using only a tote with cross body strap as combination handbag/luggage. I have to check my pup's stroller as baggage and handling that is all I dare, thus, this post has been very helpful! Wishing you fair skies and many happy experiences!

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  70. Xanax? Don't forget the tranks. They take little room and definitely improve the flight.

    That said I am Soooooo jealous but still very excited for you.

    Have a wonderful time and remember every detail.

    xo jane

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  71. This may be one of my all-time favorite posts. I'm excited for your adventure and am loving all of the wonderful advice shared by your great readers.

    Have a wonderful time!

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  72. I think this packing list is perfect. We travel around a lot and have lived in London and France (including Paris) with my husband's job. I think you will be chic and comfortable. I never understand why people get upset about white pants--they are easy to wash and you can use a bleach pen on stains, unlike other colors. They are so chic. I'd stick them back in for France. You will wish you had them. And the *idea* of a dress or skirt is nice, but in reality, the jeans are so much better for travel, and be dressed up if needed. Buying a cool top is easier than a dress if you want to shop. Paris especially is white-black-gray-denim all year round. Linen is key, too. I like your list so much I am stealing it and using it for my own trip this year to Dublin-France-Geneva. Triple love it.

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  73. I've been fortunate to travel around Europe quite a few times in the last 30 years and you're on the right track. My last trip, 3 weeks in Tuscany (late Oct./early Nov.) I went all black with a few t-shirts and print tops to look fresh every day. Layering is important especially since you'll be in several temperature zones and quick drying fabrics. Skip the heels. Get a pair over there. I did one time and got more compliments over the years since they were unlike anything here. Go with loafers or the most comfy flats you own. The one singular thing I always pack is a pashmina shawl. They fit in your carry-on and help in flight when all the blankets are taken and it's freezing. Also, don't bring anything you can't afford to lose. Pack an small assortment of different size plastic bags and several cheap plastic hangers for drying laundry. Not much in the hotels, etc. over there for that. Plus you can jettison them at the end...less luggage back. For shampoo etc., I buy small plastic bottles at beauty supply stores. Fill them with what I need and be sure to double bag them for leaking. You can toss the empties as you use them. Again less return weight. This may go against people's principles of waste and recycling but a trip like this is one time when I think it's appropriate. BTW, I've never felt the need to wear or bring a dress in the last 20 years of traveling and never felt out of place. Have a glorious time!

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  74. Oh, have a wonderful trip! I cannot wait to hear about it and see the pictures. And as someone who just froze on the flight I took last month- even with my sweater on- I think you'll be glad to have the extra layers. You pack like I do, very spare. Really, when I travel, as long as I look appropriate, I don't mind wearing things over and over. I'd rather do that than lug around a bunch of clothes.... Have a blast!

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  75. Have a great trip, I hope people here in Blighty treat you well and you see everything you want to, the weather here is *changeable* so anything could happen, but in Provence, that's a whole different lavender scented kettle of fish.

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  76. The only thing clothing wise I don't see that is a MUST in my opinion, is a big loose neck scarf that you can wrap that neck in to be fashionable, when it rains, pull up a bit to protect your head, or very loose and slouchy.

    You'll see it everywhere in Paris and I'm convinced elsewhere. Plus quite practical

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  77. Pashmina and cross body bag a must. I have traveled overseas for 10 yrs, with children, and those two items are a must. Plus leggings and tunics. So looking forward to seeing your photos. You have such style, you will look amazing!
    Cortne
    cocoinmagnolia.com

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  78. Janet, I just did the packing post and my choices were almost identical to yours! I also brought my white jeans, I love them and I personally don;t find them showing more dirt that any other light colors. Of course I was staying with my mother so easy to wash but I didn't and I wore them 3 times. I treated one small smudge with tide pen, in fact, I find white easier to clean this way than other colors. I agree about the scarf, everybody has one. I brought heels but never wore them so you are wise to leave yours behind. My silk blouses worked great. I also had a clutch and and a cross body. I'd say bring your trench and one warmer sweater.

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  79. What an amazing trip and itinerary! And how lovely that you're going for longer... there's so much to see and do, might as well stay as long as you possibly can!

    You are so RIGHT to pack light. You'll be just fine. (And it would be a shame not to leave plenty of room in your luggage for purchases.) My only adjustments would be to bring 1 pair of shorts (or skirt) instead of pants. And I'd only bring 2 pairs of shoes - one for looks/fashion and one for serious walking. There's no need for more. So based on your list, I'd be choosing between the booties OR the flats and between the tennis shoes OR the sandals.

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  80. I just got back from 3 weeks in Turkey and Greece.. I took 2 pairs of white jeans and wore them the most.. I was on an archaeological tour , so lots of rocks sand etc. there was one woman who mocked me for white pants ( don't know what her problem
    Was...they reflected the sun and went with everything...I vote white pants! Have a trip that has lots of wonderful memories! Coco

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  81. Janet, have a wonderful time. Please take lots of pictures of all those beautiful gardens. And please take pictures of yourself so we can see how all your clothing choices worked out. Bon Voyage. - Mary Ann

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  82. I was going to suggest you ditch the white pants and take either khaki or tan as that will go with everything else you have. You might want to pack a couple of long scarves. Roll them up and put them in your shoes. It can still be cool and breezy there this time of year (I lived outside London for 3 years).

    I'm sooo jealous of your trip. I can hardly wait until I retire in two years and we take our 3-4 week long trip back to England where we'll rent a car and see more of western England and Wales this time around. Wave to the queen for me!

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  83. I hope I can this right without it coming out wrong in my words...but the one and ONLY time I went to Europe, I traveled on a tour with some fellow Americans who gave us the adjective of "Ugly" Americans. I was embarrassed to be on the same (Mercedes) bus with them. (In fact, later on my trip, I met a boy from Anaheim, Calif., so we pretty much ditched the tour by Venice and I was able to spend half my trip out of earshot from these people, and my "guy" and I went off and did our own thing while still having the advantage of pre-booked hotels and even some really-great half-day city tours and the like.) Anyway, these people, especially this one couple, constantly, CONSTANTLY complained about everything European to where, if it were me now all these years later, I would have asked them point-blank why there were even ON a trip to Europe if they hated it all so much! If it wasn't the food, it was the lodging or the money exchanges; WHATever. No matter where we went they demanded of shopkeepers or any person (whose country, by the way, we were GUESTS in), "How much is this in American money?" How insulting! There were no Euros then and I'd studied the money conversions for each country long before I got on a plane and even had gone to the bank and done my foreign exchanges within reason so that I'd be ready to go with each new country, something in pocket. It's up to US to merge as a visitor into a new country and respect how it runs, not for that country to accomodate US. These same tacky people I've mentioned (really sour, unhappy types in general) turned their noses up at the food, yet actually took food off buffet tables and stuffed it into their bags (wasn't meant to be All-You-Can-Eat-And-Take-With-You) and the way they dressed was so inappropriate for travel or being hosted abroad, in my opinion. I mean, again in my opinion, you don't dress in London or Paris or New York or Chicago or Dallas (you get my drift) in clothes you wash the car in, or run to the gym in or go to the beach in. I mean, do you want to be a spectacle...or a grown-up adult? I am very proud to be an American but I don't think we should stand out so glaringly to where we're noticed more than the landscape. You and I are from southern California, Janet, and we're very, very casual here. You KNOW how casual we are. I don't know how Europe is now, but I read enough to know that bigger cities are less casual as you go East. Anyway, someone else will argue the point, but I like to give a good impression as an American abroad, not a bad one; you can be a gracious traveler, not smart-alecky or arrogant. It's good you are already a smart, stylish, soulful person who knows instinctively how to be and also preparing for the right way to travel overseas, Janet!

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  84. And travel with an open mind. Clearly in 21 days, because that was me (there was a movie when I was growing up called "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium...that was SO my dizzying 3-week budget tour of Europe as a first-time traveler), you are never-ever going to see everything you want to see...I mean, you could spend three weeks at The Louvre in Paris alone...so get right with that in your head before you go so that you don't get frustrated with never enough time in one place.

    Oh, and I didn't take a travel blow dryer; BIG mistake...too much of the wet head and I got bronchitis.

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  85. Gosh you got a lot of response on this post! And I've made 'way too many comments of my own. We're just all so excited for you!! Of course there are differing opinions and I agree you do need to find the balance between being yourself in how you dress and dressing up or dressing down with minimal accessories, i.e. scarf, etc. I will say do not make yourself conspicuous with stand-out jewelry; we had a business client in New York City once who had a necklace ripped right off her neck. If you're never a dress/skirt person, then you're not going to want to take one even if two hundred people told you to do so. Good luck with washing stuff in the hotel sink at night; mine never seemed to dry, so maybe I had too much cotton and not enough blends/silk/nylon. I wish you could somehow get in touch with Tish Jett, an American who has been in Paris/weekend-countryside for apparently a very long time. Her blog as I'd previously mentioned is actually spelled out, 'A Femme d'Un Certain Age.' Her most recent post(s) is of her daughter coming to visit and where did they go but Provence and she was very impressed with their B&B in Arles. Oh, and I took a big coat to get thru London & other parts of England, plus the northerly countries of Holland/Belgium/Germany/Austria/Switzerland...I needed it, it was cold...but I was darn tired of lugging it around once I got southerly into Italy and France such that I finally left it behind one day because it was (I can't believe this...WHITE) getting too dirty, it was so heavy, it was impossible to pack in my suitcase; it was my ball & chain although it was my most favorite coat EVER. But listen more here to your more recent travelers; they've probably got the better perspectives. In the end, all the tips will converge and you will have packed an excellent suitcase to have a fantastic journey; the clothes will become incidental to your travel adventures as they're just the backdrop to the "movie" you're going to find yourself in...you know, the one where you're pinching yourself and saying, "I'm really here, this is really me; I'm in PARIS, I'm in Provence and the lavender fields, that's really the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace...!!!" Oh yeah, and Versailles; have kicked my own butt 10,000 times that I didn't get out there...we need three months, not three weeks, Janet...but when you're a working girl and you've got a boss or a business, you can only be gone so long and, who knows, you might get back a second time and a third time but, even if you don't, it will still be the BEST time!

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  86. Oh wow Janet it looks perfect. As you say you can always buy any other bits you may need!! Safe travels. S xxx

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  87. I'm currently doing on a 4 month sojourn in Southern France , and coming from London expected it to be very warm in May .Travelling by car means that I have the luxury of taking those extra things 'in case'. And thank heavens for that , as the wind Le Mistral here in Provence is seriously cold . I do recommend bringing a few light cosy layers ...a couple of thin cashmeres and a good windproof jacket .london is apparently pretty dire weatherwise now .
    All that said: London is fab and Provence is gorgeous ...enjoy!

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  88. Have an amazing time Janet and do hope that you get to the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris when the beekeepers are there.

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  89. Janet, I became over-excited about your packing/travel post here because I'm at bedside recovering from major surgery and I have 'way too much time on my hands. I did, however, have the best news about my endometrial cancer, that they got it at Stage 1 and aren't even going to have to do radiation so I have been given a second chance and I do not intend to waste one more minute, hour, day, month or year. I feel free and am going to make things happen for myself like I haven't. I, for the first time, clicked on what your actual 10-day tour is about and I am just stunned; how incredible! This is a trip of a lifetime; really special and unique. I want to do it! Can't wait to see how your clothes worked out but mostly can't wait to hear about your travels!

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    1. oh vicki what great news! i'm so incredibly happy for you. janelle is going to be putting together lots of tours like this so stay tuned to her blog for info on that. i'll talk to her when i meet her and find out more about it. again, congrats on kicking cancers ass!

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    2. Lots of highs and lows on the emotions but mostly high. Thanks for the reply, sweetie, when you have NO TIME to reply! But, yeah, I like that; kicking its big, nasty ass to gone & beyond. I'm keeping that image in my mind; it makes me feel empowered. Big job now to eat vegan or at least vegetarian, move the (kinda sore at the moment) body and look forward to my long-overdue trip to Europe! Carpe diem...the enjoyment of the pleasures of the moment without concern for the future (per Mr. Webster). It's a good mantra...

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  90. I always pack two silk or other quick-drying, moisture wicking tops. Long sleeve for cooler temps, short-sleeve or tank style for warmer temps. They are so thin, pack down to nothing, yet are much more comfortable and warmer/cooler than cotton. They can be worn alone or layered or can be sleepwear. Wash and dry easily. Same with socks - NO cotton. Comfortable feet are so important.

    A cashmere V-neck is comfortable, light to pack and easy to dress up with a scarf.

    Take a thin poly or string bag for shopping. A couple of zip-lock bags come in handy. If you use aspirin or other medication - take your own. The stuff there is different and more expensive.

    If you have no cell, photocopy your passport, i.d and travel info. and e-mail it to yourself so you have the info in case of problems. I second or third the Rick Steve's web site. Read the Graffiti Wall for helpful tips.

    Have a great time!

    ~skye

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  91. I'm so glad you wrote this post, as I am currently watching weather in France and making my packing list as well. Our youngest is heading to Paris for 7 weeks; my husband and I will be in Paris, Burgandy and Alsace for a total of two weeks. We have traveled to Italy a few times, and we're very good at packing light; we each pack a small carry on, and check a large suitcase, so we can bring things home, lol. I've never been to France either. I'm planning on bringing many Eileen Fisher pieces in neutral colors to mix and match - and they roll up so tiny!!! And yes, I plan to bring at least 4 pair of shoes as well. Can't wait to hear about your trip!!

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  92. What a wonderful trip and you are going to my favourite garden Great Dixter. But gosh you've left already and I was going to say we frequently have all 4 seasons on the same day in the UK so layer up is my advice. And then I see you are at the Chelsea Flower Show on Thursday. Now I'm going to be spending more time trying to spot the Gardeners Cottage blogger than looking at the gardens ;-)

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