Back in 2015, Aaron and I spent 5 days in the City of Lights with two of our dearest friends, Bryan and Michelle (Michelle is a super talented photographer who took most of the photos you’ll see today). Since I was on a hiatus from blogging, I never wrote a proper post on it when it happened — but I sure am excited to share it with you today!
Currently, we don’t have any big trips coming up, but even the simple act of preparing this post has me feeling inspired again! Reminiscing on travels is good for the soul. Now I’m scheming on how we can bring some of that travel magic into our everyday lives — even while we stay put in good ol’ Abilene this summer. :)
Today we’ll look at:
- What I packed in my carry-on
- What we did (plus, eateries + shops you’ll want to add to your travel bucket list)
- What I wore each day
Let’s jump in!
WHAT I PACKED
This neutral + classic packing list may look a little lackluster — but I still consider it one of my most successful packs to date!
My goal was to pack clothes that were comfortable and timeless so I never had to worry about feeling overdressed or underdressed. Basically, I wanted to forget about my clothes and enjoy the experience. :)
These pieces worked great for our trip two years ago, but I’m most proud that they still work. Almost every piece + outfit is something I still currently wear.
My color palette? Grey, white, and black — with a little interest via stripes and cognac accessories. I brought 4 tops, 3 bottoms, 3 pairs of shoes, 1 jacket, and 2 dresses in my carry-on. Here’s the full list:
01 | Striped Tee
02 | Grey Tank | similar (made responsibly + on sale)
03 | White Button Down (old) | similar | similar (made responsibly) | similar (under $25)
04 | Stripe Crop Tank (old) | similar | similar in solid colors | similar in yellow (made responsibly)
05 | Soft Blazer (old) | similar | similar (under $35)
06 | Black Skirt (old) | similar | similar (under $15)
08 | Tote | similar (made responsibly) | similar (under $65) | similar (under $49)
09 | Black Skinnies (old) | similar (made responsibly) | similar (under $40)
10 | Black Dress (old) | similar jumpsuit | similar with criss-cross back | similar (under $70)
11 | Leggings (old) | similar | similar (made responsibly + under $30)
12 | Linen Dress (under $70) (mine is old and different from the one shown above) | similar (almost sold out) | similar in a shirtdress (under $50)
13 | Short Heels (old) | similar (on sale) | similar
14 | Flats (old) | similar (on sale) | similar (under $15)
15 | Sandals (old) | similar
WHAT WE DID
EVENING: Arrive at our Air BnB after a long day of travel. (Pictured above.)
The particular apartment we stayed in is no longer available, but we stayed in Le Marais near Rue des Gravilliers. It was quiet, but in the center of things — the perfect base to explore Paris.
MORNING: Visit Montmartre + Sacre Coeur. Walk to lunch at Buvette. Pick up flowers for our apartment at the flower shop next door. (Pictured above.)
AFTERNOON: Head back to the apartment for a nap. :)
EVENING: Head out to dinner at Season, then take a short walk to Le Perchoir, a chill rooftop bar, for after-dinner drinks. You may have to wait in line for a few minutes, but it goes quickly and it’s well worth it for the views + vibes. (Pictured below.)
MORNING: Wake up early and peruse the antique market Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen.
We stuck to the high end markets and didn’t buy a thing, but we weren’t there to buy — we were there to see one-of-a-kind antiques in person. I’m an antique enthusiast so it’s my thing, but it’s definitely not for everyone. Do your research before you go, because it’s not easy to navigate.
AFTERNOON: Browse the home goods at concept store Merci and grab coffee at their coffee shop. Definitely put this one on your list. (Pictured above.)
EVENING: Drinks at Bar Du Central, then walk to the Eiffel Tower for a picnic dinner. (Pictured below — see the Eiffel Tower peeking out there?)
MORNING: Visit the Louvre and walk the grounds. (Pictured above.) Then head to Rue Cler to explore the area and grab brunch at L’eclair. Admire the flowers at Cler Fleurs down the street.
AFTERNOON: Visit Museum De L’Orangerie to see Monet’s Water Lilies. The museum is small and manageable and the wait is well worth it. (Pictured below.)
EVENING: Admire Notre Dame on the walk to a fancy dinner at Le Reminet. Stop by the Eiffel Tower one last time to see it all lit up + sparkly at night. It only lights up for five minutes every hour on the hour, so be prompt.
WHAT I WORE EACH DAY
And there you have it! :)
So tell me, have you ever been to any of these spots? What did you think? And I’m curious — how do you bring a little travel magic into your every day life? Share away in the comments!
AMAZING timing…about to go to France myself—Provence and then Paris. Thanks for the tips!
Enjoy, Kim!! :)
Same here! Paris and Spain, so I’m loving this post!
My own travel magic comes from trip-planning. If I’m not actually traveling, I am immersed in planning my next trip! (And I’m sure I spend more time planning than actually traveling.)
Caroline what size of travel carry on did you bring? The large or small? I’m about to head to Paris and Poitiers and i’m worried about checking a bag! I’m doing hair for a friends wedding and then seeing the sites of paris. Think I can do it with the new regulations of international carry on??
Hi Nicole! I brought the regular size carry-on (not the bigger carry-on). I think you can do it! :)
Gen from Montreal says
With my husband, we like to bring travel to us. We choose a country and/or a town, we find a film picturing it, we find music from the place, we research the food and try to make a typical meal, sometime we even borow a travel guide at the librairy, then we spend a nice evening “in” our destination, listening to music while cooking, eating and watching the movie. We also do something similar to “relive” our Past travel.
Steffi P. says
That’s such a fun idea!
That sounds so fun, Gen! :)
This travel capsule is lovely!
The pictures made me a bit homesick, but in a good way. I’m from France (but Strasbourg, not Paris) and I haven’t been back in almost two years. We have a 10 month old and I can’t resolve to do such a long trip on a plane with him. Hopefully next summer! The Musée de l’Orangerie is fantastic.
Go now!! Travel with babes unarmed is soooo much easier than travel with toddlers!
We traveled home to Australia from the US when my son was 9 months and then again when he was 2 . Babies are 6 zillion times easier. Go now!
Agreed. Go now!! I now have a 22-month old and wished I’d traveled more when she was younger.
Definitely go now. We took an 11 month old to NY from Sydney Australia. She was fantastic. If you can afford it buy him a seat, it makes it so much easier.
Agree! Toddlers get into far more trouble than babies do! Go now!
We’ll be visiting Strasbourg soon! Got any places you’d recommend?
ok – I could have used this last month! what a fab collection (and itinerary)
and: nothing wrong with neutrals! this looks perfect to me
This post was so fun to read! I traveled to Paris in 2015 too, and I’ve really been missing it lately. Thanks for sharing your memories :)
Lovely post!! We also went to Paris in 2015 for our wedding anniversary- 21 years!! ;-) one of my favourite was also seeing Monet Waterlillies ( a dream come true for me to see his paintings) … I’m longing to go back! Xx
Patricia Kay says
Ease & Beauty. Lovely. I felt such peace walking through with you.
This post is fabulous & a teaching in so many ways.
Reminds me of traveling to Tokyo a few years ago. Grey & black were my color choices each day. Simple-easy-confident. Best trip ever & a big part of it being so wonderful was not ever wondering what to wear.
Your post inspires: 1- visit the picture collection 2- start dreaming of next winter’s trip….
Your style. Your style. Cannot thank you enough?
Thanks for such a sweet comment, Patricia!
I love your packing list; you chose such elegant and simple outfits. BUT. . .I am surprised you were comfortable with open sandals in all of that gravel and sand?! I grew up in Paris, and we never wore open shoes when sightseeing or in the park, because it was just too dusty/dirty. Although, I DO remember using a bidet to wash my feet. . .alternate use for that bathroom staple!
Right?! :) Looking back on it, it kind of surprises me too. But I remember always feeling comfortable in my shoes on that trip, so it must have not been an issue. :)
Leslie Kosloff says
How would you pack for a 9 day road trip from Seattle to San Francisco? Planning hiking in forest as well on Oregon beaches, and lots of walking to see the the sights in San Fran. I seldom wear dresses.
Thanks for your help!
–I know this question is for Caroline, but as a Bay Area dweller (who dreams of living in Seattle), I thought I’d jump in. My best recommendation is layers. Jeans, tee/tank, jacket/cardi, scarf (optional) and flats or comfy/easy shoes along with a good crossbody bag or tote will work for either city, in my experience! Packing things that double as light hiking clothes/clothes you’re comfortable wearing around town but also for outdoor adventures seems key here, in terms of packing minimally.
Hi Leslie! You’re in luck! :) I wrote a blog post about what to pack for a 10 day road trip a couple of years ago! Check it out here: http://bit.ly/2rlSllX
Thanks for this post! Comes just in time for a trip to Paris next month :)
Hope you have so much fun, Vanessa! :)
Cara Gerhardt says
Not related to your questions but I am curious-did you pack your travel steamer? I find that I get stumped at packing linen/button ups because they wrinkle so terribly in my bag. Which is a shame because they are so versatile! Any tips?
Hi Cara! I didn’t this time — I opted to leave all appliances (hair wand, steamer, etc.) at home since I’ve fried a few when traveling, even when using an adapter. Instead I just used the iron at our Air BnB if needed. :)
In Paris, everyone irons! Where i stayed, they didn’t have a dryer – just a washer and an iron. So your accommodations may well provide an iron, or even a steamer.
Andreea U. says
I enjoyed every bit of your Paris story.I love how you kept it all parisian and chic. The parisian women wear neutral colors and have a timeless style so you fit perfectly.
I love to travel so one thing that we came up to feed our travel starvation was to have once a month an evening with a different country theme.
For example, if we miss Italy, we will make some pasta (simple ones like the old recipes), listen to some Dean Martin, sip a glass of prosecco and see some Sophia Loren movies.
If I want a frenchy taste, we make some cheesy pancakes and some sandwich baguette, add some wine while listening to Charles Aznavour and watch Amelie afterwards. Sometimes, if it s a new country, we read a little about it and discuss over what we liked about it.
Lately, I have a thing for Mexico so I am sure that somewhere in June we will eat some spicy tacos and have some tequila on a side :)) at least we can use our imagiantion :P
That really sounds lovely, Andreea! :)
This has to be my favorite packing list!!! I love that it is timeless.
Marie Therese says
I loved everything about this post. Thank you for sharing your trip ! it looked so beautiful:) xx
What fantastic timing! I’m off to Paris for an 8-day work trip in June, and am currently trying to work out how to pack lightly but fashionably (it’s so much pressure what with Parisians giving off this vibe of being effortlessly cool, classic, and super-fashionable).
Whilst I’m there primarily to work, I’m hoping I’ll have free time in the evenings and possibly over the weekend, so I’ll be adding these places you’ve mentioned to my list! Thanks :)
How exciting, Sarah! I hope you get some time to explore. :)
We went to Paris (not for the first time, but we also went to Berlin and Amsterdam, where we’d never been) for part of our honeymoon in 2013 and loved visiting the Grandée Mosque and sipping peppermint tea in the garden there afterwards. One of my longstanding favourite places in Paris has been Shakespeare & Company bookshop on Rue de la Bucherie. We spent a happy afternoon on our honeymoon browsing in that gorgeous institution and I left with a beautiful copy of Tender is the Night, because I love Fitzgerald but didn’t own it.
One of the main ways we sustain that travelling spirit at home is to appreciate our own city from different perspectives as much as possible. An aspect of travelling that I really love is straying off the beaten track and finding hidden gems, so when we’re on an evening stroll in our home city, say, we’ll take a new route, deliberately get a bit lost and stumble across a different vista, or pub we didn’t know about, or…etc, etc. And we start out with ice cream. That’s key.
Clarice, after retiring, traveling 70% of the time, I am delighted to discover my beautiful city of West Hollywood Californa. Gelato is key for me:)
Sheri C. says
Clarice, I will actually be staying in an airbnb that is directly above the Shakespeare & Co bookshop in the fall–I can’t wait!
Alli Moss says
Ah, très chic! This is what my whole closet looks like. I love French style, even if it isn’t “authentically” French, so this is the aesthetic I aim for :)
Leaving for Paris to get married in two weeks, so this is perfect timing! A good reminder that I really don’t need much more than I already have. And re: bland color palettes in Paris — I found their style to be pretty understated. The more neutral you are, the more likely you’ll fit in with the typical Parisian style, IMO. ALSO — pretty sure that rooftop bar is in Midnight in Paris?
Congrats, Alyssa! I know you’ll have the best time — especially since you’re getting married! :)
Oh how I miss Paris! I went sooo long ago and it feels high time to go back. The little things that give me the travel magic feels are things like walking to the market, sitting on a good patio, trying a new cafe, a short road trip, or playing tourist right here in LA. I’ll sometimes just make a goal to carry my camera and try to see the same old things in a more creative way. But nothing beats a good old fashioned vacay! <3
Appreciated how your neutral color combinations worked so beatifully then and now. Styllish and chic!
Lauren K. says
Such a great post, esp. since I’ve been contemplating how to pack a carry-on for a week myself at the moment. And it looks like y’all had a grand time in Paris!
Marveling at the perfection that is this packing list. Sheer perfection! And so useful – I’ll be returning to it for inspiration several times for trips this summer! Thank you for sharing it, this takes the stress out of pre-travel decision making.
On the magic of travel – I look at photos from past trips, read books and watch films set in the country I miss, drink wine from there, and maybe search out a bath/beauty product made there to use. I do this for places I’m longing to visit, too!
I love travel related posts! The pictures are beautiful, and it looks like it was a perfectly relaxing trip! I went to France a few years ago and spent a couple days in Paris, but I would love to go back and just relax and enjoy the city a little more instead of feeling pressured to see all the sights. It looks like you guys had a great time, and I love your packing list!
I love that idea, Savannah. I would also love to see it again too, without the tourist agenda! :)
Thanks Caroline! This post is super timely and helpful my girlfriend and I Leave for Paris in a couple weeks! I’m curious, do you have any good resources for a male version of this?? Keep up the great work.
I absolutely LOVE this post! Paris is one of my favorite cities. My husband and I may go back for our 10 year anniversary! :) The last time we were there we stayed on Rue Cler and enjoyed all the cute shops and cafes. Thanks for sharing all the links to where you ate, drank, and visited. The pictures of you and your hubby are so beautiful! Though I enjoy reading your fashion posts, keep the travel ones coming!
Anna W says
Love your simple, classy, tiny vacay wardrobe! You’re totally making me reconsider dresses as easy instant outfits when traveling!
I’ve made a couple of visit to Paris when I was in high school and college, and you know what I remember and crave above all? A banana Nutella crepe I bought from a street vendor that I ate while walking along the Seine near the Louvre…best. crepe. ever. That, plus getting lost while traveling solo from Venice to London and needing to change train stations in Paris. Thank goodness for 3 semesters of college French!
Bucket list dream item of my life? To go back with – this time with Hubs – and dance by the river like Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in An American in Paris…except we’d be swing dancing, but really, who cares, because it’s dancing on the banks of the Seine in Paris! :P
Anna, it all sounds so dreamy! The thought of a Nutella crepe makes me want to go back right now! :)
What perfect timing with this post! I’m visiting Paris now and have a few more days before I have to go home. I’m also staying in Le Marais and am convincing my friends to go to Le Perchoir tonight! Thank you for sharing your advice and wonderful photos :)
Did you wash your clothes at your Airbnb?
Melody smith says
Perfect travel capsule! Very Parisian :) I just got back from Europe & packed a little too much. I’m getting better each time though & it’s so much easier when you stick to a simple color palette & mix-match pieces.
It looks like you guys had a wonderful time!
Samantha Lee says
Saving your suggestions for when we start planning our trip (in September!). We’re flying into Paris for a couple days, and heading to Croatia (for a wedding), and then making our way through Italy! I can’t WAIT and am already thinking about what I’m going to wear, haha.
How exciting, Samantha! Great places to visit! :)
Leah Wise says
Those little graphics with illustrations are so cute. Great job!
I love this post! Planning for travel is very exciting and I’m currently planning for a work trip that I’ll take next week. Neutrals + denim for the win :).
I was wondering, have you ever seen wardrobe sudoku? I use it to plan when I travel because it’s easy to lay the pieces out on the bed and cross check that I would really wear all the combinations the sudoku suggests. Like you I tend to travel with just three pairs of shoes so I just put the same pair in two spots and put two tops on the top left to give 13 outfits instead of 10.
I recommend http://su-sews-so-so.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/style-sudoku-how-to-build-capsule.html for an overview.
Hey Mary, I just recently heard of this and haven’t tried it yet. But I’m certainly intrigued! :)
Kay Nguyen says
This trip looks like a lot of fun! Love your blog as always <3
Hi Caroline, Paris is one of my favorite cities and I have been there several times. I also visited Montmartre and been up the Eiffel Tower. From the sacre coeur there is a great view on the Eiffel Tower. I also loved the jardin de luxembourg.
I liked your travel outfits because they are so versatile. I unfortunately always pack too much stuff when travelling. I will try to pack less for my upcoming holiday in Sweden.
I try to hang nice postcards from my holiday on a wall in the kitchen so I can remember them better.
Such a wonderful post Caroline!!! I bee living in Paris my whole life but they are places i have never tried (like the Perchoir) and you totally made me want to go out and explore more new places of my city… Thank you for that! Also love every single outfit but that’s no surprise ;) xo
I love how you showed us what you wore on each day – how the various pieces you packed came together to create functional (and cute!) outfits. I’m thinking about packing for an upcoming trip and am curious… did you plan out these outfits ahead of time, and did that dictate what items you packed, or did you plan items first and then just see what outfits resulted? Thanks so much! This post is super helpful.
Estelle Pérot says
Could you add to this post, the month you travelled there ?
I’ve worn this color palette on every trip to Europe and have always been mistaken for a local EXCEPT right now in Italy! I guess my taste is too subdued to make the cut here :)
I love Merci – everyone got merci bracelets for souvenirs last time we went to Paris!
I was so thrilled to see this post! My husband & I are going to Paris in three weeks! Thank you for the tips – I’m especially hoping to check out merci!
Thanks so much for going back and sharing about your trip!
Being from Belgium, I’m kind of surprised with your day to day outfits, looks like you had good luck with the weather :). I would always pack a raincoat and at least two
different warm toppers to Paris. If anyone else is going and reads this comment: I also love the musée d’orsay and the Rodin museum.
I like to buy a useful and lovely souvenir on my travels to bring some of that magic into everyday life. Not a touristy trinket, but a scarf, a pair of earrings, or some decorative item if my husband likes it as well. Choose something within your everyday style, not something just because it’s typical of that country, and then whenever you actually use / wear / look at it you can reminisce about that trip.
Sheri C. says
I went to Rome in March for 7 days and brought a capsule wardrobe as well–it was awesome!!
Here’s what I packed:
4 tops, 3 sweaters, 1 dress, 3 pants, 1 trench, 3 shoes (burgundy flats, white sneakers, black booties), 1 silk scarf, and 1 pashmina scarf. I carried on my cross-body bag.
I was SO PREPARED for every situation! And, I was able to interject a bit of color (as my wardrobe was mainly blacks & grey, too)–my scarf was red, one of my tops was a rose-colored t-shirt, and I had a chambray shirt, so that all counts, right? And, it all fit comfortably in my carry-on, along with an evening bag, camis, pjs, etc.
Thanks for inspiring the truly well-planned travel wardrobe! My Mom and I are going to Europe for 12 days in September, and I am trying to convince her that a capsule wardrobe is good so that she won’t bring her jumbo bag, but I think that I will lose that battle (oh well–good upper body workout for me)….
This is so lovely. I’m bookmarking for my trip to Italy this fall. I don’t want to bring a ton of clothes, but I want to feel stylish and fashionable. Thanks for sharing!
I’m still amazed how you managed to have a posed photo in front of the Water Lilies. When I was there a guard was always right next to a person as soon as they had a camera in hand and they would tell them off. One of my favourite places though, truly magical. It’s time for a cup of tea and reminiscing over old photos.
we did 17 days in france for our honeymoon-fond memories. also, your brows are looking thiiiick and i love itttt! so glad ya’ll had fun!
Love your style! The clothes you brought on your trip, did you take them from your capsule wardrobe, or did you make/buy a new capsule just for this trip?
I’m wondering since I’m new at this and we have a trip to Italy coming up.
Hey Barbara! I’m pretty sure all the items were from my capsule at that time, with the exception of the striped dress — I got that dress especially for the Paris trip. But don’t worry too much about doing it wrong if you’re new at this. It’s all a learning process so do what works best for you! :)
Love the daily breakdowns and illustrations. Thanks for sharing
Can I ask what month you were there? We plan to tack on a few days in Paris to our London trip this summer and I’m worried that I’ll end up dressed wrong for the weather. You seem quite comfortable in tank tops and dresses!
Thanks for the advice, this is a solid packing plan.
Mrs. a says
Just finding this – great advice for our first trip to paris next summer. Will probably add some scarves, but I love the “classic capsule”. :)
husband and I are traveling with 2 kiddos – 2 weeks in paris and Copenhagen. will likely do the capsule wardrobe with them so there is less to pack.
I will be heading to Paris in May for 3 days & I’m so excited. I was hoping you had tips as far as comfy shoes. I had to have surgery on my foot so I am unable to wear heals :( Was hoping you had suggestions for comfy but stylish shoes!
Love the palette and the day-by-day outfits, but one comment. One of the greatest pleasures in Paris are the walks. We often covered 5-7 miles a day, including the distances in the great museums and gardens. Such days call for excellent quality, and good looking, walking shoes with good arch support. Flats and sandals will not cut it. Would like to see a post on footwear for such vacations. To me, it’s the singular most important travel-wardrobe choice you’ll make.