Happy new year francophile friends. I wish you a 2020 full of life’s true gifts – love, health and happiness.
Before I get into this post, I wanted to say thank you to so many of you for reaching out to Scotty and I as bushfires have been decimating the Australian landscape. We were truly touched by your heartfelt messages of concern. We live in a part of Victoria that is safe from the fires. The only impact in our area is from the smoke. But a great many communities haven’t been so lucky and it’s been heartbreaking to see the loss of human and animal lives as well as the destruction of entire towns. Thanks too to anyone who was able to donate funds to the various bushfire appeals. The challenges of fighting the fires and at the same time commencing recovery is a very real and every cent helps.
In the face of such a devastation, it seems almost superficial to be writing about my trip purchases. But many of you have asked me to write about this, and I’m concerned that if I don’t share this topic soon, our trip will be a very distant memory. So, let’s get to it xx
Nine Weeks In France – What French Style Did I Buy And Why Did I Buy It?
Regular readers will know that despite my love of French style, I rarely shop while I’m in France. Aside from budget considerations, there are a few reasons for my restraint.
First up, the lessons I learned while training to be a Style CoachTM are very ingrained in me. It’s not often that I find myself making impulse buys. I prefer to be as intentional as possible with the items that I bring into my wardrobe.
Secondly, the fact that I travel with a carry-on sized case means it’s impractical for me to purchase too much. I really value travelling light because it’s important to me that I can carry my bag myself. It’s not fair to expect Scotty to lug my baggage around for me.
Finally, we’re usually too busy enjoying ourselves for me to be wasting time shopping or navigating fitting rooms in a language I don’t speak fabulously.
But on this recent trip, I found that I bought a lot more French style home with me than I’d anticipated. I wouldn’t say things got crazy – I still had a reason for each purchase – but it’s safe to say that my little case was fairly stretched on the return journey!
Read on to learn more about what I bought and where and why I bought it.
Nice And Montpellier
I made it through our first week in Nice without a purchase. That said, I was definitely tempted to explore white pants, which were the stand out local look. But on our second stop, Montpellier, I fell for a very cute pair of espadrilles that were part of an impressive sale. I’d never experienced the French soldes before and the shoes were so comfortable and markdown so great I just couldn’t leave them behind. I can’t say I hadn’t been warned though. My very first guest on The Franco-Files, Alisa Bearov Landrum had let me know that the bargains were very hard to walk past.
Carcassonne And Clermont-Ferrand
An extra pair of shoes in the mix was enough of a reminder that luggage space was an important consideration. This meant that I went purchase free for the time we were in Carcassonne. However, in Clermont-Ferrand, my feet were again my downfall. This time a pair of very light Isotoner slippers joined the team. In my defence, I’d been on the lookout for new slippers for quite some time. I’m very fussy about my ‘at-home’ footwear and the black pair I happened across were just what I was after.
Tain-l’Hermitage And Blois
As we came to the end of our first month away, French style really started to catch my eye. And apparently I found a way to overcome my reluctance to use French fitting rooms. Two sleeveless tops – one black v-neck and another in a khaki green, found their way into my case after a day trip to Valence. Both of them work perfectly under blazers, which I wear regularly in my day job. I’m always on the lookout for these sort of tops. I also picked up three scarves during this part of the trip. The weather really cooled down when we got to Blois and you can never have too many scarves. I prefer to think of them as souvenirs anyhow…
My second real impulse buy of the trip occurred in the Loire Valley’s Blois. I was very taken by a button down shirt that was featured in a window display. I stopped to look at it every time we walked past – despite the fact that that this particular piece of clothing isn’t something that would normally catch my attention. The shirt happens to be highly colourful (at least by my standards) and it also has a pattern! It was also very affordable. In the end, I decided that another piece of French style had to come home with me. And I’m pleased with that decision – I’ve worn it heaps of times already.
Saint-Malo And Rouen
My existing Breton style striped top had certainly seen better days. I’d always planned to replace it while we were in Saint-Malo. I find this style of shirt very versatile, as I can easily wear it for work and play. And the three-quarter length sleeves mean it can be worn across seasons.
Another scarf also made it into the bag (no judging please) and the French sales got me again when I came across a Longchamp bag that had been discounted to half price. I’d had my eye on the leather version of the Le Pliage bag for a long time but had never quite been prepared to pay full retail.
By the time we made it to Paris, I had just enough room left in my luggage for another pair of shoes. A pair of navy Repetto shoes with a small block heel, to be exact. Every couple of years I find myself buying a pair of these shoes in patent leather. I find them very comfortable, and again they can be worn in professional and casual settings. They also wear very well – I still regularly wear the original pair I bought back in 2012, thanks to fact that this example of French style is so timeless.
Are you a fan of French style? Do you find yourself shopping for anything in particular when you travel? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
And until next time – au revoir.
Please note: This is an unsolicited post and no compensation of any kind has been received from the brands mentioned in this post.