The things I carry

After arriving home early yesterday morning and taking a much needed nap, I transferred all of the accouterments of my American life from my purse to a drawer and replaced them with the things that I need in Paris.  Now, I'm not sure how much my "American" purse weighs, but whenever I sling my  6 pound "Parisian" purse (yes, I weighed it!) over my shoulder and head out the door, I'm reminded of a rather bad credit card commercial in the United States that asks, "What's in your wallet?".  So, here it is -the list of essentials that I lug around with me every day:
  • Wallet
  • Navigo pass - the magic ticket that takes me anywhere that I want to go in Paris
  • iPhone with lots of helpful apps (I would literally be lost without it)
  • Tattered map of the metro and bus system that also shows the streets
  • Dettol for disinfecting my hands after close encounters with the germs on the metro
  • Tissues for all of the times that there isn't any toilet paper in the women's restroom
  • 2 fold-up bags for toting home purchases from Piccard and other stores
  • 2 Moleskin notebooks, one for notes and the other a special Parisian edition with maps and important addresses that serves as a backup to my iPhone
  • My second pair of Oakley sunglasses.  My first pair was tragically lost somewhere on the streets of Paris
  • Business cards from restaurants where I've enjoyed what I've eaten
  • Piece of nougat that I bought for Stéphane and forgot to give to him
  • Pen
  • Hat for protection from the sun and rain
  • Oh! and last but not least -- my camera, but that's usually hanging from a strap around my neck and not in my purse
Optional items:
  • Umbrella

Looking at everything that I carry around with me on a daily basis, I'm not surprised that the free massage at the Place de la Sorbonne felt so good!


  1. When I was younger and traveling Europe, I always took a photo at the end of the day of my accumulations from the day--looking very much like this photo. It was a great way to remember my journey. Now I just have to find the photos again.

    I've never understod why a woman carries so much with her, and why they put up with such heavy handbags. And then you see women with two, sometimes three, bags around their shoulders. I'd be exhausted.

    My wallet is too large for my pocket, it's a zip around Comme des Garcon one with a coin pocket, so I carry it in my hands along with my iPhone. My sunglasses just sit on my head until I need them. That's it. I think you could seriously edit your selections.

  2. Hi Mary Kay,

    I'm glad to see you are home and look forward to your adventures Paris. Your blog seems to have extended my May holiday there. Thanks for that. Enjoyed the accounts of your trip to the US.

    It's always a dilema as to what and what not to take in our bags and you do it so well and looking so chic, I might add!

    I will keep in touch.

    (Flowers & Feathers)

  3. Joseph, You're comment made me laugh out loud! I imagined you shaking your head at the thought of women who carry so much stuff around, but the only thing that I could think of getting rid of is Stephane's nougat, although I'm not sure what I'll do if I'm suddenly overcome by hunger on the metro. I like that you took a photo of your things at the end of the day in Europe. What a unique way to remember your trip.

    Christine, The universe works in marvelous ways! I was thinking about you today while writing the post for tomorrow, in which I mentioned you without revealing your name. I'll do a quick edit on that, if you don't mind. But anyway, please look at tomorrow's post if you get a chance because you'll know why you were in my thoughts.

    I hope that you're enjoying lots of time in your garden this sumer and that the weather is better there than it is in Paris. It's another cool (almost cold) and grey day.

    It was really good to hear from you.

  4. Mary Kay, I am sure you intended your blog header "The Things I Carry" as a nod to the spell-binding story collection "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien...

    I love my back-saving purses called Ameribag. They are full of interior pockets for organizing everything just so.


  5. I'm really glad that you picked up on the nod to Tim O'Brien's book. It made a strong impression on me and when it came time to give a title to my blog post, it's the one that immediately came to mind.

    The Ameribags look great. I used to carry a small leather backpack for years and have been thinking about getting another one, but the Ameribag look even better. Thanks for the tip!

  6. Ameribags are cheapest on

    I've gotten two of them for half their normal price. I do not know if they ship to France; I usually buy enough to get free shipping or I find an on-line coupon.

    I've read most of Tim O'Brien, but The Things They Carried is one of those books that is seared forever in my brain. By the end of page 1 you just know you are not going to stop reading til the story is finished. --Maddie

  7. Maddie, Thanks for the additional info about Ameribags. It's good to know to look for online coupons. I may go to the States in September, so I'll order one then and have it shipped to my daughter. In the meantime, I'll keep lugging my regular purse around and switching it from shoulder to shoulder.

    Of course, the problem with making a trip to the States in September is that I may not be able to go see the author of Sarah's Key speak at the American Library. I'll have to check the date again and plan around it.


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