19 Sep 2017

Packing For Paris: Another Can’t Live Without

Packing For Paris: Another Must Have on vickiarcher.com

The can’t live withouts are growing.

What to wear when the weather can’t make up its mind and neither can I?

A rushed visit to Paris and no time to pack leaves me with only a few choices. Inclement weather, and cooler temperatures meant I reached for my truly most useful dress; the blazer was a no-brainer and already packed and ready for service with the black jeans.

Back to the can’t-live-without dress in a minute.

Hotel de Crillon has recently opened after years of refurbishment and needless to say I have been in a desperate hurry to see. Big sigh, it did not disappoint. The hotel has a feeling of calm and serenity; extreme luxury and wealth can do that for a place. Unlike their famous competitors in Paris, the decor and ambience is not over the top. It is magnificent and glamorous, rich and extravagant but also very beautiful. The flowers were divine but not excessive and the interior fragrance was quite subtle – I cannot even tell you what their signature hotel scent is. I like that. Some of the big boy hotels are so overly fragranced I leave with a major headache and a need to dry-clean my clothes.

We ate our lunch in the casual bar area, looking out to the courtyard and the salon was beautifully appointed and comfortable. There were no constraints on our side and no pressure to move or hurry up. These days I find this refreshing; so often we make reservations and time slots become specific and non-negotiable.

Le Crillon has held a special place in my heart since an anniversary some years ago. Yes, I was spoiled.

We stayed in the Duc de Crillon suite (pictured above), which was as magical as you can imagine. It has been refurbished in the latest round of renovations but from what I see it is even lovelier than ever. I am often asked, which hotel I favour in Paris and I never have the answer. Paris is a city for different occasions and I have been fortunate to stay in some of the most incredible rooms and I have had occasion to stay in some of the worst. These days, I mostly try to find somewhere in the middle unless it is a very special milestone.

Today if you asked me where to stay in Paris I would answer in a very complicated fashion. I would tell you to stay in a well-located hotel at a price point to suit. Parisian hotels are expensive and sometimes not the best value; the boutique versions are better. You don’t need to stay at the rockstars to experience all they have to offer.

I will let you into a little secret; my dream is to have a small boutique hotel in Paris one day. 

Every time I stay in Paris my mind races at a million miles with ideas for this. I am working on it.

What I suggest is to save your euros for breakfast at Le Meurice or the Plaza Athénée, the dining rooms are beyond and out of this world. One day have a light lunch at Hôtel de Crillon or the Hôtel Ritz in their garden courtyards or try tea at the Hôtel Georges V, snapping Jeff Leatham’s floral fantasies on your way through. And for an aperitif, I like the bar at Le Bristol and some of the best people watching must surely be at Hôtel Costes.

So back to this dress.

I wore my sweater dress all weekend and been looking for new ones ever since.

If there is one dress staying in my carry on it is the sweater style. xv

Can’t Live Without: Don’t Leave Home Without

bell sweater dress  ||  rag & bone sweater dress  ||  v back sweater dress  ||  joie sweater dress  ||  lafayette sweater dress  ||  rib sweater dress

images hôtel de crillon


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In This Post:



Mimi Gregor

I love sweater-dresses. I’ve recently purchased two — a short-sleeved black merino wool v-neck and a long-sleeved red wool scoop-neck. Both fit like a dream: snug, but not tight. I imagine that they would be great for packing, as you can roll them up and not worry about wrinkles, and they are versatile enough to be worn both casually and dressily. I’ve worn the black already, but the red is much too warm for the weather yet. I must be patient (NOT one of my virtues, alas!) Sweater-dresses definitely have a place in my capsule wardrobe.

Taste of France

Look at that room!!!!!
A small gem of a hotel in the 7th is Hôtel Duc de Saint-Simon. I also like the Hôtel des Grandes Écoles in the 5th.
Sweater dresses are great for travel because they don’t wrinkle. And nothing is more comfortable.

Sue Willis

Thanks for photo of Paris–please send more photos of Paris and could you make more suggestions of quaint places to stay and eat on a budget
Many thanks


Oh My Goodness Vicki…A small boutique hotel in Paris what more can a gal ask for? A dream not only for you but for ALL of your fellow followers.
I can only imagine the thought process going into this adventure! I am sure it will be a wonderful oasis of beauty and charm. Here’s keeping my fingers crossed. It may just become my favorite Le Petit Bijou competitor!


Please do keep that secret alive- and invite your followers to the boutique hotel’s soft opening! We’ll wear black jeans or kimonos or sweater dresses in your honor and compare hair length and color and favorite blog replies! I imagine making new friends at such a spend- the- night party – with croissants and coffee in the morning!


I really love sweater dresses for comfort, cosiness, and ease in dressing, and have bought several over the years, BUT there is one big drawback for me and that’s how they stretch in the back if sitting for long – for example, 7.5 hours crossing the pond by plane. I don’t have much of a butt to fit into all that stretched out fabric or knitting, and end up feeling I look like Ms. Baggy Bottom when I stand up!
I actually ended up cutting off the bottom half and making a long sweater out of a lovely grey knit I bought last winter! I’ve tried slips and they don’t help much. Can’t go to a smaller size because I do have boobs! Vicki, do you, or your fashionable readers have any tips to help with this problem please.


The Crillon does look beautiful in this larger photo! We enjoyed two breakfasts in the Espadon room at the Ritz this June. The first was so good we went back for another visit. Service was wonderful too. Husband particularly liked being able to pick up the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and NY Times with breakfast – and me, Le Monde. Usually he has to hunt the kiosks and can only find old ones. Next time we must try some of your recommendations – the Meurice or the Plaza Athenee or both. Or maybe the Crillon. Do you recommend breakfast there? Best wishes, Pamela

Anita Rivera

OH MY GOODNESS, these photos. Then Paris. Then the decision what to pack…all such glorious opportunities to engage in one of the most delightful past times: to travel. I just know you found the right outfit to wear!


Oh, Vicki! I’m late reading this post. I love everything about it — the hotel, your list of where to eat what, and the sweater dress. But mostly I love your sense of joy in describing your dream of running a boutique hotel in Paris. I do hope you make that dream come true. I’d love to visit it. Thanks for this lovely post.


The Crillion looks gorgeous! Must take a peek next visit to Paris. And now I’m wanting a black sweater dress ;) I have a question for you. I always have such a hard time choosing shoes for Paris in the winter, something dressy for dinner (worn with black jeans or wool slacks) that I can walk several blocks in. I’m more comfy wearing ballet flats, but they look hideous with socks! LOL And I haven’t found any booties that are dressy *and* with a low heel comfortable enough for walking. Would love to hear your thoughts on this, Vicki!


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