19 Feb 2016

Packing For Paris: In The Suitcase

Le Meurice in Paris, Packing For Paris, vickiarcher.com

There is always one piece in my suitcase when Packing for Paris.

Before we talk packing and suitcases I wanted to revel in the beauty of this Parisian interior.

Recently Emily and I wandered into Le Meurice (one of those fabulous impromtu mother and daughter weekends) and indulged with breakfast in one of the most ornate and magnificent spaces in Paris.

I can’t help it, I still gravitate with full force towards an over the top and traditional French decor.

I understand the functionality, practicality and austere beauty of the minimal and the contemporary but for sheer grandeur, this classic Parisian interior wins hands down.

For me anyway.

Le Meurice in Paris, Packing For Paris, vickiarcher.comLe Meurice in Paris, Packing For Paris, vickiarcher.comLe Meurice in Paris, Packing For Paris, vickiarcher.comLe Meurice in Paris, Packing For Paris, vickiarcher.com

Everything about the dining room is romantic (tragically the history of this room leaves much to be desired but I prefer to blinker my eyes to its unhappy past and appreciate the room for how it is today) and makes me feel as if I am living someone else’s life or appearing as an extra on a movie set. The proportions and scale, the refinements and details, add so many extra dimensions.

For the price of an expensive breakfast the feast is not only about the croissants, delicately salted butter and home made preserves but also the sumptuous interior.

Don’t miss this view when you are next in Paris. If you are already familiar with Le Meurice, don’t neglect the dining room; it is one in a million.

Back to the suitcase and packing for Paris.

There is another very simple piece I never leave home without.

It is a fine garment and one of my girlfriends, who really knows her fashion, showed me a couple of years ago. She was surprised I had not succumbed to the joys of John Smedley men’s knitwear, a kind of British institution for fine merino sweaters.

We went, she bought, I looked and I went back. I have been a convert ever since.

I especially like the men’s sweaters; the shapes are well designed and the cut generous. Right now, I am into the V so their fine merino V-necks work perfectly for me. I don’t know why the fit is better, but it is. She gave me this buy-the-boys tip and I have been following along ever since.

Note: Go down one size with the menswear unless you like a more generous and loose fit.

The other style I particularly like is the small collar and two buttons, an elegant version of the polo neck. That’s the one she wears with everything; with lace, with silk and with cotton.

These sweaters are super light in weight and can be worn alone, over a tee and underneath a jacket or overcoat. They are elegant enough to be worn solo and sit well over pants or skirts.

The real beauty is they take no room in the suitcase.

The second best detail is they launder well, don’t snag and last forever. An investment piece that is practical and stylish.

We are winning. xv

Le Meurice in Paris, Packing For Paris, vickiarcher.com

Packing For Paris: In The Suitcase

john smedley v  // john smedley button up  //  eileen fisher similar

Packing For Paris

the art of the trench  ||  the crossbody bag  ||  the 3 shoe rule  ||  the one and only dress  ||  the two handbag rule


one of two jackets  ||  two of two jackets

images, le meurice paris


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Cathy C

So beautiful. Carol, from Paris Breakfasts just wrote about Tea at Le Dali at Hôtel Meurice on Friday. Now I am twice as intrigued to see this gorgeous hotel. Thank you for the lovely pictures, Vicki.


It is truly beautiful and very lavish… but that is what makes it seem “very” Paris.. :)


Love the look of the sweaters. I add one or two gorgeous sweaters to my wardrobe every fall – always amazing to me how the men’s wear is always lower in price than women’s – but that is a subject for another day! After many years of buying sweaters that either didn’t hold their shape, have picks and little balls on them after one or two wearings I only purchase very high quality items. I have a couple of beautiful black cashmere sweaters that are now close to 10 years old and they look almost like new. Quality does off in the long run.


I am so pleased with these Clare… and have not tried their cashmere range… but am tempted to try the cotton this Spring… The merino works underneath my jackets as it is slightly warmer than a tee but not too much so…
Anyway.. I agree.. quality will always win in the long run… I just have to remember when I get tempted by the fun and frivolous.. ;)

Heather in Arles

Well, I often gripe about how expensive clothing has become in terms of “rapport qualité/prix” but leave it to the men to keep it reasonable for such good quality.
And ps. Thanks for the lovely photos as well…


I recently read an article about how we women are paying so much more for the same if not lesser pieces… Fashion needs to take note… Thinking about men’s shirts and shoes, for example… I am doing the research and looking out for good alternatives… :)


My curiosity has been piqued…..what is the history of this fabulous room?? I too am a traditionalist…all the way…without reserve…..bah humbug on minimalism!!!


Le Meurice was German headquarters in Paris during the Nazi occupation, Wendi. Have a Google… this history has a fascinating history…


From bad comes good….we are built to only be able to experience pain or pleasure at one time…with such a beautiful room filled with people enjoying their company, the food, the atmosphere, the pain is replaced forever with the pleasure. Thank you Vicky, I will Google


I haven’t had great luck with men’s sweaters. They tend to be cut too narrow in the hips and too broad in the shoulders. They tend to have a masculinr V shape. I will check out this brand, though. These sweaters look great!


They are more square in shape than tapered, Michelle… and I find the fit really excellent… Let me know what you think.. :)


I, too, appreciate and adore traditional over-the-top decor where no detail is spared. Ah, I would sit in a room like that the whole day- I wouldn’t even need to eat – just admiring the elegance of it all would nourish me. As for the men’s sweaters, so funny you brought this up because every winter I buy a really nice quality one – yes, one size down. The prices are much better than women’s and quality wise too – no one knows it is a men’s sweater when I wear it paired with a silk scarf or jewellry.


I have been doing this for years! My trick is to change the buttons! There are some marvelous buttons, plain or designer, available that will really personalize the look! I sometimes buy multiples of the same sweater and put gold buttons on one and silver or pearl (etc) buttons on the other! LoVe, J9

Monique@The Urban Mum

Stunning images – I do love John Smedley garments, you are correct – they do last forever and continue to look as fabulous as when they were new. I have the v-necks and also a mens roll-neck in charcoal, slightly oversized. x

Anita Rivera

Good evening, Vicki! I am late again….I seem to be missing your posts after I leave for work!

This is my décor. From rustic country Provençal décor to the Parisian style, I’ll take it all. Marvelous captures and Paris looks good in any color or in just black and white. GORGEOUS!


Have never stayed there but two years ago visited because I discovered it was the only place where I could buy the Collette Dinnigan scarf illustrated in her wonderful book. She was commissioned by the Meurice to design and produce them as a loyalty gift to their favourite return visitors. The head concierge looked after me and couldn’t have been more charming. I explained how I’d come from Oz looking for this scarf – so he said his people would find one for me, even though I wasn’t a return VIP visitor. He actually put it far more charmingly than that of course. The scarf is so beautiful and so gorgeously gift wrapped.. We celebrated with tea there. Lovely! Breakfast must have been wonderful!
Am fascinated by the hotel’s history. Specially after having seen last year the French film “Diplomacy” – the secret discussions between a Swedish diplomat and General Dietrich von Choltitz, the German commander of Paris, who’d been ordered by Hitler to blow up Paris before the German army retreated. Bypassing all the German security, the Swede appeared mysteriously in the General’s magnificent rooms – having come through a secret entry door, stairway and corridor – which he explained had been used during the 19th century (under I think the third Empire) for assignations between the Emperor and his mistress. As a result of these discussions and the Swede’s persuasions, von Choltitz disobeyed Hitler’s command, and Paris was saved!
This story may not be entirely accurate in all respects apparently. But is so fascinating and it makes the Meurice even more exciting. Best wishes, Pamela

Kim ????

Hello Vicki
I’ll not be returning to Paris any time soon, but how I would have loved to have visited this hotel.
Well done you, if I ever go back, I’ll be making a bee line. ????????
I’ll look at David Jones for men’s sweaters, see what they have.
Thankyou for the tip.
Kim. ????


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