We packed for almost a week with two small rollers and two weekender bags (and only wore two thirds of it), and still had room for our souvenirs. This is the most luggage we ever take anywhere – unless the kids are with us – because we never want to have to check bags. Unfortunately, this time Lufthansa said only one piece of hand luggage was allowed, and so we checked the rollers. Husband wanted to take them through, but not following the rules makes me too worried. Of course he was right, and when we got to the gate lots of people had your normal roller/handbag combo. I was really scared that our luggage wouldn’t show up in France, but it did and right on time.
French airports (this one at least) seem way more laid back and nicer than American ones. The difference between the staff on the foreign flights versus domestic flights was really drastic too. I would fly Lufthansa again in a heartbeat. Coming home, we decided to keep all the bags with us, and boy did that make going through customs a lot easier! There was a special “no checked bags” line that was so much shorter than the rest of the lines.
At the airport, I found maybe my favorite souvenir of all time – black patent leather Repetto flats! I’ve been wanting these for ages, and looked all over for them. They really are perfect. I have leather ballet flats from J. Crew that are the closest I could find to Repetto (in fact I almost ordered the black patent pair), but, side by side, the shape is a little bit different and the Repetto’s are a bit more flattering on and more comfortable. Plus, with the duty free airport shopping, they came out to be almost exactly the same price, I'd always rather have the original.
My other favorite souvenir is this pair of tiny silver studs. I don’t have much of an earring collection, and 99% of the time I wear a pair of silver triangle studs, so I knew I wanted to look for a pair from France. These are just so perfectly me, and I love buying something that I know I will get a lot of use out of. (Side note: aren't my ears weird-looking?)
My last few things came from MonoPrix, which seemed to be something of a cross between Target, Sephora and Whole Foods, with a giant wine section:
We picked up a bottle of Bordeaux for our hotel room almost every night (a decent bottle of wine in Nice was so much less expensive than in the United States. French people are lucky.), and a few kitchen accessories:
I also bought this red lipstick from MonoPrix, which hubby calls French red. I just wanted a brand that I hadn’t heard of before, and husband picked the color. It’s wound up being maybe the best red lipstick I’ve ever owned. I love the case and packaging, too. I read a bit about the brand, Rouge Basier, and it's history and reputation is pretty interesting - it was invented in 1927 and the first kiss-proof lipstick. But it looks like I will have to go back to France to replace it when I run out.