This week, we flew to the US to attend the Vacation Rental Manager's Conference and to visit our kids: Olivier in New York and Alexia in Charlottesville. I started packing early in order to gauge whether there's room for a few more items – no more room!
The team at the office laughed at the various bizarre items I was packing. Given the wide range of products, I can partly see why they felt that way … but I have my reasons! Take a look at what I'm bringing for the family, all the way from France!
1. Easy French Meals
I picked up a few cans of cassoulet and duck from Maison Dubernet, one of the best southwestern-French food stores in Paris. Each one contains a main dish.
Heat one up and add some cooked carrot, beans and potato. Voila, a delicious French dinner!
2. Dried soups,cripsy crepe-like gavottes, and baking supplies to divide between both kids
I packed some favorite dried soups by Knorr, an essential for 'emergencies,' and very commonly used in France.
We love Knorr soups and they're great to have on hand if the kids want a quick dinner.
Silicon Baking Pans: The French have embraced silicon baking pans wholeheartedly. They're inexpensive at Monoprix and come in lots of sizes. I purchased 2 muffin pans — have already made some delicious pumpkin muffins in them without having to butter any ppans. They don't stick so pop out when done. Finally 2 loaf pans to bake bread. Again, no need for wax paper liners or grease; the bread slides out smoothly.
Gavottes: Delicious sweet and crunchy cookies, each one lovingly wrapped in gold paper. A favorite of their grandfather and a good memory to share.
3. Wallpaper roll on sale with french recipes
Daughter Alexia saw this wallpaper with recipes for Bechamel and Hollandaise on sale last summer and she'll hang it in her university apartment kitchen. I'm hoping to talk Olivier into putting this up in his kitchen as well. We'll use Velcro or tape to hang it so we don't damage the walls. Tres francais!
Gifts have taken up most of my suitcase space, a situation that anyone living abroad will find themselves relating to.
For our son, who is slowly furnishing his very basic walk-up apartment in New York, I found a lamp from Leroy Merlin, the big DIY store in France with retro style shades. It can be turned toward the ceiling for uplights, making the apartment brighter. Easy tip: Use American bulbs in the US, change the plug and voila – you have an American lamp.
I bought a roll of wallpaper — beautiful reproduction of wooden wine case labels. I'm going to cut wall length samples and use behind our son's headboard in his New York apartment.
I also picked up some plastic planters for my sister Lisa, which were only $7 each (she hasn't been able to find anything similar in the US at such a low price) For my sister Pat, I'm taking this quilted wrap-around top for chilly mornings.
Check the Grand Épicerie in Paris for cute sugar cubes in various shapes and sizes!
5. Snacks for the plane
Because you never know when you'll get hungry!
I also pop my most important items in my carry-on bag. One of those valued luxuries are 12 Pierre Hermé macarons to share: 6 truffle-flavored (a unique earthy and sweet flavor, only available certain times of year), 3 mogador (chocolate and passion fruit, our favorite) and 3 other fruity flavors.
6. Husband and accompanying luggage
Of course, I can't forget to bring Philippe! His full knee replacement recovery is going extremely well!