I have a messenger bag that I carry when I go to Paris. It is the same bag I used as my carry-on and I take it with me each day. It contains the things that make my days in Paris comfortable and worry-free. It has a flap with velcro closures and buckles. (The strap was made extra long for no charge, I picked the colors, the size and the interior, it was reasonably priced and made in America – it is from timbuk2 – and I would be lost without it.) If I take it off my shoulder I put it between my feet. I put it between my feet so I can think of something other than, “Is someone trying to take my satchel?” If it is between my feet, I will know if someone is trying to take it. Remember, it is as safe in Paris as in the United States, but because many things can distract my attention over there, I try to be more aware of making things harder to take from me.
This is what I keep in my satchel:
- two or three “New Orleans French Quarter” ponchos that were 99¢ each – in case it rains
- paper napkins – spill something on myself, wipe off a wet chair bottom to sit, wipe the sugar off my face after visiting a patisserie
- a few disinfecting moist toilettes – never know when one may be needed
- eye drops – my contacts get dry
- lip balm
- pocket map
- water bottle
- small umbrella
Most of the time it is not too heave and I am used to it and it is comfortable for me. I keep it slung over my shoulder, ready at all times to stuff my jacket into if I get hot. It has drinking water – which I always need, and I still have room to poke some postcards in when I find one I want to send.
Things I kept in it for my parents:
Many women have bags they are comfortable carrying and that would be great. Comfortable and useful are key. But you have to have some way to tote your essentials around in or you will be staying within walking distance of your hotel room.
Do you need medication during the day? Put it in your satchel. Do you need those wipes for your eyeglasses? Put them in your satchel. Take note of what you use during a regular day and put the things that will make your day comfortable in your satchel. Don’t over do it – just the necessities that will make your days easy to enjoy. Remember, you are in the most civilized city in the world, a pharmacie or a Monoprix is never too far away and you can easily find the things you need.