Paris fashion is lovely, but safety is an issue, too. When touring, you’ll be spending your days in a crowded metro, busy museums and people-filled parks. People are everywhere, and while 99.9 percent of them are very good and honest, there are a few pickpockets out there, which makes choosing a handbag in Paris an extra challenge. Of course, any handbag that you enjoy traveling with at home will fit the bill. But sometimes it’s fun to follow Paris fashion and get your handbag here.
Last week I got the ultimate Parisian summer travel bag, the Upla. The Upla brand is famous for its across-the-body, fisherman-style bags in canvas with leather trim, which are considered quite chic (original size, 145 euros). Inès de la Fressange has one! They were originally made in classic colors, like navy, olive and red. But this season you’ll find them in neon pink or with a British flag motif. And Upla has gone ergonomic, adding a collection of nylon bags that are lighter and therefore kinder on your back when you’re out scouring the museums. The large flap that folds over the bag buckles down, which makes getting into the bag more of a challenge, but not impossible, for pickpockets, so keep that in mind when loading in your guidebook, umbrella and water bottle each morning.
Considerably more utilitarian and much more affordable, the working pocket bag (50 euros) by Bensimon is an organizer’s dream come true. The bag is large enough to carry my iPad and has lots of little slots and pockets and compartments, ensuring everything is easy to find. The velcro-closed pockets within the zippered compartments make access difficult for wandering hands. Water resistant, this is the perfect companion for a cruise along the Seine, a climb up the Eiffel Tower or a visit to Notre Dame.
The one bag that goes with me on nearly every trip is my Oscar, by Jérôme Dreyfuss. Unfortunately for me, Oscar has been discontinued and replaced by Momo (340 euros), who seems to be more fun and an even better date. But the idea remains the same: a small, elegant pocketbook for evening wear that doubles as a wallet during the day, taking up less space in the luggage than two bags and leaving plenty of room for souvenirs to take home, including handbags that cry, Paris fashion!
Editor’s note: What’s one of the most important things to pack in your travel bag after your passport and your iPhone? The Girls’ Guide to Paris iPhone walking tour apps, of course. Why not check out our celebrity tours on the iPhone? One of the chicest ways to tour Paris is in the footsteps of Jackie O. or Audrey Hepburn.