Tuesday Miscellany: Luggage And More | une femme d'un certain âge

Tuesday Miscellany: Luggage Update And More

Lipault Plume lightweight under-seat spinner luggage. Details at une femme d'un certain age.


Just a couple of weeks to go before we head to France! Fingers crossed the rail strikes won’t impact us (we’ve already rented a car for the first few days out in the countryside). Le Monsieur has been busy making some dinner reservations, and I’m very much looking forward to exploring a new region, as well as spending a few days in Paris.

Luggage Update

I mentioned in an earlier post that I’m revising my luggage configuration for our upcoming trip. My plan to bring a full-sized camera and some equipment along meant that I needed to re-think how I’m going to pack. I’m probably going to check my main bag through to our destination, and use this under-seat spinner plus a large purse as carry-ons. Photo equipment will go in the spinner, along with a change of clothes, toiletries and other items I bring along for in-flight comfort. I went with a spinner rather than a duffel or backpack as the camera equipment will add more weight than I want to carry around.

(I also looked at the Samsonite underseat spinner bag, but didn’t like the configuration as well. The Lipault is lighter and roomier.)

Foot Support

Orthotic inserts for arch support.As so many of you have mentioned that you need additional arch support in sneakers or other flat shoes, I ordered a pair of these inserts to check out. (They get rave reviews.) The small size fit snugly into my size 7.5 sneakers over the non-removable insoles. The arch support is a bit overkill for me, but if you need a lot of support, these might be worth a try.

Chez Nous: Never A Dull Moment

Jeune homme was here for the weekend, and I think he’s grown taller! He’s had an intermittent cough the last few days, which kept all of us up most of Saturday night. Sunday morning as he was waking up he had a seizure (relatively short, fortunately). He has a history of seizures and is on medication for them. When he comes out of it, he’s right back to “business as usual,” but we’re left shaken and anxiously watched him the rest of the day for any signs of a repeat.

A doctor’s appointment yesterday seemed to confirm what I’d suspected (a sinus infection), so he’s back on antibiotics. With any luck he’ll be feeling better by next weekend when he comes to stay again. Aside from that, I think the gluten-free diet has been good for him; he seems much calmer and his skin is much clearer.


Watching: Trust on FX, the dramatization of events around the J.Paul Getty III kidnapping.

We’re absolutely hooked on “Trust,” the original series on FX about the J. Paul Getty III kidnapping. While it occasionally drags in spots, it’s very well done, with compelling story lines and excellent cinematography. Donald Sutherland and Brendan Fraser both chew the scenery, but entertainingly so. It’s well worth catching up with if you haven’t yet seen it.

What have you watched lately that you’d recommend?

Stay in touch.

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  1. Nancy
    May 8, 2018 / 3:48 am

    Do you or any of your readers know if non removable insoles can be removed to put in my custom orthotics or would I ruin the shoe?

    • Judy
      May 8, 2018 / 4:43 am

      Nancy, I have problematic feet and always use custom orthotics like you do. To answer your question: My podiatrist once told me, “There are no non-removeable insoles. Just rip them out and insert your own.” I can attest to the fact that this works quite well. Be aware that, if the originals are REALLY glued in, you may have to deal with a few rough, bumpy spots where pieces adhere, but these can be scraped off. I hope this helps!

    • Linda
      May 8, 2018 / 6:32 am

      Hi Nancy, I wear custom orthotics and remove insoles all the time. Some remove easier than others. I use a small spatula to remove the insole. They often get destroyed! You do have to work sometimes on removing the excess glue but eventually it comes out. A shoe repair shop can remove them though they will probably charge $10-20 dollars. I wish all shoes would come with removable insoles.

    • May 9, 2018 / 12:39 pm

      I have custom orthotics and always buy shoes where the insoles can be removed. Not only that but I buy shoes a half size larger to accommodate my orthotics.

  2. Linda Boardman Kerr
    May 8, 2018 / 3:50 am

    I enjoyed this post. I am a Francophile, but only get over every 8 years or so. I plan on an extended stay before I’m too decrepit, in Paris or Aix. I find it interesting that you are taking a good camera, and look for to seeing your photos. If you are ever in my old neighborhood (Place de la Contrescarpe) check out the Hotel des Grandes E’coles, where we always stayed. I can also relate to you in that I frequently work with special needs kids at high school. So I enjoy hearing about LGH, and have the vaguest idea of your struggles and triumphs.
    Bonne journee!

  3. Sue
    May 8, 2018 / 4:11 am

    Just wanted to say I ordered those insoles for a recent 6 week trip to South Africa (including a safari), Namibia, a cruise for 9 days across the South Atlantic, then Uruguay, Argentina, and finally Brazil, including 5 days in Rio. There was a lot of walking involved, and the insoles were terrific! I wore my Clark’s constantly-3 different pairs/3 different colors and removed the Clark’s insole first. Perfect!

  4. May 8, 2018 / 4:35 am

    I second Linda re Hotel des Grandes Ecoles–also my favorite. The courtyard is another world.
    Re your purse, make sure you can pull your spinner and your suitcase while keeping hold of your purse. This is why I like crossbody bags. The only time in my life somebody tried to steal my purse was when I was walking to my hotel in Barcelona, with my purse atop my roller bag. I won the tug of war but never again have I set my purse on top of luggage. Inside airports it’s pretty safe, but all the same, sometimes the purse will swing around, and if it doesn’t zip close, will manage to spill its contents the way toast always lands butter-side down.
    lci.fr has a calendar with strike dates. If you rent a car, check my post about driving in France.

  5. Marie M
    May 8, 2018 / 4:35 am

    Susan love your posts and excited to share in your Paris trip via your photos. We will be in Paris in October. Hoping you will share some of your favorite casual and formal dining spots. Wondering where Le Monsieur will make those reservations. Merci

  6. MaryAliceAhlgren
    May 8, 2018 / 4:39 am

    What crossbody travel purse did you decide to take? I’m still on the hunt for a nice lightweight leather one?

  7. ElizabethM
    May 8, 2018 / 5:05 am

    Are you taking the O.G. Bag as your personal item? Considering purchasing one for my late August trip to Paris.

  8. Kellee
    May 8, 2018 / 5:28 am

    I just bought a new piece of Lipault – I bought the 21 (or so) in spinner on your recommendation and through your link a couple of years ago and love it.I just bought a carry on (via your links) in the same aubergine you are showing in this post. I love how it stays open to pack – kind of like a doctor’s bag. I am off to Ireland and Ecuador this summer – we are on the hunt for a place to retire!

    Has anyone who follows Susan’s blog become an ex-pat?

  9. Ellen
    May 8, 2018 / 5:31 am

    An orthotic on top of the shoe’s insole is often too much arch. I have worn orthotics for 30 years, and I have a shopping bag full of the inner workings of various shoes; I play around with combinations till I get what I want. I would never buy orthotics online; they really need to be tried out in the sort of shoe they will be worn in. The sorts of shoe stores that specialize in sensible shoes often will let you try them out in the store before buying. For shoes with non removable insoles, Dr Scholls and other such companies sell stick on arch supports that actually do the job pretty well. There are clear ones that can even be worn with sandals if they aren’t too skimpy. They wouldn’t serve well for hard core hiking, or all day touring on paved streets, but for moderate wear, they extend the range of footwear that those of us with problem feet can wear.

    • Helene Harris
      May 9, 2018 / 4:14 am

      I concur with Ellen. Having also worn orthotics for an extremely long time, i would not consider buying them without trying them on in person. Best wishes to all.

  10. Lyn
    May 8, 2018 / 6:12 am

    A warning on the Vionic arch supports you mentioned. I need arch supports after a severe foot problem, but the Vionics are way (way way) too much for my flat feet. The people who rave about them are the ones with high arches. For flat feet, they can be painful. (I have tried about every insert made.) Simple as they are, Dr. Scholls stick-on arch supports work well when your shoe won’t accommodate a full insole. Better yet, buy the right shoe from the start. (Cobb Hill, Nikes, Clarks and Crocs are my go-to’s.)

    • Jane2
      May 8, 2018 / 8:29 am

      I agree re Vionic arch supports (and shoes – they fit some, but the arch is way too high for me). Have you tried Superfeet? I discovered them when I was in search of something for plantar fasciitis – runners swear by them. And now so do I – wear them in everything. They have different arch heights and even a half one for dressier flats.

      • MaryAliceAhlgren
        May 9, 2018 / 9:59 am

        I’m a runner so use Superfeet there but also have the ones for casual and heels. They are great

  11. Carol Montanti
    May 8, 2018 / 6:20 am

    The strike schedule is on the SNCF website, 2 days of train strikes followed by 3 non-strike days, same pattern until end of June (or until they negotiate!). Just back from Paris and the south of France, confusion at the train stations especially for tourists although I was lucky and had no disruptions to my schedule. Was surprised that the RER in Paris is also following along with the strike schedule, so people who use that system to get to and from CDG airport may need plan B! Ditto Versailles. Other than that . . . lovely! One of the highlights was the Old Port in Marseille, stunning! Bon voyage!

    • Linda Boardman Kerr
      May 9, 2018 / 7:03 am

      We were just in Aix, Marseille, Arles, St. Remy, Luberon area, and YES, I spent more time in Marseille than in the past and was surprised at how lovely the Old Port was, and other parts of Marseille as well.

  12. Debra
    May 8, 2018 / 6:46 am

    I will look forward to your posts, as I leave on the 30th for a four-week stay in France. I am thinking now about what clothes to bring – it will be difficult because weather may go from 50s to 90s, and I’ll be three different areas of the country (Sancerre, Bougogne, and Paris). I have a little photo-based packing page going – my daughter made fun of me when she saw it, but it really helps me to visualize what goes with what.

    Sadly this time I think a carry-on will not do it! But I will only be taking the next size up, and so will heavily depend on your packing expertise to fit all of what I need in that relatively small-size suitcase.

    • Lyn
      May 8, 2018 / 7:46 am

      Just got back from France with temps from 42 to 72. I wore my Uniqlo Compact Down Jacket almost every day (and saw Parisians in it, too.) It stuffs in a little sack and it will give you all the warmth you need. There is also a Compact Down Vest version, which packs even smaller. Combined with a thin wind jacket, it may be enough — especially if you don’t run cold all the time, as I do even in Florida. Keep trying for the carry-on. Life is so much simpler. You can get by with only a few pieces so long as they all mix and match and dry overnight after hand-wash. (Avoid cotton. Roll the wet clothes in a towel and step on it to get the excess water out — it really helps them dry faster.) You don’t need as much as you think — you can only wear one outfit at a time.

  13. Jeanne
    May 8, 2018 / 7:19 am

    Here’s the strike schedule:

    Jeudi 3 mai
    Vendredi 4 mai
    Mardi 8 mai
    Mercredi 9 mai
    Dimanche 13 mai
    Lundi 14 mai
    Vendredi 18 mai
    Samedi 19 mai
    Mercredi 23 mai
    Jeudi 24 mai
    Lundi 28 mai
    Mardi 29 mai

  14. Eileen
    May 8, 2018 / 7:42 am

    Thanks for posting the train strike schedule, we were thinking of a trip to Versillies. It’s been in the mid 80’s and pretty warm, so we may wait a few days, a strike and heat, don’t sound pleasant. Shoes: Ecco lace ups are working fine. Arch supports: Superfeet brand, mine last a year and I exercise in them!

  15. Susan
    May 8, 2018 / 7:47 am

    Tried to watch Trust, but gave up after first episode. Binge watched an older (2013) Spanish series called The Time In Between. Am currently enjoying BBC series, Killing Eve and this season of Homeland (which just ended). With my big toe ‘on the fritz’, I have taken to wearing Zieras as I find the high arch takes some weight off my toe. The vionics sound very workable as well. Enjoy your trip to France.

    • Donna Oliphint
      May 8, 2018 / 8:25 am

      Love The Time in Between! I’ve also gotten hooked on several Turkish series. They have great story lines. You do have to be prepared for the copious amounts of tears, though. I’ve liked Seyit and Sura, Son, and Morocco. I’m currently on season 2 of Intersection, but have to warn you that there is some bad language.

  16. Carol Montanti
    May 8, 2018 / 8:17 am

    Moi . . . I agree with writers who say keep trying with the carry on bag!! On my recent France18 day trip, I took only a legal, rolling carry on, unexpanded, with a large purse/bag that contained my DSLR camera and an extra lens (wrapped on bubble wrap, not in a case), 2nd pair of shoes, basic toiletries, etc.and a small quilted cross body holding my passport and valuables that was not noticeable and went unchallenged (but it would have fit in my large bag/purse if needed). I even had a smaller, nicer day bag (that would hold the camera) in my rolling bag, and a third pair of shoes!! Rolling clothes tightly seems to be the amazing answer . . . plus the travel size Downy wrinkle remover if you can get it in your small bag of allowable liquids. Hand washing is the way to go! The little shampoos or body washes that you get in hotels are just fine for washing clothes.
    On the way home, the roller, now expanded due to some shopping, was checked, and the two bags went on the plane with me. I really felt good about bringing less luggage when I saw someone get trapped in the turnstiles in the Paris Metro with their suitcase!!

  17. Joan
    May 8, 2018 / 8:29 am

    If you’re driving on rail strike days, be prepared for traffic. In our experience, driving times can be more than doubled.

  18. May 8, 2018 / 8:36 am

    I wanted to share my packing dilemma with my fellow Susan fans. We are leaving today for Ireland and England for 3 weeks. Normally, I could pack in a carry on or even a very light medium check in bag. This time packing has been a small nightmare because there are dress up evenings stated as casual elegance with one night being more dressy. This all means having to bring a second clothing group and dressy shoes (one pair in my world). At my age (late 60s), I find this annoying and now, despite being very capsular about my every day clothes, I am stuck with my 26″ suitcase being heavy. The good news is that I am only taking a MZ Wallace Hayley handbag on the plane and it fits everything I need! I am checking my toiletries (in my EMME bag) in my suitcase. So for all of you travelers who have to pack 2 types of clothing…I sympathize…and here is what I did…one Eileen Fisher pewter jacket, EF longish silk tank, EF silk slouchy pants, EF black cashmere long cardigan (just above knee), gold shimmer turtleneck (J. Crewe), a variety of silk scarves and some statement jewelry, one pair of black block heel shoes (could not bring my self to pack high heels). I’m grumbling…but off we go!

    • Jannie
      May 8, 2018 / 2:42 pm

      Must say the older i get (I’m 68) the more difficult it is to pack…and my friends agree…especially going overseas! Good luck! I usually travel in the summer but thanks for your ideas for Ireland and England! We all need advice and suggestions. Enjoy and relax…guess what no one sees us if we wear the same thing several times and especially if we accent with a scarf, wrap, etc.

  19. Donna Oliphint
    May 8, 2018 / 8:40 am

    One travel item I’ve grown to love is a tote with a trolley sleeve. (Ex. here–https://www.amazon.com/Ladies-Canvas-Weekender-Overnight-Trolley/dp/B07BVK7P5T/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1525792166&sr=8-4&keywords=travel+bag+with+trolley+sleeve) I have one that is large enough to hold my cosmetics and toiletries, a change of clothes and shoes, PJ’s, and reading materials, plus room for me to slip my travel purse into it to board. The sleeve keeps the tote from sliding off your luggage. Have fun on your trip!

  20. Bobbie
    May 8, 2018 / 10:30 am

    We pack cameras and photo equipment in a special backpack with heavily padded compartments sold at a photography store, not a luggage store. It works well to protect those items. Of course the other carry on has to hold everything else.

  21. May 8, 2018 / 10:48 am

    I’m watching Genius. This season is about Pablo Picasso

    • Jannie
      May 8, 2018 / 2:45 pm

      Love it! Antonio Bandaris is fantastic!

  22. Susan D.
    May 8, 2018 / 12:18 pm

    We are flying to Europe in early June. Our travel agent just informed us that new rules dictate that each person cannot bring on any item larger than a purse or briefcase on international flights. I haven’t checked on this myself yet, but thought I would mention it.

    • Marie M
      May 8, 2018 / 12:25 pm

      Yikes! Which airline or all?

    • Susan B
      May 8, 2018 / 12:40 pm

      Susan, I’m finding nothing about this in the news or on travel websites. I’ll keep looking.

  23. Rebecca Ford
    May 8, 2018 / 12:46 pm

    Susan – when are you going to publish your travel wardrobe updates for France? I’m eagerly awaiting!

    • Susan B
      May 8, 2018 / 1:43 pm

      Hi Rebecca, I’ll be finalizing and posting my travel wardrobe close to the time we leave. I like to wait as long as possible to take advantage of the most up-to-date weather forecasts.

  24. May 8, 2018 / 12:49 pm

    I’ve been watching Australian series streaming on Acorn TV. They have a kind of homespun quality I really appreciate.

    • Laurel Hill
      May 9, 2018 / 3:20 am

      We have just watched the last available episode of “A Place to Call Home” via Acorn. We eagerly await the next season…so good!

  25. Jannie
    May 8, 2018 / 2:38 pm

    May have mentioned this before but if you have a high arch and want comfort, do try AETREX. Took a pair of their sandals to Italy for 17 days and they were fantastic! Walked almost 10 miles one day. Check their website for sales although do find a store for a try on. My podiatrist also said you can pull out any insole for orthotics.
    Enjoy Paris!!

  26. May 9, 2018 / 12:00 am

    If anyone is travelling round Europe using the low budget fares on Easy Jet, Ryanair or similar, do check out the carry on requirements as many have recently changed. Often now here it’s one bag only you can’t take a separate handbag (they will charge you extra or make you check one of them!) and several have reduced the size of the bag you can take. They are often running out of room on board as the stowing areas are quite small.

  27. Nancy James
    May 9, 2018 / 6:19 am

    I was happy to see my favorite insoles in your post. I wear prescription orthotics, but don’t always want to be changing them out. I usually remove the insoles of the shoes so that I have enough toe room, as I have a bunion. I, too, have all manner of inserts, gel pads, etc and tinker with each shoe. Vionics also has a wonderful 3/4 length insole which provides me with stability without crowding the toe box. Happy walking in wonderful Paris. I’m going in September/October and can’t wait!⚜️

  28. Holly Beaver
    May 11, 2018 / 6:05 pm

    I have carried regular Lipault luggage for several years and they really hold up well. Does this under seat spinner really fit under a seat?

    • Susan B
      May 11, 2018 / 6:10 pm

      It’s billed as one, but it probably depends on the airline and the seat configuration.

  29. May 13, 2018 / 2:06 pm

    Looking for a new carry on bag…thanks! I love Vionic inserts and shoes. I have several pair of the thong sandals (flip flop style) and love them. Can dress them up or down…I have never tried the sport inserts…just use my regular ones. They make great flats that are super comfortable for travel. Heading to Paris in early November….cannot wait !!!

  30. Kathy
    May 16, 2018 / 5:19 pm

    Just arrived home in the wee hours of Tuesday morning from Europe. My husband and I took Norwegian Air twice, to and from Copenhagen and Barcelona. While I carried on only a Timbuk2 cross body (that no body got into in Barcelona), my husband carried on his rolling briefcase and his CPAP machine. We’d been on a 21 day cruise and had checked 3 bags. It seemed to me that there were plenty of good sized carry ons being stored in the bins and below the seats. Even when I carry on 2 bags, I always pack all my valuables, medications and travel papers in one bag in case I’m forced to leave one behind. About those planned strikes in France, even in Barcelona, our concierge told us to double-check our flight status in the event it might be delayed due to a domino effect. It wasn’t.

    Security returning to the U.S. delayed our flight by about an hour. Most of the passengers on our new jumbo jet were taken aside for additional questioning. This had never happened to us in over 10 years of flying. My husband travelled so much for work that he obtained Global Entry. This was in Copenhagen, as we were boarding a Norwegian Air flight to Orlando. Since we had just made a connecting flight from Barcelona, we wondered if everyone who’d flown in from another EU country was being questioned. This was not the random, pull a few people out of line for extra scanning situation. But, Europe was great. Great weather, great food, great people. Hope you all enjoy your travels.

  31. Holly C Beaver
    August 3, 2021 / 8:41 am

    We have carried the regular size Lipault luggage for several years. I recently switched to a rolling small size Vera Bradley piece and it fits under the seat! Totally off the subject, did you BAC purchase the Bernado navy blue suede Luna Sandal you posted on your NAS picks? They are so comfortable but I’m having trouble styling them. Thanks!

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