What French Style Did I Buy And Why Did I Buy It?

French style

Happy new year francophile friends. I wish you a 2020 full of life’s true gifts – love, health and happiness. 

Before I get into this post, I wanted to say thank you to so many of you for reaching out to Scotty and I as bushfires have been decimating the Australian landscape. We were truly touched by your heartfelt messages of concern. We live in a part of Victoria that is safe from the fires. The only impact in our area is from the smoke. But a great many communities haven’t been so lucky and it’s been heartbreaking to see the loss of human and animal lives as well as the destruction of entire towns. Thanks too to anyone who was able to donate funds to the various bushfire appeals. The challenges of fighting the fires and at the same time commencing recovery is a very real and every cent helps.

In the face of such a devastation, it seems almost superficial to be writing about my trip purchases. But many of you have asked me to write about this, and I’m concerned that if I don’t share this topic soon, our trip will be a very distant memory. So, let’s get to it xx

Nine Weeks In France – What French Style Did I Buy And Why Did I Buy It?

Regular readers will know that despite my love of French style, I rarely shop while I’m in France. Aside from budget considerations, there are a few reasons for my restraint. 

First up, the lessons I learned while training to be a Style CoachTM are very ingrained in me. It’s not often that I find myself making impulse buys. I prefer to be as intentional as possible with the items that I bring into my wardrobe. 

Secondly, the fact that I travel with a carry-on sized case means it’s impractical for me to purchase too much. I really value travelling light because it’s important to me that I can carry my bag myself. It’s not fair to expect Scotty to lug my baggage around for me.

Finally, we’re usually too busy enjoying ourselves for me to be wasting time shopping or navigating fitting rooms in a language I don’t speak fabulously.

But on this recent trip, I found that I bought a lot more French style home with me than I’d anticipated. I wouldn’t say things got crazy – I still had a reason for each purchase – but it’s safe to say that my little case was fairly stretched on the return journey! 

Read on to learn more about what I bought and where and why I bought it.

Nice And Montpellier

I made it through our first week in Nice without a purchase. That said, I was definitely tempted to explore white pants, which were the stand out local look. But on our second stop, Montpellier, I fell for a very cute pair of espadrilles that were part of an impressive sale. I’d never experienced the French soldes before and the shoes were so comfortable and markdown so great I just couldn’t leave them behind. I can’t say I hadn’t been warned though. My very first guest on The Franco-Files, Alisa Bearov Landrum had let me know that the bargains were very hard to walk past.

Carcassonne And Clermont-Ferrand

An extra pair of shoes in the mix was enough of a reminder that luggage space was an important consideration. This meant that I went purchase free for the time we were in Carcassonne. However, in Clermont-Ferrand, my feet were again my downfall. This time a pair of very light Isotoner slippers joined the team. In my defence, I’d been on the lookout for new slippers for quite some time. I’m very fussy about my ‘at-home’ footwear and the black pair I happened across were just what I was after.

Tain-l’Hermitage And Blois

As we came to the end of our first month away, French style really started to catch my eye. And apparently I found a way to overcome my reluctance to use French fitting rooms. Two sleeveless tops – one black v-neck and another in a khaki green, found their way into my case after a day trip to Valence. Both of them work perfectly under blazers, which I wear regularly in my day job. I’m always on the lookout for these sort of tops. I also picked up three scarves during this part of the trip. The weather really cooled down when we got to Blois and you can never have too many scarves. I prefer to think of them as souvenirs anyhow…

My second real impulse buy of the trip occurred in the Loire Valley’s Blois. I was very taken by a button down shirt that was featured in a window display. I stopped to look at it every time we walked past – despite the fact that that this particular piece of clothing isn’t something that would normally catch my attention. The shirt happens to be highly colourful (at least by my standards) and it also has a pattern! It was also very affordable. In the end, I decided that another piece of French style had to come home with me. And I’m pleased with that decision – I’ve worn it heaps of times already.

Saint-Malo And Rouen

My existing Breton style striped top had certainly seen better days. I’d always planned to replace it while we were in Saint-Malo. I find this style of shirt very versatile, as I can easily wear it for work and play. And the three-quarter length sleeves mean it can be worn across seasons.  

Another scarf also made it into the bag (no judging please) and the French sales got me again when I came across a Longchamp bag that had been discounted to half price. I’d had my eye on the leather version of the Le Pliage bag for a long time but had never quite been prepared to pay full retail. 


By the time we made it to Paris, I had just enough room left in my luggage for another pair of shoes. A pair of navy Repetto shoes with a small block heel, to be exact. Every couple of years I find myself buying a pair of these shoes in patent leather. I find them very comfortable, and again they can be worn in professional and casual settings. They also wear very well – I still regularly wear the original pair I bought back in 2012, thanks to fact that this example of French style is so timeless.

Are you a fan of French style? Do you find yourself shopping for anything in particular when you travel? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

And until next time – au revoir.

Please note: This is an unsolicited post and no compensation of any kind has been received from the brands mentioned in this post.

About Janelle

I believe that everyone can bring French elegance and inspiration to their life, no matter where they happen to live in the world. They only need to learn a secret or two to be on their way. When you join the Distant Francophile community, you’ll have access to the secrets that allow you to bring the best of the French lifestyle into your everyday life. I’m talking about things like style advice, recipes and book reviews. And you’ll also receive regular doses of French inspiration, as well as travel and packing tips galore.

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10 thoughts on “What French Style Did I Buy And Why Did I Buy It?

  • Bonnie Phelan

    Thanks to you I did buy a great pair of red patent flats. Since I now have trouble w heels they gave a flare to my usual black/white travel wardrobe
    So happy u and Scott ok.

    • Janelle Post author

      You’ll never go wrong with red flats Bonnie. They bring a touch of class to so many outfits. Thanks again for thinking of us – we really are very grateful xx

  • Denise Linkson

    I’m a bit naughty when we are in Paris ( or anywhere for that matter) I purchased a couple of blouses , one from Gerard Durrell who I love & always visit when in Paris , a lovely trench that I had to buy as it was on sale from Zappa (& in purchasing saved Rod my hubby a fortune!! lol) & some lovely jewellery from a beautiful little shop in le Marais. I can’t remember its name but I definitely remember its location for when we return this September! The rest of my purchases were made in the Greek islands before we arrived in Paris so my bag was already groaning under all the weight! I always take a big suitcase in anticipation of said purchases & I envy you Janelle with your small suitcase , its something I just can’t seem to emulate. My husband is used to me thankfully & just tells everyone “happy wife happy life”.

    • Janelle Post author

      Your comment made me smile Denise. I’m sure you’re not really naughty – it seems that you might be quite intentional given you always plan to buy and take a case that can accommodate your bargains. I know that a whole lot more would come home with me if I could carry it! And for the record, Rod sounds like he knows when he is onto a good thing!!

      • Denise Linkson

        I think you show wonderful restraint Janelle something which I lack…..but gee wiz I’ve got a fabulous wardrobe!! (You obviously have too going by your photos) & I love wearing every single piece!!

        • Janelle Post author

          I’m SO glad you love your wardrobe Denise. Style is such a way for us to show our creative sides and I’m always sad when women tell me that their wardrobes bring them down. As for my restraint, I have to tell you that it was a long time coming…buying only high quality pieces I love was a game changer for me xx

  • Taste of France

    There is so much eye candy in store windows here.
    I bought a few things–mostly unusual white shirts–on my very first trip to France in the early 1980s. I also bought a navy duster–like a trench coat but without a belt–and I still have it and still wear it. Timeless style. It was a good purchase!

    • Janelle Post author

      Goodness Catherine, you are so right about the eye candy. And I completely understand how you would still be wearing items bought a long time ago. I find the quality in French stores very good. In all honesty, if I allowed myself to travel with a larger case, I know I’d end up buying SO much more!!

  • Virginia Koffke

    I am impressed at your restraint but luggage size and weight are useful tools to enable restraint! I have a fondness for pashminas and scarves and lets face it they don’t weigh very much. Ballerina type footwear look daft on my feet (rather large) and I am still on the look out for the Perfect pair of shoes that I can walk in, that look smart and can be worn with Everything, now is that too much to ask? Last trip to France I was wondering down a side street and found this tiny shop with a young woman who made all these amazing tops, in cotton, so naturally I had to buy one and she was wonderful, my not so brilliant French and her near non existent English and we had quite a laugh in the changing room finding one of her divine tops to fit me (Australian size 16 and you know the French are, on the whole, a lot smaller). I do so admire style in any format but the French do know how to carry it off. However I must say that down in the more country areas the ladies do dress more like me but they do nearly always tend to have just a bit of lipstick and a scarf! Back in Oz I go for many weeks doing the same thing and then, well then I don’t. So solution is another trip to France, problem solved! Do enjoy your posts very much.

    • Janelle Post author

      Thanks so much for sharing Virginia – I’m glad you find DF enjoyable. I find that I always pick up at least one scarf while I’m in France. I’m usually inspired by the women I see in the streets – and I can allow myself to indulge because, as you say, scarves really don’t weigh too much. Like you, I always come back super inspired after a trip to France – my style game is elevated every single time. It’s just another of many reasons to keep visiting xx