a long weekend in paris – part one – the packing!

by Sharon Santoni

Zelda pulled her biggest suitcase out from the back of her wardrobe then frowned.   “This is  meant to be a business trip, they’ll laugh to see me turn up with some huge bag like a tourist. ….  Think Zelda think …. you’re only going for a week, and most of that is going to be business meetings .  It’s just the last weekend where you can take time to explore Paris”

“Explore Paris”, she couldn’t even believe she was saying those words!    When she had joined the company earlier that year she knew that travel could be part of the job, but she hadn’t expected it to come so fast, and for her first destination to be Paris was almost too much excitement to bear!

She had been thrilled to get the job.  She’d been away from a working environment for many years as she raised her kids, and returning was a little daunting.    She went through the rounds of interviews for this job, trying hard to look the part  but thinking all the while they’d give it to someone younger,

But here she was, just a week away from boarding the plane and trying to get her head around her packing.     Her work wardrobe was easy, she’d be expected to look smart and impeccable at all times, so her normal working wardrobe was fine.   But with the additional two days she was able to swing alone, that was a whole different story.

Paris had always been a dream of hers.  Somehow with the young family, and then with Bob’s work there was never the time to plan a trip abroad.  That seemed like a lifetime ago.   The children were grown, and Bob, well Bob had gone looking for greener pastures in the shape of a younger wife, and here she was … independent, free and full of a fresh new self assurance.     The trip to Paris would come at just the right moment

Her image of the women in Paris was  of chic slim women dressed well but never overdone.   She wanted to fit in with that look, and instead of packing from her work wardrobe, with its power suits and figure hugging dresses she started to plan a ‘Parisian’ wardrobe , a few well chosen pieces,  just enough for a long weekend.  Her girlfriend Claire’s favorite online boutique immediately came to mind, Halsbrook, Zelda knew they had a great selection for her age range and with a distinctly European flair.  Also on their website, they made suggestions for pairing clothes and accessories.

In order to know what clothes she’d need she made a short list of things she wanted to do:

  • A museum for sure, a walk in a park
  • Shopping, “hmmm, that’s a given.”
  • A lovely place for tea and some serious people watching.
  • A special dinner out, hopefully with a friend (note to self, call Barbara to find out if she’s still in Paris)

She flung open the doors of her wardrobe and started to lay outfits out on the bed, then worked out where the gaps were and went online to order a few additional pieces.

She was only travelling for a few days, so she’d settle with one coat, one handbag for the day and one clutch for the evening.

Her first outfit was all about chic comfort, ideal for walking around a museum, or strolling through the park.   Something warm for sitting on the terrace of a cute café, and  of course comfort no matter the weather.

shawl shirtcuff earringspants

She packed a very special outfit just in case she was invited somewhere amazing for dinner.  High heels, a beautiful black dress and pretty gold earrings.

dresscoatearringsclutch – shawl

Her coat would be fine for any occasion and her favourite black bag was both chic and spacious.


For everyday comfort that still felt chic and feminine, Zelda packed an outfit with a skirt and some cute boots.

necklace sweater skirthat

A few days later, with her suitcase packed and her excitement growing, Zelda headed to the airport,…. And in a few days time we’ll discover all that she got up to in the city of lights!

This post was created in partnership with the U.S. online boutique Halsbrook. You can save up to 40% during the Fall Into Sale event happening now !


Steven November 14, 2017 - 6:45 pm

Always fun to read your short stories – and the photo of the fountain surrounded by back-lit gold is beautiful. I’m less concerned with the separates and accessories, although I appreciate that well chosen coordinates work for all. 🙂 I’m curious how you chose the name of the protagonist? We have a 22 month old granddaughter named Zelda. It isn’t a name one encounters often. She, as you might expect, is a delight. Previous to our daughter announcing the name I was only familiar with two other Zelda’s – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, of course, and a featured character in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which was a sitcom that aired on US TV in the early ’60’s! Kind of a beatniks vs preppies push and pull. (I saw it years later as re-runs on after school TV – I doubt many of your readers will have a clue what I’m referencing). I understand there is also a computer game by that name, but I was unfamiliar with it. Our sweet z (lower case – her Dad is Z (for Zeak – his choice of spelling) – Ezekiel – the 5th of that name in his family) is starting to own the name. We are fortunate to see her nearly every weekend – the changes from visit to visit are noticeable. Always happy to find your post in the inbox!

Zelda November 14, 2017 - 8:10 pm

my name is Zelda
full name Zelda Pamela Angel
I was named after the writer.
it has been a very good name, l am always remembered . when l married my husband surname Angel , so Zelda Angel
is in my opinion a great name.

Steven November 14, 2017 - 8:26 pm

Agree 🙂

Sharon Santoni November 14, 2017 - 8:20 pm

Thank you for your generous comment Steven. I have always loved the name Zelda, but I think I only knew it from Scott Fitzgerald. It is a name full of romance and energy, I’m sure your new granddaughter will carry it beautifully!

best wishes to you and a kiss to Zelda

Steven November 14, 2017 - 8:22 pm


bonnie groves poppe November 14, 2017 - 9:11 pm

Of course I remember that Zelda, she was not exactly glamorous (the second one). But I think its kind of a popular name now for young children?
bonnie in Carpentras France

Tracy November 15, 2017 - 3:01 am

I definitely remember Dobie Gillis! And, like you, I only know of the same two.

Karen November 15, 2017 - 3:34 pm

Oh, I remember Dobie and girlfriend, Zelda….and friend Maynard G Krebs!
Loved that show

Sally Leonard November 21, 2017 - 8:18 pm

My nickname growing up was Zelda! A few of my friends thought I resembled her from Dobbie Gillis.
Not a compliment, I’m afraid!

Pamela November 14, 2017 - 7:24 pm

Hi hope your doing well, I so love to read your stories.

Susan November 14, 2017 - 7:31 pm

Love, love, love your short stories ~ always a treat to read.

Hazel Lavelle November 14, 2017 - 8:00 pm

Glad to see your post !!! I missed you hope all is ok ??

Sharon Santoni November 14, 2017 - 8:22 pm

I apologise Hazel, and thank you for your kind words. It has been pretty busy here with the latest box, but we are back on track now, and I plan to blog very regularly again, and I’m looking forward to the holiday season here on the blog


Bonnie Gutierrez November 14, 2017 - 8:14 pm

@ Steven, I hate to admit that I vaguely remember Dobie Gillis!

Sharon I love the J.”Petermanesque” approach in your story, and the story itself!

Sharon Santoni November 14, 2017 - 8:21 pm

Thank you Bonnie, I am more than flattered to be compared to the great J Peterman!



Steven November 14, 2017 - 8:34 pm

Ha! I don’t remember much about it either, other than the name – and the fact that the chief beatnik transformed into Gilligan in his next TV life!!

bonnie groves poppe November 14, 2017 - 9:12 pm

Unless I am having a truly senior moment, that fountain is in the Jardin du Luxembourg, and it is very, very beautiful.
bonnie in Carpentras france

Tracy November 15, 2017 - 3:05 am

If you’re right, I’m sorry I missed that part of the gardens when I was there =-(

Taste of France November 14, 2017 - 9:38 pm

A fun story. Of course a guy named Bob would not be able to keep up with someone named Zelda.

June Renfer November 14, 2017 - 9:54 pm

This is the first time i am reading your blog. I very much liked your story, remember Zelda and Maynard G. Krebs,the Beatnik. Will come back to enjoy again.

Our French Oasis November 14, 2017 - 11:29 pm

Can’t wait to see what she gets up to in Paris and hope she gets the opportunity to wear the little black dress, she has certainly packed a great travel wardrobe perfect for Paris.

Kim November 15, 2017 - 12:07 am

Love your short stories

Barbara Novello November 15, 2017 - 1:55 am

Ahhh I was right there with her all the way! Thanks for the boost in dreams! (Even tho I love my husband and love spending every minute with him – no lie!!!)

Christine best November 15, 2017 - 2:25 am

I always love your short stories and never want them to finish!

Dottie Monta November 15, 2017 - 2:49 am

Timely, beautiful inspiration for travel wardrobe (one holiday is fast approaching)! We’ll be with family, academics, and some business folks, so the reminder to take “cute boots” is much appreciated!
Eager to read just what Miss Z “gets up to” as she arrives in the most beautiful city in the world!

Botanic Bleu November 15, 2017 - 5:50 am

Thank you for the gift of another short story. One day your publisher must collect them into one volume for us to buy. And the stories must be accompanied by your beautiful photos of France.

Your collections for Zelda’s wardrobe are exactly what I think Parisian women wear.


teresa vasconcelos November 15, 2017 - 12:04 pm

Hi Sharon,
glad to read another part of your short stories.this one in particular gave me inspiration for new projects.

Thank you!

Michelle November 15, 2017 - 1:50 pm

Bonjour Sharon-
Great start to your short story! Enjoy seeing the fashion boards you have put together with the story and pictures of Paris. Looking forward to hearing more about Z. adventure. Glad your back was missing your posts.

John Christian November 15, 2017 - 5:07 pm

That coat is to die for. Alas, others thought so, too. Only one size still available.
Enjoying the story, Sharon.

Hattee Christian November 15, 2017 - 5:07 pm

My computer rewrote my name.

Michele Morabito November 17, 2017 - 6:24 am

This one really caught my eye because my daughter just left Paris after spending a perfect week there for her anniversary. Then it is off to Brussels, then Amsterdam, then home at the end of next week.

It was her first time visiting there, and she hit all the big tourist places: the Louvre, Versailles, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, L’arc de Triumph and Sacre Coeur.

Seriously she had a few of these items packed, too! She’s always been a fashionista.

Nice story! Thank you! Have a wonderful weekend.

Margaret Robinson November 18, 2017 - 3:39 am

Love the story – you’re a fabulous writer. However, in listing the clothes (and pics are great), you didn’t mention the shoes. I can spot the CL’s, but the loafers and boots????

Bronwyn Lee-Coward November 21, 2017 - 9:27 pm

As I scrolled through the post and admired the fabulous clothes, another “sense” evoked fond memories of my visits to Paris. The perfume that I splashed on each morning. My absolute favourite Diorella. Reminds me I need to put it on my Christmas list.

Marisa November 22, 2017 - 12:46 am

My mother’s maiden name was Smith so her parents decided to give their two daughters distinctive first names. My aunt was named Zelda and my mum is Vaurian, an even more unusual name..Mum never met another Vaurian until recently when she discovered that a long lost friend had named her daughter Vaurian after my mum. Mum flew across Australia from Perth to Cairns to met her namesake.Mum always thought that her sister Zelda got the normal name!

Stacy March 20, 2018 - 1:38 am

Been a long time since this post was written and I was about to erase it when it caught my eye and as a person who loves stories, I had to check it out as I had missed it the first time around. First off, I love the name Zelda because the tragic and beautiful southern belle who was F.Scott Fitzgeralds’ wife was a frequent visitor to the city of light. She epitomized Paris in all its splendor in those days as she was bewitching,captivating, liberating and vulnerable just like the city itself and the riviera which she and her husband and a few others basically discovered a century ago.Your little story complete with fashion tips and a solid protagonist is a delight. Glad I did not pass it by!

a long weekend in paris - staying in st germain - MY FRENCH COUNTRY HOME August 1, 2018 - 8:54 am

[…] free to plan for a bonus long weekend alone in the city of lights .   You can read the first part HERE, or scroll down to find out how she enjoys her weekend in […]


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