Friday, June 08, 2007

Paris Trash

Most people bring back sensible, chic things when they visit Paris.
Bags, shoes, gloves, perfume, couture socks etc. I bring back chatchkes - souvenirs from pastry shops, tea salons and candy stores. Like I'm addicted to plastic gelato spoons. These are my Paris treasures. 
Some people buy real French handbags. I bring home the paper sacs and they're free too. Well almost. You do usually have to buy something. They are not giving them out for free ever.
Souvenir napkins. I've no good reason to explain why I pick these up.
Maybe because like Mount Everest, they are THERE!
They are light weight. The red napkin at the bottom is from Hediard.
Of course candy  And stickers...YUM!
I always forget the French word for stickers / Les autocollants(Merci Jen) but I never forget to grab some. Many places have more than one design too! Candy / confiserie stores are terrific for these.
Carte de visit - I always try to pick up one on the way out. I love the elaborate designs. French business cards are a dream.
Oh don't forget, you must ask for the l'addition or bill in a restaurant. Don't sit there and expect it to show up. And don't dare get up and walk out in consternation.
It's grounds for arrest in France to leave without paying your bill. Nor are they interested in your dish washing skills. In a cafe they bring the bill with your order in a little special dish.
The creme de la creme of my l'addition collection is this hot chocolate bill from Hotel Meurice...
The only thing you can take away is this tiny Canderel sugar thingie.
No logo sugar cubes, nuttin. I figured you'd seen enough of my sugar cube collection, so they're resting in seclusion.
 Here's another collection gem -
An adorable paper bag a croissant probably came in, from some anonymous boulangerie.
I tried to smooth out the wrinkles
Doesn't this little bag say France?
The care, attention, the wit that goes into the small, quotidien things of French life.


  1. Anonymous7:37 AM

    What a sweet and wonderful post! How original and creative you are. I want to collect these things too...clever clever you! I love the receipts. Especially the 12 euro one for hot chocolate. Though as you know is a small price to pay to sit in one of the most beautiful places in Paris.

  2. Anonymous8:39 AM

    Nice loot! Very colorful and inspirational. Would like to see what the $12- Chocolate place in Paris is all about with you and Corey.
    I collect the same kind of stuff. I like it. Believe it or not I save Gelato spoons too. I use them to eat yogert.
    Have a delicious day!

    I see you snuck in a little Hermès ribbon into the mix.

  3. I love how you bring these things back and share them with us! I still have some similar things from when I was in Paris. I think you may have inspired another post... ; )

  4. Anonymous9:32 AM

    I like to collect these types of souvenirs too, and they don't take up so much room in my baggage. I place them where I can see them frequently (without getting the place too messy) to remind me of those good memories. My European mother used to do this, that's how I picked up the habit.

    12euros for a cup of hot chocolate, in current Australian money is around $6AUD, which is quite a lot! Coffee/chocolate prices are around $2-3AUD per cup, depending where you go.

  5. Les autocollants, that's what stickers are. Love your souvenirs. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who does that LOL

  6. Anonymous9:49 AM

    Yummy collection full of delicious memories...I love collecting such things from places we go, even a small thing like a napkin, a receipt, etc. can evoke a tidal wave of memory...

  7. lovely little memory shakers,
    i call them.

    there must be a society of us traveling from place to place...
    with bits of ribbon and sugar packets in our bags...

    do you sometimes leave one or two wee treasures in your suitcase
    ready to discover when preparing for your next trip?

    also, to see a receipt from some book shop in paris,
    when i am now in rome,
    makes me feel such the worldy one!

    no one even needs to know but me...

  8. My first trip to Paris, I brought back the sugar cubes wrapped in paper -- I especially remember the ones that were made to look like dice.

    In Italy I brought back the tissue paper (colored, with designs or pictures) that's wrapped around apples and other fruit you get at the market.

  9. What an amusing post this is, Carol. My day is always a little brighter after a read through your site.

  10. I love great collections of "minor memorabilia" or "fiddle-faddle", important to the collector only but usually worthless to others. The Italians have a beautiful word for this kind of frippery, "cianfrusaglie". I use it even for files on my computer, synonym or short for "while others may not recognize the importance of these documents, for me they are priceless". The same goes for boxes of my prized collections. :-)

    A friend of mine used to collect "the bags" that are ready at your service on airplanes, in the pocket of the seat in front of you. Until about ten years ago, they were printed with beautiful logos of the airlines, and other illustrations. She treats her collection like art, framed in a poster size frame, at a location appropriate to their original intendes use. Hers are in a vergin state, of course. :-)

    Do I need to mention that Vienna is quite a treasure trove for all kinds of the goodies we love? *enticing smile*

  11. My diaries over the years have filled up with these little treasures you mention here. I still regret though that I did not take more Laduree napkins last time I was in Paris. Love that sage green! Maybe you can bring me some next time you go ;).....
    happy writing and snapping.

  12. Anonymous2:40 PM

    I LOVE your site, it's delicious.
    Thank you, thank you for showing us the sweetness of Paris pastry shoppes!!!

  13. don't feel bad.....I do the same thing. I love the prints and the colors or is it just the feel? We have many of the same memories........

  14. Anonymous8:36 PM

    Thank you
    Thank you
    Thank you

    I'd no idea I was a member of such a big club.
    Your responses delight me no end :)
    The 12 euro hot chocolate was worth every centime.
    More to come...

  15. I collect paper napkins like yours, have since I was a child, as well as wrappers of sugar cubes. I have got shoeboxes filled. My mom on the other hand keeps all the ribbons and plastic/paper bags...what is it with us Frenchies?
    About the fraises tagada, I had fpund your post while doing some link research for my post, so if you scroll down it is at the bottom.

  16. In my "memory box" from my trip to Paris, I have a receipt for some souveniers I bought for friends, the tag from my luggage, a wrapper from some chocolates...I now see I am not alone! How wonderful to have such trifles trigger such rich memories for us all.

  17. I see the name Laduree repeating its self here

  18. Anonymous4:55 AM

    I do collect such things, I keep them for a good while and eventually I get rid of them !?!

    I also read your link (your post written last August)and was to tell you the French word for "sticker" but blogger Jen has done it...
    Still, the word "sticker" can do - everybody knows it here.
    You can stick to it if you wish !

  19. I love all of your treasure troves.

  20. You are like a womble. Do you remember the wombles? I always want these things but by the time I get them home they are all crumpled.

  21. Anonymous12:36 PM

    This is exactly what I collect also. My favorite treasure is the menue from New York Plaza where i was taken to High Afternoon tea by an internet friend!

    I use some of my collection in my travel diaries, which now are Molescins with acid free sketching paper.

    Lovely post.

  22. Anonymous3:58 PM


    I am a collector of business cards and receipts! I love being able to remember years later where I went to have that _____(fill in the blank). I would love to collect those cute pastry boxes...but I fear I'd crush them in my luggage!

  23. You are hilarious - collecting l'additions and napkins! I do like the ribbons, though. They're very useful in art projects and in a pinch, for wrapping a package. As for les autocollants, I took a bunch of photos of the windows full of same at Le Bon Marche yesterday. Will post them within the next couple of days.

  24. I bring back ephemera, too: Wine labels, receipts, brochures, napkins, even bus tickets and yes, luggage tags.

    Nice post, Carol.

  25. I see how you use the stickers you come home with, but what does one *do* with the rest? There's only so much room (and interest) in the travel journal... I brought home a number of papery items from Italy (although my receipts are not nearly as pretty as yours!) and am just looking at the pile of them. I can see drowning-in-ephemera as a very real future possibility!

  26. Catching up on

  27. Anonymous8:50 AM

    I forgot to mention another precious memory which I brought back from Durham last month - a library card from Durham Public Library. The card is so colourful, now I would love to start a collection.

    I spent two nights in Durham, one hour in the library :-), but needed a card to be able to use their computers.

  28. That is some of the things I would bring too! Such lovely personal items... My friends are going to Paris soon, where is the one place they MUST go and dine while they are there?

  29. beautiful photographs as always. I love your blogs. I've done this too - collected beautiful shop bags and yes, guilty too of collecting paper napkins from restaurants and tea-rooms. I still have momentoes from Gili's in Florence (well same name!).

    Thankyou so much for passing by Menton Daily Photo, Carol.

    Jilly x

  30. Actually - after I posted that it was autocollants, I realised I should have told you the French understand "les stickers" LOL Marie-Noelle said it for me :)

  31. JILLY I really think we're meant to help ourselves to napkins etcand mustn't flagulate ourselves too much. Why else plaster their brand all over these souvenirs?

    SOME PINK FLOWERSlovely little memory nice.

    MRS.BEAR a "memory box" is a very good idea, like a Pandora's box..if only it could carry you back to the original site.

    JAY L. I love those papers they wrap around fruit in Italy too..

    Britt-Arnhild Library cards sounds wounderful...

  32. What a TERRIFIC post! I had to laugh. It's amazing what we come home with from travels. I completely get it. Especially that adorable bag with the baker flipping breads. Yes, those little choses quotidiens that make the French so....French. Love it!

  33. Carol, I thought of you when I bought some postcards yesterday at Demel's (after having had a breakfast of the most delicious cherry strudel and melange), and the sweet lady there put my three cards in one of those small pretty paper Demel bags, I could have hugged her! Then I audaciously asked for a business card (I'll mail it with one of the cards *g*), but stopped myself before asking for an autocollant. Enough's enough. ;-)

  34. Anonymous3:49 AM

    It's very funny for the French girl I am to look at the pictures of your little treasures ;-), in the sense that whith me, obviously they end up in the trash can. But you're right some of them are quite pretty, like Ladurée's factures. Don't you collect bottles' caps too ? But i have to say that when I saw that you paid 12 E for a café i felt pity for you, but whatever, paris will always be paris.
    Have a good day !

  35. Oh I love this post!! I thought it was just me who compulsively collects little trinkets from places I visit! I too have a collection of till slips (I hate the ones on heat-sensitive paper that fade, grrrr), packets, sugar cubes or wrappers, napkins, ticket stubs... you name it, each of them a dear friend and a reminder of something wonderful.

  36. dear carol, i love this post, everything about it...not least of all, for the simple reason that now i live in the comfort of knowing i'm not the only person who saves her sweet wrappers! but what i really want to know is, how you store/organise what must be an enormous (and growing) collection? i have no doubt it must be some truly artful why-didn't-i-think-of-that system!

  37. Carol, your souvenirs look like my souvenirs;) Guess we think alike:)

  38. I "lerve" your collections!
    So where do you keep them - stuffed in a draw somewhere - or casually strewn around your home, trying not to look too obvious that you have been to the most fabulous places known to mankind?!

  39. Anonymous10:27 PM

    Great post! I do the same when I travel--I save museum billets, coasters in restaurants, I even still have a menu I took from a cafe in Paris when I was about 16!! (You should see the prices on it in the '70s! These are all great.

  40. I love your souvenirs!

  41. I love that you collect gelato spoons. Do you have a photo of them in the blog? :)

  42. Love your blog. It's my daily dose of virtual Paris. Makes me more intent and excited about fulfilling my life-dream of traipsing across Paris for days on end ...

  43. Zafran7:12 AM

    What an amusing post this is, Carol. My day is always a little brighter after a read through your site.

  44. Plasimo7:12 AM

    Your all cards are attractive and beautiful.

  45. Sophia7:25 AM

    Did you get to the Hummingbird Bakery on the Fulham Road?
    Yummy cupcakes and whoopie pies


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