Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Paris Trash

Most people bring back chic stuff from Paris - designer bags, shoes, gloves, perfume, couture socks blah blah blah. I bring back trashy souvenirs from pastry shops, tea salons, candy stores. Like those plastic gelato spoons - these are all my Paris treasures.

I bring home paper sacs. Hey, they're free. Well almost. You do usually have to buy something. Sometimes there's a momento crumb still left inside...sniff

Souvenir napkins. Tell me you NEVER brought back a souvenir napkin from Paris. They are light weight. The red napkin is from tea at Hediard.

Shhhhh, I did once dumpster dive on Place Madeleine for a perfectly excellent macaron box - it called my name.

Stickers-I LOVE French stickers / Les autocollants. I never forget to snag some. Many places have more than one design - candy / confisier stores are terrific for these.

Carte de visit/ de magazine - you can pick up them on the way out the door. French biz cards are the best.

Don't forget you have to ask for the l'addition / bill in a French restaurant. Don't sit there and expect it to show up. And don't dare get up and walk out impatiently. You can land in jail for not paying. Doing dishes is NOT an option in France unless it's behind bars. The exception is in a cafe. They will bring the bill with your order in a special designated dish like instantly.

My l'addition from Hotel Meurice - only thing you can take away that isn't nailed down is this tiny Canderel sugar packet. No sugar cubes, nuttin! You've already seen enough of my sugar cube collection.

Another trash collection gem - a paper bag from some boulangerie.I tried to smooth out the wrinkles for you :)
This little bag says it all - the care, the attention, the wit that goes into the small, quotidien things of French life..?
What did you bring back? Tell all.


  1. Those items are not trash but the treasures of a holiday. Yes, my bag is filled with the same things when I return. The pink box from Savarin in Uzes sits before me on my desk. Isn't it fun to remember?

  2. Carol, Our bags are stuffed with souvenirs exactly like yours! Love this post!

  3. Nik from Brisbane8:27 AM

    Carol on my recent trip to Paris from Australia I carried a lovely red leather journal, handbag size that some dear friends bought for me. Every day I collected ticket stubs from Paris Opera, Musee d'Orsay, The Louvre, restaurants etc and at night when all was quiet I wrote in my journal of everything I had experienced and then I pasted the relevant ticket stubs in there, I simply cannot throw them out. I am not a hoarder, I simply treasure the memories of my first trip to Paris.

    Thank you for all your entertainment that I am sure everyone enjoys as much as I do, merci x

  4. O what lovely treasures for the future too. I have a friend who collects shopping bags. Eventually they were hung near the ceiling throughout her walk in closet. Think what a kitchen pantry could look like one day for you-!


  5. Love it! I have a huge envelope full of French trash--receipts and business cards and napkins and those little bits of decorated paper they slip around a baguette. Every piece is too artistic to toss. One of these days I'm going to decoupage something with them.
    Great post, Carol!

  6. totally have me beat on a fantastic ribbon collection! I must catch up. Yes, I have enough gelato spoons to open a store! I have every scrap of ephemera I can shove into the outside pockets of my suitcase from every trip! Great post....lots of memories brought back.

  7. This post made me smile this morning - the first and only time I've been to Paris I had little money so my souvenirs where "paper" like yours. I did however bring home as many of the individually wrapped sugar cubes as I could - my trip lingered on with every coffee once I returned to the US. Your blog really is awesome - just found it.

  8. JoAnne9:11 AM

    I'm a scrapbooker and when I came back from taking my granddaughter to Paris I was doing a layout about having lunch at Angelina's. Kate had ordered a Croque Madam and when I ordered a Croque Monsieur she changed her mind and her order. It wasn't until I was adhering the bill to the layout that I realized they had charged me for three sandwiches!
    Oh, well...
    We also had an Opera, a Eclair Cafe and two Cafe Glace. I loved Angelina's.
    We visited Laduree on the Champs Elysees, but only to carry out goodies. We wanted to go back for lunch or tea but never did. One of my favorite cafes is Grand Corona in Place De L'Alma.

    I bring back sugar packs, coasters, napkins, bags, receipts, metro passes and anything that's not nailed down. Once on a visit to London I brought back a leaf from a bush on the grounds of Buckingham Palace. It is laminated and in a scrapbook.


  9. this looks exactly like what I bring home from world wide! same ribbons, napkins, business cards and paper bags. I don't go into big dept stores to buy.
    Tell me how you organize them

  10. Love the Angelina story JoAnne
    I'm not the only nutter :)

  11. And don't forget the round, Sempe cartoon placemats at Cafe de Flore!
    I kept mine, carefully "hand" ironed, until the omelette and coffee
    stains started to smell.


  12. Andrea9:20 AM

    Love the beautiful "trash" this snowy morning -
    thank you again for a fantastic blog!

  13. Me too...I also have the laduree napkin and visit card!! Lovely souvenirs!

  14. Misha in Paris9:31 AM

    Amazing the price of Meurice's chocolat chaud!
    And it was on april 2007
    With these prices we must keep Parisien trashes in a frame !

  15. I still have two large Chanel shopping bags found empty on the street right in front of the store on Rue Cambon....ribbons included...I tell everyone I got a Chanel bag in Paris..:)

  16. I brought back Carte de visit, l'addition ..maps, leaflets...but no napkin (serviette)!

  17. Bonjour PB,

    I just love you!!!.

    And I just love Paris.

    We were in Paris

    in October

    for one glorious week.

    I can't wait to return.

    But because of YOU

    I get to go to Paris

    Every day!





  18. I just have to comment. I love all that stuff. The ribbons, gift bags, receipts etc. Even the plastic spoons.
    Those are the things I love to keep.
    In 1996 when I went to Paris; I also loved the little packs of sugar that are like sticks instead of the little packets we usually have here.
    Good job Carol!


  19. C'est inquiétant...
    En France pour appeler les Pompiers, on fait le 18 :)

  20. Plus, they provide tons of good sketching opportunities, I'm sure, eh? Lovely, Carol. I save all kinds of things when I travel--coasters from restaurants, bags, like you do, movie tickets, (I've been known to save metro and bus tickets, too), hotel receipts, soaps in pretty packets (I put those in baskets in our guest room) and notepads from hotels...I love 'em! I hang them all on my bulletin board thing and slide them under the ribbons so I can look at them all day and dream of vacations.

  21. Good post....... I have receipts, bags. metro ticks, museum passes, etc. from my first trip to Paris in a scrap book.....

  22. What do you do with all your treasures? Ever considered making an assemblage/collage type of artwork with them?

  23. I just wanted to tell you how much I love your splashes of color (or
    greys!) every day. Paris Breakfasts is such a different kind of blog;
    it's very refreshing. I've added you to my blogroll, and hope to see your show when you're in DC.

  24. Interesting that you know the things that are not nailed down :)

  25. These are definitely wonderful treasures.

    I sometimes use my cartes de visit as bookmarks to remind me of the good times.

    I am so glad to see that others love these kinds of things, too.

  26. I forgot to say that sometimes if you are lucky and ask very politely, you can get menus from restaurants.
    I have one from Le Sud and one from Le Nord framed and hanging in my kitchen (These are lovely restaurants in Lyon).

  27. William Ternay, Jr.3:23 PM

    Carol, you constantly amaze me with the esoteric, and always creative postings on your PB blog.
    Part of the pleasure...and adventure, is never knowing where
    you will take your many world-wide fans when paying you a visit.

  28. We could do a museum with all these packagings you have!

  29. I can understand your passion for Paris trash: While I have not been to France, I have all sorts of trashy souvenirs from the places I love, Rome, Florence, Venice, places up and down the East Coast.

  30. Hi
    I am probably the only person who brings back toilet paper from France. At monoprix they have pink toilet paper I write a blog about pink living. There is a photo of it on my blog!! I save sugar cubes and business cards too.
    Check out my blog
    Marie Arden Pink Living
    If it is down I am having computer serviced soon- it will be back up soon

  31. Evelyn5:18 PM

    I collect everything everywhere for good memories. I bring back those cute little yogurt jars and reuse with votive candles or store knick knacks in them.

    BTW all my friends love my framed print that I won in your contest! C'est chouette.

  32. chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate.

  33. Yes, I have to admit to bringing back paper napkins and the usual bling from hotel rooms. But what I treasure above all others are the dockets and large business cards from the fabric shops in Rue d'Orsel. They are the first thing I see when I open my business folder next to my computer. Bliss.

  34. vickiemarie8:53 PM

    Receipts, matchbooks, napkins, little soaps and shampoos from the hotel, the plastic toothpick that comes with the box of Jean-Charles Robhoux chocolates, postcards, museum passes, maps, metro tickets, acorns (didn't know you weren't supposed to do that!), an autumn leaf, Euros (unfortunately mostly coins), small shopping that I think of it, it's no wonder I had no room to pack the treasures I purchased!

  35. vickiemarie8:54 PM

    Whoops, that was supposed to be Jean-Charles Rochoux chocolates!! Sorry for the typo!

  36. Frenchie9:15 PM

    I do this all the time, but with the emballages from the boulangerie of my little village outside Paris, including that which came with la galette des rois! I use all these things to decorate my student room and office in Canberra! Thank you so much for your blog.

  37. OH MAN! I have BAGS of this stuff!!! And I was pleased to see my fav chocolatier in one of your photos too..
    PLEASE pop into my blog and check out my Design on a Centime link on my sidebar, I wallpapered my powder room ceiling with a lot of my sturdier stuff!

    I just can't bare to part with the rest of it...the little Deux Magot receipts and green business cards reminding me of beloved macarons...

    Wonderful post.

  38. Hi Carol, my name is Miriam and I am a visitor of your blog. It is so funny your post about Paris Trash!! Visiting Paris is in my dreams. With God´s help, I will someday, and I will sure bring back Paris Trash too!! My daughter recently went to Singapore for two weeks as part of her college studies in Buffalo State College. I told her for souvenir to bring me just that!! empty bottles, whatever product empty bags that she used, even just to go outside and collect rocks or dirt!! to me that´s a perfect souvenir. Fun post!!

  39. do you live part-time in paris? thanks for the great blog!

  40. I collect the same things.It's so nice to see that others share this obsession. When I have people over I use all the napkins from different restaurants. the last time I was in France the waitress thought I was crazy. She put a napkin down, and I immediately folded it and put it in my bag. I have so many that now I have started to frame them and put them up all over my kitchen.
    I know it's just those little things that remind you of France. I collect sugar, shopping bags, plastic bags, ribbons from packages,Lotus tissues (the small size)those small pieces of chocolate they serve with your cafe creme, and yes, even those thin paper bags from anything bought in Paul's.
    Merci for your blog!!!!!

  41. Who thought trash could be so pretty?!

    I'll admit I'm guilty of taking paper souvenirs back from la belle ville... I have a stack of napkins/pens/hotel notepads and coins to give my room a little parisien ambiance...

    Love your blog, keep it up! :-)


  42. Anonymous2:20 AM

    Reading your blog has become part of my morning routine; as regular as reading the daily news. I have my daughter to thank. She loves Paris and she's been there twice, so far. She keeps everything from Paris! Including receipts and tags.

    I keep lovely things too. I've started adding them to my journals. I thought we were the only keeper of lovely things like bags until today. :D I referenced your blog in a post on one of my new blogs. I have four-going-on five. Thank you for making my days lovelier. Your blog borders on bliss.


  43. I missed all that when I was there. What was i thinking? I will stock up next time I get to go. I'm dreaming of Paris again . . .

  44. I absolutely LOVE ribbons of all types. Needless to say your ribbon photo made me green with envy.

  45. It's so good to know I'm not the only person who brings home things like this :) I have sugar packets from Ireland and newspapers from India! Hmm, dumpster diving in Paris? Now that sounds like a sport to me ;)


  46. He he, i have things like this strewn everywhere, receipts are a fave and so are brichures. I have quite a few in my handbag still!

    Ribbons too, i have a hermes ribbon tied around my desk lamp and i had quite a long Dior ribbon that i gave to a friends daughter, she wears it like a necklace or in her hair - too cute.


  47. Merisi2:01 PM

    Funny thing is, all I care about is keeping the Demel bags. I seldom buy anything elsewhere, I need to look out for it. I do collect sugar cubes and those mini-packets, also match-boxes which are aplenty here in Vienna (smokers, eeek!), but also beautiful.

    Good night,

  48. One man's trash is another man's treasure. :O)

  49. Loved reading this post. Such a good reminder for my upcoming visit. Merci bcp

  50. Oh my gosh...I thought I was the only one with this problem! haha. I came back with bags of all sorts and paper items and kept them all...even my metro tickets and extra stamps. I put them all in a photo album. Loved this post!

  51. Hello
    I'm french, I found your website on google. I realise how lucky I was and I didn't know that we could be a so addict to French food. Anyway I love it. Your posts are great and funny.
    Sorry if I maked some English mistakes.
    Au revoir

  52. I love that even the packets and sachets of disposables are long, slender, chic spills instead of the square, flat flimsy Sweet&Low packs of our everyday.

    I confess to kneeling in a hotel hallway (twice) and retrieving all the wonderful unopened condiments and accoutrement from abandoned room-service trays.

  53. Love your blog:) I also collect thing from Paris, mainly from Laduree. Please come over to my blog and have a look at my Laduree cabinet and Laduree miniature bags.

  54. I've been reading your diary for a few weeks now, first thing every morning!
    It's your collection of paper bags and receipts that's incited me to write. I brought all of mine back from paris too and was sort of ashamed to admit it. They're all brilliant pictures. Have you been to a shop called 'La Cure Gourmande'? I love your site. Luce

  55. I heart Paris trash, and have my own stash of it here in Dallas (although certainly not as nice as yours)! I'm off to Paris in mid-March, and cannot wait to pick up more!!

  56. You might check out Enchantment's chapter on facebook pages 139 - 142 by Guy Kawasaki.

    his facebook page is

    he also recommends Facebook Marketing:An Hour a Day coauthored by Mari Smith, called "The Pied Piper of Facebook" by Fast Company.

    I love your watercolors, receiving them is like a mini Paris vacation,

    Best regards,

    Maud Guilfoyle


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