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The Stylish Paris Traveler: Pretty as a Picture

epiphanie-ginger-camerabagStory by Linda Donahue

While riding on the Métro last month, I shared a car with at least a dozen tourists from around the world. Russians. Japanese. Aussies. Americans. The one thing they all had in common was that they looked like tourists. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Still, the uniform has become easy to recognize. Sneakers that belong in the gym, not on the street. A camera around the neck or in a nylon camera bag. A fanny pack. A fold-out map. While these items are all clearly practical, let’s face it: they aren’t very fashionable.

When I first started visited Paris about a hundred years ago, I was “that” tourist. But over the years, I refined my wardrobe so that I might blend in a little more seamlessly. The biggest obstacle for me? How to carry my camera.

Men may not have any problem walking around with those blocky-looking nylon bags filled with camera equipment, but there are plenty of women who do. I used to slide my professional Canon with the 20 pounds of lenses into a canvas Gap bag and traipse across the continent trying not to drop it. It was the most practical thing I could find that fit with my more stylish sensibilities.

Claudia of The Paris Apartment loves the red tote by Jo Totes.

Claudia of The Paris Apartment loves the red tote by Jo Totes.

Apparently, I wasn’t alone. Maile Wilson, a professional photographer, used to wrap her camera in a towel and put it in her purse. She knew it wasn’t the safest way to transport thousands of dollars of professional equipment. The Maui native looked and looked for something practical and versatile, but realized that her dream of the perfect purse/camera bag hybrid just didn’t exist. So she created one. And then she created two more purse-style camera bags that women around the world have fallen in love with. Her company, epiphanie by Maile Wilson, creates three styles: Ginger, Belle, and the popular Lola bags in black and red.

April Johansen of Jo Totes had the same idea. Her company produces three styles of bag in a wide range of colors. The Missy bag comes in black, blue, gray and pink. Her popular Rose bag is available in eight colors, and those who like tote-style bags (like me) will love hers in scarlet and olive fine.

Bags from both of these forward-thinking women have padded interiors that can be custom arranged with velcro dividers for not just camera equipment, but also personal items like wallets, phones, keys, makeup and more.

When not toting around camera equipment, these bags are versatile enough to also be used as diaper bags, to carry laptops and to even fit enough clothing for a weekend getaway.

For more information, contact:

ephipanie bags
www.epiphaniebags.com / 866.941.2221

Jo Totes
www.jototes.com / jototes@gmail.com

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4 Responses to “The Stylish Paris Traveler: Pretty as a Picture”

  1. Virginia says:

    Well bravo to these great designers! I have struggled with the same problem, but as I don’t have quite the equipment that most of you have, I found the greatest solution a few years ago. I had a leather backpack purse that I found I can use as a camera bag as well. I have a Canon Rebel with a longer lens and i can cram it in this purse, along with a small 50mm lens etc. In the zipper I put a coin purse with my euros, credit card and metro tickets…. and lip gloss and reading glasses. I don’t need a purse and my camera bag looks like a fairly chic purse. Voila!!

  2. Tammy says:

    Love this post as I’ve just returned from a weekend trip to Paris after an extended absence – each time I think most of what clothes & accessories I can pack that meet the following criteria: a) look as least ‘touristy’ as possible, b) allow me to be out all day without needing to head back to the hotel and c) most importantly, ensure ‘mes pieds’ survive hours and hours of walking around the city. This time I think I nailed it – a great bag that I don’t use very often from Banana Republic fit my camera + other necessities perfectly!…and some great boots allowed my poor feet to survive pounding the pavement. Unless you’re a true Parisienne, you’ll never fully blend it, but definitely a chic bag instead of the dreaded camera around the neck, helps a bit

  3. Sab says:

    Have you found an alternative to trainers? I am going to Paris next week and still thinking about what shoes to pack!

  4. Linda Donahue says:

    I highly recommend Cole Haan loafers with the Air Nike insoles.

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