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  • The market is open rain or shine, but it’s the wind that can wreak havoc and turn a comfortable day into a messy and chilly one. Wear layers. And scarves are particularly handy. Not only are they stylish, but just about everyone, from boys and girls to men and women, are sporting them, each tied with a different knot. Take a look at a few examples.

France and Italy 1972

This stylish woman had a marvelous stall where she sold mounted vintage automobile hood ornaments. I saw her on several occasions during my stay and, each time, she looked more gorgeous than the time before. She was the belle of the market where she held court and captured the attention of all of the men around her – young and old. I know I couldn’t pull off those outrageous glasses at my age, much less at hers, but I hope to try if I get there.

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Adorable Amanda in her pretty purple scarf and red beret.

France and Italy 1974

If it heats up, just push up your sleeves, untie your scarf and you’re ready to go.

  • Shoes. Pay close attention. The shoes you wear around the market should not be the shoes you wear out to dinner or strutting your stuff along the Promenade des Anglais. Never mind that you’ll see other people wearing 4-inch heels, and you will, don’t be those people. What you can’t see is how they’re  grimacing behind their massive sunglasses. There are many reasons  not to follow the fashionistas when it comes flea market footwear: The streets are uneven, there are plenty of items displayed on the ground that can get in your way, you can trip over a dog, you can crack your ankle (just writing that makes me wince) on the many wide grates on the ground. There are plenty more, trust me. Personally, I could trip over a pigeon feather without half trying.

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I wore Converse All Stars much of the time and even received some nice comments.

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Here are other happy feet that I’m certain didn’t regret wearing comfy shoes to the market.

  • Sunscreen. This is a must. Shade is fickle at the market. It loves you one moment, then poof! it’s off to tease someone else. If you make it an all-day affair, then you’ll spend hours in the sun. My lifesaver was SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50. It comes in a 1.7-ounce plastic squeeze bottle that easily fit into my little plastic bag holding must-have liquids and gels. If you take checked luggage, then feel free to indulge in the larger size. I only travel with a carry-on, so I have to make the most of that little bag. Physical Fusion is a super lightweight, water resistant sunscreen that has a slight tint, so I didn’t need to pack a liquid foundation. And I love that it glides on smoothly.

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  • Moisturizer. My face is dry, and after a long plane trip, then finding myself outdoors most of the day, my skin is screaming for some serious hydration. I need a product that I can use under my sunscreen and also as a night cream on a trip. M.A.C Complete Comfort Cream fits the bill perfectly. This rich cream makes my skin feel ridiculously soft, yet not greasy. Note that it doesn’t have any anti-aging properties, it’s simply formulated to moisturize, especially sensitive skin, which is all I needed it for on this vacation. And the low profile, 1.7-ounce jar fit neatly in the small plastic quart baggie.
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  • Yes to Blueberries Age Refresh Facial Towelettes. These were soothing after a long day when I just wanted to wipe off my makeup and hit the pillow. Love the soft scent, and they easily made eye shadow and mascara vanish without burning my peepers.   YTBTowelettes
  • And now, a word about electrical appliances. I used to travel with a set of heated curlers. I don’t have wash-and-go hair. Never did. It’s stick straight, limpish and really needs artificial body since I don’t have much naturally. And that’s why I can’t leave town – much less the house – without heated curlers, well, actually, these days, I’ve switched over to a fat curling iron. Of course, I took a converter with me since North American and European voltage and frequencies differ greatly from one another. However, my American curling iron wouldn’t work, even using a converter. I could charge my iPad and even my digital camera without any issues. But when it came to my curling iron, the little green light would come on, flicker and then die a slow death, leaving me in a bit of a panic, without any much-needed pouf. And that’s the reason I found myself pounding the pavement early one evening on the ChampsÉlysées,  desperately seeking a French curling iron. No luck in Sephora, so I ran into the large, multi-storied Monoprix, which is my favorite go-to for essentials pretty much anywhere in France. After all, where else can you grab a baguette, some mascara and the perfect taupe  linen shirt? Oh, and this is where I found, literally, a single curling iron in stock, and I’m just grateful that it was the right size. I paid more than 30 euros  (close to $40) for it, much more than I would dream of paying here. The upside is that now I can  take my French curling iron with me and not worry about 50Hz vs. 60Hz.

By the way, I’m all ears when it comes to hearing about handy tips that make your trips a little easier. Feel free to share.