Those who know me personally may understand another reason I have been apprehensive about making an epic journey. One would think that with a pretty solid foundation in French it would be a no-brainer. (I heard what you're thinking, Roger!)
Time out for a little story ... my first father-in-law, Samuel Barnston Hunter Smeaton (aka Barnie Smeaton) was a linguist. (That gene obviously passed to my children.) If my memory is accurate he spoke about seven languages fluently and could read and write in quite a few more. His speciality was lexicography, and for several years he was an editor for a major English language dictionary.
My mother-in-law, Rita Smeaton (née Burwell) would never travel overseas. Because she "didn't speak the language," even with a translator as companion. Sigh. I loved her (RIP) but I didn't want to repeat to that mistake borne of irrational fear.
With rusty French there is some language fear, but not that much. The nagging doubts were more about mobility and stamina - I mentioned this issue before.
But once I took the plunge, my thoughts turned to both itinerary (too much to see - must be selective!) and the logistics of travel. The latter weighed on me. As in I want to travel as lightly as possible.
The luxury I have is lodging, so here is my strategy.
I will travel to Paris with the clothes on my back, a carryon containing my cameras, minimal toiletries and maybe one change of clothing. The latter two are for the unlikely eventuality of being stuck some where in transit. That's it. What?
I will ship additional clothing ahead. Yes, I could check one bag at no charge, but then I have to schlep it. With mobility assistance at each airport, this would not be an issue. But then there's transport from De Gaulle (CDG) to my son's apartment. I want to carry/handle as little as possible.
I will ship the rest of my clothing ahead of time. Most of what I ship will be articles I can dispose of before I leave, older articles that I no longer need or care about. Toiletries? There's a pharmacy steps away from the apartment; I can buy travel sizes for use during my stay.
There is a Lomography shop a 4-5 minute walk from the apartment. For my film needs I will buy film there - probably Ilford XP2, which can easily be developed during my trip (it's a C41/colour negative process film that produces black and white negatives) so I don't have to worry film going through multiple X-Ray inspections. And yes I will have a digital camera with me (along with my iPhone 6s,) but nothing beats a pure, analog manual camera. What would Cartier-Bresson do?
This will leave me with a nearly empty bag for the return voyage. Can you say du vin et chocolat?
Bien sur/I thought you could.