Remember, I’m in Maui this week, so I’m posting a trip report on my visit to Paris last April. It’s my first one, so be kind. (But constructive, too!). I didn’t have time to insert the photos earlier this week, but I’m posting this now so you have something to read. I’ll come back this evening (Maui time) to add some pictures.
- The Plan
- Outbound SEA-IAD-CDG
- Day 1: Touring the Seine and Left Bank
- Day 2: Two Museums, Three Cafes, and Lots and Lots of Pastry!
- Day 3: Visiting the Louvre and Eiffel Tower
- Return CDG-IAD-SEA
Our trip from Seattle to Washington, Dulles, was nothing special. We sat in coach, but at least I secured us some bulkhead seats with extra legroom. Our layover in Dulles was the typical dungeon experience. It’s not a particularly attractive airport, and the layout along a very long pier makes it difficult to get quickly from one gate to another. It also always seems like my plane arrives at the other end of the terminal from Potbelly, where I always stop to get a Wreck on wheat and some of their great cookies.
The transatlantic leg to Charles de Gaulle wasn’t very interesting either. I tried to sleep but wasn’t very successful. Maybe a business class seat would help, but I’m a light sleeper in general. Any noise or light will throw me off. Fortunately I find United’s coach seats comfortable enough and am still young enough to survive 48 hours without sleep. We arrived in the outskirts of Paris, I woke up Megan, and we found ourselves in one of the most interesting airport terminals I’ve ever been to. It reminded me of a Habitrail.
Of course, we were both bleary eyed at 6 AM in an unfamiliar airport. But it was only about 18 hours after we woke up in Seattle, so in theory we still had some energy—we just expected a sunset, not a sunrise, outside the window. My excitement helped perk me up a bit, but the signs at CDG are the worst ever (the terminal map online isn’t any better). I had no idea where I was going, so I count myself lucky we eventually got to baggage claim. After some confusion and a seemingly endless wait, we got our bags and hunted for the RER to Paris. Did I mention how bad the signs were? That took another 10 minutes.
Eventually we reached the RER station and learned that the train was not operating that weekend due to construction. 🙁 Fortunately there were employees who spoke English because my French breaks down when I attempt anything beyond ordinary conversation. We took a shuttle bus to a different station, found our way to the right platform, and got to enjoy the scenery on our relatively short ride. I’ve had very few opportunities to drive in Europe, so I always love looking out the windows of a train to see how the “real” Europe lives, outside the big cities.
We stopped for a quick cappuccino and pastry at Paul in Gare du Nord before our final public transportation adventure taking Metro toward Plaza de Republique. This was the easiest part of the journey, especially since the Metro wasn’t too busy on an early Saturday morning and our RER ticket (~12 euros one way) included a transfer to the Metro, meaning we wouldn’t have to find yet another ticket booth. However, we did pick up a book of 10 single-trip tickets (~8 euros) upon arriving at our station, one of the few with a staffed office. By the time we reached the plaza, Megan looked pretty tired but put on a good show.
We were staying at the Crowne Plaza Republique, which faces the plaza, by 8:30 AM and counted ourselves lucky we were able to get an early check-in for a quick shower before heading out to explore the city.