- 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
On our final morning, we woke up early, packed our bags, and headed to Gare du Nord. Our flight to Washington left around 11 AM, which meant we had to deal with the rush hour traffic on the Metro. At the train station we stopped at Paul again for more yogurt and a large selection of pastries to eat later on the plane.
Fortunately the RER was not nearly as busy during our reverse commute to the airport, and we arrived with about two hours before departure. We had already filed a request with United to use miles to upgrade our IAD-SEA leg for 15K miles each but didn’t upgrade CDG-IAD because the co-pay would have been prohibitive. Our domestic upgrades cleared, but we were also offered to buy up to business class on CDG-IAD for $500 each. This has been a very common occurrence for me on off-season trips to Europe when the business cabin is only half full or less. I still haven’t traveled on United in the high season to know whether the load and upgrade offers are similar; probably not.
That was still out of our price range, but maybe today (and if we hadn’t already redeemed those miles) we would be more willing to pay up for a more comfortable seat. I think the upgrade is more valuable on an overnight flight when I want to sleep. Given that this would be during the day, and we had plenty of good food already, we were perfectly fine refusing the offer.
However, the line to check bags was insane. One of the agents noticed our upgrade to first on the domestic leg and directed us to the business class check-in, which helped significantly. I still find it annoying that in Europe they ask all those stupid questions about what I’m packing, as if terrorists would tell the truth, but whatever. Once done with that, finding our way through the Habitrail of CDG to our gate was much easier than it was on our arrival.
We bought some more chocolate and peach iced tea (my favorite!) with our last remaining euros and only then realized we had another security checkpoint before boarding the plane. Sadness. 🙁 You can’t see it because of a long walkway that dips down under the road and back up to the gate. We had to guzzle our tea when we could have waited to buy it post-security right at the gate.
Again, the flight was uneventful and pleasant enough. Upon arrival at Washington we had some time to go see the new underground passage to replace the giant buses between terminals. I kind of liked the buses, but the passage does make sense. Our second flight was nothing special. United’s domestic meal service wasn’t anything to look forward to, but since then it has improved dramatically thanks to the alignment with Continental’s standards. Megan slept for most of the trip, I read a book and did some work, and before you knew it, we were home again. Those 30K miles never debited, either, so we ended up getting our domestic upgrades for free!
We were exhausted but happy. Paris is certainly something we could do again in a five-day weekend. Maybe we would spend more money on taxis and not try to walk quite so much, but it’s a beautiful city with lots to enjoy. We ate far too much, so although we managed to spend the entire food budget, we certainly didn’t need to.
In the future we’ll try to continue visiting by means of 24-hour layovers during trips to other destinations. We still love Paris, but I’d like to diversify my experiences a bit. A layover should still be enough time for a quick museum stop and a nice meal or two. And, of course, to stop in at Laduree for another jar of that raspberry jam. 😉