Catching our breath after barely making our Aer Lingus flight from Paris to Dublin. Here’s hoping we make our connection to Chicago since this flight left late. (Update: we did make our connection but had another mad dash to the next flight which was boarding when we arrived at the gate. And our luggage didn’t make it to Chicago. May take a few days. 🙁)
We weren’t the only passengers scrambling. We arrived 2.5 hours early at de Gaulle airport but not early enough, alas. We endured one horrendous long line after another (at check-in, passport control, security) and several cock-ups (computers that didn’t work for check-in, a last minute gate change that left many of us running from gate 30 to 14). I managed to lose my watch at security, despite doubling back briefly to look for it, then cutting my losses and running to the gate (#30 and then #14). GRRRR.
One rumor is that the mess was spillover from yesterday’s transportation strike in France, and due to insufficient staffing, but the strike was rail and public transportation so don’t see how the airport was involved. Our kids also reported long lines and delays at de Gaulle.m when they traveled four days earlier.
Beyond that, when we arrived in Paris yesterday on rail strike day, we found out that the 1 metro line was working but soon discovered it was blowing through several stops, including ours (Concorde) so scrambled again. We ended up walking with our luggage 25 minutes to our hotel. Fortunately it was a somewhat familiar route, (at least the first 15 minutes) and the weather, though threatening, cooperated. For awhile.
The Hotel du Champ de Mars was charming, even with renovation going on. The hotel didn’t alert us about the renovation until two days before we checked in, offering free cancellation or 10 percent off. Seemed too little, too late. They should have notified us earlier, although it wasn’t a big deal since we arrived late afternoon, stayed one night and the construction noise didn’t start until we were eating breakfast at around 9 am. Our room was small but charming, comfortable bed and strong shower, great location near the Eiffel Tower (which from a certain angle we could see from our room window) and the Rue Cler, lined with alluring food shops. The left Bank/7th arrondissement area is where I’ve stayed in the past so I liked it, although there were more tourists than our earlier right bank/16th arrrondisement Airbnb).
In a cold rain, we walked a short distance to right beside the Eiffel Tower, lit in gold lighting at night. Tres dramatic. Never been that close to it. More enormous and impressive than I realized. I would have liked more time to explore or re-explore the area. Next trip.
One last French meal of the trip was at La Fontaine de Mars a traditional old fashioned place that old friend Alissa, recommended. Excellent. Faded wallpaper, second floor table, chicken with morels in a cream sauce, veal stew, killer chocolate mouse. Alissa shared stories about the realities of life as a famous Pulitzer Prize winning war/foreign correspondent. Memorable night.