We snuck in a trip to Paris at the tail end of the year utilizing airline rewards points and an inexpensive apartment rental. Airlines and accommodations for two for less than $500 total. Here are a few pictures.
While we had an awesome time soaking up the Parisian culture from food to art to it’s magnificent cobbled streets and alleys, we also had some mishaps. Most which made our trip unforgettable. This is not meant to be a gripe but a cautionary tale.
#1 Check the airport departure board…OFTEN!! We lucked up with the last two seats two times after we were re-routed because of delays. We ended up in Paris only 2 hours after our initial flight arrival time, but our luggage didn’t make it to us for an additional 3-4 days. We had enough clothes on us for one additional day, but spent the second day on the hunt. We’re still negotiating with the airlines to reimburse us for the costs of our extra purchases.
#2 Report to international airport within the 3 hours of your flight departure time. Trust me, it’ll make life so much easier. The lines are long and the number of steps through customs to TSA slows down your time tremendously. We barely made our flight out of Paris with 2 hours advance time at the airport. And connection times between international to domestic flights needs to be more than an hour just in case the previous plane deplanes late. We missed our connection to the US from Toronto within 5 minutes of closing the door because of a late flight out of Paris and multiple stops through customs.
#3 Don’t be afraid to ask. We were able to be accommodated in a hotel in Toronto after our missed connection. However, we did not initially received food vouchers. After talking with the hotel shuttle bus driver, we went back to the airport and received two meal vouchers each to cover dinner that evening and lunch the following day at the airport. Thank you Mr. Shuttle Driver from Sri Lanka!!
#4 Keep up with tickets in a separate compartment than pockets. Sharee lost both her 2-day bus pass and The Louvre ticket by pulling other items (directions on a sheet of paper, money, etc) out of her pocket. For this reason, we missed the second day to utilize the bus pass (though we thoroughly used it the first day) and had to walk by foot everywhere (on hindsight, good exercise); and we were unable to return back to The Louvre for the night tour. OK, that one brought *Tears* to Sharee’s eyes, but her luggage came in that day so *Joy* (not so much for Rhonda, her luggage came the day before we left)!!
#5 It’s OK to get utterly LOST. We would stop people every few hundred yards to make sure we were heading in the correct direction. Sometimes were were directed to the destination correctly, and other times, not so. The language barrier was very apparent at times, but we were able to use some of the few phrases we knew or they understood from us to eventually get to our destination. We exercised a lot of patience and the overall experience led us to view some cool sites that were off the beaten path. Way off!!!
Rhonda & Sharee