Paris, tu m’as manqué!

Maybe Liechtenstein – Part 1 (February 2017)

This trip started way back when I thought I would need a ticket back from Europe in March. I found some award space on American Airlines from Zurich to NYC to LAX and home. As it turns out, I ended up not being in Europe, so instead of cancelling the ticket I looked for a flight to get me over to Europe instead. I lucked out and found a points flight from Vancouver to Paris! It’s been so long since I have spent more than a day in Paris, I took it as a sign and booked it on the spot! And then I was able to tag on a flight to Zurich on the same ticket which made it easy to get back home again.

Unlike many of my trips, this one involved a direct flight 😮 Air France YVR-CDG on a 777-200 with the new business class! These seats are reverse herringbone seats so they’re nice and private even though they’re not entirely sectioned off. I was able to score a single window seat (the seats are arranged 1-2-1) which made it even better!

View of all the planes from the lounge
The lounge for Air France at YVR is not that great, but I arrived in time to have a glass or two of wine before boarding the flight. I always like to board first and get settled, usually enjoying my pre-departure bubbly. After everyone was on board, we took off and were Paris bound!

The flight over was great, with some good food (Air France has decent catering including their special meals), some much needed espresso (seriously one of my favourite things about business class, ESPRESSO!), and some pretty decent views. I did manage to sleep for a little bit, so landed with only slight sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, there was an extremely long line at customs. The announcements said this was due to heightened security concerns, so no one was really complaining. Even being in the “priority” lane it took over an hour to get through customs.

Sunrise over the Atlantic
Making my way through the airport, I found the ticket machines for the train into the city… and once again encountered a looooong line.  Seems like a few of the machines were broken (and some were only taking cash) so I settled in for another bit of a wait.  Luckily it didn’t take an hour this time and I was soon boarding a train bound for Gare du Nord!

Although the €10 ticket from the airport includes a transfer to the metro, I opted to walk from the station to my B&B.  I find I usually get a better sense of direction for the neighbourhoods the more I walk (and google maps is a big help too.)  It was about a 15 min walk with my bag pretty much straight south from the station.  Finding the big black door took me a minute (I walked past it the first time), but eventually I found Chambres de la Grande Porte, my home for the next few days.  I chose this B&B because they were vegetarian and vegan friendly and a very good price for Paris.  The owner, Cédric, was very welcoming and humoured my desire to practice my french.  He offered me a coffee, showed me around the apartment, and gave me my keys  and let me know my room would be ready at 3pm.  There are only a few rooms in the B&B.  I saw 3 rooms while I was there, two with a shared bathroom (one single, one double), and a double room with an en suite.  I think there are others located in a different apartment, but I never asked.  The location is pretty good; it’s not far from Sacre Coeur and only 2 quick blocks to the metro.  I actually ended up walking most of the time because the location was so central.

My three nights there were great, and breakfast was flexible, he would make you pretty much whatever you wanted.  I chose to just have cereals and bread with almond butter and jam.  And of course, coffee.  I found it to be a great choice for me, although I didn’t end up spending too much time at the B&B, I would stay again in the future.

Upon leaving Paris I was able to store my bags at the apartment until it was time to the airport.  This isn’t usually an issue with hotels, but some hostels will charge you to leave you bags, so I always appreciate it.

Stay tuned to see what adventures I got up to during my time in Paris.

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