Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Quick thougts from recent Paris trip...

I'll have much more to say on this in the future, but here are some thoughts I wanted to commit to print while everything is still fresh in my mind....

- Don't EVER transfer through Canada if you're coming back to the States from Europe. It's just too much of a hassle to go through security in Europe, have to get your bag in Canada, go through pre-customs and re-check you bag, go back through American security and make it to the gate on time. Add that to the fact that the American customs officers in foreign countries typically have the personality of cardboard and it's just brutal. Pre-customs at the beginning of your flight is OK, but in the middle of your itinerary it's just too much of a hassle. Lesson learned on my end. (Note: This is OK if you think you might want to spend some time in the City in which you're laying over, but not that much time. If you're not leaving the same day you have to check back in with Canadian immigration. America makes it difficult to travel overseas at times.)

- Your flight will NOT leave on time from CDG. Trust me, it just won't. Looking at the big board on the day of our departure over 1/2 the flights were delayed.

- You think traffic in Houston is bad? Heh. Paris makes us look like Oklahoma City. Plan to spend some time getting to and from the airport. The train is just about your best option.

- There is no escape from Les Halles Mall. At least, it seems that way until you finally find the exit door located somewhere in a dusty, dark corner. Good shopping though. Terrible food in that mall however.

- Air Canada has nice planes, we had good plane staffs, but if you're delayed for some reason good luck getting any information whatsoever out of their ground staff at CDG. The delay just is.

- In Paris, bread & bread w/butter and jelly is an acceptable breakfast. They do not apologize for this, nor should they.

- European coffee kicks the biscuits out of American coffee.

- A scarf is a must if you visit Paris on February. If you don't have one, you will look like a tourist. That being said, the weather wasn't that bad. Cloudy, a little chilly, but you're walking so much that it's OK.

- Odd fact: Parisian Italian food is oft-times off the charts good.

- Your first meal in Paris, if you choose the correct Bistrot, is going to taste wonderful. If you fly United coach you might think this is partially because your food on the flight was so pitiful that toasted paper stock w/melted cheese would taste good. This is true, but if you stay away from the obviously touristy restaurants the food is typically fairly cheap, and really good.

- Eat dessert w/every non-breakfast meal. Trust me on this one. You'll walk enough in Paris that the calories won't matter.

- Two words: Croque Madame. You're welcome.

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