Friday, January 20, 2012

Paris - The arrival

We've never been out of home on time ever. But this was different. This was our first visit to Paris! And we were packed and ready to step out even before time. We had a flight to Delhi from Mumbai, from where we had a connecting flight to CDG. Flying internationally from Delhi turned out to be quite a nightmare. Extremely long queues, too few security counters, unhelpful advice to anyone flying out of the country via Delhi would be to get there even before you actually think you should.

We had a little over 6,500 kilometres to cover on an Air India flight (not always a great option) and our scheduled arrival at CDG was 2200 hours. We ended up sleeping most of the time, considering there really wasn't any interesting in-flight entertainment. We landed at CDG on time with almost no turbulence, much to Rave's relief.

It helped that I'd done a bit of research on CDG. CDG is a pretty large airport but it's as well organized as any other large international airport. We had quite a few things to do at the airport before heading out and we divided tasks. I headed off to get our RER tickets and the Navigo Passes we'd be using during the duration of our two week stay (you can read more about that in one of my previous posts here).

Contrary to what I heard, the staff at the RER station were extremely polite and patient. I would discover later during my trip that almost everyone in Paris is polite, patient and friendly as long as you behave in exactly the same way with them. We had to call our landlord on arrival and we hadn't gotten our French SIM cards yet. Unfortunately, there wasn't a store at our terminal where we could get one, so we had to buy a phone card to use at one of the many phone machines scattered all across the airport. Using the card is a bit of a problem if you don't understand French since all of the instructions are in French. Again, we encountered a wonderful French traveller who volunteered to help make the call for us.

We had an apartment booked at Port-Royal and taking the RER B made perfect sense from the airport. There are quite a few other options as well but considering our apartment was within walking distance from the RER station at Port-Royal, it seemed like the most practical and efficient option.

Paris was cold! Especially since we were flying in from India, where the temperature was about 32 degrees Celsius before we left. It's a good thing we packed jackets or pullovers into our hand baggage, so we didn't need to open our locked checked in baggage for them.

Around 30 minutes later, we were at Port-Royal. It was quite late at night and most of the shops were shut, except for the restaurants. But even the empty Port-Royal streets looked so beautiful. After a quick tour of the house by our patient landlord, we zipped up and headed out to our first meal in Paris. We couldn't quite decide if we wanted to eat or just walk through Paris on our first night here. But the weather outside and the prospect of a nice hot meal soon overpowered the urge to continue walking and we sat down to have the first of our many fantastic meals in Paris.


Thanks for the great info. We are planning a atrip for August 2012 and drinking up all we can.

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