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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 the previous night. That’s quite a record for us, considering we were still packing for Mauritius a few hours before our flight! 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 staff…my 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. The weather was fine all through the flight with almost no turbulence (I’m a turbulence junkie, the wife isn’t!).

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. I set 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). Revati set off to call our apartment owner to confirm we’ve landed.

Contrary to what I heard, the staff at the RER station were extremely polite and patient. We’d discover later during the trip that almost everyone in Paris is polite, patient and friendly as long as you are too. We hadn’t gotten our French SIM cards yet and couldn’t find 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 across the airport. Using the card is a bit of a problem if you don’t understand 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 other options as well but considering our apartment was within walking distance from the RER station at Port-Royal, it seemed the most practical and efficient option.

Paris was cold! Especially since we were flying in from India, where the temperature was 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.

TIPS ON FLYING INTO CHARLES DE GAULLE AIRPORT, PARIS

  1. If your SIM isn’t on roaming, finding a local SIM isn’t exactly easy (maybe that was also because we landed really late). If you can’t get a SIM, you can get a phone card from most of the stores there and use one of the many phones scattered across CDG. The instructions are in French, so do ask for help.
  2. Contrary to what you might have heard, the staff at the RER station at CDG are very nice. Just greet them with a nice big smile and a ‘Bonjour/Bonsoir’ and things will be fine!
  3. It might just help to look at the official site here. It’s helpful to figure the quickest way from your terminal to wherever you want to go within the airport.
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