We leave from New Hampshire – usually on Frequent Flyer miles. For a fool proof trip from here … try limiting your trip to Chicago. Great art museums there, too.
Weather … connections … sleep? – It can be a nightmare just to get there. This is what we’ve learned so far:
- Entree to Europe, France in particular usually goes through Paris Charles DeGualle Airport. Some Airlines will continue to Nice or Marsaille. We have also gotten there through Zurich, Frankfort, and London. We have never tried the Icelandic route, but we will someday – if you have, let me know. (Icelandic has a great airline, but they require an overnight in Rychivic – we hear is rather nice, actually.)
- We have departed the US from Boston, New York, Chicago and Washington D.C.
- There are more flights after April 1 or so. There are also more travelers then … funny how that works. So plan ahead if you are looking for good deals.
The Guidebooks do a good job of laying out the basics – if you have not been to France, get a guide book or two – I’ve listed my favorites here. I’ve used everyone of these – I’ll try to give you a candid review. They all cover the basics – some are focused on economy, others on class – it helps to know where you are going so you don’t miss out – get a guide.
… That paragraph was for the planners – most of us don’t. I’m trying to keep it simple here. Your best bet – painfully slow, sometimes – is to call the airlines to “shop” for connections and prices. If you’re paying cash, be sure to call Air France. The French really do “Hospitality” right – And they are often very competitive.
- Bring a book – lay overs can get long
- Read about money to get and trim your cash.
- “Duty Free” shops charge more – you save maybe half the tax. They keep the other half. It’s still a savings.
- European airports have free luggage carts; US airports don’t.
- Load your things on a cart and walk to Duonne – customs. There will be a line for “nothing to declare” – go there.
- If you get stuck, the airlines are always bilingual. This is not the time to practice French, unless you are just chatting – if you need help, use whatever language suits you … once beyond the airport, the rules change. Sorry.