Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Travel to Paris

Having received mild encouragement, I will go into a bit more detail about our trip.
I quite enjoyed all the reseach that made our journey go smoothly.

First I chose air travel times and seats to hopefully minimise jetlag by promoting sleeping in Paris nighttime.

We left home about 9am for our 2pm ish flight from Brisbane to Singapore. (2 hour drive, 30 min car swap over and a little early for the check in 2 hours before take off) There was a 3 hour stop over in Singapore, where I enjoyed a $Sing 8.55 (inc tax) shower at the public transit lounge in terminal 3, before our flight to Paris, which arrived about 7am Paris time. The plan was to stay awake throught the Brisbane to Singapore flight (arriving around midnight Brisbane time), and to sleep for as much of the Singapore to Paris leg as possible. This almost worked, and would have worked even better had we worked out a little earlier in the flight that the headrests on these planes could be bent around to support the head from either side.

We flew economy, not being made of money or having jobs attracting frequent flyer points for lovely upgrades, but the use of the terrific site Seat Guru and early booking, then specific seat selection available through the Singapore airline website allowed us to pick the least awful of the available seats - no next to the loo or windowless "window" seat to put up with. I took earplugs, my knitting (bamboo needles only, allowed through Australian air security since Dec 09), a knitted cardigan style jacket to use as a pillow/blanket, woolly socks and books. I knit a sleeve and a half during the flights and stopover.

I wore a long knit dress, with a cotton batiste full petticoat underneath (doubles as a nightie later on if needed), sandals and a silk scarf for dressing up/using as an eye mask. I wore the cardigan jacket in wintery Brisbane and in early morning Paris, but could peel down to the sleeveless knit dress in tropical Singapore. The airport in Singapore is air conditioned, but the shuttle train between terminals is not

Orchid gardens at Terminal 2, Changi Airport - only 15 hours of travel to go.

A baggage handler strike at Charles de Gaulle airport was a bit tedious (another 1/4 of a sleeve knitted whilst waiting for the baggage)but was enlivened by the singing of the strikers, rather like half time at the football.

I used the Paris public transport site ( version in English) to plan our train journeys both from the airport and to sites within Paris. Using this site and Google Maps meant that we did not get lost even once in France. This is a highly unusual situation for my husband and I, who usually get lost several times within a single journey.
I had cash for the first train tickets, having read that you cannot use a credit card without a smart chip at the railway station, but this was not true. You cannot use a credit card without a smart chip in the machines, but it is fine to use a sign only card at the ticket counter. We used a travelex debit card, loaded with euros prior to the trip (To assist us in keeping within our budget without having to calcluate changing exchange rates). These cards have a PIN, but we only used the PIN at ATMS, as the French and UK eftpos machines at retail points did not recognize the cards as having a PIN. For each ticket, one way from the airport to Montparness it cost 8.70 euros. I showed the clerk my printout from the RATR site, as for some reason my very bad French made no sense to him at all.

I have already mentioned the kindess of the hotel re the early check in. We washed ourselves and our clothes, then took to the streets for croissants (beurre!) and a walk to the city.

We were far to excited to be in Paris to feel sleepy!
Cafe creme helped too.


Audrey said...

I enjoyed reading about your travel clothes and now it is nice to see pictures of them being worn in France. I am super impressed with your travel planning skills and all the resources you used.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Mmmmm, Paris. I managed to go three times in 2008, through freak circumstances and I am having withdrawal! Am curious to hear about the cycling parts of the trip.

Jodie said...

It's great to hear about the details of your trip and how you planned it. I'm glad to hear you had success with Google Maps, I'm assisting my parents in planning a driving trip and will walk them through (successfully, hopefully) using Google Maps today.
Can't wait to hear about the rest of the trip

Joy said...

Oooh, so exciting! I'm enjoying all your details. It's been too long since we've travelled to Europe (or anywhere) - it was very different then before cell phones, google maps, the euro...

a little sewing on the side said...

Quite an amazing journey and fun to read about. More details!! I am impressed with your planning skills.

Sharon said...

Love reading your about your travels and enjoy seeing how organised you were with your plans. We used GoogleMpas during our travels 2 years ago and it saved us a lot of wasted time.

rosa said...

We arrive in paris in 6 weeks from Melbourne. Thankyou for all your travel tips, especially the bamboo knitting needle one! I'd assumed my needles would have to be packed deep in my suitcase.....

Gail said...

I love that church - I took an almost identical photograph of it. I'm extremely jealous.

Mary Nanna said...

I'm enjoying reading your travelling adventures although when it comes to commenting I can't think of anything intelligent to say about them.

However, I do have something intelligent to say about your machine yoke tutorial which I have just followed and turned out a lovely completely machine sewn yoke. It was touch and go for a little while there - because the pattern I am using has a very narrow back yoke piece - so I would have been better to done the back first and the front last - which sounds like what you used to do - by the time I'd rolled up my bits I had a very stuffed sausage and barely was able to sew it without catching the insides.

Anyway, it's a great tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

Handmade said...

I love that you took your knitting - very interesting trip planning - lots of research!