Paris remains one of the best cities in the world to visit. Just being in the city and walking the streets, visiting the museums, enjoying the restaurants, the little shops and stores is always exciting. We decided to do something we rarely do; visit a city in just a single day. Even more rare, do it in the middle of summer. It turned out to be a perfect trip.
For some reason, there has been a little wiggle room this summer for non-revenue travel to Europe in general, especially Paris via Charles de Gaulle airport. (CDG)
Upon arrival to Paris/CDG, as always, we took the RER-B train into central Paris at a cost of 10 euros each. (approximately $11 US dollars). This train ride is approximately 1-hour each way and is significantly faster than any bus in rush hour that can take as long as 2-hours in the morning.
We then took the RER-B train to the Denfert-Rochereau station and stayed at what amounts to be an all airline crew hotel, the Marriott Rive Gauche hotel. This hotel is perfectly situated (via metro) near the Eiffel tower, Montparnesse area, Notre Dame and the Luxembourg gardens. (the alternate hotel we recommend is the Holiday Inn, Notre Dame also on the RER-B train route.
On this trip, we wanted to have lunch at our favorite area of Paris, Montmartre and the church of Sacre Coeur. This area is really “the Greenwich Village” of Paris, up on top of a mountain overlooking Paris. This area has many restaurants and most have 3-course prix fixe menus with a free glass of wine that are very affordable 13-18 euros. For us the new metro station that is closest to Montmartre and the funicular up to Montmartre, is the Bianche Metro stop. Just beware you need to take the elevator to the street or walk about 5 stories upstairs to the metro exit.
From here we took the metro to the Place de L’Opera and finally got to see the flagship store of the famous Galeries Lafayette department store. This store is most beautiful store I have ever visited and the views in the dome area are wonderful. There are several restaurants within this flagship store, but for the best restaurant, you need to go to the top floor, roof restaurant, that is not only outdoors, but gives you a wonderful view of all of Paris. The l’Opera area by itself is excellent and a number of the most famous Paris hotels are located here.
Our return to the airport via the RER-B train was a delight in that early in the morning, most trains go express non-stop, from the Gare de Nord station, right to CDG airport and the time to the airport is cut down to about 40 minutes.(again 10 euros each way per person).
As an added value, the head tax leaving Paris, has been reduced from $90.00 to $64.00.
In the past, Paris by far was our favorite cities in Europe, but in recent years, strikes and riots have diminished our enthusiasm for this city. It is still a magnificent city but you need to be aware of strikes, both at the airport and in city transportation, that can make coming to Paris challenging for a non-revenue passenger.
Please also be aware that most Accor hotels (approximately 65 in Paris including Sofitel, Ibis, Novotel, Pullman etc), and Intercontinental hotels (Holiday Inn etc.) offer airline discount rates and cancellation on the day of arrival till 2:00 pm.