Date of Trip: November 2009
Paris is so beautiful, the art and architecture are splendid. It was my first time back in over 40 years and I was entranced. I bought a package from go-today and stayed at the beautiful Victoria Palace Hotel in Montparnasse (it was 50% off the regular prices).
Since I originally studied to become an art historian, I spent most of my days in the museums. On Thanksgiving Day, I felt that a feast for the eyes was more important than any dinner, and snatched a meal in the Louvre cafeteria, so that I could continue to scan the masterpieces.
The museum workers were calling wildcat strikes, and I was turned away from two museums, much to my regret. I understand that as of this writing, these strikes are continuing. Another problem was the fact that sizeable renovations are going on at many of the historic buildings and museums, so that major wings and buidings are closed. (Their websites do not mention these activities.) Fortunately there are so many wonderful places to see, and the public transportation is so good, that it was possible to change plans quickly.
I walk with a cane, and I soon discovered that I was a “privileged person” on public transport. This means that people have to get up and give you designated seats. This made it possible for me to travel during the rush hour when I was truly grateful for a seat after hours walking marble floors in the museums.
I booked a non-stop round-trip flight on Air France from NY/Paris. The flight back from CDG airport was delayed for “technical reasons.” Air France really handles baggage well. The baggage was waiting for us when we arrived at the baggage handling site. However, on the trip back, my seat was broken, and the seat of the passenger next to me was broken. The seats would not stay in the upright position (which I favor).
Then a father and two children sat in front of us. These children, who had been uncontrollable in the waiting area before boarding the plane, continued their behavior on the plane. They could be insolent and disobedient in two languages. They started screaming before we took off, and continued to scream for hours. When the flight attendant tried to distract them with crayons, etc. they threw them on the floor. The father, with the greatest politeness, and with the softest voice, exhorted them in French and English to be nice.
After an hour of this, I asked the stewardess if there was another seat I could sit in. She said there was only one empty seat on the plane, and pointed me toward it. I walked to the seat, which was far from the screaming, and sat in it. Later when I needed to get up, I asked the person in front of me if they would please raise their seat so that I could stand. They had to pull it forward manually, since they informed me, the seat was broken.
The plane was an Airbus. And I have very little confidence in Air France’s maintenance. I don’t think I’ll ever patronize them again. Although I must say the stewardess’ uniforms are very stylish. However I would rather have a seat that works.