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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Nice to Paris: A Trying Day

Nice to Paris, A Trying Day

We left our small apartment in Vence on Friday morning around 7:50 am.  Our flight to Paris from Nice did not leave until 1:00 pm so the plan was to gas up the rental car, drive to the local McDonald's and have a long breakfast and enjoy the free WiFi - only to discover they wouldn't open for another hour.  So we headed toward Nice and the GPS found us another one.  Now don't laugh! We know we're in France and who goes to McDonald's with all those wonderful sidewalk cafes!  It's the free and reliable WiFi!!  Anyhow, we were also next to a Carrefour grocery store.  Tons of people streamed in when they opened the door so I just had to go do a little exploring there!  



This is the largest grocery store I have ever seen in France and it serves as the entrance to a very big mall. It's in some way like our malls with Carrefour being the anchor.  Carrefour is the equivalent Super Walmart. I walked around the mall and found a store called "Texas", although looking through the window I didn't see anything related to Texas. Folks we've met on our travels, especially foreigners, respond positively when we say we're from Texas. It's gotten to the point when they ask what country we're from we say Texas! Always gets a smile.

Texas store with French clothing

Video gaming is big with the French also

as well as your local Nike shop

We finished breakfast and traveled the four miles to the airport.  The Nice Airport has two terminals, one domestic and one international.  We "assumed" that we would leave from Terminal 1 just like always. I dropped MA off there and I drove to Terminal 2 to return the rental car. I hopped on the shuttle bus and found MA right back where I had left her. We gathered our suitcases and went inside to check in and relax before our 1:00 pm flight.  One problem, Air France was not in Terminal 1.  Domestic flights such as Paris and Euro zone counties apparently leave from Terminal 2.  So we moved our bags back to the shuttle bus and got over to Terminal 2.

One look at what was waiting for us quickly reminded me of an old Air Force management saying about the five P's of performance. They are "prior planning prevents poor performance." The check-in procedure we went through surely needed some prior planning!


This is because it was here that the "try-one's-patience" part of the journey began.  We looked at where we were to check in and found a line of nearly 200 folks ahead of us.  Air France (or the airport staff) only had 3-5 agents on duty, for all of us and this depended on who was going on break or lunch.   We waited in line for about 2 hours. I was very glad we had arrived there so early.  When it was finally our turn, the agent was still smiling.  Amazing! We cleared security fairly easily, went to the gate, had a snack, and they called our flight for boarding.

I took this photo of the 3 stations handling all those people as we left to go through security.

We were in the first group to board because our seats were in the last row on the left.  The flight was nice, European flight attendants are great! We landed in Paris around 2:45 pm and made our way to the baggage claim area.   MA's red suitcase arrived right away.  Mine never made it.  MA's French lessons kicked in right on cue for this situation.  She got us some directions to the Lost/Delayed Baggage office and took control of the situation, beginning a long conversation in French with the Air France employee.  I was impressed.  All those French lessons! 

The agent was very cordial, very professional, checked our baggage claim and right away he told us: "Your suitcase is still in Nice." He assured us that he would have the bag sent on the next  flight and would see to it that it was delivered to our hotel.

Well there was nothing I could do about it.  I was upset at first but that didn't do any good.  I'll remember to pack a second change of clothes in my carry-on from now one.  Our hotel, the Novotel, is right at the airport, making our departure tomorrow really much easier. We caught the shuttle train to terminal 3 and walked straight into the lobby. 

Realizing we were pretty tired, we stayed "in", having a nice meal at the hotel restaurant.  Oh! My suitcase did arrive at 9:45 pm and all is well. It's now Sunday morning and we're are getting ready to take the train into Paris. Final blog for this trip to be written on board United Airline tomorrow!  Thanks for tuning in.










1 comment:

  1. The joys of travel. Someday I will tell the story of bringing syringes to a diabetic Aunt in Italy. Safe trip. Welcome back to the USA and Texas.

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