Paris Airports: Center of the Universe

Paris Airports: Center of the Universe
For some people, Paris is the center of the universe. Well, that’s a gross exaggeration, but you know what I mean. Paris is the EU’s most popular travel destination and then there are all of those flights that land at Roissy CDG and Orly. Passengers either head into the City of Light or board a connecting flight for different parts of the world. Stand in a Paris airport and watch the world pass you by. Observing the passengers (or looking at their luggage, if nothing else) is a lesson in cultural diversity. Since travel is an essential part of my psyche and my well-being, I’m always on the lookout for last-minute air and hotel packages where you can travel from Paris to somewhere exotic (or not so exotic) for a fraction of what it might have cost a week before or even the week after. There are options of weekends, three days, five and even a week. One friend decided to remain at a warm-weather resort for two weeks and that was tout à fait doable. Orly travelers. Photo by Iveslin. Flexibility is the name of the game, so don’t have your heart set on any one destination. Steer away from traveling during high-high season, such as school vacations. But even then, you may just luck out. Some hints: Even if you don’t like the hotel or have free digs, an air-hotel package might cost so much less than the quoted airfare alone that you’re better off simply using the flight portion and tossing the rest. If it’s possible, some hotels will allow you to use the room at another time or assign it to someone else. One never knows, but it never hurts to ask. Another way to save, and it can be a big one, is opting for demi- or full-pension even if your idea of purgatory would be eating each and every meal where you’re staying. Whether or not you show up in the dining room doesn’t matter, but some of these package deals appear to cost less if the hotel can count you among its diners. Orly departures and arrivals boards . . . you can go anywhere from Paris. Paris is definitely the jumping-off point for Tunisia, Morocco, Istanbul and Egypt—although the latter might be a wee bit chancy at this moment and why go asking for trouble by taking advantage of a great hotel deal in the center of Cairo. It’s wise not to visit places where your government is advising people not to go… although I must admit to not following that rule when the former Yugoslavia was considered a hot spot. And talk about deals to be had during that period where we were nearly the only people cruising the Croatian coast in a sailboat that cost nearly nothing to charter. But not every destination needs to be exotic. For example: if you wanted to go to Madrid from Paris, the airfare could cost less than $120 round trip if you didn’t have to go on a specific day and at a specific time. Departing from Paris, you’ll find more than terrific deals where you can assemble your own package by adding different components to your trip. There are last-minute fares that make people want to get up and go, whether it’s within France, Europe or places further away. For example, if you wanted to go to Berlin from Paris in low season, the total cost for the airfare and two nights in a 3-star hotel can cost less than 140€ per person. Prices are based on two people staying in a room, so if you don’t have a traveling companion, you might want to find one. This is said in jest, but be prepared to pay a single supplement. London ready to welcome Eurostar travelers for the Olympics 2012. Photo by Andy Roberts. A site worth consulting before you leave or once you’re in Paris is the SNCF rail travel site. There are so many deals to be had including a 79€ round-trip ticket to London on the Eurostar during low season, and naturally conditions do apply. With such a deeply discounted price, taking a jaunt to see Buckingham Palace isn’t going to break the bank. If you’re a skier, you can rent a room in a resort from 299€ for seven nights if there are five people in your group. Do the multiplication and that’s pretty cheap to take to la piste. If there’s no snow, there’s a money-back guarantee…but there are plenty of people who do better après-ski than actual ski. Bring on the mulled wine, merci. Another thing some Paris residents are known to do is book a hotel at the last minute for one or two nights and take a break from the children, their apartments and real life. Even though the French are generally hot to travel, they like to be tourists where they live. Plus, it cuts down on travel costs. There’s something to be said for that. (c) Paris New Media, LLC PHOTO CREDITS: Flickr photos published per Creative Commons 3.0 license with photographer credit in captions Karen Fawcett is the publisher of BonjourParis in year 20-something of her love affair with France. If there’s another online publisher who has devoted decades to sharing information about France, we’ve yet to find them. To read any of her hundreds of columns, just click on her name.
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