25 October 2007

Work now, Paris later

I won't be going to La Défense this weekend, but I will be going to Paris. I'm spending the night at the airport before flying out to Atlanta on Sunday. I'm looking forward to the trip, but I'm a nervous flyer. Traveling is stressful.

The view from La Défense

One way to go to the airport in Paris, of course is to drive. Actually, the airport is in the town of Roissy, north of Paris. It can take anywhere from three to five hours to get there by car from Saint-Aignan, depending on traffic around Paris. It also depends on whether you take the toll road or little local roads. When I went in mid-September to meet my sister, it took me about 3½ hours on the autoroute and the toll was about 15 euros ($20). Fuel for the car is a big expense too.

The EDF building at La Défense — EDF is
Electricité de France, the utility company

The other way to get to Roissy is by train. Again, there are two options. There are the local trains from Saint-Aignan, connecting either through Tours or Vierzon to lines that feed into the Paris Austerlitz station. Or there are TGV trains from Tours either to Paris Montparnasse or directly to Charles de Gaulle airport.

Another ventilation tower at La Défense

The price of the ride on the TGV is between 55 and 75 euros this Saturday morning, according to the railway system's web site. The regular train from Blois to Paris Austerlitz is 23.50 euros, and that's what I'm taking That means Walt has to drive me to Blois. There aren't any trains directly from Saint-Aignan to Paris that work with my schedule. If I left from Saint-Aignan, I'd have to leave early in the morning, arriving in Paris around noontime, and I don't want to do that. The train from Blois is at 1:40 p.m. and takes just under two hours.

By now a familiar view

In Paris, I'll take the metro to the RER line and ride the RER out to Roissy. If I get to Austerlitz at 3:30 or so, I'll have plenty of time. I have a hotel reserved at Roissy, and I'll check in and leave my bags there. Then I'll take the RER or the Roissybus back into Paris. I'm having dinner with some people not to far from Opéra at 7:30 p.m. Then I'll take the RER out to the airport once again.

On last view, framed by artwork

The trip is complicated, but you just have to be very zen about it. Did I mention that once I get to Roissy I have to take a shuttle from the RER station to my hotel. And a shuttle back to the RER station or the airport terminals both Saturday night and Sunday morning. I will be spending 6 or 7 hours on public tranportation, and then 8 hours on an airplane.

* * * *

It was hard to blog this morning. The dog needed walking, and then the yard and garden needed attention. We raked some leaves, ate some weeds (as it were), and hauled a lot of trimmings to the compost pile. It's cold and gray here now; you'd think it was December. It's afternoon now. More tomorrow. It will all get done.


  1. Have a great trip to North Carolina, Ken. If ever you make it to Boston, give a call.

  2. Or what doesn't get done, can wait, non?

    I've enjoyed reading about la Défense and your upcoming trip arrangements. I'd be taking the same trains to Paris as you- you will save plenty of money using the slow train.

    Once we stayed at a hotel which was not in Roissy, but on the RER line that's called Villepointe or something like that. The trip into Paris was only 3€ and there was a bus that took us to the airport for a Euro maybe. I don't think the hotel had a free shuttle to the airport which was a drawback, but getting to and fro from Paris was easy enough.

    I'm not a nervous traveler but I dread being couped up 8 hours on a plane. Bonne route.

  3. My parents had a nightmarish trip once, being driven by my husband from Montbazon to Roissy! Lots of traffic and being stuck in tunnels -- I don't think they've ever quite gotten over it!

    Anyway, I hope you have a great trip!

  4. Betty, this is why I'm leaving the day before and spending the night in an airport hotel. Who needs the extra stress of racing to arrive on time for the flight!

  5. I don't think I mentioned that the TGV schedules would have me on a train at 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning and at the airport by noon or earlier. Much too early. By the time I take the RER to the airport, back into Paris, and then back to the airport... oh well. I'm looking forward to meeting Jo and Don.

    Oh for the days when you could check luggage at train stations! That would save me a lot of running around. Life just gets more and more complicated, doesn't it?

  6. Enjoy your trip to NC. I just wish you were coming back to California for a visit, too.

  7. Yes, Ken, have a wonderful trip. It pays to be organized, doesn't it? Before you know it, you'll be eating some east coast seafood! Keep us posted.


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