aerdingus From Ireland, joined Dec 2006, 2482 posts, RR: 18 Posted (1 year 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2515 times:
Apologies for the spate of trip reports, but I really enjoy doing them! Welcome to my first FR tr; & my first venture to France, land of €3 champagne
In September me ma turned fifty, & decided to go to France for her birthday. My aunty & uncle & cousins would go too. Myself & me sis decided we couldn't hack two weeks in a small enclosed space with our old man & we relished the thoughts of a free gaff aswell (actually it was rather boring as I was too lazy to have me annual Free Gaff Party). We settled on going for four days, 4th - 7th September, so we'd be there for our mam's day on the 5th. Of course, given the task of finding cheap flights, I jumped straight onto skyscanner.ie. I had been hoping for something different..maybe RE (but they didn't go from DUB) or WX, which would've included a connection from LCY on an F50, but they wanted €500!! We were debating between NTE or LRT, but NTE was closer to where they were staying. Eventually I found a deal on FR, €189 for the two of us.
The family left before us & got the Irish Ferries "Oscar Wilde" from Rosslare to Cherbourg, then drove all the way to Le Littoral Kel - Air campsite in the Vendée. We got them to take our suitcases in the car so we could just stroll onto FR with little bags. Over the phone they regaled us with stories of how both me uncle & dad had both driven on the wrong side of the road for a few seconds
Soon it was our turn to go on holidays & on a Sunday morning we were up @ 7.30 (weird). We caught the regular Dublin Bus into town, & then the Dublin Bus Airlink 747 (€6) to DUB. The 747 went through the new Port Tunnel, whcih I was very excited about.
My sis delighted at the thoughts of going on a plane with me
Empty main road. Dublin = Pyongyang on a Sunday morning
O'Connell Street, Dublin @ 9am on a Sunday. Me sis had never seen it like this!
We made it to DUB after 9.30 & I customarily dragged me sis through T2 on the way to T1. The person checking me boarding card was like "Ye know yer flying from T1?" I was like "Yeah, it's grand I know me way" & she just kinda laughed & was like "Oh she's grand, she knows where she's going!" Me poor sis was so embarrassed ha.
EY & DL birds @ T2 as we took the secret way to T1
We killed some time playing air hockey ( I won!) & then continued on to T1.It may be all about T2 now but I think T1's ok. It looks modern. It does get a little bit squashy but it has loads of cafes, shops & a bar. I bought a really cool book in Eason's (Ghosts of Spain); wandered around the terminal, & saw an SK MD80, loads of FR of course, A FX A300, RE ATRs & a little rather scaldy looking DY 737 that wasn't going anywhere: I think it went tech for a little while.
Our flight was also delayed; it was scheduled for 11.50 but didn't arrive til around 12.25.
Me & sis grabbed some seats in one of the last rows ( me at the window of course) on the starboard side. The flight was full but luckily me sis is a skinnymalink so I was comfortable! I had decided on an All Day Breakfast Bap (€5.50) & asked for one when the cabin crew began their service. I handed her a €50 (rookie mistake) & she shrieked "No, I can't take that!" It's not like I was handing her a dead rat. I had nothing smaller so I just dejectedly said, "Aw it's ok, sorry, doesn't matter". In the past other ccms on FR have taken the offending €50 & just simply given me my change later, which is no problem. Eventually my sis just paid for the two of us. (Awww) Always at the forefront of healthy eating, she got herself the snack pack for €5. I somehow missed the drinks service! And I was dying for a sparkling wine! Me Bap was lovely, all melted cheese & egg but me sister was disgusted by how orange it was ha. I consoled meself by buying a FR (€12) model off a much nicer ccm during the duty free service.
Me FR model
Very quickly we were descending for NTE. We could see loads as we flew over the town, churches & even a huge mine, which was kind of disturbing! Imagine falling down there in a plane lol..After we landed & were taxiing I had me face glued to the window so I could see this...
Unfortunately I had no camera & had cleverly brought an American iPhone charger to France....if it doesn't have 3 pins then I don't know! I also saw a 5O 737 pulling in beside us. We pulled up to a shiny new airbridge but deplaned via the airstairs...lol..futile..but money saving, as I pointed out to sister, who was moaning about this.
When I had heard that me family were going to some holiday campsite I thought "This is going to be a load of shite" but it was actually really nice. We stayed in a little cabin, although I was turfed out of me bed by my brother to sleep on the sofa by my brother. Fear not, I reclaimed it after we repositioned our sister in the top bunk. She doesn't weigh anything so no chance of it falling on us & decapitating us, as would be the case if I had slept up there. The villages of Talmont Saint Hilaire & Le Sable le D'olonne were very pleasant, & for all the things I'd heard of French rudeness, these people were really lovely. We also visited the Musee Auto Vendee, which I cannot recommend enough. It was a beautiful place to spend an hour or two, looking at all the amazing cars. The staff were again lovely & friendly. Another place we visited was the Indian Forest in Moutiers-les-Mauxfaits, kind of an adventure centre; however €3 champagne bottles from our mam's party the night before had taken their toll on me so we opted for the (easy) orienteering. I'd never done it before & thought I'd just be confused watching my sister & mother argue over a map but it was actually brilliant!
My fave car at the museum
Giant slug in the Indian Forest
All too soon our French Indian summer came to an end, & we kind of wished we'd stayed longer. D'oh. NTE was an 1hr 25 mins from Talmont & our flight was at 12.25 so we piled into the car & snoozed the whole way, listening to French radio. I loved it but Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin kind of made things awkward Luckily our parents diverted the attention away by screaming at the GPS they didn't have a clue how to work it or follow it, & it actually took them through a toll for no reason, & of course our car is right hand drive so my tiny mother had to somehow hang herself out the window to pay the toll They just used it to be cool I think...within seconds of leaving the gates of Kel-Air I had found the route on a good old fashioned map...which they pooh poohed...
NTE was JAMMERS & we barely found a space, only thanks to a man on a bike who was showing people where to go. I wasn't expecting it to be so busy! Me & me sis headed over to the terminal while they parked the car/found their way out of the carpark. After a quick tea & sandwich (I love how jambon et fromage sandwich for €2 actually means GIANT SANDWICH ) we did a little bit of spotting (well I did, yoinked me sister's camera)
AF E135 & A320
We also spotted this on the far side...but alas...no proper camera
Our parents waved us off through security (which there was big queues for) & then we headed down to the gate area, which was quite spacious, with nice blue carpets. Again I was watching our area like a hawk...would it be full or nice & relaxy? I got bored & went off to have a little wander, looking at a U2 A319 & various other movements. The coolest thing I saw was the UU 777! Raging I didn't have a camera of my own!! Of course I turned around for a second to look at my sister & of course the whole world was queueing up at our gate. Damn.
We were welcomed on board by a nice male ccm. I could hear him greeting passengers in their corresponding languages, which was nice. The Flying Sisters sat in the very last row, with yours truly squashed in the middle. Damnit. My sister had never sat so far back before (vanilla ) & thought the take off felt much different. Flight was packed. I really thought NTE was one of the weird little airports on the FR routemap, I was wrong! We were too broke to eat so Niamh passed out, flailing & talking in her sleep bahaha & I continued reading Ghosts of Spain. Very very quickly we were in DUB. A little child in the seat in front had dropped a tiny little toy onto the floor in front of us & her mother had asked could we retrieve it when we landed. No problem of course. but I had forgotten that trying to move in Y requires contortion. My head ended up pretty much in the poor man's lap who was sitting next to me. Awkward!!
We got a Dublin Bus that went from DUB to town....this took FOREVER & we were freezing after our nice warm holiday. Then onto the bus home...later we figured it nearly took longer for us to get home from DUB than it did from NTE to DUB!! Another nice surprise...the heating was broken when we got home Oh well, we were warmed from our memories of France!
FR: 8/10 Clean aircraft, but the whole €50 thing & delay brings their marks down on the outbound. Other nice crew members make up for it though.
Don't FR take card payments yet? They're losing out on vital revenue!
Quoting aerdingus (Thread starter): Talmont Saint Hilaire & Le Sable le D'olonne were very pleasant, & for all the things I'd heard of French rudeness, these people were really lovely.
Glad to hear of the nice trip! We're thinking of a camping trip, somewhere near Tours in the summer (my wife has been asked to speak at a conference, and we might well add-on a little holiday to it.) Can I ask the name of the campsite you stayed in?
Quoting signol (Reply 3): Don't FR take card payments yet? They're losing out on vital revenue!
Baha my card was flatlining in a box at home...
Quoting signol (Reply 3): Glad to hear of the nice trip! We're thinking of a camping trip, somewhere near Tours in the summer (my wife has been asked to speak at a conference, and we might well add-on a little holiday to it.) Can I ask the name of the campsite you stayed in?