Here's the return of my trip to the Paris Air show. The outbound trip ORD
on a 777 you can read if you click this link.
For the purposes of this trip report, I'll start with my TGV from Brussels Midi train station where I headed to CDG
airport, staying at the Sheraton. I went to the Paris Air Show on Friday. Then I toured Chartres and St. Denis to view medieval architecture, which I ended up enjoying more than the air show! I shouldn't say such things on the a.net forum, but it's my trip report anyway! I did enjoy the air show, but history and architecture are some other hobbies of mine, so you'll see some examples of that. If you saw my "Charlemagne" trip report, then you might remember my history side.
Here's my TGV at Brussels taking me to Paris CDG
The Platform at Brussels.
It was a fun train ride. We made one stop at Lille and then on to Paris CDG
. The train was headed to Marseilles, not for central Paris. I was staying at the Sheraton CDG
, so it made more sense for me to just go to CDG
and take the escalator to my hotel room! For most of the ride I hung out in the buffet car where I could stand up and have a good view.
The ride from Lille was very fast and looked familiar as it's the same track I remember from when I took the Eurostar several years ago.
Here's the platform when I had arrived at CDG2.
Here are some shots from when I went into the city. Here's Sacre Coeur.
I love the sidewalk cafes.
This bridge has an amazing history, which I won't bore you with at this moment.
The view from my room at the Sheraton CDG
Most of the MD80s I see are usually shiny!
So then I went to the Salon Le Bourget, the 100th Anniversary Paris Air Show.
Here's the plane I want if I win a couple lotteries. One lottery wouldn't do, probably.
With a nice climb!
Retro-painted A320, which shows up again in this trip report
The first AF
747 that I boarded on my trip.
A great view from the exit. Inside is worth a visit, but my pictures aren't the best.
You won't see this at any other air show. Here's the French flair!
Here is the flying demonstration of the Airbus A380, the highlight of the show, no doubt!
Now after a nice long day at the air show, where it was actually cold, it was time to go home. Look how many people were on my side of the train tracks, and how many were on the other. It was one reason I stayed at the Sheraton CDG
. Hundreds of thousands of people were taking the train to Paris. Hardly anyone was taking the train the other way, to the airport.
The Cathedral of St. Denis! This used to be way north of Paris, but now it's in Paris, just in the northern part. It is THE typical example of Gothic architecture. Gothic architecture developed in France in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. I went to the three best examples, St Denis, Chartres, and Notre Dame of Paris.
St. Denis here was by far the highlight of my trip (for me, but maybe not for the average a.netter).
A view of the inside architecture. Notice how "light" it all is. This is the best example of their leaving the Romanesque behind and moving into Gothic. Gothic is light air airy. Romanesque is dark and thick-walled. This was the first church with such light architecture. It's hard to imagine how revolutionary that was at the time.
Now that feeds the architecture hobby. The 61 monarchs buried here at St. Denis feeds the history hobby.
Look at the dates of these tombs. You might not recognize the names. Clovis was the founder of Frankia, emerging from the fall of Rome and the subsequent warring of the Goths and Visigoths. Clovis is a very important name in France (he was actually the first French king) and the name Clovis got truncated to Louis. He started the Merovingian dynasty, which ended 4 centuries later with the Carolingians, and Charlemagne was the founder. If you want to see where he's buried, click this link to see Charlemagne and read another trip report.
Here are the tombs of Clovis and his son Childebert.
About 60 miles southwest of Paris, here is the cathedral of Chartres. Notice the two different towers. One is original from the 12th century and one is late gothic from the 16th century.
It's much darker inside than the St. Denis.
Oh right. I did fly home. Here's the info on the flight!!
Terminal 2F at CDG
was an architecture marvel in itself (but don't I remember the roof falling once?).
Just think architecture when you look at the next three pictures.
Seat 15L in Y
About 7 hours
1 hour late departing. On-time arrival.
I picked the AF
744 because it was one of the very few flights that looked OK
for flying standby on the day after the Paris Air Show rapped up. My route was CDG YYZ DFW
. So this was my first Transatlantic flight that had nothing to do with the United States.
It was a bit stressful getting a boarding pass, but I finally did get one. Here it is:
One of my favorite paint schemes--Kenya, the Pride of Africa
When we boarded, we got on a bus to be driven to somewhere near Orly airport about an hour away! Just kidding. It was a long drive. And there was no hurry. We boarded on time but didn't leave until an hour late. There were recounts and reconfirmations whether or not the bussed passengers made it. It seemed very disorganized and no regard to timeliness. I know AF
buses many flights a day, but they didn't seem to have their act together.
View of the plane from the bus.
Though the engines don't look very huge, especially compared to a GE90.
From the top of the stairs.
I had hoped for an upstairs seat, but didn't get one. My seat was the second row of coach, which was a good seat, and I ended up with a window next to an empty middle.
Looking forward in the cabin.
Looking to my left.
The seat in front...with no TV
Just after pushback.
Here's the special A320, probably on its first revenue flight after the Paris Air Show!
Why the blurry 767 picture? That's AA49 CDG
, going nonstop home! It looked really full, but it turns out I would have gotten a seat in coach had I tried. It left with one empty seat.
Here is the takeoff video!
Au revoir France!
Menus in Coach!
The back of the menu. Grand Cru is the best wine!
Red wine and snack mix, a proper Air France snack.
I don't know why US carriers don't have cup holders like this. I have always found them handy.
The meal. Quite a nice display for coach. I had the fish, which was good. No complaints about the meal. The bottle of water and small baguette were nice touches too.
I really think this was the west coast of Greenland but don't know for sure. They didn't bother to show the map until we were over Montreal.
Here's somewhere up north in Labrador.
And a second meal, over Canada, including a sandwich, a pastry, juice and a Dannon "Actimel" with some French coffee.
Here's the map, the first time they showed it as we approached Toronto.
A nice view of the wing as we were descending.
Here's a video of the clouds as we were descending and the slats deploying.
And here is the landing video. Not the largest plane to land at YYZ anymore. EK took over that distinction with the A380, but the AF 744 is still very impressive at YYZ!
Once we landed, I saw this again and took a picture. Why all the abandoned DL
connection CRJs? Anyone know?
And here's Air Canada.
On stand in YYZ
Notice it doesn't have the new Air France KLM logo in the front. It still has the old "Groupe Air France." Yes it's an old 747!
Another shot. I could look at that all day!
Immigration officers were in the hallway immediately after deplaning pre-screening people. They saw my US Passport and asked if I was simply transiting, and I told them I was. They waved me on.
After getting through Canadian customs and immigrations, I looked at the monitor and saw my flight, AA
, CANCELLED! I couldn't believe it. I was in YYZ
for no reason at all. In Canada for no reason at all. And my flight cancelled! Fortunately, the late flight to DFW
didn't offer many connections, so I listed for it and they managed to squeeze me on in the window seat in the very last row. I took no pictures from that flight, as I was seated by two colleagues from the airline, and I was a bit tired.
Here are some interesting shots from YYZ
738 to POS
Olympic. I think their A340s really look like 707s with the classic paint Olympic still has. There's my 747 and an Air Canada Star Alliance livery just past it.
After spending a stressful hour or two trying to figure out if I'd get home or not, I then went through customs again, and used my Priority Pass to gain access to the AA
Admiral's Club, where I relaxed until it was time to go to the gate and await my fate whether or not I would be boarded to DFW
. I thought about getting a pass on Air Canada, but after the dust settled from the cancellation, it looked like there were about 18 seats on the DFW
flight, so I chanced it and it worked out.
So I managed to fly CDG
, avoiding AC
Thanks for enduring another of my long trip reports!
[Edited 2009-08-06 20:14:24]