Sunday, August 21, 2011

12 hours at CDG Airport

Ah, the fates can be cruel.

I have an upcoming business trip to Europe which has me flying into Roissy -- aka CDG, Charles de Gaulle airport. And making a hasty connection to my final destination. (The good news is that I'm flying beloved Air France.)

That initial part I can deal with -- dashing from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2E in a window of 2 hours. God willin' and the crick don't rise, I'll make it.

But the return flight is what pains me. My flight arrives mid-evening into Roissy. The continuing leg to the U.S. departs the following morning, about 12 hours later.

That, to me, is sheer temptation. Sheer torture! How can I be in Paris and not be in Paris?? Could I navigate my way into Paris, arriving after the dinner hour, and (ignoring seeing friends, alas, which would give me no time in the city), stay in a little hotel and spend my evening walking around -- being my old flaneur self -- and get enough rest and time to rise, check out, find transport and reach the airport in time for the return flight by 11 a.m.?

I surveyed my friends -- their suggestions ranged from "stay at the SofitelCDG," to "stay in the 6e near the RER station," to "the Ibis CDG," to the myriad other hotels at Roissy.

First I opted for taking the Air France car to the Etoile, staying in a small 2-star hotel, and hitting the town. Then I got real. If I didn't arrive until 10 pm, lugged my luggage to the room and then went out wandering, it would be a rather stunted visit.

And forgive me, but I really despise traveling on the RER from CDG with luggage, so that option had already been nixed.

So, I have decided to do something I've never done before in my Paris excursion adventures: I'll stay at a chain hotel at CDG and explore the airport itself for, um, entertainment and edification.

Any recommendations? Where would you stay -- what would you do -- what would you like to know about -- with 12 hours to kill at Charles de Gaulle Airport? Dining, lodging, spa services, entertainment, budget ideas? I'll report back in a week or so.


Alison said...

Well, presuming you'll need dinner, and presuming you'll want to do it up right, I'll again suggest the Sheraton above the TGV station. The food is delicious and the staff is courteous and it's just a nice experience.

But! The resto in the Novotel is good too, and it's less expensive if memory serves. And by "less expensive," I mean "is somewhat less painful to the budget."

There is a nice spa right around Terminal 2E (gawd, or is it 2F?), but I don't know how late they stay open. I had a great chair massage there once.

I don't know anything about the town surrounding the airport, but I have also stayed in the B&B (I mean the chain) there, and it was fine for just sleeping.

I just looked for and found a link to the massage/spa place I went to! There are several locations.

I hope you can find some cool stuff to do. If it were me, I'd hole up in my room with a bottle of wine and some French TV. :)

Paul said...

At least you've got somewhere comfortable to sleep - CDG has routinely been named the worst airport in the world for overnight stopovers...

Mariannne said...

I'm not sure how the times would work for this, but when I have a long lay over (anywhere), I try to find a spa and pend the time relaxing there. Also, maybe you can carry a small overnight bag and check your luggage all the way through - I have done that before, even with a 12 hour lay over, and it really helps to not be hauling luggage. Bon Voyage!

Polly-Vous Francais said...

I was pooped out when I arrived at CDG. But will report at least on my findings at the Hotel Ibis. A real eye-opener in general to stay at CDG and not venture into the city at all. (Waaaaah!)

Marilyn in Colorado said...

Hey, "stay the night" at a hotel at CDG but go by RER into the city for dinner or to an all night club. Sleep a little after you return on the first train in the morning or get a late night cab back--or the last RER. It's Paris! I know there are all-night restaurants in Les Halles. I've never seen anything of interest at CDG--it's depressing. Just had to add my 2 cents.

Uigei said...

On my very last trip to Paris, I brought along my three year old...the trip there was lovely, but we arrived very late into the evening, and it was freezing. I hadn't been to Paris in about three years before, and I had to get my bearings straight. We did just that, we stayed at a chain right near airport, who had a shuttle and picked us up for the evening.
After a great rest and a meal at the buffet we left for the city. It was expensive, but what the heck...
By the way, that little girl was the belle of Paris'.

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