My France Odyssey

Getting to France

Getting across the channel to France from the UK offers different options. I recently needed to get there and back in a relatively quick way so as there were some “cheap” offers on I decided to try flying from my local airport to Paris. By cheap the ticket cost was £29 each way.

I booked the flight and return and also thought it would be a good idea to book parking as that can be cheaper in advance.

My first surprise was that I was told to be at the airport 2 hours before the flight to be sure of clearing customs etc. Is that because I was flying from my local airport, I don’t know. So despite online check in  and having only a cabin bag my actual journey time had extended from 90 minutes to three and a half hours. It wasn’t making sense this quickest way to get there.

Persevering I did as requested and turned up early hoping the procedure would be relatively stress free. I wasn’t prepared for the hordes throwing all kinds of meds, water, cola, even hair shampoo into bins as you can’t take it through. Then being pulled to one side because something was wrong with the x-ray machine on my bag.

Eventually I was boarded, the aircraft took off and then landed in Paris CDG where upon all the checks had to be carried out again.

After about an hour I cleared this and was set free but on the return … it was far, far worse. How I made the flight in time I really do not know. In a long, long queue for passport control behind me there were raised voices as fellow travellers attempted to jump the queue and punches were thrown from those who had been waiting for an age to reach the head of the line. It was awful if not a little frightening.

How much time did I save? Not a lot. I would estimate that the whole thing, home to Paris took between 5 and 6 hours. On a good day I could have driven to Folkestone and got the Euro tunnel an on to Paris in almost the same time.

Would I do it again? No!

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