a weekend in the merde*

let’s do a little survey. does anyone LIKE charles the gaulle airport? anyone with nice experiences from there? arriving, departing? getting service? anyone? anything?

since they are more than known for losing or breaking stuff, i flew as always with hand luggage only. it’s good i didn’t have to wait for anything since it took me a good while to locate a ladies’ room suitable for changing clothes in. a little black dress later i tried to leave the place. note the phrase tried to… every exit in terminal one was closed. one due to things falling in your head if you go out there, another one due to you falling into a black hole, a third one due to road not ready etc… since it’s france, i’m pretty sure one was closed due to strike. but whatever the reason, i could not get out to take a bus to the city centre nor could i get to the airport shuttle to the RER.

some wandering tourists finally found a way out and i followed them. noticing that i’m starting to run a bit late, i decided to take a taxi right away instead of trying to locate the little shuttle.

of course the taxi got stuck in traffic. i can think of nicer ways to spend a friday evening.

but, i eventually got there, and i got dinner and i had a nice time.  i had almost forgotten and forgiven until it was time to return. suddenly i realised there had been a reason for not letting people out, it was harder to get back..

after enjoying sunday in the sun i took my little bag and went to a RER-station. i was limping a bit because i wasn’t used to the heels i had chosen for the weekend. and of course i chose an entrance where you could only get in if you already had a ticket. so i carried my bag back up the stairs, walked a bit and went down again. got a ticket and ran to the train.

two stops later they announced something i didn’t really hear, but it sounded an awful lot like dernière.. when everyone got out i had no choice but to follow. a sign said the train to CDG would leave from another platform. so i walked up the stairs (with my bag that for some reason was getting heavier) and down again some metres later. no train. just a bunch of tourists scratching their heads. i was starting to have a nagging feeling i’d soon be paying another taxi chauffeur but since i had bought a damned ticket i at least tried to think happy thoughts. after looking around for a while i found a screen that showed a text (font size 12) saying the RER to CDG was closed today due to something i didn’t understand in french. the english translation said “heavy work”. right. merde.

back out in the street (dragging the awful piece of luggage) the 25 degrees and sunshine didn’t really feel as nice as it had done some odd hours earlier. the shoes did certainly not feel as nice as they did last summer.

after nearly getting killed in traffic the taxi finally stopped outside terminal one (what a beautiful building by the way, n’est pas?) with a rude goodbye! the driver threw out my bag (he was rude because in his mind it was my fault his card reader had stopped working) and hurried off. i tried to find an entrance that would work. the third one did, yej!

walked half a lap round the terminal (seriously, what architect came up with these round idiotic terminals?) i found the sas/blue1 area. of course all but one self-service check-in computers were out of order. and, of course, the only open desk was for baggage drop only. some swedes had already tried to check in there and been sent away to the self-service so i  got in line.

when going up the awful tubes in the hub half an hour later i suddenly remembered why it’s nicer to fly finnair. they’re in the nicer terminal, the one that actually has two or three shops. oh well, i was too tired anyway. just wanted to get home. but why make it easy? next i got stuck in security check. in front of me was edgar, age 80, in a wheel chair. he and the walking stick he had brought with him had to be thoroughly searched, it was obvious he was a severe threat to national security. the personnel, all graduated with highest marks in being rude, were very serious and hence the rest of us had to wait to go through.

paris may be nice in the spring, but getting there.. if it hadn’t been for the weather i’d say it wasn’t worth it.

until next time.

*if you haven’t read a year in the merde by stephen clarke – do it!



  1. miguel · · Reply

    No, we don’t like CDG!!! But this time I did Orly, which is more manageable (but only if you get expensive tickets; the proletariat at RyanAir/EasyJet etc -my usual airlines- weren’t having an “easy” time). Our friend Isabel (the Isabel from Spain, not the one from Helsingfors) was CDG and almost missed her plane on Sunday afternoon because of stupid delays on the bus or train or whatever.
    We got to Orly OK, but flight delayed by an hour and a half and for some reason you can’t buy newspapers, magazines or books in the departure lounge, only French sausage, wine, brandy, cigs and chocolates. I had really been looking forward to my relaxing Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph, but, no!… What do Frogs do at departure lounges? Discuss Proust?? Bought two bottles of wine just to use up some of the time and then got some chocolates for my nephew and niece…
    Also, everybody seems to be screaming Arabic in France rather than speaking French…
    Yes, I also recommend reading Stephen Clarke…
    PS My great-grandmamma on the Spanish side was French, but still…
    PPS I like your idea of the “wheel-chair terrorist”, haha!!

    1. i’ve learnt always to start getting myself there at least two hours early, otherwise it’ll end badly…

      and yes, exactly, wtf is the idea with having NOTHING in the departure lounges?

      another book i recommend (to get your swedish going.. otherwise you’ll have to wait for the english version) is “hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann” by jonas jonasson. hilarious – read half of it on the flight down and the other half going home. and actually, that’s where i got the wheel-chair terrorist-idea from… haha!!

  2. Do you also wonder sometimes why we still go on trips when the arrival and departure turn you almost into a killer? Everytime I am at a train station or an airport there is this one big question on my mind: WHY AM I DOING THIS TO MYSELF????

    1. YES!!!!!!

      i have been asking myself that oh so many times, and then i feel bad for being spoiled.. or something.. 😀 good to hear i’m not alone!

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