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All’s well that ends well

Paris (for football) day four

View Paris for NUFC match v PSG on ToonSarah's travel map.

In the Bar du Marché (before it got busy!)

We were up a bit earlier as we needed to pack before meeting the others for breakfast in our by-now regular haunt, the Bar du Marché. We were there first and I took the opportunity to get a photo of the interior before it got busy. You might be able to spot me in the bottom right corner of the mirror!

The rest of the gang arrived soon after. We all took our time over breakfast as we didn't need to leave for the Gare du Nord until around 11.00. But eventually we said our farewells to Peter and Joanne who had a flight from CDG, and to Pete and Barry, leaving on later trains to Germany and Belgium respectively.

In the Bar du Marché~
Chris, me, Peter, Joanne, Barry, Pete

Having collected our bags and checked out of the hotel we took the Metro from Saint Germain des Pres. We were about halfway to the Gare du Nord when a text message popped up on my phone informing me that our train was cancelled due to strike action! So after the false alarms regarding our outward journey, which in fact ran fine, we now had to deal with an actual cancellation at only two hours notice!

We decided we could do nothing till we got to the station, so we carried on and once there made our way to the Eurostar entrance. It was rather chaotic with a lot of people queuing (or sort of queuing) and a rather bewildered staff member shrugging his shoulders and saying he didn't know what was happening. We made a snap decision not even to try for an alternative train which almost certainly wouldn't exist (only a handful appeared to be running, too few to handle a fraction of the displaced passengers). Instead I did a quick search on my phone to see if there were any flight options. To our surprise there were, including a reasonably priced Vueling flight from Orly to Gatwick at 18.10, which we would easily be able to catch. So we booked immediately, checked in and downloaded boarding passes, all while still standing in the Eurostar queue. But once we were assured of the flight we left.

We took the RER to Denfert Rochereau, the terminus for the airport bus. But with lots of time to spare we stopped off there to have lunch in a friendly neighbourhood café. We then caught the bus without any problems, and found the airport pleasantly quiet. It was easy to find space to sit and check messages, write up these notes and read for a bit to pass the time.

Before going to the gate we had a drink and cake in the Paul café. We boarded just a little late and the process took a while as the plane was full. After take-off the pilot apologised for the slight delay, explaining that a flight that morning had been held up and they were still playing catch-up. But we landed only ten minutes late, found passport control incredibly quiet (we walked straight up to an empty e-passport gate) and without bags to collect were on the train to London within half an hour of landing. We got home eventually around 8.30 PM, five hours later than planned but glad to have made it. Tomorrow’s task would be submitting a claim to Eurostar for a refund!

PS Eurostar refunded us without question and within a few days. We were a bit out of pocket as the flight cost more than the train and we also had to get home from Gatwick, another small expense. But worth it to get home so easily, under the circumstances!

Posted by ToonSarah 14:19 Archived in France Tagged paris flight friends journey

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Good that you sorted it all out. Always a total pain when travel plans get disrupted.

by irenevt

Thanks Irene, it was a relief to find that flight. But can you imagine handling all that back in the days before mobile phones?!

by ToonSarah

You guys did relatively well concerning your train cancellation. Great thinking! Nowadays it always seems a struggle when taking public transport!

by Ils1976

A fitting title to that article.

by Yvonne Dumsday

I thought so Yvonne 😃 Yes Ils, we were really pleased to find that flight. Normally an extra night in Paris wouldn't be a problem but we had plans for the next day.

by ToonSarah

We had the opposite problem once. Our flight was cancelled and we had to find a train. Whatever works . . .

So glad you worked it out so easily. You're right. This would have been a major chore before mobile phones.

Congratulations on a lovely trip.

by Beausoleil

Yes, I've known people have that problem too Sally!

by ToonSarah

Glad you got refund for the train tickets! And got home okay, 5 hours doesn't sound too bad :)

by hennaonthetrek

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