If I turn into a battle ax fed up with everything, I’ll go to Paris and three days after our family vacation I’ll be cured. Not even a dismal experience at Dublin Airport and a cheeky email from our car hire company trying to cancel us couldn’t dampen my newfound zest for life.
taycations are nice, but for a fresh perspective you have to leave this island. Paris is always a reliable place to make you happy to be alive again.
But first, the mandatory Dublin Airport review.
Like everyone else, we got up far too early which meant we had to kill almost three hours before our 7:30pm flight. I would recommend a two and a half hour schedule – and bring some snacks.
In order to avoid the parking lot and do something good for the environment – but mostly because it’s cheap (less than €1 for the kids and €2 for each adult with a Leap card) – we took the number 16 bus to Airport.
From our house it took almost longer than our flight so avoid this option if you have angry toddlers.
I have to admit that staycations with very young children can sometimes be better.
But now that our youngest is six years old, Paris is easy. No buggy on the metro. We can stay up until midnight tonight to see the July 14th fireworks on the Champ de Mars and the kids will sleep in tomorrow.
Thomas Jefferson said that a stroll through Paris “offers lessons in history, beauty and the meaning of life”. That’s true, but he should have added that it only applies to over-fives.
But back to Dublin Airport. Once you’re herded into the passenger lanes, it’s a jostle. Although not quite developing countries, there was a definite bang of a less developed country.
There was a contagious atmosphere of stress in the terminal. Some of the machines used to weigh passengers’ luggage were playing, but we were done in 15 minutes.
Every member of staff we encountered was friendly and helpful – I almost hugged the boy holding up the rope to direct us onto the faster family lane. But Dublin Airport was never conceived as a place to spend more than an hour.
The bright sun shining through the glass of T2 last Sunday afternoon was a stark contrast to the dejected faces that waited.
It was hard to believe these people were driving off with their holly. The silent bachelor party sitting next to us at Burger King looked annoyed. The bride-to-be in her veil had a boot face.
To be honest, I’m sure my family looked miserable too after queuing for almost 30 minutes for their dinner – the two healthy restaurants I favored were inexplicably closed. The kids were arguing and I was at a loss.
But all the hustle and bustle was forgotten when the Ryanair flight took off. I was thrilled that no one was wearing a mask so I didn’t have to get mine out. It’s the same in Paris – you see a few on the metro, but not many.
We live in the Marais in the in-laws’ one-bedroom apartment – even a stroll around this stunning area would get you in good shape, and the futons on the floor for the kids only add to the sense of adventure.
This area gives a real taste of la vie Parisienne as they all look so stylish – and access to a washing machine is priceless.
On Monday morning, we planned our day on a bench under the trees of the magnificent Place des Vosges – the arcaded square laid out by Henry IV in 1605: walk along the Seine, lunch in a bistro, continue to the Eiffel Tower for an ice cream on the Ile de la Cite .
We had a nice walk, but hunger and a lack of research led to us ending up at Five Guys for a burger on the Champs Elysees. However, it turned out to be a great spot to watch French Air Force training for the military parade later today.
The last time I was in Paris was four years ago and it’s amazing how popular cycling has become. The city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, has vowed to make every street “bike-friendly”. At the start of the pandemic, it introduced 50km of temporary bike lanes that became permanent a few months later.
If the kids were a little older we would get around by bike, but walking is even more fun these days with fewer cars on the roads.
On Tuesday we visited the Jardin d’Acclimatation – a posh amusement park founded in 1860 by Napoleon III. opened. I was too scared to ride roller coasters, but it was so nice to watch the rest of the family spin around.
Yesterday morning we chatted about our plans for tonight’s fireworks over pastries from the boulangerie downstairs. However, our delicious breakfast was somewhat marred by an email from our car rental company.
Tomorrow we’re going south and hiring a car to visit family – booked six months ago for a reasonable sum – but this email seemed to say ‘sorry but the car you booked for €300 , is not available, but we can offer you another without insurance or refund”.
On the website we can see that the car is available but for a multiple of our price. With a 47C heatwave predicted for next week we need this car to get us to the beach. We texted back to tell them we have their number, we know their game.
It’s not easy when you want to go abroad. Assuming your flight doesn’t get cancelled, it’s usually worth it, but it’s certainly more of a hassle these days.
It’s annoying, but car hire worries don’t get the better of us as we plan our final two days in Europe’s most beautiful capital, the long-forgotten hustle and bustle of Dublin Airport.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/dublin-airport-delays-and-car-hire-woes-aside-heading-on-holiday-to-france-is-worth-the-hassle-41838383.html Dublin airport delays and car hire hassles aside, going on holiday to France is worth the hassle