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Are We Cutting It Too Close?

Arriving CDG Sun April 10 8:15 AM for 3:00 PM RS Paris 7-Day Meeting at Londres Eiffel

We have never traveled to Europe before. This is a nonstop Air France flight from Detroit to Paris and it's the earliest arrival available on Sunday. We've done at least 40 domestic Delta flights from Detroit to San Diego, Seattle, etc. since 2004 and they have always been on time. We intend to take a taxi. My spouse says we should book it but I am nervous. The airfare was a great bargain but maybe it would be a better idea to ask Londres Eiffel if they could add a Saturday night to our stay.

Posted by
8647 posts

Standard advice is to arrive at least one day early, to help get over jet lag, and it would give you some free time to do a couple of things that are not on the tour. You decide whether the bargain is worth it.

Posted by
5059 posts

If at all possible try to arrive in Paris at least one (or even two) day(s) before the start of the tour. This not only gives you a day to become acclimated, it also give you some elbow room in case the flight is seriously delayed or cancelled. Things like that do happen. Better to get there a day early than a day late.

Posted by
3623 posts

An 8:15 arrival for a 3:00 meeting sounds safe enough to me, especially since you intend to take a taxi to your hotel. However, I would book the extra hotel night for another reason. You will be jet-lagged and far from your best when you arrive. You might even nod off during the meeting. The extra day will give you time to sleep and cleanup. You can spend some time in the morning just strolling around, getting a taste of Paris - - which is very tasty, indeed.

Posted by
2261 posts

Jet lag is different for different people, and not many people sleep well on long flights. For me, I'm in a fog the first day, and that's a meeting that I'd want to be wide awake for. My suggestion, like others, is to go a day or more early.

Posted by
764 posts

Thanks everyone - you've given some great feedback! I don't sleep well on flights so that's something to consider. I hope that Londres Eiffel can add Saturday night.

Posted by
14262 posts

I agree with the recommendations to come in on Saturday if you can. If something happens and your flight is delayed for some reason it is just better to have some cushion. You do have the advantage of it being direct so that is good.

I would definitely take a taxi...just easier and altho Londres Eiffel is not too far from the Metro Station, it is further than I would want to navigate with jet lag.

This is a great tour! I did it in 2014 and really, really feel comfortable in Paris now!

Editing to add: The hotel will likely be able to accommodate you for that Saturday night. If not, let us know. There are a number of hotels in that area that Rick recommends and that many of us have stayed at so we can help you.

Posted by
20461 posts

Depends on what you call a great bargain. How much extra if you come earlier? If you do arrive the day before, it also adds cost (hotel, food).
If you stick with your plan, I see you getting to your hotel noonish and then having 3 hours to kill. You probably could not get into your room until 2 pm at the earliest. So that is the tough time when you will want to take a nap in the worst way. I see you have some touring to do starting 3 pm, then a group dinner.
You might prepare by going to bed earlier and earlier during the week leading up to your departure. Try to get some sleep on the plane ride over.
In over 2 dozen trips, I've never let jet-lag stop me or anyone else I've been with. Mind over matter.

Posted by
764 posts

Sam - thanks for the input. I've been on call 24x7 for 15 years so I'm sort of "mind over matter" as well. I've always survived on very little sleep. But I think it is wise though to spend more and add some time. I can afford to make vacation time as stress free as possible.

Posted by
3340 posts

On my first flight to Europe, I didn't get a minute of sleep. In retrospect, I think I tried too hard - I should have just watched a movie until I nodded off (like I do at home) instead of Really.Trying.To.Get.Some.Sleep. Unfortunately it was a business trip and I had to hit the ground running on arrival. When I finally got into my hotel room after a day of work, I was mentally and physically exhausted. You don't want that on a vacation.

Posted by
764 posts

traylaparks - I can relate......I can sit down to watch something I really like but fall asleep instead. I can't drift off if I lie down intending to sleep. It's maddening.

Posted by
175 posts

I agree with others that it would be ideal to arrive on Saturday. When you contact the hotel to see if they can add Saturday night be sure to inform them that you are part of the Rick Steve's tour.

Posted by
7209 posts

And you don't have to stay in the same hotel (Londres Eiffel) if you arrive a day or two early. And by all means, DO arrive a day or two early (or 3 or 4). Having a few days in Paris will be very nice. And the Londres Eiffel is right in the 7th Arrondissemont just a few blocks from the rue Cler which is chocked full of Americans all carrying around their Rick Steves books so you should feel right at home.

And yes, arriving on the same day as the start of your tour is cutting it WAYYYY too close.

Posted by
2252 posts

I'm just adding my voice to the chorus to arrive a day (or more) early for all the same reasons. Also, if you do decide to do that and stay in the tour hotel, you might inquire if it will be possible to keep the same room you've booked for the extra night(s) for the duration of the tour. That way you can "move right in" on arrival and not have to change rooms. I have always found our hosts to be more than cooperative in allowing us to do that. Also there is often a discount on the cost of the extra night(s) when they know you are with the RS tour.

Posted by
7463 posts

I would recommend going a couple of days early to enjoy the start of your trip. Since you're staying in Paris for 7 days with the RS trip (I've taken this one, too), consider going someplace for the two days ahead where you could enjoy a little variety beyond the city of Paris. You could take the train to Bayeux and see Normandy. Or you could take the train southwest of Paris to stay near some castles. Or, there's a train to Strasbourg to see some charming architecture. These are ~2 hour train rides, so you could easily arrive there by noon. (And these towns should have cheaper hotel rates than Paris.)

Posted by
2030 posts

I recommend arriving a day earlier than your tour start date. (and also taking a taxi to your hotel).
I took this tour several years ago (with the great Patrick Vidal as our tour guide) and as I recall the first meeting involves getting logistics in order for the tour, then they take you out on a bus for a brief tour of the city and then to dinner. So you will need to be alert and not sleepy. I suggest getting a hotel for a night in same hotel as your tour or one close by, catching up on your sleep and perhaps just walking around the area. Since this is your first time to Europe, let the RS tour show you how to deal with the metro, and Parisian/European experience in general. They do a fabulous job. I wouldn't recommend venturing out to other areas of France until the tour is over.