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Lately, much has been reported about the Yellow Vest protests in Paris, and having just left the city today, I thought I’d give my two cents on my experience seeing as though I google this exact phrase. A couple of days ago, I was looking for a way to get back stateside after an extraordinary trip through Rome, Budapest, Vienna, and London. I debated flying Singapore out of Manchester, or biting the bullet and paying the fees to fly out of London on a product I’d already reviewed, but as I perused options I couldn’t help but be tempted to fly out of Paris. Air France was pricing flights to NYC and D.C. for just 55k + $330 in fees. While the fees are high, they’re substantially cheaper than out of London.
Air France is known to have one of the best business class products in the sky, maybe even the best from America to Europe, and I haven’t reviewed it personally. I pitched the idea to my girlfriend and she thought it was absolutely outstanding – finish in Paris! We even lucked out and scored the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand for 70k a night.
The day before we were set to leave, news hit that protests had turned to some rioting in the central, more touristed parts of Paris. Oh no…We’d just dealt with security issues that derailed our trip to Cairo, but this time we steadied on.
This is just our experience, but it was probably the most perfect time to be there. The crowds were very manageable, the weather ( for the most part ) was sunny and crisply in the 40s and we faced little obstruction with lines and not a single protester.
On top of that, there was a security presence, but nothing overwhelming, and not once did we ever feel our trip or safety was jeopardized.
We spent just two nights in Paris and it was nothing short of blissful. The Intercontinental Le Grand is perfectly positioned across from the Opera House, 5 mins walk from Place Vendome, and 15mins to the Louvre.
The day we landed we walked the Champs Elysee to the Arc di Triomphe and secured tickets to the Moulin Rouge with dinner. The next day we managed to walked 13 miles, eat crepes next to Notre Dame, meander the Seine to the Orsay, get lost finding a café en route to the Eiffel Tower, and visit the Peninsula Paris ( on my bucket list ). We even managed to avoid a line at Angelina, drink the most amazing hot chocolate and marvel at the masterpieces at the Louvre.
The point isn’t look at all we did, but look at what we would have missed. Yes, we saw remnants of the protests, increased security, but also just Parisian life uninterrupted.
I’m certainly not advocating throwing caution to the wind, or disregarding risk and security, but if you’re thinking of visiting Paris and have been dissuaded by the protests…I would make sure you’ve considered all your options and whether or not the protests are scheduled. Below are remnants from the protests the day before we arrived…you could still smell the burned car – so it’s not as if the situation was a thing out of sight, out of mind, but I’m happy we visited despite our initial concern.
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