Roissy, France; Charles de Gaulle Airport
The Airbus arrived on time from Chicago: 8:20 AM; disembarkation was a waste of time. We were loaded on to special airport tarmac buses some distance from the terminal. This took at least a half an hour. Wait on the plane, then wait on the bus. Luggage pick up was a little slow: it took 20 minutes: It took another 20 minutes to find the car rental area; this was more annoying due to public phones that didn’t work when we tried to call the car leasing company.
We finally got picked up by the car leasing company, and were driven to the pick up area. This was very quick. Two signatures, they loaded our luggage in the car. It was a turbo diesel Renault Megane Scenic. Amazingly it all fit, luggage, even the Sportube, with the three planes, which easily fit on the back seat from one door to the other. We were on our way at about 10:30 AM.
As we left, I noticed that the Roissy airport had a dingy look to it; remarkable since this was built 20-25 years ago. Skies were the usual gray of Northern Europe at this time of the year. We picked up the expressway to the Paris beltline, which is also called the PERIPHERIQUE.
This took at least 45 minutes and you better have a pretty good map. It is better to have a two person team for this: one to drive; one to navigate. Traffic was absolutely nuts, being worsened by the weaving, high speed, lunatic motorcyclists. Again, I was disgusted by the run down look of these suburban areas along this expressway. This is one of the most forgettable places that I have ever driven through, loaded with big ugly commercial, buildings, low cost housing projects, and a chaos of high speed traffic, that one does not want to repeat very often.
The problem of going to Brittany from north of Paris is that you have to get to the southwest side of the Parisan suburbs to pick up A-10, which heads west. This is a Peage road which is expensive for the 200 miles that you use it. About $20.00 (23 Euros). This is the fastest and safest road. The whole trip was about 350 miles to the town of Plougasnou, on the north Breton coast. The last two thirds of this five hour trip was driven through rain. We arrived at 4:00 PM, which was good, considering the two gas stops and the food stop on the Toll road. Food service is excellent at these restaurant toll road stops, which will also sell you beer or wine with the food. If you are seen drinking alcohol without eating at these food stops, you are liable for arrest in this country.
It’s not raining now, so I am hoping to go flying this Friday morning when we get some of that gray miserable sky that northern Europe is so famous for, but without the rain.