The CDG Experience

Written by JT

I told you guys I was sarcastic and love to poke fun at the little things that may severely irritate someone with very little patience. I have a very “whatever, it could be worse” attitude and truly look at crappy situations as (for the lack of a better example) blog material. Our travel day from Paris to Venice was VERY much that. We spent a good 6 hours traveling and it was non-stop laughter! So I’ll start from the beginning.

So the cute mini tourist that we’re happily lugging around (Chad’s 17-year old cousin, Olivia) decided it would be a good idea to bring her entire closet on our 6-day excursion to Paris which came in the form a pretty, blue, 22kg, hard case rolling bag that in no way shape or form resembled that of a Eurobackpacker (in her defense she was without a doubt more prepared than Chad and I). That being said, we had to check out of our AirBnB at 11:00AM and our flight wasn’t until 7:00PM and we really wanted to see the Catacombs. So our big idea was to lug that closet to the airport on the train, check it, and then head back to the city for a brief excursion before making our light-weighted trip back to the airport to make our flight.

Well, well, well – we did NOT do our research (lucky for you) and we found out that baggage check-in didn’t start until 3 hours prior to the flight. So there we were, sitting at the CDG Airport at 12:00PM and we couldn’t check the walk-in until 4:00PM – so we had two choices:

  1. Make our way BACK to Paris to do the Catacombs WITH our big blue friend
  2. OR wait it out at the airport

You can tell from the title of this story that it was most certainly the latter. So we sat in the main terminal for 4 hours with our Starbucks and McDonald’s and played games our on our phones while we waited for the Vueling check-in desk to open.

This is where it gets good. Of course the waiting around really wasn’t that exciting but when we made our way back to the check-in line we were greeted with a short 3-person line to check our bags. YAY! But wait, as time passed, the line got longer behind us and after about 30 minutes of being the 3rd group, our check-in associate was still MIA. Of course we’re observant and WE knew where she was; outside the door taking a smoke-break with another Vueling associate who’s line was ALSO getting long. So we laughed, because when we were supposed to check our bags starting at 4:00PM, the eternal smoke break delayed us and our line at least 45 more minutes. Finally, the Queen Clerk made her way to her throne, took her seat, booted up her machine and continued her duty as CDG’s finest.

Luckily she was fairly efficient as it only took 10-15 minutes to get through the first 2 groups ahead of us (both 4-6 member families with and endless array of luggage). When we got to the front, we checked in and gave her our luggage to check. Both Chad and Olivia received their boarding passes and began making their way to the security line and I assumed I would have an uneventful interaction with her as well. Well I approached her, gave her my Passport and my bag and prepared to snag my boarding pass and make a run for it. After she returned my documentation, she pushed the button to print the boarding pass and I KID YOU NOT she turned around, grabbed a wad of tissues, and as I was staring her down from the other side of the counter, looked me dead in the eyes and BLEW HER NOSE and THEN handed me my boarding pass.

This was not a dainty blow either – it was loud enough for Olivia to hear from across the airport and I am convinced that was the clerk’s way of giving me her version of the bird in the middle of the airport. Well I swiftly snagged the boarding pass, doused my arms in hand sanitizer and made my way to security.

One good thing CDG has going for it is definitely it’s security lines. Very quick and easy and I get to keep my shoes on #thankyoujesus.  So we made it inside the terminal no problem. Of course it’s an international terminal so there are hundreds of various characters that make their way in.

Not too bad, of course the occasional child screaming and running from their family, the heavy mouth breathing sleeper, the loud perfect blonde family that look like they should be posing for those photos that go inside picture frames before you buy them, the guy clipping his toenails and stomping them into the carpet… Wait, seriously? Yessssss, dude. The way this day was going, I’m not surprised to have seen this happening and I could do nothing but watch as he asked the cute little teenage girl next to him if he could share her charging adapter before he began his hygiene routine. Good man. At least he asked her politely.

After witnessing this, we still had a good hour before we boarded our plane so we made our way to the cute little café to get a latte to help pass the time. As we approached the counter I looked at the menu and tried to decipher what I could use as basically just an iced coffee. I was already running on fumes after our airport adventure so clearly wasn’t running on all four cylinders. I looked at the lady and asked for Noir Glace. She looked at me as though I had just cursed at her in every language imaginable and was just like, “what?” After weaving my way around the language barrier with her for a few seconds we finally came to the agreement that I would just get an iced latte. Sweet.

When we sat down I looked at the menu and the item I was ordering was The Noir Glace. After a great deal of confusion I made the realization that the “The” at the beginning of the phrase was not the English “the” but rather the French word for “tea” and noticed that not only had a butchered the language but also asked the poor girl for black ice (in one way shape or form). You’re welcome, America, for fulfilling the stereotype. I promise I’ll get better.

Service at the little café was slow, but I couldn’t really expect anything better for 3 baristas working to keep up an international terminal coffee shop. I mean, dealing with ignorant people like myself must be hard enough, just add on the language barrier. Props to those who make it work. But as I glance behind me, I see the same girl that took my order begin to take the order of a gentleman a few spots behind me in line. She politely takes his order and then immediately turns around, whips her phone out and proceeds to text in the back room BEFORE letting the customer pay. She was probably having a rough day but I had to laugh at the awkward encounter we had just witnessed.

Well the rest of the hour went smoothly after waiting in another long line to board a bus that would take us across the tarmac to our plane. But just to top it all off, I got to unwind with a nice glass of wine just to spill the whole damn thing all over myself halfway through the flight. Just add it to the list.

Regardless it was nothing if not an eventful day at the CDG airport. Good laughs and blog material. I promise there was more to this trip than this but I had to share. Now I’m back in the CDG airport waiting for my delayed flight to get me back to North America. Fingers crossed. Long story short, I don’t think the Paris airport and myself are going to become close friends anytime soon.

Au revoir!



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