My Missed Paris Trip

One-Womans-Travels-Paris

Recently, the Maison Objet Interior Design show was held in Paris. Paris is on my list. When a Pilot friend graciously offered me and my husband airline tickets to Paris so I could attend the show and see Paris, well, I didn’t hesitate! It was short notice. So much to do, 2 weeks to get all my work done ahead of time, check out details, find a hotel, heck, learn Paris and a tiny bit of the language. The first thing I did was pull my husband’s passport out to check and make sure it was still valid as I had renewed mine recently. Yep, it was valid through the end of November of this year. I remember thinking, “I’ll need to renew it when we return.”

Checked the State Department website, travel warning to Europe dropped off 8/31/16 and we were traveling after that so I was feeling like this trip of a lifetime was coming together. I even managed to pack for 10 days in carry-on only and I was pretty proud of that. The day we left, we got up at 3 am to fly to Chicago O’hare where we hung out for about 7 hours for the one daily flight to Paris. As we got close to the time we needed to head to the gate, we were at The Bubbles Lounge, having a great glass of champagne, listening to a young man play an awesome piano. I finally felt like it was time to create my first FB post about our trip and it was of this great piano player. And with that, we were off to the gate. As my husband handed his boarding pass to the American Airlines employee, there was a problem and he was asked to step out of line. Seeing this, I stepped out with him.

Imagine our utter shock when we were told that France has a rule that your passport, even though it’s valid, must be valid at least three months from the date of your trip and my husband’s passport expiration date missed that by 2 weeks. We couldn’t board the plane.

I look back and think we should have stayed in Chicago and flown somewhere, anywhere the next day to decompress and process what had happened, oh and have a few glasses of wine. However, my husband, not exactly the same type of traveler as I am (2 weeks notice was like asking him to leave the next day but he said yes for me), he was ready to go home. I frantically looked for options and we ALMOST flew to London, thinking we could take a train into Paris. There was something nagging at me. It was Sunday night, Labor Day weekend, and the train station was closed so I couldn’t get anyone on the phone to confirm that we could even get into Paris. If I could have confirmed this I would have nudged my husband into going but not being sure myself, I couldn’t do it. Tired, in shock, and disappointed, off we go, running to catch the last flight back home. It was 12:30am before we made it home and it took another 2 hours before I could go to bed. Paris, I missed Paris. I got up at 3am, spent 2 weeks of frantic work

I frantically looked for options and we ALMOST flew to London, thinking we could take a train into Paris. There was something nagging at me. It was Sunday night, Labor Day weekend, and the train station was closed so I couldn’t get anyone on the phone to confirm that we could even get into Paris. If I could have confirmed this I would have nudged my husband into going but not being sure myself, I couldn’t do it. Tired, in shock, and disappointed, off we go, running to catch the last flight back home. It was 12:30am before we made it home and it took another 2 hours before I could go to bed. Paris, I missed Paris. I got up at 3am, spent 2 weeks of frantic work and planning to get up at 3 am and fly to Chicago O’hare and spend seven hours, just to fly back home!

It was not until the plane home was in the air that the disappointment hit me and I couldn’t stop the tears. There will be another chance, I hope, to experience Paris. It’s still on my bucket list.

It’s taken me some time to write about this because it was just so shocking, all the planning, lost some money, the excitement and expectation and then the disappointment. It took a while to shake it all off. However, when my Pilot friend posted this article on Facebook, I decided it was time to share this experience with you because everyone should know this. A neighbor who works in Italy said that France, Italy, and Germany have this rule and Belgium is considering it as well. Next time, I will check this out thoroughly. Travel writing, heck travel, is not for the faint of heart and some lessons are painful but I did learn something.

Here is a link to the article, make sure you know before you go.

http://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2016-02-12/when-to-renew-your-expiring-passport

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