A Week in Paris. The Final Day. The Return Home and Honest Thoughts.

It’s Sunday. Our last day in Paris before returning home. Our original idea of driving around the City of Lights and snapping photographs ended when we discovered the newest rule on Covid testing.  When we left for Paris, the rule was having a Covid test 72 hours before returning back to the States.

I thought it would be fun to drive around Paris on our last day and being artsy by snapping pics and editing them to look really cool–like this one of the Eiffel Tower peeking out!

The rule had been changed to 24 hours while we were there. But this was Sunday. And we were returning home the next day.  When we found about the changing rule, we stopped into a few pharmacies to inquire if they tested for Covid.  Unfortunately, only a handful of pharmacies were doing so on Sunday. And as the ones on Sunday were open only for a few hours, it was a rather troublesome and frustrating experience.

The pharmacie we found was right around the corner from Place St. Michel. But first we had to enjoy our last breakfast..

…at Cafe de Paris. I miss our breakfasts here!

We found a pharmacie very close to where we were staying. Around the corner from Place St. Michel. And on this rainy morning, at approximately 9:45, we were met with a line of travelers in the same predicament as we were. After waiting outside in drizzle for over two hours, we were led inside.

Pharmacie Bader on Blvd. St. Michel. If you need a Covid test on a Sunday–here’s where to do it!

Be prepared to wait on a line. For a while. A long while. And on your last day, it’s not exactly fun!

The cost of the test, for me, was 36€. The cost for my husband was nothing as he holds citizenship in both France and the USA.  His French passport certainly came in handy. Once inside the pharmacie, after showing our Passe Sanitaire, we each had to fill out a form. NOTE:  If you are ever in this situation, please make sure that you take your time and fill out the form CORRECTLY.  I messed up and will broach that later.

Just in case you happen to be in Paris, in the 6th and need a pharmacie!

We paid, or rather he paid the fee and headed upstairs.  The wait to get tested was short, we were told the results would be available online (we downloaded the form) within an hour or so and we were on our merry way.  Wait. I’ll take “merry” out of the mix.

The results of my test that I was UNABLE to upload to Verifly. I was able to upload to my Passe Sanitaire though and kept an image on my phone!

This is where Veryfly sucks. (I could have written a plethora of very bad curse-words but refrained).  Both of us had negative test results. That was a good thing—especially considering the fact we were leaving France in less than 24 hours.  But here’s where it got complicated and I freaked out.  For some odd reason, I added my first name twice on the Covid Test form.  Verifly wouldn’t accept that to the app and couldn’t double my pleasure.  I get that. However, Verifly has NO CUSTOMER SERVICE.  Therefore, I was unable to correct this little faux pas.  The Frenchman was able to do so on his phone, but I couldn’t.  I freaked out because I had visions of being rejected for my flight home and I had a lot to do to prepare for Christmas (Wait till you read that post. Oh boy).  So now I’m crying—thankfully we were in the car.  My husband was getting annoyed with my dramatics and started mumbling in French.

Had he mumbled this word, I would have understood. Instead he used words far worse than what is inside the latrine!

With not much time left, we gave up on driving around taking photographs and decided to head over to Galeries Lafayette to admire more Christmas decorations in store windows, along with additional last-minute shopping.  We found a parking lot, parked and headed on our way. To be honest with you, I can’t even recall which other shops we went to but I’m just going to post random pics below.

Back at Galeries Lafayette. I don’t even know if this photo was from the Sunday visit. I was that crazed over the fact I couldn’t upload my test results to VeriFly.

Apparently the size of my husband’s French nose gave him cause to lower the mask to breathe. Apparently, I did not wear socks or boots on this cold, damp, rainy/sunny/back to rainy day. I am surprised I didn’t catch a cold–it must’ve been all that wine!

Another view of the big tree.

On to my happy place. The Food Department–in a separate building. That’s what I love about the French. They take their food purchases very seriously-especially around the Holiday Season!

Is it breaking and entering if you CLIMB over the counter?  I was tempted.

And these fruit displays made me want to eat healthier.

After the Holidays of course. As a packaging junkie, I fell in love with these jars of strawberry candies.

And as a lover of his baguettes, my husband fell in deeper love ..or lust with these tradition Baguettes.

I don’t even remember if we went inside Printemps but we did catch the window decorations.

All ready for Christmas–which, as I write this is now LAST Christmas.

Nothing is left unadorned. Even the outside awning ceilings are festooned! Check out the crowds. Everyone loves the Christmas decorations!

This is a child’s dream. Actually it’s an ageless dream!

Upon returning to the lot to retrieve the car, my husband placed a €20 bill into the wrong slot for payment. He couldn’t get it out. We had to call the lot’s attendant who never, after 45 minutes never showed up. Consider it a loss.  I was livid.

Hit The Floor No GIF by The Maury Show

Once again, I was a crazed woman.  I don’t think Paris had seen such an insanely mad woman since Camille Claudel entered the asylum! Luckily my wig stayed put!

My husband gave the French shrug, paid, this time, in the correct slot and we were on our way back to Citadines.  We did take-away for dinner because at this point, we just wanted to relax after a taxing day. A very taxing day.

In the meantime, here’s more random photos for you.

Here’s some eye candy for the ladies.  Paris has the best-looking police officers. They are in such great shape too, these little, slim compact men in uniform. I’ll bet they don’t eat donuts!

Back in the day, this was my husband’s school. It’s now an office building.

A little stroll in the Sixth after dropping off the car.

I shall miss you Cafe de Paris.

I’ll miss being greeted by the most simplistic but pretty decorations.

This shop has been around for years. And years.

And with bears coyly hidden among the twigs and pine cones, I had fun finding them!

My favorite stationery store!  A treasure trove of wonderful little things.

Please be mindful that I am now going through dessert withdrawal. The symptoms are drooling from the mouth any time you think of a French pastry, shaking and tremors when you think of a beautifully-designed cake. It is maddening I tell you. Maddening!

My favorite corner.

More fruit at the market.

I may have a canvas print made up of this to put in the kitchen area. Luckily, I can now make croissants for my husband!

Back to Cidadines for our last night. I can tell you this much. We won’t be returning here. We’ll go back to the Prince de Conti.

Heading to the airport the next morning, I can be honest when I tell you. This time, I didn’t get teary-eyed. This time, I wasn’t filled with the usual sadness of leaving Paris.  This time was different and I’ll explain. But I’ll tell you after I write about our trip home.

I did, however, get misty-eyed over leaving the confiture, butter and..

..tartines that I enjoyed every morning. Did I mention that I went to the doctor last week and was sternly told to lose 25 to 30 pounds. Yeah. I won’t be eating carbs any time soon.

I’ll miss this whole area!

So, we arrived at the airport thinking luck was on our side because, after arriving very early, we were the first on the check-in line.  I explained my Covid test situation with the double middle name, showed the screen print of the results along with my Passe Sanitaire and was released to check my one big piece of luggage. (NOTE: I did some creative packing.  I placed clothing into the Louis Vuitton box that my new bag came in and packed my new Petite Noe into my carry-on).

The Frenchman was both bewitched and impressed at my creative packing. I crammed a good amount of clothing in this box, placed it into luggage to be checked-in, took my new Noe bag and placed it into my carry-on!

The early baggage check-in line.  I almost had another of my Camille Claudel breakdowns!  But it all ended well.

I explained to the check-in agent that I was waiting for my husband, who, oddly was still on the line to check in. It appeared he was having phone issues and couldn’t produce his Verifly or Passe Sanitaire or Covid results. At this point, my eyes did start to tear up. From frustration and fear (and a slight bit of envy) that I would have to fly home solo and he would be happily stuck back in his home country). The debacle?  His phone froze.  And once he was able to thaw it, we were on our way to wait for our flight.

And don’t think I didn’t use that wait time wisely. I picked up Oona’s favorite Chanel perfume and a few other things.

The flight home was another cattle-car situation with every seat taken.  Who says people aren’t traveling?  They sure are when it comes to traveling to Paris (might I add a couple of weeks later my niece flew to Paris with her boyfriend).

Methinks that future tins of sardines should have each tiny fishie wearing a seaweed mask.  That’ll give ’em an idea of what our flight was like! Thank God I wasn’t sitting next to anyone smelling like fish!

Scrunched up like a wholesale order of sardines in tins, we were airborne and I spent my time watching movies and reading.  The Frenchman slept. OHHH I forgot to mention–our flight was delayed two hours on the runway. A mechanical issue. Glad it was fixed or I wouldn’t be writing this!

Now here’s the irony of the Covid testing. When we landed back at JFK, the customs area was a f**king mess. The “six-feet-apart” rule was shortened to “now don’t get intimate”. There must have been at least three flights coming in from various countries and I was really pissed off at a certain group of travelers who were obviously over the age of 50, all in wheelchairs, heading up to customs before everyone else, only to see them all standing and moving spritely at the baggage claim area.

A little glance at the intimacy of the customs line at JFK.  All those rules and look how close everyone is. Oh the irony! Oh the humanity!

NOTE:  Remind self to pay for Global entrance or whatever-it-is.

After a nearly two-hour wait on a line with fellow masked travelers, I’m sure many who were exposed to Covid, we finally reached the front of the line to head to a newly-arrived customs agent.  I was so happy to get off that line, I was grinning like the guy on the Coney Island sign. My husband remained stone-faced.

I still cannot figure out if I was smiling like the Coney Island guy because I was happy to finally be off the customs line or the fact I wasn’t asked if I made any purchases while in France!

The agent was actually pretty nice and he made a remark about my stone-faced better half. I simply told the agent “My husband is French”.  He got a good laugh at that and we were on our way to the baggage claim.

Bags claimed. Still sockless. And on our way to the car.

As fans of the parking at JFK, we were in the car and off to drive home in no time.  The Belt Parkway, surprisingly, wasn’t as horrific as usual. The remainder of the ride smooth and we arrived home in time to unpack, destress and relax.

Despite the insanity of the customs line, the parking at JFK is remarkable in the best way. It took no time to catch the train from the terminal to the parking lot.

Approaching the Verrazano bridge. It is a beautiful sight at twilight.

And on our way home.  

Now here’s the weirdness of this trip—because it really was not our best.

While it was great to be able to travel again—it was also a much-needed time away from work.

However, what we had to go through was, at times, frustrating and irritating.

My husband is a planner. And there’s a definite difference between planning and being on a schedule.  He was excellent at planning the trip, he made great use of our time but having to be on a schedule to visit sites and exhibits was something that just isn’t our jam.

When we travel, especially to France, we’ll plan a day out but we’ll spend the day according to our schedule. We can wake up toward the later side rather than the earlier. We might make a stop along the way to where we are going.  Being on a schedule makes us both feel as though we are rushed.

We’ll hit Invalides but on OUR time, not a scheduled one.

These are definite things to consider if you are traveling during this or any future pandemic. And at the rate variants are spreading, it could be a while until we get back to traveling the way it used to be—a long while.

The masks?  That’s not an issue.  We are both very compliant. My only issue with wearing a mask is a personal one. Having minimal depth perception without a mask, it’s basically zero depth perception with wearing one. I have to grab on to stairways with white knuckles and it slows me down, which, for me is rather frustrating. I’ll still comply though. I actually don’t mind otherwise because I can mouth nasty words at people who bother me and I don’t have to display my winter-chapped lips.  I can wear less makeup too.  Oh. And there’s the protection thing.  Masks are actually a good thing.

On or off the plane, masks are no issues. How freaking difficult is it to comply? It’s a SAFETY thang–not a political thang.

The Passe Sanitaire?  That doesn’t bother me nor does it bother my husband either. You whip out your phone and display the passe where needed or asked. It takes seconds to do so.

Vacances, restaurants, vaccination… quatre questions autour du pass sanitaire pour les enfants | LCI

No issue with the Passe either. In fact, it was easy to obtain and a cinch to pull out as it was on our phones!

The air travels?  I find some irony in this.  The airlines (especially American Airlines) are very strict about Covid testing, wearing masks and so on.  And while both are a good thing, when you are packed like cattle or sardines in a tin, no matter how heavy that mask is, or no matter how many negative Covid results you get, no matter the double-vaccinations or boosters, there is still a slim chance you’ve been around someone who is infected or has been in a group of people who have recently had Covid or a variant.   I just think the airlines need more flights to locations that receive a good number of travelers. And while I understand the need to hire more airline workers, it’s still quite frustrating.

Don’t even get me started on Verifly—it would be a positive if Verifly hired customer service reps. People make mistakes (I’m probably the biggest maker of mistakes) and those mistakes need to be addressed and taken care of. This app is awful on many levels. It’s a POS.

And despite that this was not our favorite trip to Paris, due to reasons mentioned above, my husband has already made our flight arrangements and is in the process of planning our return to the Cote d’Azur this summer.

Saint Tropez with Boat Ride | Villefranche Shore Excusion | European Cruise Tours

Hopefully, we’ll be back in St. Trop this summer.

Let’s hope there isn’t another Covid variant between now and then!

Now it’s on to writing about our Christmas experience. Wait till you read this upcoming post! Warning_ You may need a stiff drink!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
This entry was posted in France., paris at christmas, Paris France, Paris Travel, Travel, Travel gone wrong. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to A Week in Paris. The Final Day. The Return Home and Honest Thoughts.

  1. Pay for Global Entry. I’ve had it since it began and it is a breeze….you’re through customs in a matter of minutes and have plenty of time to hit the bathroom before the luggage even begins to arrive. It’s worth every penny…or dollar. I was in Paris from October-Christmas and I too learned that we never want to depart on a monday again, given the difficulty of getting a 24 hour covid test! (Note to your hubby for the summer trip.)

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Sharri. Yeah. I don’t know why I don’t bust a move on getting Global Entry. My husband has it but it just slips our minds. I definitely need to apply ASAP. Those Monday departures–never again after this trip–that’s for sure! XOXOXOXO

  2. Susan says:

    Oh those jittery departures, hoping all will be well! Once my husband and I were hauled off a Delta flight because we had wrapped some cheese knives in our checked bag in such a way as to resemble a bomb! (To them anyway, to us it was the best way to wrap them so the olive wood handles didn’t get scratched!). We talked to the French police, the airline rep, the pilot was drumming his nails along the side of the plane. Finally they let us back on but we got the stink eye from the rest of the passengers all the way back. Now it’s funny but it sure wasn’t then..
    Best laid plans and all that shit!

    • Catherine says:

      Susan. Wow! That is pretty funny but it is reassuring that the airlines actually checks that stuff! You must’ve been the most popular passengers after that one-LOL! XOXOXOXO

  3. Great photos. We were in France for a month last fall 2021, spending our start and end in Paris (7th arrondisement). We love the city!! We spent time in the Dordogne area, which I highly recommend, and the majority of our time on the riviera. I agree with you about the masks — it’s such an easy thing to do and helps to keep everyone safe. We were extremely appreciative as to how organized things were (mid Sept to mid Oct) re the Passe Sanitaire. We got ours before we left so things went very smoothly and orderly.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi JoJo! Ohh the Dordogne. My husband LOVES that area. He wants to plan a visit there since I’ve never been but when summer comes we just head to Theoule-sur-Mer. I love that area. Yeah. France is super-organized with the masks, everyone complies and there’s no issue! XOXOXOXO

  4. Mary says:

    Thank you, Catherine, for the entertaining account of your latest trip to Paris. I thoroughly enjoyed your narrative and pictures. I cannot wait to hear your account of Christmas, you’ve really whetted my appetite 😀

  5. Marsha+Banks says:

    Wow! That is a lot to remember to do in order to get where you want to go. I guess we will stick to little day trips. But, your pictures surely do make me want to visit Paris. I really think you should become the pro-aging version of Rick Steves and lead us all around Paris! I am beginning to wonder if this damn virus will outlive me. And, really, are masks that difficult? I’ll wear one gladly to get back to some type of normalcy.

    Loved this post and can’t wait to read about Christmas!


  6. Joni says:

    I always enjoy reading about your Paris trips!

  7. Mel Bag and a Beret says:

    Thanks so much for this very entertaining series on your trip to Paris. I started here and then read backwards to Day 1 – there doesn’t seem to be an order here these days! Hahaha.

  8. Fiona says:

    I’m glad to say my trip to France in November was less stressful than yours, probably because we din’t have Verifly! I was surprised that Border Force in Nantes had not the slightest interest in my Declaration d’honneur. Just showed my QR code in my TousAnti Covid app and away we go. I hear the Pass Sanitaire is no longer from tomorrow and now we need a Pass Vaccinal. I have no problem with masks either, it’s just bothersome when the specs steam up. Love your photos of Paris. ❤

    • Catherine says:

      Whoa Fi! Thanks for that reminder about the Pass Vaccinal. We’ll need that for the summer! Be happy you don’t need to use Verifly. Its absolutely horrific! XOXOXOXO

  9. Liz says:

    Oh I loved Paris! Thanks for the nostalgic reminders of a pre-Covid time! Glad you made it home safely.

  10. Juliet says:

    Im glad you are safely home but Im with you – I love to travel except for the sucky bits of all the documentation, I keep photos on my phone of all passes and QE codes etc as I am terrified of my phone not picking up signal or something going horribly pear-shaped. Gosh those French do the most divine decorations (and such pretty policemen), I hope you bought a few gifts for yourself amongst any shopping (no the posh new bag doesnt count – I mean the little treats and necessaries to break yourself back into reality gently once you are back, I always have some pharmacy samples and such like to keep me feeling like I havent quite left yet.. it helps, almost )

  11. Jean says:

    I’m going to Paris in April and returning on a Monday so will have to do the testing dance on Sunday (unless things change again). I have already made a list of pharmacies open on Sunday but now my concern is that the Sunday happens to be May 1 so I’ll have to check how the holiday affects the pharmacy hours. But at this point I feel like Scarlett O’Hara – it’s three months away so I won’t lose any sleep tonight. Oh, to have a Frenchman on my arm!

  12. emjayandthem says:

    I know it was chaotic, but I enjoyed reading about your trip ~~ I could feel the anxiety rising with the verifly debacle. And I thought I was the only one who experiences depth perception difficulties wearing a mask, thank you for writing about that. I grip the handrail like a madwoman!!! Awaiting your next post … and drooling over those croissants .. MJ

  13. Katherine says:

    Oh my goodness! I could feel the stress! Hopefully better days ahead for all of us.

  14. Susan D says:

    Wonderful post and now looking forward to Christmas!!
    Susan D

  15. Paris is wonderful! My advice: get to the airport early. We did and was able to troubleshoot a problem with my passport and return ticket. My ticket had Steve for my first name and Stephen on my passport. The gate agent wouldn’t let me on the plane. I resolved it by calling the airline’s Paris office, but had to work through a language barrier. I was the last one on the plane. Not problem with the flight over. Lesson learned: Match your passport name to your tickets.

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