©2016 By J.S. Fletcher and Kathy M. Newbern
If you overlooked the fall announcement that Delta would begin offereing Raleigh and the Triangle a direct flight to the City of Lights, now is the time to look more closely as Spring in Paris is well, fabulous. And the new nonstop service RDU to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport starts quite soon: May 12, 2016. The flight will operate in conjunction with the airline’s European joint venture partners Air France, KLM and Alitalia using 164-seat, Boeing 757-200ER aircraft.
Delta’s VP for Global Sales Bob Somers, said, “The Research Triangle is an important market for Delta, and our new Paris flight is the latest in a series of Delta investments in the region, both at the airport and in the community. For business or leisure, we look forward to serving our customers across the Atlantic as we strengthen our relationship with the region, and the region’s ties to the world.”
From Delta’s joint venture hub in Paris, customers can connect to more than 75 onward destinations throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa, increasing global access for a region with strong international ties through its world-class universities and global companies. The daily flight will be Delta’s 13th destination from Paris and the only nonstop link between the two cities.
Mike Landguth, CEO and president of RDU Airport Authority, noted: “RDU and Delta Air Lines have been business partners for more than 40 years. During this time, Delta has increased its presence at RDU to meet the demand of our region, which it does today with nonstop service to 20 cities. We thank Delta for its continued investment in our community and for connecting our region to the world.”
Delta is the largest airline at RDU with more than 60 daily departures, and the new flight is just one component of Delta’s recent investments in the region.
The Delta Sky Club at RDU now offers enhanced food options, premium drink offerings, Starbucks coffee and an automated, self-service espresso machine. In August, Delta launched an alliance with Duke University to embed the airline and its employees in campus and alumni events, academics and career recruiting and counseling, all in an effort to become a lifelong travel partner to future customers. Delta also enjoys an existing marketing agreement with University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
Here are the details: Flight DL 230 departs Raleigh-Durham (RDU) at 6:13 p.m. and arrives in Paris (CDG) at 8:35 a.m. (next day). Return flight DL 231 leaves Paris at 10:45 a.m. and arrives at RDU 1:57 p.m. Get details at http://www.rdu.com/paris/ and book at delta.com.
To celebrate the news, we’re sharing here our own Top 10 must-sees in this magical city:
1. The Eiffel Tower
The first time we saw this icon of romance lit at night gave us chills. We were taking a cruise on the River Seine – oh so romantic. Tip: The Tower puts on a ten-minute, flashing light show each evening starting five minutes after each hour from sunset until 1 a.m. Don’t miss it.
2. The Louvre Museum
Plan your visit. Talk with your concierge about the best time to avoid the crowds, or, better yet, book an after-hours tour that some operators offer. Allow time to linger on the grounds. The 70-foot, glass-and-metal pyramid is way cool.
3. Monmartre and Sacré-Coeur
Stroll among the street artists, locals, tourists, and street hawkers in this busy neighborhood where the centerpiece is the lovely basilica. You can view it inside and out, and there’s even a crypt. If you climb the steep, spiral stairs, you’ll be rewarded with the second-highest viewpoint in Paris after the Eiffel Tower. Tips: Beware of pickpockets as streets here are crowded. And, you can use your metro ticket to take the short ride up – the streets are steep – on the funicular.
4. See the bridges
Don’t miss the city’s beautiful bridges nicely viewed on a River Seine cruise, such as the popular Bateaux Mouches or even the affordable Batobus. Tip: Take a bottle of wine, some food and a blanket and dine like a local on the pedestrian bridge Pont des Arts late day. The light and the people are delightful. Also for a short time in the summer, walk a stretch alongside the Seine turned into Paris Plage, or Paris Beach, complete with sand.
5. The Champs-Elysées and Arc d’Triomphe
This is the ultimate street for the true shopaholic, and the people watching is likewise fantastic. Pop into the beautiful and historic Laduree store for the most famous of French cookies, the macaroon that comes in wide varieties of flavors and colors. They are beautifully boxed, too, for a great take-home gift, or purchase one of the store’s trademark totes as a souvenir. At the arch, you can climb to the top for some nice views down several boulevards and of the Eiffel Tower, but be very careful crossing the street as the traffic can be insane.
6. Place des Vosges
This spot in the 4th Arrondissement was originally known as the Place Royale. This is a big square – Paris’ first – with plush grass, gravel walks, fountains and lots of trees alongside palace-like mansions, chic boutiques and antique shops.
7. Notre-Dame Cathedral
See this beautiful Gothic church and study its gargoyles, then stand on “Point Zero,” an actual marking on the sidewalk out front. It is from this point that the distances to Paris from all of France are measured. (America’s Point Zero is outside the White House). If you stand here, you’ll return to Paris, some say.
8. The Paris Opera HouseAlso known as Palais Garnier or Opéra Garnier, it took 14 years to build, and some call this the best-known building in all of Paris (but we guess Eiffel is a “tower,” right?) Just seeing this Neo-Baroque architecture is memorable enough, but ask your concierge if there are any performances planned (though ballet is mainly here now since opera moved to Opéra Bastille). Inside is a museum with costumes and set models, a seven-ton chandelier, and ceiling painting by Marc Chagall.
9. The Orsay Museum
The works of the Impressionists alone are worth the visit but there’s so much more including the building itself, a beautifully restored train station. Tip: The entry lines move quickly, but once inside, skip the ticket counter lines and use the lobby ticket machines that accept credit card or cash. Inside, pace yourself with a break for coffee in the lovely little cafe under the huge clock on the top floor. The Rodin Museum is another of our favorites with “The Thinker” in the gardens and the majestic “Gates of Hell” door inspired by Dante’s “Inferno.”
10. Take an excursion to a Paris outskirt, such as the palace at Versailles or Giverny, home to Monet and those art-inspiring lily ponds. There are only a few of his paintings in the house (all copies) there, but the grounds and their tranquility are the true drawing card. Before coming, view Monet’s works in these Paris museums: Orsay, Marmottan and l’Orangerie.
Taste of Paris: If you want a little taste of what it’s like to be in Paris, take an armchair trip in YourNovel’s Lover’s Paradise: Paris Novella featuring two award-winning Paris short stories personalized to make you the star.
Award-winning freelance travel journalists, Fletcher and Newbern often incorporate their romantic travels into their other business, YourNovel.com, where they put you and your sweetie in your own personalized romance novel “wild” or “mild.” They love visiting Paris, one of the most romantic cities in the world.