Ten Days For Ten Years

NoName

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Aug 1, 2012
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2,107
Introduction


In June 2012, Mrs NoName & I were married at Four Seasons in Singapore and embarked on a 5 week honeymoon in Europe and NYC. Oslo, Prague, Paris, London & NYC! We had a fantastic time together seeing sites and experiences. It was a truly memorable time! We had booked everything with cash and in Y, attempting to find good deals so it didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Of course, in reality the flights in particular were just a mish-mash of an itinerary which I’m sure could have been done more cost-effectively but lets just ignore that for a moment.

A couple of months out QF cancelled their lunchtime departure out of LHR which resulted in us cancelling our whole SIN-LHR-SIN booking and looking for a different option. Mrs NoName had built up what we thought was an impressive QFF points balance (around 200k from memory) through 4 or 5 domestic work trips each year and a low earning Suncorp CC so we decided to try to use them. We came up with 2x Y+ SIN-LHR which we were thrilled about! What could be better than sipping cheap sparkling wine in a reclining seat with slightly more legroom! Bliss! Mrs NoName had at the time paid for QP. It was such great value for money given we only used it few times a year, and it certainly came in handy helping us feel so smug that we were able to fill our stomachs in the SIN QF lounge prior to our flight.

Her QP membership somehow got us into the BA Galleries lounge in T5 as we awaited our connecting flight to Oslo as well. I don’t think this should have been permitted but for some reason it was. Then later in the trip we went with the tried and true “its our honeymoon, could we get an upgrade” spiel when checking in at EWR for our flight back to LHR. Well blow me down, it worked! World Traveller Plus on a rickety old BA 747 with a non-functioning primitive seat back entertainment system here we come! Then, as if to prove that lightning does infact strike twice, the same story got us into the BA lounge, even after the lady on the front desk had initially said we weren’t eligible for access. Weren’t we just so clever!

Of course most of the above beyond the first paragraph is littered with sarcasm because however enjoyable it was at the time, subsequent trips over the years have well and truly put it in the shade in terms of the mode of transport and the accommodation options. It had also for some reason caused a lightbulb to go off in my head that perhaps there were ways to travel cheaply in J or even F. I mean, back then I thought those were just letters of the alphabet, but after having some story randomly pop up online, I ended up joining this forum in August 2012 and the real journey began.

Ten years later and I’ve managed to learn a few things from this forum. Well not just a few things but a lot of things and the result has been beyond anything I had ever hoped for. The knowledge base here is truly amazing and every time Im on board and press those buttons to convert my seat into a bed I think how lucky I am to have discovered it. Ten years later and I am still here and Mrs NoName and I are still using what I’ve learned to enjoy a much more comfortable travel experience. As a small token of my appreciation I give you:



Ten Days for Ten Years!
 

NoName

Established Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2012
Posts
2,107
Introduction Continued……


Around June last year I had the idea for a quick return to Europe for our tenth wedding anniversary. Sans child was the preferred option so I had a quick chat to Mother NoName about the possibility of her taking care of him for a week or so and when the answer came back in the affirmative the planning began. I’d wanted it to include our actual anniversary so there were a couple of date options which were quickly narrowed down to one when Mother NoName’s own travel plans became apparent. 22 May to 2 June was locked in and I went about my business sourcing flights. Ok so its actually 12 days but a couple were travel days and besides, “12 Days for 10 Years” would sound silly so lets just go with it.

I had plenty of QFF and SQ points to use so the only issue was going to be finding the availability on vaguely convenient routes. Ended up with the following:

BNE-DXB-CDG – EK F
CDG-NAP – AF Y – Paid
FCO-CPH-SIN-BNE – SQ J

Also waitlisted F/R out of LHR, FRA, CDG & ZRH for the return flights but none of those ever came through. I had originally booked the return flight out of ZRH with a much longer layover in Singapore. We had intended to go for an anniversary dinner in SIN at the Four Seasons but about 4 months out with the prevailing covid restrictions at the time it was looking like this would be more trouble than it was worth. Then, with the waitlists even then looking unlikely to clear I decided to change the departure point and reduce the layover to 3.5hrs.

The finalised itinerary was three locations – Paris, Capri & Positano. I have reported on these before but given we are in a post-covid world I will report again. Also due to not having NoName Jnr this time the activities will look a little different anyway. Itinerary was:

Paris – 2nts – Paris Marriott Champs Elysees
Naples – 1nt – Smart Hotel Napoli
Capri – 2nts – Hotel Mamela
Positano – 3nts – Palazzo Murat Positano
Rome – 1nt – Hilton Rome Airport

With the major planning out of the way it was time to sit back and wait. We hoped the covid situation would change enough for this trip to become possible and gradually, bit by bit it did. A few months out we were finally confident that it would happen and indeed it did. The final few weeks flew by, we began to pack, broke the news to NoName Jnr and finally it was time to go.


Let the report begin………
 

NoName

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Joined
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Posts
2,107
Day 0

Ok lets call this Day 0 since it didn’t really start until the evening. Yep, I’ll go with that.

Family stuff all day as we were counting down the hours until finally, around 5:30pm, Mother NoName turned up. We said goodbye to NoName Jnr and off they went to McDonalds for dinner. That was enough to keep him happy for a while. And this trip was going to be enough to keep us happy too! Off we went in an Uber for the 15min ride to BNE international.

We’d been here a month earlier for an impromptu trip to SIN in the school holidays but it still felt like a novelty after 2+ years off the horse. Checked in quickly, no one else in the F line, bags through to CDG as you’d expect, down through immigration and we were done. Next stop the Plaza Premium Lounge.

We still had a couple of hours to boarding so despite it being a few rungs below the currently closed EK lounge it was obviously going to be the waiting option. Located up the escalator to the right after you come out of the duty free stores, next to the SQ lounge. Easy entry and we found a couple of seats in the corner looking out the window to the terminal below.

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I recall this lounge being described in some pretty unflattering terms. I wouldn’t put it on that level but agree it isn’t up to the level of other lounges and if you are flying F (as we were) its probably fair enough to expect more. Nevertheless, the lounge was fine for a quick visit. The main negative for me would be that it appeared that they had tried to fit as many tables and chairs into the lounge as possible. Its quite a small space already so does make the room feel quite cramped. The food and drink options were perfectly adequate and we did enjoy a couple of bowls of chicken curry which tasted nice.

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I mentioned on another thread at the time that I had an odd experience at the bar. They had cans of drink sitting out on a slightly cooled shelf for self service. This did absolutely nothing to actually cool the drinks so I asked for a cold can of coke from the fridge behind the bar. The bartender said no, they are for making coughtails. What?? Why wouldn’t they have the fridge completely full of cans so that customers can use them too? Anyway, I told him I’d have a bourbon on the rocks and a cold can to go with it which was allowed for some reason. Quite bizarre.

Time flew by and before we knew it it was time to head to the gate. Made the 10 minute walk down the other end of the terminal, stood around for a while and then on we went……..
 

NoName

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Posts
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Day 0 – Continued

EK431 – BNE-DXB
2E & 2F


Down the ramp we went and we were quickly settled into seats 2E & 2F. Offered a glass of the Veurve before takeoff with the apology that they couldn’t offer Dom until we were in the air. Decided to wait. Soon enough we were away and I had a glass of the good stuff in hand. FAs came around to take food orders and shower time bookings etc. Went for a whole bunch of food (probably too much) and booked a shower for about 4hrs after takeoff.

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Food menu attached below.

Wine list:

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NoName

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Posts
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Day 0 – Continued
EK431 – BNE-DXB


Started off with the Caviar:

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Next was the Salmon Tataki – Fantastic. Asked to try a small glass of each of the white wines. Can’t recall specific details other than the Chablis being my preference. Oh, and the FA ended up pouring full glasses. :oops:

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Mezze Plate:

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Steak for the main. Nicely done with a glass of the Chateau Montrose.

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Finished off with the Salted Caramel Cheesecake and Cheese board

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Totally stuffed after that much food obviously but knowing there was going to be a trip report coming I felt it was my responsibility to the forum. :p
 

LadyC

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Joined
Feb 21, 2012
Posts
2,601
I'm sure you feel very pleased to have locked in those EK F fares long before the now ridiculous surcharge payments! Highly jealous!
 

NoName

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Joined
Aug 1, 2012
Posts
2,107
Day 0 – Continued

EK431 – BNE-DXB


By now my shower time was approaching so grabbed the PJs and headed over. Have to say its quite a novelty being able to take a shower in the air but also great as a freshen up before bed. The FA gave me a run down of how it works then I was in. Found I didn’t need the entire 5 minutes of water, had perhaps 3 then I was out and ready for bed.


In to bed and off to sleep.

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Not the best sleep as I wasn’t entirely comfortable for whatever reason. Think the cabin was too hot for my liking as I ended up losing the blanket, rolling up the legs and sleeves of the PJs before removing the shirt entirely. Got maybe 5hrs on and off sleep before I gave up on the idea. Woke up, watched a movie and then it was breakfast time.

Fruit and yoghurt:

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Pancakes were great. Recommend.

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While Mrs NoName had chosen dishes that I had also had for dinner, for breakfast we differed. She went for the scrambled eggs, which I have to say don’t appear very appetising. No complaints from her though.

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I had brought along my Super Nintendo Mini to see if it would work through the HDMI port that some seats have these days. The answer was yes it does! Very simple to operate: power through the USB port and then plug in the HDMI cord to the port for the vision. A menu came up asking me if I wanted to connect and I was away. Had a bit of fun playing around while downing a glass or two of Dom much to the amusement of Mrs NoName.

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Soon enough we were approaching DXB and the first leg of our journey was coming to an end.
 

NoName

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Joined
Aug 1, 2012
Posts
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Day 1


Off the plane at DXB and met by an EK staff member who was taking us and 1 other PAX through transit security and on to the lounge. We weren’t expecting this and were very appreciative. He took us to the security area where we went through. For some reason we assumed that’s where his job ended and we took off up the elevators to the F lounge at the A-gates. Got to the lounge desk only to see the staff member and other PAX wander in a minute or two later. :S


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Walked in and WOW! This place is huge! Grabbed a quick shower to freshen up and then wandered over to the dining area to have another breakfast. Had another plate of pancakes which were pretty good.

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Had a wander around the lounge to check it out a little longer. Even bigger than we had thought and that was with maybe 1/3 of the area closed, presumably as its not required yet.

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Timelapse walkthrough curtesy of Mrs NoName:


Sat down and chilled for a bit and soon enough it was boarding time. So, impressions of the lounge? Well big obviously. But IMO too big. I didn’t get the same feeling of exclusivity I get in other lounges. I mean, yeah, its an F lounge so obviously not just anyone can come in but the sheer size of it made it feel like just another airport terminal. Just my opinion and YMMV.

Nearly boarding time!

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Down the lift to the gate, over the bridge and onto EK73 for another 7hrs of EK F!

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NoName

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Joined
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Posts
2,107
Day 1 – Continued…..

EK73 - DXB-CDG
2E & 2F



No issues with serving the Dom prior to takeoff so we both obliged. In the air soon after with shower booking and lunch orders quickly taken.

Menu attached below:

Started off with the caviar again which was fantastic. Should have ordered another serving but with the cabin full again I let others enjoy as well.

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Duck starter – really good. Would recommend.

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Chicken for the main was also great. Nicely cooked. I was also given an unsolicited bowl of steamed beans. They tasted fine but I didn’t really need them. Had about half out of pity. Washed down with a couple of glasses of this great drop!

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Mrs NoName had the same order as me other than chicken. She chose the grilled prawns which she also enjoyed.

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Went the Mango mille-feuille and a cheese plate for dessert. Both were excellent despite the stomach being very full by this point. Added a glass of the Paradis to go with it. Not a huge cognac fan but when you’re in F and its on offer, why not!

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We relaxed for a bit before deciding to head to the back and chill at the bar. Really love this idea! The bar is very cool and can see why its so popular. We grabbed a seat, ordered a couple of drinks (and then a couple more), chatted to the FAs and watched the world go by!

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An hour or so later one of the FAs came to get us as it was shower time. We decided to go back to the F cabin via the lower deck so did a lap which served to remind us how lucky we are to be able to travel the way we do. The points game really is brilliant! Showered and into some fresh clothes, watched a movie and before we knew it we were descending and touched down in at a rainy CDG.

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So what was the verdict on EK F? Amazing! The food and drinks (especially the drinks) were on another level to what I have experienced elsewhere. We have another booking in December and already can not wait. I had managed to book these as soon as they were released for booking and prior to the multiple increases in co-payment. Total cost was 227,500 QF pts + $447.04 per PAX. If booked today I believe the copayment would be close to $2k per person.
 

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craven morehead

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Introduction Continued……


Around June last year I had the idea for a quick return to Europe for our tenth wedding anniversary. Sans child was the preferred option so I had a quick chat to Mother NoName about the possibility of her taking care of him for a week or so and when the answer came back in the affirmative the planning began. I’d wanted it to include our actual anniversary so there were a couple of date options which were quickly narrowed down to one when Mother NoName’s own travel plans became apparent. 22 May to 2 June was locked in and I went about my business sourcing flights. Ok so its actually 12 days but a couple were travel days and besides, “12 Days for 10 Years” would sound silly so lets just go with it.

I had plenty of QFF and SQ points to use so the only issue was going to be finding the availability on vaguely convenient routes. Ended up with the following:

BNE-DXB-CDG – EK F
CDG-NAP – AF Y – Paid
FCO-CPH-SIN-BNE – SQ J

Also waitlisted F/R out of LHR, FRA, CDG & ZRH for the return flights but none of those ever came through. I had originally booked the return flight out of ZRH with a much longer layover in Singapore. We had intended to go for an anniversary dinner in SIN at the Four Seasons but about 4 months out with the prevailing covid restrictions at the time it was looking like this would be more trouble than it was worth. Then, with the waitlists even then looking unlikely to clear I decided to change the departure point and reduce the layover to 3.5hrs.

The finalised itinerary was three locations – Paris, Capri & Positano. I have reported on these before but given we are in a post-covid world I will report again. Also due to not having NoName Jnr this time the activities will look a little different anyway. Itinerary was:

Paris – 2nts – Paris Marriott Champs Elysees
Naples – 1nt – Smart Hotel Napoli
Capri – 2nts – Hotel Mamela
Positano – 3nts – Palazzo Murat Positano
Rome – 1nt – Hilton Rome Airport

With the major planning out of the way it was time to sit back and wait. We hoped the covid situation would change enough for this trip to become possible and gradually, bit by bit it did. A few months out we were finally confident that it would happen and indeed it did. The final few weeks flew by, we began to pack, broke the news to NoName Jnr and finally it was time to go.


Let the report begin………

Think I joined in 2012 as well. What a learning curve ✈️🍾🥂😎
 

Pushka

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Posts
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I remember years ago reading of a now gone poster who talked of experiences of showers in planes. I couldn't imagine having this untold luxury but I made it a goal to somehow have one. And I did. Twice now. And many upgrades to F on the 777. But never on Qantas. We have a lot to be thankful to AFF for, as well as so many helpful contributors.

My Avatar is a photo taken on the first flight I had that shower.
 

NoName

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Joined
Aug 1, 2012
Posts
2,107
Day 1 – Continued

We were off the plane and quickly made our way to immigration. We had printed everything we thought we needed – vaccination certificates + a form attesting that we had no covid symptoms etc – however the lady at immigration didn’t request anything. It made us wonder how much longer this is even going to be a thing as we hadn’t been asked to show any of this documentation when checking in at BNE prior to departure either. Straight through to the baggage claim where we quickly realised that masks were also not required, then 20 minutes later we were in a taxi on our way to the hotel.

As the taxi made its way closer to the centre of Paris it really did feel great to be back! Taxi eventually went around the final corner and pulled up outside our home for the next two nights – Paris Marriott Champs Elysees. This was booked with Marrott Bonvoy points –120,000pts for the 2 nights (prior to the introduction of dynamic award pricing) which I thought was great given the cash rate at the time of booking was over €600 per night. The hotel is situated right on the Champs Elysees so from a tourist point of view it is right amongst it. No doubt you pay a premium for this but the room was great as was the hotel in general. It was/is undergoing renovations currently with some rooms out of action, along with some scaffolding out the front but this made absolutely no difference. The staff at reception also apologised in advance for any noise the builders made but we didn’t even notice.

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After a short rest we decided to step out. By this time it was around 4pm or so and we figured some aimless walking, dinner and more aimless walking was on the cards.

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NoName

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Posts
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Day 1 – Continued


Somewhere along the way as we made our way in the general direction of the Eifel Tower we decided we were hungry. Got directed to Les Marches which was good enough for us. Food was decent and pricing reasonable.

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From there we continued on our way.

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Eventually we arrived at the Eiffel Tower and saw the array of merchants peddling their wares to the masses of tourists. No, we don’t need any Eiffel Tower figurines today thanks. The sun was beginning to go down so we made away back across the rive to the Jardins du Trocadero and took a seat to await the light show.


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By now it was past 10pm and we were done! 24hrs of travel across 8 timezones had taken its toll and we were ready to crash. We made our way back through the street towards the hotel and 20 minutes or so later we were back upstairs in bed. Great start to the trip and we couldn’t wait to get back out there again the following day.
 
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NoName

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Aug 1, 2012
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Day 2


As those who have read previous trip reports would know, we love the tennis. Previous reports have seen us visit the US Open, Italian Open and US Open again and today it was time to add another one to the list – Roland Garros! Pretty much as soon as we had the dates and long haul flights for this trip locked in I had realised we would be in Paris during the first couple of days of the tournament so we were always going to make sure it was on the itinerary. We decided on the 1st Tuesday and I went about finding how to get tickets. This proved extremely easy as the official website gave clear dates for when they went on sale. I ended up delaying the purchase for a couple of weeks and as a result we missed out on Philippe Chartrier tickets and had to settle for Suzanne Lenglen. This turned out to be no issue at all though. Total cost was €130 for 2x category 2 seats about ¾ the way up behind the baseline and also included grounds access to the outer courts.

Out the door and down the Champs Elysees we went. Grabbed a croissant on the way and headed to Franklin D Roosevelt metro station. After a brief detour and double back after we somehow got on the wrong train we were on our way. Off 8 or 9 stops later and after 5 minutes walking through the streets we saw the crowds. Excitement!

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Took a while in the long line to reach the entrance but we eventually got there and then pretty quickly we were in the stadium. Walked around for a bit looking at a few things and then made our way into the court.

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The champ!

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Mens number 2 (now number 1) Daniil Medvedev

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Watched a couple of sets of that match then went wandering again to check out the outer courts.

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Back to Suzanne Lenglen for the Alex De Minaur match – he lost ☹

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Well the day went fast and after 3 sets it was around 6pm and time for us to leave. Wandered out through and with the masses and in 15 min or so we were back at the metro station and travelling quickly back to the hotel. Would thoroughly recommend a day at Roland Garros for anyone who happens to be in Paris at the right time. Like all of these big tournaments it really is a great day out, especially in the early stages when there are lots of games going on. The big matches towards the end are always good too but early on it really is a great atmosphere with the whole venue pumping and with the choice to pick and choose who you want to see play. On the list to return for sure!
 

NoName

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Aug 1, 2012
Posts
2,107
Day 2 – Continued


After a short rest we were ready to go find somewhere to eat. Once again we just went for a wander, having a look around until we found somewhere that appealed. Ended up at Le Bistro Marbeuf and it was a great choice.

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Couple of glasses of red:

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Mrs NoName had been craving French onion soup. She was not disappointed:

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Fois Gras for me. Fantastic!

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Chicken main for Mrs NoName:

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Steak Tartare for my main. Loved this!

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This meal was great. Big servings, delicious and while I can’t recall the total price it was reasonable. We walked out very full and very satisfied. Recommend.

Wandered back towards the hotel but made a detour up towards the Arc De Triomphe in order to work off some of the food. Took the obligatory photos before calling it a night.

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Xrayspice

Intern
Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Posts
57
My bucket list if to fly first class. I have been saving points for a decade. Two years ago, it seemed much easier to find first class tickets. Today, Business is near impossible, First seats are unicorns.
 

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