The French bee flies from Los Angeles to Paris from $ 321 round trip, but what do you get for that price? – Press Telegram

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Taking a break from the high cost of holidays in and around the city of lights, the new French Bee airline recently debuted flights from Los Angeles to Paris Orly airport, a pleasant international alternative to the crowded Roissy-Charles de Gaulle.

Base rates start at $ 321, and the French bee is so “oh, LALA” for Southern California residents looking to visit one of the most romantic yet expensive places in the world. By structuring your prices using an a la carte model, a cost-oriented carrier allows you to decide how low you want to go. The cheapest route is to travel in the off-season without checked baggage, bring food and drinks, not have access to Wi-Fi aircraft and sit in the back, where density and noise can be a factor depending on tolerance.

According to Marc Roche, president and CEO of a 5-year-old airline called French Blue, until JetBlue saw the red, 60 percent of French bee passengers do so for free. Rebrand with the Bees first spread its wings in May 2018 with one-stop flights from Orly to Tahiti Faa’a International. The San Francisco International has served as a famous transfer, allowing passengers to travel exclusively to and from SFO in addition to transit between Paris and Papeete.

Taking advantage of the positive noise caused by the French connection between the European capital, the Gulf region and the gates to Bora Bora, the airline has expanded the Newark-Paris route after a pause caused by the pandemic. The airline, which operates a fleet of five Airbus A350s with a capacity of 411 to 480 passengers, is also flying to the French-run island of Reunion off the east coast of Africa and, since April 30, in Southern California. Miami-Paris and the sixth plane in the wings along with increasing the LAX-Paris route from three times a week to six in July.

For this discerning travel writer it was love from the first sound on the airline’s first flight from Los Angeles. “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy, my favorite classic play, sounded out of the speakers when I boarded the plane, so fresh looking and smelling that I thought it was also celebrating the first flight from Los Angeles. When I was informed that the A350-900 was almost three years old, a flight attendant with a French accent said that the intact condition of the vessel was normal and not just for a flight that publishes news. This was confirmed in a less historic trip back to Los Angeles aboard an airplane of the same model that also passed my white glove test. Heck, even the toilets were immaculate largely in line with French bee policy, which cleaned the premises every 30 minutes.

Economy, or what the French bee calls Basic, still offers a comfortable seat. (Photo by David Dixtein)

Airline seating options: Basic, Smart and Premium, which is similar to a good / best / best marketing structure. Truth be told, even the area with the lowest rent on the plane was perfectly fit to live for more than 10 hours between continents. This passenger checked all the sections during the round trip, and although all the seats were in order, the best, not surprisingly, was in front of the Premium aircraft, the equivalent of a first-class French bee.

Between all the options of fares, seat placement, legroom, luggage, access to the hall and other amenities, the act of flight selection on www.frenchbee.com you can try. Paying about $ 400 for a premium makes life less economical, but easier and more enjoyable. By opening your wallet wider, you get one of the 35 most comfortable seats and the lowest density on the liner, as well as providing two units of checked baggage and two full meals with unlimited drinks, including alcohol, on flights to and from California.

Premium is the French version of the first class of bees.  (courtesy of the French bee)
Premium is the French version of the first class of bees. (courtesy of the French bee)

With the exception of tap water, all consumables cost extra in all but the premium. Snacks and drinks are always available on site, but full hot meals are required when booking. The food is pretty good and not just “food at the airline”. Delicious and hearty were the hake (fish) dishes in the fodder sauce and creamy ginger puree, beef stew with pasta and cheese and, exclusive to a flight to Los Angeles, California rolls. Dishes include a gourmet cold salad or two, a roll and dessert at dinner, and a choice that includes eggs, French toast and yogurt for breakfast. The menu changes monthly.

Stretching the euro

Galeries Lafayette is a place to shop in Paris.  (Photo by David Dixtein)
Galeries Lafayette is a place to shop in Paris. (Photo by David Dixtein)

French bees focus more on vacationers than on business people, that a family of four can save the equivalent of an extra day in Paris by flying their blue-and-white planes. If you decide to spend these savings, pay attention to what you don’t necessarily need to see in Paris that are new and / or improved after COVID-19. At the top of the list should be the flagship store Galeries Lafayette (haussmann.galerieslafayette.com/en), Europe’s largest chain of department stores, which recently added a class of pasta makers and restaurants.

Within walking distance of this paradise of shopaholics is the 149-seat Kimpton St. Honore (kimptonsthonoreparis.com/en), the first California brand in Paris and a unique facility with a lobby adorned with two elevators registered in history, and influenced by the Golden State, which runs throughout the hotel. Sequoia is a well-defined rooftop bar with great views of the Palais Garnier, perhaps the most famous opera house in the world, and other attractions. Attentive SoCal guests will feel right at home seeing the waiters in the vans.

Visiting Disneyland Paris can also be enjoyable with that bonus day, thanks to the low rates of French bees, and there is evidence that it may be more affordable than a holiday at Disneyland despite the hemisphere. Here’s the idea: stretch your time and money for a day or two from the big city and the bright lights of La Ville Lumiere.

Pour Bordeaux and Cognac

About two hours south of Paris by train is the Bordeaux region. Don’t be surprised if a side trip to this gem of culture and winemaking will lead to a longer and more devoted visit soon. The French bee also makes it easy by rail, which connects the TGV stations of Bordeaux-Saint-Jean and Paris Massi with bus transfers to and from Orly, which can be added when booking flights.

Le Grand Hotel de Bordeaux by InterContinental is an excellent base in the famous wine region.  (Photo by David Dixtein)
Le Grand Hotel de Bordeaux by InterContinental is an excellent base in the famous wine region. (Photo by David Dixtein)

Creating a base at Le Grand Hotel de Bordeaux is a good thing. The refined 233-year-old InterContinental property is conveniently located in central Bordeaux, steps from Europe’s longest shopping street. The hotel is also of Epicurean admiration with restaurants that include Le Pressoir d’Argent Gordon Ramsay, a Michelin star.

La Cité du Vin showcases the history of winemaking around the world, including the Napa Valley.  (Photo by David Dixtein)
La Cité du Vin showcases the history of winemaking around the world, including the Napa Valley. (Photo by David Dixtein)

Le Grand Hotel is a great starting point for wine tasting adventure for a lifetime. The Bordeaux region, recognized as the international wine capital, is home to 65 names and hundreds of wineries, or castles. Start your day at La Cité du Vin (www.laciteduvin.com/be), an iconic high-rise building that opened in 2016, showcasing exhibitions dedicated to winemaking throughout history and around the world. Even the Napa Valley gets love from the stereotypically snobbish French. Each entrance ticket includes a 115-foot-tall observation deck tasting. More fun awaits in Le 7, the signature restaurant La Cite du Vin on the panoramic seventh floor.

Les Bassins de Lumières is a unique artistic experience on the basis of a former German submarine base of the Second World War.  (Photo by David Dixtein)
Les Bassins de Lumières is a unique artistic experience on the basis of a former German submarine base of the Second World War. (Photo by David Dixtein)

Find time for Les Bassins de Lumières, a one-of-a-kind digital art on the former base of German World War II submarines. The walls come to life with lighting set to music of different styles. Current exhibitions include a fascinating visual tour of Venice, Italy’s artistic and architectural treasures.

A magnificent 90 minute drive north will take you to Cognac, the birthplace of the smooth and refined spirit that bears his name. Hennessy, which has more than 250 years and is responsible for about half of the region’s production, is the most profitable cognac producer. So is Martell, which, founded in 1715, is the grandfather of the Grand Maisons de Cognac. The distillery upgraded its tour (www.martell.com/en-us/visit-us) during the pandemic, but intact was the 1959 Grand Champagne brandy with a six-figure price. It can be seen on tour on request.

Siping cognac in cognac can be one of the great pleasures in life.  (Photo by David Dixtein)
Siping cognac in cognac can be one of the greatest pleasures in life. (Photo by David Dixtein)

Not far from the city is Chateau des Plassons (www.toulouze-et-rastignac.com), which is about a quarter of Remy Martin’s cognac along with fine pinot, French liqueur wine with cognac and grape juice. If time is short, then go to where more than 220 cognacs from 40 producers are under one roof – the roof of the jazz bar of 1838 in the stunning hotel Chais Monnet et Spa (www.chaismonnethotel.com/en). The only five-star Cognac Hotel, opened a few months before the COVID-19 crash, offers 92 modern rooms and Michelin-starred Les Foudres.

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