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Airports & Travel RetailersBlog
What do they say? Whatever happens in Paris, stays in Paris. Well no, actually, because my last trip is definitely worth sharing.
It was a short trip – there to conduct a key interview at L’Oréal, one of the series we are currently producing for trunblocked.com  I flew in on Monday afternoon and went straight to Maison Saintonge, a popular boutique hotel. This is located in one of my favourite Paris areas – the Marais.
Now when they define ‘executive room’ in booking.com or expedia, you would reasonably expect a good sized room, wouldn’t you, with seating and a decent workspace. Apparently not here. The room was extremely cosy, to say the least. The queen bed was good for dwarves. But what took star prize was the bathroom. Perhaps 2 square metres, the left hand side of the toilet was attached to the wall, which meant ‘sitting on the throne’ added up to sitting at a 45 degree angle. According to the hotel, which is an old, converted building, this is down to the original structure combined with the ‘design concept’. Need I say more?
Filming the next day went very well, and we then prepared to leave. The return journey was eventful. We were actually involved in a minor car crash, when another car suddenly swerved in front of us and we hit its rear. Both drivers jumped out and came close to blows. But when our taxi driver suggested he call the police, the driver at fault jumped back into his car and drove off. Our guess was that he had neither drivers’ licence nor insurance. But we had lost time, so finally arrived at CDG’s Terminal 1 –  that unattractive concrete doughnut of a building –  unhurt, but a little shocked and frustrated. Frustrated because we had been advised to get there with plenty of time in hand in order to avoid the predicted queuing involved at both check-in and security.
We were flying Pegasus from CDG, a recent change for the airline from Orly. At check in we encountered a difficult supervisor (not a Pegasus employee, I should add) who appeared to make the arbitrary decision to demand that all passengers place their hand luggage in the hold. This, according to her, was because the plane was full and that if we did not abide by her request, it was likely going to delay the flight. It was an extraordinary request, one which I said I was not going to accept as I was only carrying hand luggage and it contained fragile video equipment. And this was all happening at a time some 2.5 hours away from the flight and only 20 people at most had checked in!
After our exchange, I was finally allowed to carry my hand luggage onto the plane, but my travelling partner placed hers in the hold. We were curious as to why such a request had been made, so when on the plane we asked the Cabin Service Director whether she was aware of any such directive to the airport by the airline. She was not. Her colleague also observed that all cabin crew were surprised at how little hand luggage passengers had with them when boarding. Now if, in fact, the plane was full, you would reasonably expect some passengers to be invited to leave their hand luggage to be stored in the hold. But the real truth of the matter was that there were 15 empty seats, that there was plenty of space in the cabin racks and that the check-in supervisor had clearly overstepped the mark with both attitude and an economy of truth. Front line impressions are important for every airport, and hers did not help one iota.
But before boarding the plane, we entered Extime, Groupe ADP’s extraordinary new retail and hospitality brand. I only had a very short time to capture the size and scale of the location, but one thing is for sure – it genuinely provides a brand new benchmark for the industry.
In a cathedral-like setting, and as you will see from the images below, captured on my Samsung Flip 3 mobile, it houses the very best of  global fragrance houses and fashion brands. It is a riot of colour, a place easy to navigate, a place to experience and will doubtless succeed.

Adjoining the hall of delights, there is a large walkthrough space dedicated to fine foods, liquor, tobacco, wines, confectionery and tech. Once again, it’s the design, product offer and colours that strike the eye. No clutter here, either. Th8e images below tell the story.

There are escalators upstairs on both sides of the hall that take you to the food sections. These are relatively small spaces and I can see some issues emerging with overcrowding and lack of seating, something you will also not find in the beauty and fashion hall.
A small thing, but signage indicating the toilets upstairs would be helpful. Having said this, even the toilets have not escaped the designer touch and they are light, bright, welcoming….and working.
What did come as a huge surprise were the seating facilities as you approached the boarding gates. No streamlined rows of black or grey here, but upholstered, almost club-like seating with a view over the apron and a piano on location, too. A great place to relax after shopping and before boarding. A welcome addition for the many who will have shopped till they dropped!

So, if you’ll excuse the pun, a mixed bag of experiences on a quick visit to Paris. Underneath the skin of the Beast that is CDG, there now lies a Beauty in Extime.

 

Peter Marshall

Founder: trunblocked.com/Marshall Arts

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