Skip to main content

ON TAKING OUR CATS TO FRANCE - PART 1

We will not move to France without Mimi and Chloe, our Siamese stepsisters. It would not be LIKE leaving members of our family behind. We WOULD be leaving members of our family behind. So we investigated.

There appear to be two phases to the process. First, how are we going to travel with the cats physically? Then, what happens when we show up in customs with two very tired, annoyed, and vocal felines?

This post will discuss the first question.

Let me be clear. We will not fly in the cabin with the cats in the hold. More precisely, Cathey won't fly in the cabin with the cats in the hold and I, being smarter than the average bear, agree. This limits our choice of airlines. Our usual carrier is Delta/Air France. We normally fly from JFK to Barcelona, rent a car, and drive over the border to France. Delta/Air France does allow cats in the cabin - for a fee of $200 apiece. Including that fee, two one-way tickets would amount to just under $5,000. Two round trip tickets would come to  $2,300. Big difference.

So I called Delta and asked the question: What happens if I buy a round-trip ticket and don't use the return? The answer, according to the agent with an accent neither American nor French, is that nothing will happen. We will receive a credit for the unused portion of the ticket and, after a year, the credit will disappear.

That works.

A thought occurred. We'll be flying into Spain but the cats will be residing in France. We could certainly drive across the border between the two countries without stopping, or even slowing down very much, but will that result in our cats being illegal residents of France? Perhaps it would be better to just fly into France and be done with it.

The question of price became an issue as did the fact that there are no direct flights to any city as close to our destination as Barcelona. To fly to Paris, change planes, and fly on to Montpellier would be one solution. But instead of costing us $2,300, that flight would cost closer to $3,300.

What other options were there to consider? After much internet investigation and phone calls to several different airlines, we have come up with a solution. Turkish Air. We can fly from JFK through Istanbul to Marseille, with the cats in the cabin, for a total of $1,297. One-way tickets. And our tickets would be flexible. No charge for date or flight changes. Literally cheap at twice the price.

The layover in Istanbul will add considerable time to the trip but will also give us time to figure out a way to allow the cats to release their bladders and stretch their legs.

So, unless we come up with Plan C, we'll work on the assumption that we're headed for Marseille by way of Istanbul.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

FRENCH VISA AND HEALTH INSURANCE FOR AMERICANS

The most expensive item in an American family's budget may be health insurance. But many Americans have no understanding of the true cost of their insurance because it's included in their employment package. Folks simply don't think about how much their employer may be reducing their salaries when factoring in insurance costs.

Before I retired, my employer paid for my health insurance but I had to pay to insure my wife. The cost, taken out of my every paycheck, came to about $6,000 annually. And even with insurance, there were co-pays and other out of pocket expenses. We were reasonably healthy (and still are, knock wood), but we each take a few common prescription medications - for blood pressure and cholesterol and the like, nothing exotic or costly. Even so, with regular visits to the doctor, periodic lab work, the drugs, and the occasional illness or injury, we normally spent an additional several thousand dollars annually in the States over and above the cost of the i…

CHÉ OLIVE / LE ZINC, CREISSAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

No, it's not Chez Olive. It is indeed Ché complete with red star and black beret. I have no idea why and I wasn't about to ask. The French are the French and not to be analyzed too closely when it comes to politics, especially these days.

Creissan is the next town over from our village of Quarante. We pass through it often and Ché Olive is right there on the main road at the entrance to town. (One of the signs still says Le Zinc. Olive says he prefers Ché Olive though.) Olive opened it a couple of years ago after leaving the Bar 40, Quarante's basic local watering hole that's undergone a bit of a renaissance lately. We hadn't heard much about Ché Olive from our usual sources for dining recommendations. So we just kept passing by. For reasons not central to this review, we decided to stop in for lunch on a mid-week in late December.

The bar is cozy, the restaurant open and bright and modern. Newly renovated and perhaps a bit sterile. We were the first…

CHRISTMAS WALK TO VIEW OF THE PYRENEES: 2018

Cathey said that it was OK for me to take my usual Tuesday morning walk on Christmas Day. I could help set the table and perform other minor tasks necessary for a satisfactory Christmas dinner with friends after I returned. So off I went. Temperature 40℉ at the start near sunup. 50℉ at the finish a couple of hours later. No wind. Blue skies. This was the winter that I came to France for.

The walk can't really be called scenic. Just through the vines until you get to the headland opposite the village. But the closer that you get to the top, you begin to see the Pyrenees peeking through. And at the top, it's a 360° panorama.