I'm sitting in the Skyteam AF lounge in Paris CDG Terminal E, and it has to be one of the all time best (better than other Skyteam AF lounges in other parts of the airport, unless they've changed).
I had an amazing week of filming an English/German documentary on medieval women (Joan of Arc being my part) to accompany an E/G miniseries on Pillars of the Earth in the fall. It was so out of my ordinary experience! I've done radio interviews, but television is different. It got easier after the first shots where I wasn't talking to anyone but cameras, and later with KF, and then yesterday a solo interview in a tower at Chinon Castle. And the producer, director and crew were so great -- funny and yet dead serious about making a great documentary at the same time. When they weren't using me I offered to do 'crowd control' which turned out to be fun. Most everyone in the castle Friday and Saturday was French, so to keep them out of filming areas I had to whisper conspiratorially what we were doing. I met so many wonderful people and they were so excited and all complied fully, even shushing their family if they tried to go forward or talk. Working with a makeup artist in pouring rain was different.
Back to the subject. My flight to Boston takes off in two hours, and I've already been here in the AF lounge two hours. I got a guided tour by one of the entry people. He told me there were two sides of the lounge and it was a matter of taste which you preferred, but he suggested one for me that had a lovely buffet of fresh turkey breast, country French bread, rice salad and desserts, then pointed to all the open bottles of champagne, white and red wine, and juices and soda. He then told me where to find the rest rooms and how to connect to the internet. WOW -- all of that was a first (and I'm still sitting here drinking champagne). He also pointed to a HUGE array of newspapers/magazines in all languages. Kudos to AF/Skyteam lounge in Terminal E, CDG!!!ranc
The only partially comparable but different experience happened, I think, in Rome, a few years ago, when Delta didn't have its own lounge and I was given a Swissair lounge pass. While it did not have free wifi, it had very good food and wine and massage chairs.
My worst lounge experiences (almost always Delta or Skyteam since that's the only group I'm a very FF in) are: Boston (except for the wonderful people). The appetizers (to put it mildly) suck, and you have to ask for wine or beer or cocktails, and they don't offer champagne unless you buy a bottle of Dom Perignon. At JFK I almost don't notice because it's such an improvement to the havoc in the terminals, so a welcome relief. Again, my favorite US lounge would be Delta's in Detroit, which I think has carried over the Northwest influence because it has many more offerings and is more 'open'.
I wouldn't know an airport lounge if it bit me in the face, so I have nothing interesting or informative to offer along these lines. Regarding your documentary, please keep us posted upon completion and let us know air dates if you can. Ken Follett just finished filming at Ely Cathedral yesterday for his upcoming documentary, "Ken Follett's Middle Ages." I'm really looking forward to that one as well.
That's the same one we were filming in France. It'll be a two-part documentary to accompany his miniseries of Pillars of the Earth and World Without End to appear before or after the miniseries in October in England (Channel 4) and Germany. Before I left everyone was looking to England with trepidation because the weather was supposed to be as awful as it was all last week in France.
But I'm home now in warm Maine again. However, it was the experience of a lifetime! I don't know how producers, directors, and the film crew do it after seeing almost 15 days per day of non-stop shooting. We did Rouen first then Chinon. Domremy was originally in the script but it was simply too far and the weather too bad, so we stayed the extra day in Chinon.
It's a Small World After All. How exciting. Sounds like it will be pack with treasures of information and a must see. Will have to look out for it here in the U.S. I read that it was indeed very cold in that area of the U.K. yesterday. I read Pillars of the Earth about 15(?) years ago. Went to work many a day bleary eyed because I couldn't put the book down. Was fascinated by the architecture, and even had to develop a small personal dictionary of cathedral terms. I love how a novel can open one's eyes to marvelous things. It has had a significant impact on my foreign travel experiences. I hate to say it, but Dan Brown's books did something similar for me. Opened my eyes to Bernini's work.
It was just as cold in France, especially in Chinon. We did the first day and a half in Rouen, which was a little better (off and on rain but high winds, to the point they finally made me tie my hair back because you couldn't see my face). The first day in Chinon (mostly KF's stuff, though I walked him through the castle and explained various parts of Joan's story) was not too bad because the rain was only sometimes and there was no wind. The last day of filming in Chinon was horrible -- pouring, torrential rain. Fortunately, for my interview, they had gotten permission to use one of the towers so I was technically inside, but although producers and directors don't like you wearing different things (harder to splice as I found out), I had to wear a coat the whole time because it was exceptionally cold and rained hard all day. It figured that the day we drove back to Paris (Sunday), when they flew to London on to Ely and me to Boston, things cleared up... Natural of course.
I got into history completely through reading a historical novel and I have sometimes used Pillars for teaching an Intensive Janplan on History Through Fiction.
I like Dan Brown's book for a good fast, intriguing read. Unfortunately his historical knowledge is terrible, though it hasn't stopped me from reading all his books. Try Connie Willis -- she has a great series on time travel which is not what it seems -- it is more historical fiction than science fiction. Only the premise is scifi -- grad students in the mid-21st C. who do their studies abroad via time travel. And she really knows her stuff.
Probably not -- the History channel tends to like to sensationalize a bit, so most of us who work at colleges and universities are wary of such invitations. Some programs are good, but others are usually amateur historians, antiquarians, or literary specialists. I saw a program before I left on Nostradamus, and it was ridiculous. Actually most everything about Nostradamus is ridiculous. Although he was taken seriously by Catherine de Medici, so much so that she took her son, the young Charles IX, on a tour to Provence to meet him, N. borrowed many of his prophecies from famous 15th C. astrologers. And the greatest part of his almanachs (the quatrains so often quoted) refer to events that easily fit France in the throes of religious wars, when he lived.
The combination of torrential rain and wind was really bad, especially when it got cold in Chinon. I hadn't even taken a coat with me (just a suit jacket), but fortunately one of the co-producers let me wear hers for some of the shots. I liked Crichton's Timeline as well as Andromeda Strain though the last book I read by him really turned me off. It had nothing to do with fiction but was a diatribe about something or other. I actually stopped reading it in the middle. We are what we are, and should not pretend to be what we are not. That sounds ridiculously philosophical, but I knew even last week I could never live that life for a lengthy period of time - it requires a stamina I don't have. And while they did not make me compromise anything I believe about Joan (they were super good about that) I had to correct several preconceptions, even though they were based on reading my book! But I think it takes really deep historical knowledge to film accurately, which I think they deserve credit for in getting experts. The parts are on medieval women (Joan of Arc for me, and others for Hildegard of Bingen and Marguerite Porete) and the Black Death, which they filmed in Florence and are now doing in England.
Still, it was great fun to live a different life for a week. As long as I don't get pneumonia!
Thanks, Lori! It really was the trip of a lifetime, even more so than off-Broadway. I know now that the academic life is for me since I could never live with shots, standing, hair being fixed, makeup being applied, etc. all over about 15 hours per day with little sleep.
If the program is disseminated in the US (I don't know why not , considering the popularity of KF's bestsellers), though right now it's scheduled for Britain and Germany, where the producers and directors are. So if the miniseries is a hit they might sell the accompanying documentary for US rights too. Let's hope! I'll get a DVD for myself in any case. Probably not summer stock in the Poconos, though...
THe best lounge I experienced was when US Air formerly partnered with British Airways on flights to Europe. That British Lounge was head and shoulders above any US Club. The worst is USAir B/C terminal in Philadelphia. They have "spared every expense," and the attendants are surly.
Most beautiful lounge was American Airlines at the San Francisco airport. It was modern, but with the feel of being in a redwood forest. Good thing it was nice, since I was stuck there for quite a while with a delayed flight. Only drawback was no free food and cocktails...you have to pay in their lounges!
Agree the Delta at Detroit is good and fortunately, the one I'm usually at since I go back and forth to there frequently. However, the one in Ft. Lauderdale where I fly out of most of the time is quite run down with very iffy service. Though enjoying the eye candy of seeing Dan Marino there makes up for it!
Next time you're in DTW Delta lounge, email me. I'm always there en route to international flights and love the food and drink selections. I haven't been in SF in ages, so don't know. I do have to reiterate that Air France/Skyteam (which of course includes Delta) has really done a total makeover of their Terminal E lounge. It was amazing, not only the breakfast, but (I didn't -- it was morning!) you could drink anything you wanted at your leisure without asking or paying tips (which seem to be expected in most Delta lounges in the US where there is a counter -- that is why I like Detroit -- it retains its NW characteristics, plus exceptionally nice people).
Super! That's tomorrow. There is something very important that I would like you to do. Have Fun! And laugh a lot! We'll look forward hearing about your trip when you return, and hope to read about any great dining experiences or encounters/activities that you will have enjoyed.
Oh, also will look forward to hearing how you liked a church or two (Saint-Sulpice or Saint-Denis, or Saint-Séverin!)
Will surly have fun! Likewise have some great laughs and certainly some great meals. May even get another hot dog on the street. prior to going to The Ritz for dinner!
The Renaissance has got me a car to pick me up at CDG and that is costly, but having someone meet you at the plane, get you thru customs and get you directly to the hotel is worth it to me. I know of no other city or hotel that does this for you!
Will make sure I save a few laughs and a lot of good times for your upcoming trip to Paris!
Just checked my three upcoming flights and July 25 is the day through Detroit. I arrive from Portland, ME around 9:30 am and then leave at 3:20. The two European flights (very unfortunately) go through JFK. The Honolulu free flight stops at DTW and other places, so I will feel free to indulge in all of DTW Skylounge's amenities. And if you're there, email me!