Welcome to this new trip report of the LYSflyer covering an awesome trip to Canada where I visited Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City (domestic legs will be covered in another trip report).
Back in September 2017, Air Canada posted an incredible error fare for some destination from Paris. My wife and I decided to enjoy one of these to discover beautiful Canada for quite a low price. We were skeptical but everything worked perfectly well at the end of the day. As we had to depart from Paris CDG, we decided to take the TGV (High speed train) train from our hometown Avignon directly to CDG train station the day before our departure. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing train workers strike, we had our return train cancelled a week before...bummer...I tried to find a solution to get back home and I've found an expensive one way CDG-MPL ticket for 150€ while CDG-MRS reached 300€!
Anyway, beware...this trip report has A LOT of photos!
We first had to go to Paris CDG airport. We used the TGV which is quite a convenient way to cross the country if you don't live close to an airport. The prices can be quite on par with airplane prices and the comfort can be a hit or miss. Well, this day it was a miss because our train wasn't a refurbished one. Anyway, the ride was quite comfortable despite running 1h30 late due to a train broken down before our own train.
Avignon TGV train station is very convenient and the architecture is nice. Located a few kilometers away from the city center, it is convenient to use it
Nice interior with artwork on display. I like the modern style of this hall
Northbound platform where we waited for our train to finally call
Once inside the TGV Duplex train, we went upstairs. I highly recommend these upstairs seats as you can enjoy better views and less noise than downstairs ones
Non refurbished 1st class TGV coach. Comfortable enough but seating tends to be broken or non-functionning
What did I tell you about nice views? This is Lyon cité internationale
Countryside between Lyon and Paris CDG at sunset
Soon enough, we found ourselves in Paris CDG train station
Given the time of the day, there is not many flights left to depart as seen on this beautiful and famous FIDS
We booked a room on the so convenient Paris CDG Sheraton hotel that is literally located right in the middle of the Charles de Gaulle airport. The check-in was fairly long as many people were also checkin-ing but the staff was lovely and we enjoyed a complimentary upgrade! Well done!
Sheraton Charles de Gaulle entrance
Classy isn't it?
Very comfortable room with views over the apron and runway...all what an avgeek needs!
After a very comfortable night, it was time to wake-up and were treated with awesome views over the busy apron : 9W B77W, SV B77W, MD A343 among others
Then, we checked-out and headed to the Terminal 2A that hosts Air Canada operations with 2 daily flights from YUL and YYZ. Soon, AC will start YVR too!
Long travelator towards T2C and T2A
A quite crowded T2C landside check-in area for 9W, SV, SU, AH
We finally reached a crowded T2A in the middle of the North American flights departure bank (AA, AC, BA, CX operates from T2A)
AC check-in area. An averagely nice ground staff took care of us and soon enough it was time to go airside
Hopefully, we had Accès n°1 fast track because both security and immigration were overcrowded
After security, we had to go upstairs thus offering nice view over the apron (EY A388, AA A33x, HU A332)
While the building itself has that 70s feeling, it was nicely refurbished with a quite nice selection of food options and shops
Now, let's head towards the Maple Leaf Lounge
The Maple Leaf Lounge is situated at the very end of T2A, inside the UFO-shaped building
First view over our ride...despite some parts to improve, I find this livery very classy
It's quite a long walk to reach the lounge
Not so many people in there except for the PHL bound AA flight that is boarding
Some drink option but there was another part of the lounge where more substantial food options were on offer
This lounge is comfortable enough despite the limited food options. Remember that AC only operates 2 daily flights from CDG.
Our gate being prepared
Our flight is running a bit late
AA B772 in Oneworld livery heading to DFW
AA B763 heading to JFK
Flight # : AC881
Departure airport : Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG/LFPG)
Arrival airport : Toronto Lester B. Pearson (YYZ/CYYZ)
ETD : 1100
ATD : 1135
ETA : 1305
ATA : 1325
Scheduled flight time : 08:05
Actual flight time : 07:50
Aircraft type : Boeing 777-300ER
Reg # : C-FITL
Seat : 10K
Boarding started by zone which were strictly enforced. During OLCI, I selected this seat on the smaller 2nd C cabin for its more private feeling. At the door, we were greeted by nice and chatty FAs
Boarding through L1
Limited views over the wing but still nice to board a plane...Especially when travelling in C!
Very nice, clean and modern cabin with a small bottle of water and ammenity kit placed on each seat
Very comfortable seat. The only thing I dislike about herringbone configuration is that when travelling with a partner, it's either seating in the middle seats (no window...) or seating alone (so limited social interactions...)
Lavatories with a view!
Legroom shot...hum...infinite one!
Introducing the features of this seat. Unfortunately, my IFE didn't work however given the low load in C I was able to seat in another middle seat while still keeping my window seat for the natural IFE
Noice cancelling headphone. Very useful and effective as I couldn't plug my own one due to the 3-pin plug...
WANT ammenity kit
It's a complete selection of reading material to say the least
Today's menu...sorry, I forgot to take the english language page...
I like that mood lightning
While W and Y passengers were boarding, the purser came to introduce herself and gave the pre-departure drink...
Sparkling wine of course!
As boarding took a long time, she came back for a second round of sparkling wine!
Pushback. Who said that CDG was AF's fortress?
Passing by an AC B77W getting prepared for its flight back to YUL and one-of-the-many AA plane going to...I don't know where
Last view over T2A apron. Note that colorful HU A332 is being towed at our previous parking position
On the left, Air France's headquarter
A wonderfully beautiful Concorde with T3 on the background where you can see a TS A333...you can guess that Canada is quite popular in France
We were followed by a 9W B77W
Almost reaching the runway
No wait before taking off
The B77W is a beast with a huge acceleration
Airborne! Treated with a beautiful wingflex
Overflying the A1 motorway that links Paris with the northern part of France
Over some densely populated suburbs of Paris
Slowly gaining altitude over the countryside
Soon, service started with the distribution of a warm oshibori
Seine river estuary with Le Havre on the northern bank
Flying skies of Normandy...remembering the sacrifice of those who fought D-Day and WWII
Nice weather over Cotentin peninsula
First round of drink with a delicious Signature cocktail with warmed nuts (I even had a second round of nuts afterwards)
Tasteful starter : Foie Gras and duck slices with a fresh salad on the side
A lunch above the clouds...priceless
Main course : beef filet...well done!
For the dessert : fresh fruits with a bailey
I spend my time watching to some movies and even had a nap
Immigration cards were distributed
Cloudy day above the Atlantic ocean
Another oshibori was distributed
Simple and fresh tasteful 2nd service was served around 90 minutes before arriving
There is still snow on the ground
Beginning our descent towards YYZ
View over Lake Simcoe
Getting closer to YYZ
Such a densely populated area
Full brakes and reverse
Vacating the runway
Crossing a runway
Taxi was quite short
AC E75 taxiing
Parked at the hammerhead right next to a fellow AC B77W. You can have a glimpse over the tail of a SN A333
Disembarking was very fast before a loooong trek to the immigration
Wide path towards the immigration
Some RV B763 on the way. This livery looks very nice
Colorful welcome to Canada
Immigration was not the easiest process as my wife was selected for an additionnal screening that took ages. In the end, we were good to enter Canada!
Baggage claim area. It is very bright
Due to the additionnal screening, our bags were already waiting for us on the belt
Our Blacklane driver was waiting for us and led us to the curbside
Huge SUV that will drive us to Toronto City Airport for our next flight to Montreal
Nice ride towards Toronto City Airport
Toronto Billy Bishop Airport (YTZ/CYTZ) is ideally located in the lake shore very close to the city center (or at least, close to the famous CN Tower). It hosts a hub for Porter Airlines and for some Air Canada flights. Note that it is linked with Union Station by a complimentary free shuttle.
As YTZ main terminal is located on an island, there are 2 ways to reach it : an underground tunnel and a very nice ferry.
You have to go upstairs in order to board the ferry
If you are not in a hurry, I highly recommend to use the ferry that departs every 15 minutes
YTZ curbside downtown
Our ride is coming
Another jetbridge? No! It's a boatbridge!
About to board that boat
Off we go! It's amazing to see how close the city is
Few minutes later, we were ready to go check-in
Impressive views towards downtown Toronto
While the boat ride was lovely, the walk towards the check-in area is not the most glamorous one
Nice WWI fighter on exhibition...a Sopwith Camel perhaps?
Tiny check-in hall with only to desk for AC and all the other for PD
After a quite efficient check-in, it was time to go airside...downstairs it is
We found ourselves in the main waiting hall which is, in fact, some sort of lounge with comfortable seating, free wi-fi and complimentary food and beverages..well done YTZ!!!
First view over this racoon-like AC Q400 that will fly us to YUL. The jetbridge is good looking and it might be a relief during winter
Flight # : AC7970
Departure airport : Billy Bishop Toronto City (YTZ/CYTZ)
Arrival airport : Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International (YUL/CYUL)
ETD : 1615
ATD : 1610
ETA : 1725
ATA : 1730
Scheduled flight time : 01:10
Actual flight time : 01:20
Aircraft type : Bombardier Dash8-Q400
Reg # : C-GGNF
Seat : 17A
Boarding was called and the flight load turned to be very healthy as the flight appeared to be quite full. There is a huge amount of traffic between Toronto and Montreal. Despite I've booked a flex economy fare, I didn't have much seat choice when I did OLCI proving that AC carries a huge amount of frequent flyers in their domestic flights.
Funny looking jetbridge
Short walk towards the plane
A red maple leaf and the Star Alliance...for sure it is Air Canada...
Boarding a plane is just a wonderful feeling
Comfortable seating for a commuter flight
Legroom shot. Enough for such 1hr-long flight
View from my window. YTZ is a general aviation airport
Reading material. Given that we were provided complimentary snack and beverage, Bistro BoB service wasn't provided
Boarding in progress. It feels much cramped compared to the previous B77W we flew but the interior looks modern and it is comfortable enough
Taxiing along some PD's sisterships
Still amazed by how close to the city center YTZ is
Cleared to line up on the runway
YTZ is located in the Toronto islands that are a popular recreational area
Airborne! The building in the background looks like a maintenance facility for Dash 7s
YTZ is such a scenic airport
Views over the Toronto islands
Look at how close YTZ is from downtown Toronto
Overflying the peaceful Toronto Islands
Despite we were facing the sun, the views over Toronto are just impressive
Sprawling urbanized area
Flying along the Ontario lake shore
Flat lands east of Toronto
In-flight service was done...a pack of nuts and a cup of ginger ale of course! Enough for such domestic flight and on par with what Air France gives on their domestic flights as well. My NAVI booklet was taken from the CDG's Maple Leaf Lounge. It's such a useful magazine
Unfortunately we reached the clouds
Starting our approach towards YUL
The mighty Saint Laurent river. Note that snow has not entirely melted
Reaching Montreal suburbs
Impressive and dense road network
View over Montreal Dorval (YMX/CYMX)
Aligning to the active runway
Beautiful views on approach
The St Laurent river is just huge. The USA can almost been seen on the background
The giant Swedish has invaded Canada (Ikea)
Moments before touchdown. On the left of the photo you can see some TS airliners getting a new paint that is quite nice actually
Touchdown in YUL!
YUL is a main hub for TS
Vacating the active runway
TS's new livery looks very modern and well-done
AC's maintenance facility
What a sight! My first MAX 8 in the flesh!
Taxiing towards our gate...right next to the taxi station so it seems
Disembarking through a windowless jetbridge
We found ourselves in domestic airside which can be useful when connecting in YUL
This way to the exit
I expected a bigger baggage claim area but it was not crowded at all and in a few step we were outside the airport where we met our Blacklane driver
Walking towards our car that was a relief after a transatlantic and a domestic flight
Finally, we reached our car
What we have there? An odd SU A321! If anyone knows what she is doing in YUL, I'd be glad to know!
We stayed in Montreal at the Auberge du Vieux Port hotel that is located along the river and inside the Old Montreal. Definitely an interesting place if you want to visit this nice city.
View from our hotel room
Climbing towards the City Hall
Notre-Dame cathedral of Montreal
This is the place where Montreal was founded
Quiet and peaceful streets
Sir George-Etienne Cartier monument
Overlooking downtown Montreal from the Mont Royal
Bon Secours market
Very nice lightwork
After visiting pleasant Montreal, it was time to head to Quebec City, the capital city of Quebec province.
Our uber left us on YUL's curbside
AC domestic check-in area. I hate that DIY baggage drop...all in all it too only a few seconds to drop our baggage
Towards the security screening. Note that some renovation work is in progress in YUL
FIDS in alphabetical order that I find very useful and clearer than chronologically ordered FIDSs
Walking towards our gate
Sharp looking AC B7M8
YUL domestic terminal has a lot of food options and enough shops. Just the right amount of services IMO
AC supports the Canadian Olympic team
As we'll fly one of the tiniest AC plane, our gate will be located at ground floor. So downstairs we go!
YQB-bound flight assigned gate
First view over this cute Q100
Beautiful isn't it?
TS A310 and AA ERJ taxiing. Not that much activity around
DL CR9 bound to LGA
Wonderful catch to my eyes! A so classic 3H B732 loudly taking off
Flight # : AC8762
Departure airport : Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International (YUL/CYUL)
Arrival airport : Quebec City Jean Lesage International (YQB/CYQB)
ETD : 1150
ATD : 1150
ETA : 1243
ATA : 1235
Scheduled flight time : 00:57
Actual flight time : 00:45
Aircraft type : Bombardier Dash8-Q100
Reg # : C-GONY
Seat : 03A
(sorry, not photo in the updated livery on the database)
Boarding was called for this flight heading to Quebec City and then to Sept-Iles (YZV/CYZV). We were greeted at the door by the sole very friendly FA.
Being at ground floor, it took only a few steps to get to the plane
Excited to board the tiniest member of the Bombardier Dash family
Short fuselage and old looking 4-bladed propeller
I absolutely love the "toothpaste" livery
The cabin shows its age but looks fine for me
Well padded seating
Good view over the engine and with the possibility to see the outside
Reading material. Given the short duration of the flight, no Bistro service was done
Taxiing by a sistership
View over a quiet apron
After a short taxi, we were ready to depart
Rocketing the runway
The international concourse
The Saint Laurent river
Climbing over Montreal suburbs
Between 2 layer of clouds
Given the low flight altitude, that's all the view we've got
Soon enough, the sole friendly FA started the in-flight service. Yay! I've got a full can of coke!
The time machine...a very old school PSU
Starting the approach
We're already close to YQB when we get out the clouds
Rural landscape close to YQB. Note the great amount of snow that still hasn't melted
Over the runway
Vacating the runway
Taxiing towards the terminal
Arrived at our parking stand
Securing the propeller and we were ready to disembark
Sharp looking aircraft nose
Short walk towards the terminal
Last view over our lovely tiny Dash
Don't have much choice so leftwards it is!
Walking towards the baggage claim
Just like in YUL, a simple baggage claim area with 2 belts
After receiving our bags quite quickly, it was time to grab a taxi towards our hotel so...
This is the way to go
The taxi waiting area is clearly marked and without any wait wewere inside a taxi. Note that you can pay with your credit card (very useful!)
Off we go to downtown Quebec City
Still a lot of snow remaining along the way
About to climb the plateau where the Old Quebec is located
During our stay in Quebec City, we stayed at the Fairmont Château Frontenac hotel. The most iconic, prestigious and historical hotel of Quebec City. While I agree about this hotel being a landmark, we found it quite overated as the rooms were not the most comfortable or modern for the price paid.
Somptuous hall inside the Frontenac hotel that is a tourist attraction in itself
Such an impressive building
Big cargo boat sailing the river
Cute public square
Saint Jean street. It don't look north american at all! I felt like I was back in Europe
A more modern part of the city
Provincial parliament house
Old Quebec battlements
Cheap and tasty restaurant! Aux anciens canadiens
About to go down the Escalier casse-cou (breakneck steps)
From the harbour
View over upstream Saint Laurent river
The famous Abraham plains were the french and british troops fought for Quebec City
Downstream Saint Laurent river
Very pleasant Dufferin Terrace with the beautiful Frontenac on the background
Weather is going to be better than previous days
See you in Part II...