Africa via Paris: Wipe out those Winter Blues

(c) 2006 Chris Card Fuller
You might be saying – Paris in the winter? Why would I want to go to gray and rainy Paris when I could go to someplace warmer – with palm trees – like the Caribbean for example? And my answer is – you can do it all. Paris AND palm trees.

Last year at this time we were enroute to Mali and Gambia for a two-week trip which included Timbuktu. We flew Air France from JFK to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and then caught a direct flight from Paris to Bamako, Mali. Best of all, we took a two week break in Paris before catching the night flight to Bamako.

While we were in Mali, there was much talk about Libya. First you need to get to Europe – so check into the cheapest flights round trip to France. In some cases, you may find that your round trip airfare from the US will be comparable to what you would pay for two separate tickets. However, you might not be able to have the long stay-over time in Europe.

Air France flights from Paris to Tripoli starting at under 300 Euros round trip. Although we haven’t been to Libya yet, the Libya Logue will whet your appetite. It definitely has for me.




When Parisians think sunshine and palm trees, they often think about north Africa because it is a relatively inexpensive destination and the flight time is shorter than a trip to the Caribbean for sure. Morocco,Tunisia, and Egypt are the most popular destinations especially because of the number of resorts. It also helps that French is normally well understood in these countries.

The best part for North Americans traveling to north Africa is the option of having a few days in Paris or Rome, for instance, to recover from jet lag before you throw yourself into an African adventure trip.
On the return trip, you can use a few days in Paris to decompress (whether decompressing for you means resting up for the return overseas flight, shopping, or visiting the local pharmacy to recover from what ever you may have picked up – yes this is reality travel here – a few days – or weeks in Paris to bookend your Africa adventure makes good sense.

Former French colonies such as Mali retain a great deal of the French flavor in their city infrastructure. For example in Bamako, you’ll see exactly the same kind of boulangerie or bakeries that you would see in Paris.

Who said you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Palm trees and the Eiffel Tower. What could be better?