Having had an outdated business class product for long, KLM finally caught up other main airlines with lie-flat seats and fresh-looking business cabin (on selected aircrafts).
Their Dreamliner’s herring-bone configuration is great for privacy (+ direct aisle access from every seat!), but not that nice when travelling with a companion (where BA’s “yin yang” configuration is perfect). KLM’s use of beautiful dutch Delft Blue pottery for tableware is a nice touch. You also get a miniature porcelain house at the end of the flight as a souvenir (which is in fact a small bottle of liquor, and quite tricky to open…). I found the crew very friendly (especially in comparison with TK). Food wasn’t the best I’ve had on long-haul business class, but totally decent. During service try their signature Flying Dutchman drink (great as an aperitif!). Access to self-service drinks during flight could be improved (it was easier to use economy class’ self-service bar than finding an attendant to ask for a glass of water… ). One big minus was the non-functioning wi-fi (both ways). I’m totally ok with the fact there isn’t wi-fi on a plane, but if you decide to offer this feature you have to make it work properly.
Whereas I wouldn’t pay for KLM’s old business class, the new one is worth the extra money on long flights. It’s funny though how fast long-haul business class products are evolving. Lie-flat seats haven’t been around for that many years and some airlines (I mean Delta and Qatar Airways) have already announced the upgrade of their business class cabin with suites (previously found only in Middle Eastern carrier’s first class)…! Let’s see how far this evolution will go.
Escape the hustle and bustle of hectic French Riviera to the charming village of Mougins, only a few minutes away from Cannes on a hilltop. There French chef Denis Fétisson runs two different restaurants and I recently had lunch at one of them, called La Place de Mougins. Lunching in gourmet restaurants is a great way to enjoy those fine venues’ fancy menus in a faster (and less expensive) way. At La Place de Mougins dishes were as good as they look, so let the pictures talk:
The Magdalen islands are fascinating. Located right in the middle of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, they are not easy to reach but totally rewarding and worth the effort. So take the plane (expensive but fast) or a ferry-boat from Montreal (expensive and slow), from Chandler (giving you the opportunity to also visit beautiful Gaspesia) or from Souris on Prince Edward Island (the least expensive option and fastest boat connection). Try to spend a week there to fully enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of these very special and highly photogenic islands.
Exactly a year ago I had the chance to spend New Year’s Eve in the ultimate place to be on that night: Times Square, NYC.
I chose to buy tickets to Rosie O’Grady’s special party. For 400 US dollars (per person) I got a 3-course dinner, access to a cordoned sidewalk on 7th Avenue with unobstructed views of Times Square just seven blocks away and unlimited drinks for the night. It ain’t cheap, but if you are not ready to wait for hours in the cold (without access to any toilets…) to get a decent view of the countdown, ball drop and fireworks, it really is a strong option to consider! Prepare well in advance, as tickets sell out fast. You need to sign up for their newsletter and act quickly when you get the notification they start selling tickets (a couple of months before New Year’s Eve). Don’t expect any fine dining experience or trendy atmosphere though. The place is vast (3 different floors) and rather convivial than distinguished, with average quality food and drinks. But it gives quite a nice way to spend the special night and it’s mainly about the spot after all. Those few minutes before and after midnight on the sidewalk among the crowd, with a full belly (and most of all without unpleasant queuing) are priceless. You will certainly feel to be in the place to be on New Year’s Eve.
St Petersburg or “Peter” as the locals call it surely is one of the most interesting big cities in Europe. No skyscrapers but extravagant palaces, magnificent cathedrals and vast museums. What surprised me most is how clean and modern St Petersburg is! Pulkovo airport stands out as impressive as Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport and there is no trash in the streets of the city center. Roads are in good condition and traffic isn’t the mad hell you had imagined. Visiting in winter is a nice way to discover the city with less tourists, and I was lucky to have the best possible weather (snow on the ground, freezing temperatures and some beautiful sunlight!). You need to spend at least a few days in the city to experience a major part of what it has to offer.