As far as spontaneous trips go, a last-minute decision to head to Paris for the Rugby World Cup final is as good as it gets. Organising an adventure with such a limited time frame could be a headache, so NZ Herald Sport has done the heavy lifting for you.
In this ideal world where you have managed to convince your boss that your time would be better spent on the other side of the world watching the All Blacks and Springboks battle for rugby supremacy, there are three things you’ll need to secure in order to make that happen: flights, a match ticket and a place to rest your head.
Your first port of call will likely be to our national carrier, Air New Zealand. It does not fly to Europe but there is a flight that will get you to Hong Kong and Cathay Pacific will take you to Paris as part of the Star Alliance network.
Flying on Tuesday or Wednesday leaves very little time to pack your favourite black jersey, so we will head off to Paris on Thursday leaving you enough time to set your “out of office” email reply. We also need to figure out a departure date - the final is on Saturday, October 28 (local time) and you’d want a day to recover and to take a photo in front of the Eiffel Tower so best to head back on Monday, October 30.
With these dates in mind, Air New Zealand has a flight out of Auckland at 9.40am on Thursday with your connection touching down at Charles de Gaulle at 7am on Friday local time. There’s a six-hour layover in Hong Kong for an opportunity to brush up on your Francais and Cathay Pacific will take you the rest of the way.
The return leg will set you off at 11.40am on the Monday local time, this flight has a chunky 10-hour layover in Hong Kong so if you couldn’t get any sleep on the flight this presents a great opportunity. You’ll arrive at 9.30am Wednesday NZT, so you can tell your boss you’ll be good for a half-day at work to soften the blow a little.
Now, the painful part. This trip will set you back $3428 but in the grand scheme of booking a flight to Paris on two days’ notice, there can be little room for complaint.
Flight Centre’s cheapest option is $2880 for roughly the same timing, you’d be flying Korean Air with layovers in Seoul and Sydney for about 30-38 hours worth of travel each way.
If that seems like too much travel for you, there are Qantas and Emirates and flights for between $3000-$3500 which have shorter stopovers.
If you are planning on leaving it literally until the last minute, Flight Centre has some advice:
- Wayne Smith: ‘Rugby can’t carry on like this, changes must be made’
- All Blacks vs Springboks: Why a Rugby World Cup win in Paris this weekend would trump the others
- Dream final! Springboks to face All Blacks after thrilling win
“You can book on the same day as you leave as long as your passport is up to date. So, for those incredibly spontaneous travellers – go for it! I’d recommend speaking with your local travel expert though as they can try and line up things like accommodation for you even while you’re in the air. That way it’s all sorted for when you arrive,” said Flight Centre Travel Group NZ managing director, Victoria Courtney.
This is where it gets a little dicey. Tickets are officially sold out on the Rugby World Cup website, with the official resale showing a very limited number of tickets for €450, or $820, up to €950, or $1732. It might be worth keeping an eye on this and get ready to pounce.
There are a number of ticket reselling sites which have more tickets available. These prices are inflated from their original retail but with the hours ticking away until kick off, it may be a case of “beggars can’t be choosers” or “beggars are going to have to suck it up and pay a bit more” if you want a ticket.
Eticketing.co has its cheapest available coming in at €827, or $1509.39, which when comparing to your airfare is certainly not chump change and is listed as having a restricted view. Its most expensive option comes in at €6555 or $11,963.81 - which would also buy you a 2013 Honda Fit RS Hybrid.
Other sites have tickets for €480.00, or $875.40, but there is a serious buyer beware caveat that comes with buying from resale sites.
Another avenue you could take, but it would be best to do your due diligence, would be to enter the murky underworld of ticket scalping.
Flying all the way to Paris to stand outside Stade de France with a sign that reads “J’ai besoin de billets!” is not for the faint of heart and if you happen to have any Paris-based contacts it may be a safer option to ask ahead if there are any tickets for sale.
Where to stay comes down to personal preference - there are still plenty of options in Saint Denis, where Stade de France is located.
How expensive your lodgings are really comes down to you, with Trivago listing spots for $571 for your three-night stay, or up to $2292 for the same. You may want to call ahead and practise some French by asking about the bedbug situation, however.
Again, should you be fortunate enough and have friends or whānau in Paris, a cheeky request for a spot on the couch could save you more than a few pennies here.
We’ll assume you’re looking to make this trip as cheap as possible, so have selected the options listed above that would get you to Paris on the tightest budget:
Match ticket: $820
So flights, a ticket and a room for upwards of $4000 is a decent chunk of your hard-earned cash to part with - this doesn’t factor in food, drink and other transport. The question you must ask yourself is how much do you price the experience of watching the All Blacks take on the Old Foe for a chance to become the most-decorated men’s rugby team of all time?
Some would say that is priceless.
Will Toogood is an Online Sports Editor for the NZ Herald. He has previously worked for Newstalk ZB’s digital team and at Waiheke’s Gulf News, covering sport and events.
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