Dream For Three

Au Revoir London, Hello Paris!

Although I had a good sleep, DW had been up early trying to get the washing dry – after four hours in the washer-dryer it was still damp. We had a bit of time left (our train to Paris wasn’t leaving until 11am), so we packed the washing and headed down to the local laundrette (the first coin operated one in London, apparently). We chucked in £1.50, which gave us 15 minutes of drying, then headed across the road to Cake Create Bakery for breakfast. Two bacon and cheese croissants and a sausage roll for DD, we headed back to the laundrette to find our clothes dry. Everthing was packed back in the bag and we returned to the apartment to eat.

Checking the rest of our itinerary the only thing we were supposed to confirm in advance was the pick up at Gare du Nord, Paris – that was to be done two days ago. I called the number provided and successfully confirmed our booking.

After breakfast we packed and made sure nothing was left behind. We were ahead of schedule, so we checked out (a five minute walk up the road) and then took a taxi to St Pancras Station. The taxi driver managed to squeeze three large suitcases, three smaller cases, and three people into his reasonably small car – grumbling that the person who arranged it should have mentioned the amount and/or size of luggage.

The check in at St Pancras was very easy and we only had a brief wait before the EuroStar boarded and departed. The journey was only 2.5 hours and we barely noticed when we went through the chunnel. The meal on the EuroStar was alright, albeit a bit small perhaps.

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Arriving in Paris it was easy enough to get out of the station and we found our transfer driver waiting, as arranged. He too was worried by the amount of luggage and people – his car was about the same size as the one in London. But he managed to fit it all in and I tried to hop in on the driver’s side – apparently France has left-hand drive cars.

We arrived at the hotel just before 3pm, which was the check-in time. Our room wasn’t quite ready, so we waited about 20 minutes before completing check-in. During the drive to the hotel I came to the conclusion that I would hate to drive in Paris – it’s full of one way streets, the street markings appear to be indicative only, and the aim is to move forward as far as possible before even thinking about stopping. In fact, I personally believe that the street markings are there to give tourists a false sense of security.

After settling in we decided to head up to Sacre Cœur for a visit – France has a heatwave coming and temperatures are already up around 33C. It was a half hour walk to Sacre Cœur and we went inside (providing a small donation). We were going to walk to the top, but there was a service on and we didn’t find the stairs. If we get time we will return later to do that. We purchased a few items in the store anyway. Heading out again we discovered the way we were supposed to approach it, so we returned that way, wading through thousands of tourists and souvenir shops. We made our way back to the hotel through the myriad of one-way streets, taking our lives in our hands at times, grabbing Subway for dinner (about 20m from the hotel). We found that the cross signals all seem to be automated (you don’t need to press any buttons), but most people just cross if there’s no vehicle within hitting distance.

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One of the few non-souvenir shops down that strip was Le Petit Musée du Chocolat (the little chocolate museum). Inside were some amazing sculptures or structures made out of chocolate, as well as plenty of chocolate and lollies to buy.

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