Back in July (the 7th to be exact) we booked a trip to Paris. The Eurostar tickets are a lot cheaper when you book so well in advance but it doesn’t change the level of service and comfort you receive. The seats are just as comfortable, the windows just as big. It’s the BEST way to travel to Paris.
Of course, it’s a bit of a pain since they moved the terminal from Waterloo to St Pancras but, to be fair, St Pancras is a lot nicer given it’s been completely redesigned inside. The only problem for those of us who travel in from the South East is the fact that we now have to cross London to get there.
I say ‘we’ but Mirinda went from the flat so I’m not including her. I’m talking about me and the big, silver suitcase that holds both our clothing and electronic necessities.
The escalators are okay but I really hate the stairs. Mind you, I was a lot better off than the woman who looked at me as the train pulled into King’s Cross and said with a knowing look, “Never go anywhere with a crinoline.”
I should explain that she wasn’t actually wearing one (which would have been a lovely and quirky story to tell) but carrying the collapsible hoops one wears under one. She was also carrying a plastic bag which I can only assume held the actual dress.
I agreed, nervously. It seems highly unlikely that I’ll ever be in a position to go anywhere with a crinoline. But I guess, you never know. Handy advice.
I few visits to Paris ago, we stayed at the Hotel des Balcons in Odean. We loved it so much, we have now returned. Mind you, we nearly came a-cropper at the Metro.
We caught the 2pm Eurostar which means we were at Paris Nord just at the beginning of the rush hour. In London, it would be highly inadvisable to venture onto the Tube network at rush hour. If you’re travelling with Mirinda, it’s a good idea to avoid it in Paris as well.
It’s ten stops from Paris Nord to Odean and it was a case of distraction techniques to keep her from freaking out completely as people clambered on and, to be fair, clambered off, the train.
Speaking of the Metro, I heard an interesting fact today. According to Dave (our neighbour that’s not crazy) the Metro trains have rubber wheels which is why they give a smoother and quieter ride. I don’t know if that’s true, though I have no reason to doubt Dave, but they are certainly quieter and smoother, even when full.
But, back to our horror journey on the quiet, smooth Metro train…Mirinda discovered the joys of playing French language games on her iPhone. It seems they make the stations go quicker.
When we once more reached street level, she said we’d not be doing that again. She wasn’t best pleased by the Metro at peak hour. I told her that the new rule is that we only go to Paris on the midday Eurostar, thus avoiding peak hour on the Metro. She humphed.
The hotel was exactly where and as I remembered it, even though it’s been six years since we stayed at the Hotel des Balcons. The desk staff has changed though. The young woman on the desk asked if we had stayed there before. I said five or six years ago, and she showed me where the lift is…clearly thinking I’d have forgotten.
What I had forgotten was how small the lift is. It’s about the size of our suitcase. I almost sent it up alone.
After a little post-trip rest, we ventured out to the Boulevard St Germain to find somewhere to eat. We found a wonderful back street, full of restaurants and the slopiest cobblestones ever! Dinner was steak (mine rare, Mirinda’s rare but supposed to be medium) and a lovely carafe of Poilly-fume.