Paris Day 1

Photos on Flickr

Paris 2015 – 07 – 17 We got up at 4am today for our transit to Paris on the Eurostar. The train is at 7:01am and we now have to check in 45 minutes in advance due to additional security requested by France. We thought about taking a cab, but when we asked about how much the fare might be, we were told about 30£ ($45). Ouch! For 4£ ($6)we can take the Tube. I remind myself why we chose such a God-awful departure time–since we’re leaving anyway, we might as well have more of the day in Paris, and once you cross the Channel, you lose an hour due to time change. So by the time we arrive and get to the hotel, it will likely be close to noon. Taking a later Eurostar would have meant we’d arrive mid-afternoon, so we sacrificed some sleep.

Though the Tube at the closest station doesn’t start running until 5:36am, we head out of the hotel at 4:45am to walk to the station, arriving about 5am. We were Prêt à Manger’s first customers and had time for a part of a cup of coffee before they rolled up the gate to the Tube, even though there wouldn’t be a train for 20 minutes.

Down into the bowels of the Tube system, on two successive large escalators and another set of steps (carrying luggage up and down steps is a reminder to pack lighter).
–Hoping they’ll open on time. They didn’t last time….
The first train arrives on time, but it’s pretty full, wherever it came from. We only have two stops until we change lines, so no problem.

We arrived in St. Pancras about 6am and went to queue for the Eurostar check in. After getting thru ticketing, you have to go thru security, then UK exit check, then French border control. Yes, they let us out, and yes, they’re going to let us in. Finally, in the main lounge, we found the First Class/Business Class lounge and spent a few more peaceful minutes there; entry courtesy of AMEX Platinum card. There is a Eurostar leaving 10 minutes before ours, for Bruxelles – Midi, where we changed from the Thalys to the Eurostar when transiting from Amsterdam to London.

Boarding was called about 20 minutes before departure. There are separate escalators up, depending on which train car you are on.
Departure was right on time and we spent about 30 minutes getting to the coast, where they informed us it would be about 20 minutes under “La Manche” (English Channel). Occasionally, prior to going into the Chunnel, we’ll go thru a tunnel, and your ears pop due to the air compression caused by the speed of the train through the tunnel.

Entering the Chunnel is a non-event as far as the travelling goes, as the train doesn’t stop or noticeably slow down. It’s dark in the tunnel, so there’s no way for me to judge relative speed.
With the time change, it’s 8:53am when we exit the Chunnel in France, and 10:15 when we arrive at Gare du Nord.

We have to buy a carnet (booklet of ten tickets) of Metro tickets, because we’re down to a few, but then we’re on to our hotel. We must look into getting a Navigo (like an Oyster in London ), as the queues for tickets from the machines are long. The upside to getting to the hotel before noon is having more time in the city. The downside is that the room isn’t quite ready, but this is mitigated by their offer of a drink in the lobby while we wait. It’s hard to go wrong with a glass of Bollinger 🙂 while we wait. We’re here for five days. Our favorite hotel, though the room wasn’t quite up to what we’d hoped for.

After lunch at an Eric Kayser, we headed towards the Mothership for what could be YAVTTH (Yet Another Vain Trip To Hermes). At 2:30, the line ahead of us is already at least 15 people (one of them has a suitcase with them, oh foolish is their heart) . The shelves seem rather bare, so our expectations are not high. Yet, you never know what they have in stock that is not on display. And if you have bought one of the ‘named purses’ within six months, you cannot buy another until you wait the appropriate length of time (they check) . Such is not the case with us. However, after reeling off a list of items of interest, the sales assistant disappears to see what can be found and comes back with a larger sized orange box and asks us to follow her. We wouldn’t want others possibly groping what’s in ‘our’ box.
Eyebrows raise. Could it be? Would this be on the acceptable list of styles and colors? Are they taunting us, or taking pity on us? (at these prices, it’s not pity).
YES! We will be leaving with an orange box, well, sorta. We’ve asked that ours be delivered to the hotel.
Happy Dances would be frowned upon inside the store.

A small celebration at Laduree. Small, because H is ‘Tres Cher’ and I am ‘assez pauvre’.

Photos on Flickr

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