Sunday, January 12, 2014

Day 5: London to Paris, a little snafu in our travel plans, Eiffel Tower at night

Day 5 - Travel Day from London to Paris via the Eurostar - December 30, 2013
Do you know the first rule of traveling is to roll with the punches? It goes with the second one to be flexible and remain undaunted when snafus happen. I was forcibly reminded of this as I herded my nieces to Kings Cross/St Pancras to catch the Eurostar to Paris. I had booked our tickets online and printed them at home to bring with me. I had our Paris hotel booked, our travel plans laid out and we were on schedule. Until we got to the train station and our printed tickets didn't work. It turned out the time I was marching us towards was the arrival time in Paris, not the departure time in London. So....we missed our train (insert feeling stupid here). Doh!
Fortunately, we were able to get to the ticket office at the train station and the most helpful, kindest ticket agent helped us rebook 3 new tickets on a later train. It wasn't direct, we would have to change in Lille and it took us to Disneyland Paris instead of Gare du Nord in the heart of Paris so we would have to take an extra metro ride to get to our hotel. But my nieces are troopers and instead of complaining at having an entire day taken up with more travel between destinations, they rolled with those punches and treated me to a leisurely brunch at Le Pain Quotidien at the train station while we waited for our new train.
Croissant with jambon (ham) and grueyere cheese
Florentine Quiche
Quiche Lorraine
We boarded our new train without further incident and were underway. I've traveled on the Eurostar before when I first visited London and Paris and it's a pretty easy ride. The direct train ride is a little over two hours and although we had to transfer at Lille, even that didn't seem so long.
It was a bit more of a pain once we reached Disneyland Paris to find the Metro and secure the right Metro tickets to get us to where we were going but Lauren was pretty accomplished at getting around in Europe after her months in Madrid so we were soon on our way. After more than an hour on the Metro, changing at Chatelet Station (hauling our luggage up and down the stairs was not fun and a good reminder to always pack light!), and emerging at Montparnasse where our hotel was, it took us more walking around and asking people fluent in French but not so good in English to find our hotel but we finally made it.
After traveling all day, we relaxed at a nice bistro for a good dinner (fortunately, it's almost impossible not to find great food in Paris). After sitting most of the day, it was a good time to stretch our legs. Despite the cold, we set out for a walk after dinner and, since we were in Paris, it was easy enough to walk towards its lighted iconic beacon, otherwise known as the Eiffel Tower.
Along the way, we saw this cathedral which I'm sure is famous but we didn't get close enough for me to figure out what it was. I just liked it though because it was beautiful, especially at night.
But, for me, nothing says Paris like the Eiffel Tower. I imagine the locals are used to it but I'm not. I couldn't take enough pictures of it. The Eiffel Tower is to me in Paris what Big Ben is to me in London. Beautiful, majestic, breathtaking and if it wasn't freezing out, I could've stood there all night and just stared at it. It was a great way to end a long travel day.

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