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Clare
Clare

Days 1 & 2: Home to Paris via London

We don't normally go on holiday in February, but this year we had something exciting planned: a trip to Paris with Tim's niece Mia and sister Lucy. We booked tickets for the Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris on Friday morning, but given the state of UK trains recently we decided it would be best to hedge our bets and travel down to London the day before, giving us enough time to make alternative arrangements if a last minute train strike was announced.

Happily, no train strikes were announced and so on Thursday morning we all had a problem-free train journey from Nuneaton down to London. Unfortunately, when we got to London, we found that it was rather damp. From Euston we took a tube to Green Park and emerged to a view of Buckingham Palace in the pouring rain. It was so wet that I didn't even take my phone out for a photo.

We persevered regardless and got some lovely views of the spring flowers as we walked past St James's Park.

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It was still a bit wet when we made it to Big Ben.

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We saw the House of Parliament, plus found the statue of Churchill in Parliament Square.

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From there we walked up towards Trafalgar Square.

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We got a rather damp view of the lions there.

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After that we headed to a nearby Prezzo and sheltered from the rain while we got some food.

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We spent the night at a Premier Inn just across the road from St Pancras.  That meant we didn't have a very long walk the next morning to get our train :)  We were booked on the 09.31 to Paris so we got to the station for just after 8am to make sure we had plenty of time to get through the security checks and passport control. Security isn't quite as stringent for the Eurostar as it is for flights, so there are no restrictions over the quantities of liquids you can take through and you don't have to remove laptops from your bags. The queue still moved quite slowly though, so it was good that we'd got there with plenty of time to spare. Once we'd got through security we had to go through UK passport control followed by French passport control. Then we just had to wait for the platform for our train to be announced :)

The train departed promptly at 09.31 and we were on our way, passing through the outskirts of London and down through Kent. The journey through the Channel Tunnel itself only took 20 minutes or so, then there was another hour or so to go before we reached Paris itself. The train arrived at the enormous Gare du Nord just before 1pm.

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From Gare du Nord we walked down wide boulevards, passing a beautiful church on the way.

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We were soon in the central shopping area, where we stopped in a branch of my favourite restaurant, Hippo.

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I had an amazing steak, followed by a chocolate mousse.

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After lunch we had a walk of another kilometre or so before we reached one of Paris's most famous sights.

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The weather had brightened up by this point so it was almost sunny :)

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From there we got onto the metro and travelled a stop down the line to La Défense, Paris's business district. We found a slightly strange statue of a thumb!

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The apartment we're staying in was just a short walk away from here. We had some teething problems getting in, but eventually Tim got hold of the person with the key and we were able to settle down and enjoy the rest of the evening :) Tomorrow should be an exciting day, as we're going to the top of the Eiffel Tower!




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