Tuesday 11 April
Today another very exciting thing finally happened – we went to Paris on the Eurostar (one more bucket list item ticked off). The Eurostar leaves from the stunning St Pancras station.
The train ride took just over two hours and after consuming a cute little bottle of wine I slept for most of the journey and woke up in France.
The first challenge we had in a foreign country that doesn’t speak English as a first language was trying to figure out how to get to the hotel from the station. We had two options – the number 42 bus or the Metro. Both options were fraught with problems; the Metro looked to be a complicated system of about three different trains and trying to remember which stations to change at, and the bus stop we needed to get a number 42 could not be found. Even the info centres were no help as they only gave info about the main line trains. After much walking around the station inside and out we found someone who could help and were on our way on the bus which was a great way to see a lot of Paris before even arriving at our hotel.
Once we had dumped our bags we set off for something to eat and drink and then walk to the Eiffel Tower. The main reason I wanted to go to Paris was to photograph the tower at night, plus go up the tower and drink champagne.
Security is extremely high right now, so to get anywhere near the tower involved long queues, body scanning and bag checks, but once inside the area under the tower the queues were even bigger just to get up the tower. One of my friends pre-booked a dinner up the tower and river cruise for our birthdays so we wouldn’t be worrying about long queues tomorrow night.
At last the lights came on and it was fabulous and near the park there were very cool little bike taxis that were all lit up in LED lights and looked invitingly cool.
We found a nice corner cafe for dinner where we could watch the world go by and soak up the Parisian atmosphere.
One of the girls had a room on the 4th floor with a view of the tower so she very kindly swapped with me, so I sat up till the lights went out. I learnt the sparkling lights come on every hour for five minutes till 1:00am when the orange lights go out and the flashing lights come on one last time.