Goodbye Eurostar, Hello Trenhotel
Paris Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
I haven´t set foot in Paris for about 24 years. The last time I was here, I wandered the banks of the Seine with Andrea Banham during a school exchange. We snogged a bit and she let me feel her boob. Two days later, she got off with some French geezer at a party, leaving me bereft for the next 43 minutes. I´m not sure writers and song-makers have teenage lust in mind when they espouse Paris´romantic side.
So I returned to the banks of the river during my brief sojourn in Paris. I arrived at Gare de Nord around midday, got some money out and then some bloke with a gammy eye bought me a supposed all day Metro ticket. Those 22 Euros got me to Gare d´Austerlitz, but stopped working thereafter. I understood that the train between Heathrow and London was the most expensive journey in the world. I saw the money go in and the price was right, so at around 15 quid, this journey cost far more.
A Nomadic Existence
So it meant I had to walk around everywhere, which was a blessing. Although not as compact as Barcelona, Paris still has a lot in a relatively enclosed space. I took in the park next to the station, wended my way up to Notre Dame and then decided to go to La Louvre. If you´re in Paris on a Tuesday, don´t make the same mistake. It is shut.
Paris seems a fascinating place - I must return. The Seine is slightly bluer than the Thames, although I suspect that is because of the predominantly white stone used around the ile de seine. Notre Dame is the most ugly cathedral I have ever seen, a squat behemoth that looks like it is only held up by scaffold like bastions. I can see from where the inspiration for Quasimodo came. I was also reminded of something I read as I wandered the streets ' Paris has a number of places where the same sort of shops cluster together: Florists near Notre Dame; motorbike shops near La Bastille. Seems a good idea and not that counter-productive when you really think about it.
Is It a Hotel or a Train?
Of course, it is both. I shared a cramped cabin with two Japanese blokes and a Spaniard. True to form, the Japanese had fancy handheld electronic devices which I have no doubt have been stolen by now. The Spaniard wrote all the time I saw him.
Like the Edinburgh to London version, the train-stroke-hotel was almost comfortable, the beds being slightly too small. I thought I slept alright, although my two hour siesta yesterday suggests otherwise.