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12 February 2008 ~ 13:01Last Thursday Mark & I took a trip to Paris on the Eurostar train. It was just an overnight break for an early Valentine’s Day which I booked on a special ‘Two for the price of One’ deal. To get the offer you had to travel from Kent rather than London, so first of all I met Mark in the morning in Bromley where he works and we journeyed down to Ashford International Station.
The waiting area was lovely and quiet compared to London and we drank coffee and played table football while we waited to board the train, which was half an hour minutes late. The journey time was very quick, less than two hours. The trains have got much faster since the new high speed link from St Pancras Station opened (trains used to leave from Waterloo Station), shaving 20 minutes off, and of course we saved time because we left from Kent, well into the start of the service.
We arrived in Paris about 2.30pm French time (they’re an hour ahead of the UK) and immediately took the Metro to our hotel, the Holiday Inn Garden Court Montmartre. It was a nice place but Thursday was a bit of a washout as when we walked around the area we couldn’t find a single place serving food. Nowhere opened until 6pm, having closed for lunch at 3pm. Of course we’d had no lunch, so we ended up buying sandwiches which we ate in our room. Still it was pleasant just chilling out at the hotel. I gave Mark his Valentine cards from me & the girls and his gift, a Ratatouille bath towel from The Disney Store.
On Friday the day was gorgeous for February, sunny and very mild. We checked out of the hotel and walked to the Moulin Rouge where we took some photos. Then we had lunch at the Indiana Club near the Gare de l‘Est, which does American-style food, easier on vegetarians than traditional French fare, before hopping the Metro to the museum of medieval history, set in an old Cluniac Priory. It was extremely interesting for me as I love that period of history. The most fascinating thing in there to me was a completely preserved 15th Century shoe! Imagine, someone actually wore that in 1400s France! They also have the originals of the famous ‘Lady & The Unicorn’ tapestries, often copied on cushions etc.
We did a little shopping – I bought some gifts from the museum shop, and we popped into some clothes shops where I bought my mum a couple of belts for one €uro each! We also had coffee in a café where the waiter was a nice guy who joked around with us. In fact I think we wasted a little too much time and by the time we had gone back to the hotel to collect our bags, arrived back at the Gare du Nord for our train, gone through security and Passport Control for both France & the UK, we literally had seven minutes until the train left! Made it just in time.