Europe 14 - Day 3


Once again we were to take the Eurostar train to Paris. After a walk across the road to Kings Cross (we knew where we were going now), we checked into the Eurostar. It is much the same as boarding an aircraft, the same queues of people with oversize luggage and the same bored French immigration people. He did not even look at the photo in my passport. After the usual wait, the boarding call was made and everybody rushed for the first door. We found our seat and were off through London and the southwest. This time we did not stop at Ebsfleet and this time it was not 9th SEPTEMBER (9/11) so all was well. This time there were no travellers paranoid about the date.

We arrived in Paris, found our way onto the Metro and we were soon at Rue St Michel and our hotel nearby. It was early afternoon and time for a look around. Our hotel was almost beside the River Seine and the Pont Neuf so that was an obvious starting point. We crossed the bridge, saw the Vedette boats on the river and were soon cruising the Seine. In the evening we returned to the Ile de la Cité to dine at Mm Paul (where else?).

Eurostar and Paris

The Premier Inn at St Pancras looks a bit industrial but is much better inside.
Part of the old St Pancras Hotel
And the Great Northern Hotel.
Part of St Pancras
and more of the restored building.
Inside St Pancras are old pianos, ready for aspiring pianists...
Then it was time to board the Eurostar.
We went south-east towards Dover, past the Jubilee Bridge...
And over the Medway River.
Passing many fields of yellow...
like gold in the sun.
And then the architecture changed and we were in France (20 minutes in a black tunnel was also clue).
Rural France
France has fields of yellow also.

Ile de la Cité

After checking into our Hotel, the Best Western St Michel, we walked back past the fountain and across the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris. This took us onto the island where we then walked past the Law Courts and around a small park surrounded by offices and cafes. One of these is Cafe Mm Paul, which I had read was one of the better cafes in this part of Paris. Of course we had to come back later for dinner. There is a small park at the downstream end of the island - le Jardin du Roi - which is full of well-tended trees and flowers.

Looking down Rue St Michel with our hotel on the left.
The Best Western Hotel - our base in Paris.
Looking further down Rue St Michel towards the Sorbonne area.
This really is Paris - the Cathedral Notre Dame.
The Pont Neuf - the "Old Bridge".
Lookng down the Seine.
All the banks of the river have been contained with stone bankments, walls and pathways.
The bronze statue of Henrici MAGNI on his horse.
The statue in profile.
View of le Jardin du Roi from the Rive Gauche
Spring blossoms in the garden.
Looking back at Pont Neuf, the oldest remaining bridge in Paris.
Some of the detail in the Pont Neuf
Paris is full of history - "Here Rene Revel guardian of the people of the 15th Arrrondisement, Horseman of the Legion of Honour, was killed by the Germans on 19th August 1944"
Nearby, the insidious infection of the brass padlocks is starting to spread.

Bateaux Vedette and a cruise on La Seine

Having seen the Bateaux Vedette cruising up and down the Seine as we walked around the park we decided to take one of these for a late afternoon cruise. Not many people around so we got good seats and were not pestered either by tourists chattering away or the pesky photographers trying to immortalise your trip on a boat.

Vedettes du Pont Neuf
One of the tour boats waiting to depart.
The cruise took us downstream, under bridges...
past all the wonderful architecture of Paris
close to the cutwaters showing the stonemasonry.
Under the Pont Alexander with its ornate pillars
The bridges are works of art in themselves
even when you need to be reminded that it was Napoleon who had them built.
The river here is lined with canal boats and barges
more cruse boats
and barges complete with vehicles when you get tired of the water.
one of the rail bridges ahead. We crossed this one on the Metro.
More ornate detail
The brass padlock bridge.
This section of the rail broke off under the weight of the brass and fell into the river a few days later.
Musee d'Orsay, originally a railway station.
The clock tower at Orsay.
The one room-wide "smallest apartment in Paris"
The cruise turned around at the Eiffel Tower.
Back at Ile de la Cité, this is MM Paul, unpretentious but a cafe where we had one of our best meals of the whole trip.
Inside Mm Paul (and his cat) are immortalised on the wall.
And finally back towards the Notre Dame and our hotel.


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Last updated: 18/08/2014