Thursday, October 15, 2009

Travelling to Paris

Last time I tried to catch an early morning Eurostar I managed to oversleep and leave myself with just 35 minutes to get from bed to the platform!

This time - with two alarm clocks and an early morning wake-up call - I managed to get up at the right time to catch the train to Paris and everything was going swimmingly...........until we were locking the door and I realised I couldn't find the car key for "he who must not be bored while I sketch" ! You can imagine what happened next. Suffice to say key was found in a "really safe place" - in my purse - and I was driven to St Pancras International Station in recovery mode - heaving huge sighs of relief.

My trip companions

My trip to France is with my sister and niece and the itinerary in terms of places has been largely devised by my niece. They're going to remain nameless as they're not huge fans of being online - just like 'must not be bored'. I'm going to have to come up with 'names' for them or else they'll end up being called sister and niece throughout all the posts!

The journey

We caught the 7.52am Eurostar from St Pancras International Station to Paris Gare du Nord. Neither sister nor niece were enthusiastic about tunnels under the channel but the combination of time and money saved proved to be a considerable incentive - hence why we were on the Eurostar and why they spent a great deal of the journey with their eyes shut. Getting up very early might also have been a factor!

It did mean that I got to chat with a very nice couple who got on at Ebbsfleet in Kent who were on their way to the south of France to meet up with their son who has a very interesting job as skipper of the The Who's classic sailing yacht! Who knew Pete Townshend was a big fan of yachts and yachting?

Early morning balloons in Northern France (27th September 2009 10.15am)
pen and coloured pencils
in Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrel

I did another one of my composite sketches of northern France from the train - flat, fields of different colours interspered with trees. However this time the sketch gained an additional feature - low flying balloons!

I also sat there trying to work out how to twitter with my mobile phone which I've not done before.

Paris Gare du Nord makes for a bit of a contrast with the shiny new and gleaming St Pancras. The main difference being that Gare du Nord is the busiest station in Europe. Once you get off the Eurostar platform you are confronted with 'stuff' and signs everywhere. I don't think I've ever seen a more cluttered station in visual terms.

We walked 15 minutes (downhill) to our hotel - the Hotel France Albion - which I can recommend. Although only 2 stars it was satisfactory and competitively priced for its location relative to central Paris. That said the twin room occupied by my sister and niece was small - but then that's the common theme to Paris hotel rooms!

It made a particularly good base for exploring Paris as it's a very short walk to two metro stations (Line 7 (pink): Le Peletier and Line 12 (green): Notre Dame de Lorette) which both gave easy access to key destinations in central Paris. I also liked that it was in a 'normal' non touristy district.

Postscript: The really odd bit of all this was I loaned "must not be bored" an anorak which I haven't worn for ages - and while I was away he found my second car key (which has also been officially 'lost' for ages) in the pocket. Weird or what?



  1. I have burned myself so many times with the "I'll just put this in a safe place" scenario, I now get nervous when I think that - because I know it's equivalent to "I'll just hide this so that I can't find it and we can play the stress game!" :D

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