Tuesday, April 08, 2008

This trip was meant to be for Steve to run the Paris marathon, but a lack of training and a niggling knee injury changed our plans. Nonetheless we decided to go to Paris anyway. Seeing as we had done the tourist thing here a few years ago we decided to take it easy and just walk around and see what we came across.

One thing which we didn't notice last time is that there is a hire system for bikes where you use your credit card to unlock the bike and you can use it for free for 30min before being charged a few euro per hour. You can drop you bike off any station. This was one of the larger ones. Very orderly..

Behind the Notre Dame Cathedral there is usually a flower market, but on Sunday it becomes a pet market, primarily for birds but also hamsters, mice and rabbits. Bit too cold for the these guys.....

A jazz band entertaining the crowd on one of the many bridges across the River Seine.
Found ourselves back outside the Louvre Museum although we decided not to go in this time.

One of a series of sculptures at Place de la Concorde. The bird is real....
Even though Steve didn't run the marathon, we did go and check out the race (after watching most of it on TV at the hotel). We think these people were at the 25km mark around 3hr after the race started. It would have been a very long day for them. We are not sure what the charity was, but there were a number of people running in lacy underwear. The marathon brings out strange ideas amongst fundraisers.

Since it was Claire's birthday we dolled ourselves up and headed to the Moulin Rouge. It was an entertaining night, although our dress standards varied quite a lot to the crowd going to the goth punk concert next door!
All in all, a nice relaxing weekend in Paris..... until it came to returning to London.

The plan was to catch the early train out of Paris on Monday morning and be back in London ready for work at 9am. Given our hotel was opposite the terminal in Paris we arrived a little earlier to get some breaky and scoot through Security/Immigration onto the train. Sadly, the security line was too long to get breaky and the train was even held for 15 minutes so that everyone could board. To make matters worse the 2 1/4 hour trip lasted 9 hours. Instead of arriving in London at 8:30am we arrived quite a bit later and made it to work for 3:45pm, only 7hrs late! Reasons given included

a) faulty electrics in the Channel tunnel (where we waited underground for 3 hours, only to reverse a few miles back into France and try again),

b) defective train ahead of us in the tunnel,

c) our train had a technical problem, and

d) baggage scare closing the terminal at London St Pancras International.

Maybe going to Heathrow Terminal 5 would have been a quicker option?? At least they would have given us a blanket and food!

Certainly a trip to be remembered, and we now have a free return Eurostar ticket to use as well. Anyone want to buy it from us????