Monday, December 19, 2011

2 Days In Paris

I was in Cannes last year for MIPCOM and managed to squeeze in a one-night stay in the City of Light, Paris. I had no doubt that the fam would enjoy it as well, and so, when the UK trip was confirmed, I made additional plans for us to cross the channel for a French getaway, within a getaway.

The plan was to take the Eurostar train one morning, stay the night and return to London the next evening. First off, I had to book the Eurostar tickets which was easily done in the comforts of my office in Bandar Utama. Here's a friendly tip: book early with definite dates and time and you'll get a pretty good price. I paid around Euro100 per person for the return trip.

The St. Pancras International Station was where we waited for the train, and after the normal immigration checks and screenings, we were already on board!

The seats were really comfortable and the journey was rather pleasant. Of course you'd know that the train goes under the English channel, but it didn't quite last as long as I expected it. Before we knew it, we were already in French territory...

 The journey took around 2hrs 20mins and arrival was at the Gare Du Nord in Paris.

And our hotel was literally across the street!

And it was quite a nice surprise that our room was pretty spacious.

Gare Du Nord seen from the hotel room

 Nearby too was a halal makan place, which was where we had our lunch.

I had checked on the weather before coming over, and it did say that it'd be raining in Paris for the two days we were gonna be there. And so it did! We took the hop on, hop off bus which was just around the corner, but our hopes of being on the upper deck to enjoy the city from a different perspective was dashed by the rain.

But we did get to see quite a bit of the city before we got down at our destination of choice...

Which was Champs Elysees... And immediately we felt the festive magic as the whole street was lit up beautifully.

Seriously, what an experience that was as we walked in freezing temperatures while being serenaded with beautiful French tunes and chomping down churros and chestnuts. Stuff money can't buy...

We did a bit of shopping before sitting down for dinner but then I committed a critical error; I didn't keep track of the time. By the time we hit the shops again, they were already closing down. So we were just left with photo opps.

We took a taxi back to the hotel before getting a good night's sleep. Then it was time to hit the road again. The weather was looking rather fine that morning, and so we got to be on the upper deck of the bus for quite a bit.

It eventually rained again, but things cleared up when we got to our destination: Musee du Louvre.

The queue outside was rather long as expected, but it was OK really, since the payoff would be great : ) We didn't really have much time there, but we did hit the obligatory exhibits including Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa (yeah, I did the same thing last year).

We then took the bus again and headed for the Eiffel Tower. It poured relentlessly when we arrived there which was quite a bummer. But the skies cleared up a bit after that. The fam being first timers were really awestruck by the magnificence of the structure.

We snapped away until it was time to head back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and to Gare Du Nord for the train back to London.

A great getaway, but really, there's still loads to see, which just means we have to come back again soon, doesn't it? :)

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