Tom and Linda’s 2008 Europe Trip

Paris, France

St Pancras Station, home of the Eurostar

From our B&B in Marlborough, we had to get to Heathrow to turn in the car, then find our way to St. Pancras Station to catch our reserved Eurostar train to Paris. We didn’t really run into traffic until Reading, and then it wasn’t bad.

Turned the car in at about 9:30, got dropped at Heathrow Terminal 2, but ended up walking forever to Terminal 5 to find the Heathrow Express train to Paddington. Good thing we were traveling light.

A quick transfer at Paddington took us to Kings Cross/St Pancras and another long walk got us to luggage check and passport control for the Eurostar.

Eurostar, the train under the English Channel

About an hour in the relatively comfortable Eurostar station, and we boarded our train. The seats were comfortable enough, and the train was only about 70% full. Had some ear-popping problems while we were still in England, but none under the channel. It was quite a comfortable crossing.

Taxi GPS in Paris

We arrived in Paris at Nord Station in the rain and got in the taxi queue. On the advice of Rick Steves we told the driver to take us to Rue Cler.

He had no idea where that was, but he had a GPS. Which he had trouble following and drove around in circles a bit, which cost us a little extra. But he finally found it.

Our Paris Hotel

We got out at the end of the street (most of it is blocked to through traffic) and spotted a Hotel sign. We checked the price and the room, booked it and settled in.

The door to the hotel is tucked in beside this fruit market, reception desk on the first floor above the street.


We were in the Hotel Le Serre in a little room on the 5th floor. There’s a tiny elevator - it was a squeeze for two of us and our little backpacks.

But the bathroom was nice (had a sign with a Rick Steves reference) and the window overlooks the Rue Cler.

The Rue Cler

We’d walk out our hotel door into a fruit market, with a bakery across the road, cafes all over the place, and even a guy making crepes on the street two doors down.

Views from our window

Across the corner was a thriving night spot that we could enjoy, but our window effectively shut out the noise when we were ready to sleep. We kept it open as much as we could, though, because it was a bit warm.

We were a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower one way and Napoleon’s Tomb the other – we could see the glowing gold dome of the crypt from our window at night.

We felt like we were right in the middle of things.


The fishmonger next door

We didn’t really expect to like Paris and thought we might only stay a night or two. But we loved it, and stayed for four. We walked a lot and wore our feet out.

We missed the Musee d’Orsay, which I regret, but the Paris Museum Pass was good to us.

Our neighbor, just a few blocks away

Within easy reach of our hotel, we visited many iconic places, including the Eiffel Tower,

Notre Dame


Napoleon’s Tomb

and its associated Musee Militaire. It contains a large and ornate gold coffin for a small man, surrounded by bas-relief sculptures depicting his accomplishments.

The Seine

Capital of the European Union

One evening we headed down to find a river cruise, arriving there just as the sun was setting and watched the lights come on.

They had the tower all done in blue lights with the gold stars of the EU flag on the front. Quite impressive.

Walking through under the center of the tower is completely amazing. We never did go up – the lines were just too long. But we had other great views.

The Tower from the Seine

The City of Light

We found one of the less crowded and less expensive river cruises and went to see the city in lights.


The Arc de Triomph and the Champs Elysées

We headed for the Arc de Triomph via Metro, but got off a couple blocks away on the Champs Elysées, where we kissed. Beautiful even in the rain.

Stood with other silly tourists in the middle of the street between lanes of traffic to get photos of ourselves centered in front of the Arc (this one looks the other way). Then it's a walk through the underground passage to the center of the roundabout where the Arc stands.

View from the Top

Found the elevator to the museum level, then climbed the narrow stairs to the top, where we spent quite a while just looking around.

These were our best views of the city. The grand avenues converge here, and in any direction you can look a long ways down an avenue. I believe this is the Champs Elysées, the reverse of the previous photo.

The Louvre

We went back to the Louvre a few times, but it would take a week to make any decent pass at seeing the whole thing. We saw a little.

Italian Paintings

Including the Mona Lisa. The painting is a lot smaller than expected, and hangs alone on a big wall behind velvet ropes.

The Building

The architecture of the buildings themselves is impressive.

The Egypt Wing

The Parks



Tom went looking for the Bastille, but only found a statue and a bar, which he enjoyed.

Meanwhile, I did a little shopping. My pink silk blouse had bit the dust after one too many washings, and I bought a replacement for it, as well as a pocket watch.

Last Dinner: Escargot

For our last evening in Paris, we went to one of the restaurants Rick recommended and found it was one where we’d had breakfast before. Dinner was quite nice, and Tom had escargot for the first time.

Happily, we absolutely loved Paris, and were glad we saw it together.


1 Beginning 5 Paris 9 Frankfurt and the Night Train 13 Bavaria and Tirol
2 London to Edinburgh 6 Bruges 10 Vienna 14 Motorcycles in the Alps
3 The Fringe 7 Amsterdam 11 Hallstatt and the Salzkammergut 15 Switzerland near Interlaken
4 Scotland and Wales 8 Bacharach in the Rhine Valley 12 Salzburg 16 Home again

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