While this trip was just in the planning stage and we had decided to stay in London for a few days before our Canaries Cruise, I had discovered that we could take a day trip from London to Paris on the fast Eurostar train. I really didn't think that it would appeal to Jim, but I asked him if he thought this was something he would like to do, and he wanted to do it! In fact, he asked me a couple of times how the plans were going and if I had booked anything yet! He still surprises me, once in a while!
Saturday morning at 5:15am we left our London hotel in search of one of London's famous taxis (black cab) to take us to St. Pancras International to catch the London to Paris Eurostar train. We didn't have to go far with a taxi stand across the street near Victoria Station. Impressive car with a large empty space between the front seat and back seat. When we arrived at St Pancras, the driver didn't have change, and didn't take credit cards, euros or US money, all we could come up with in British pounds, between the both of us, was just enough to pay him for the fare and not for his tip, but he was very nice about it and said it was Ok, felt bad, and cheap! We went inside and had plenty of time to find our gate, pick up our tickets and go through customs and security. There's a time difference, so we lost one hour in Paris and got it back when we returned to London.
Arrived at Paris's Gard du Nord train station right on time and its right in the center of the city. Paris is a great walking city and they have a great bus and metro system, right from the train station. Of course every major city has the hop-on, hop-off buses. It was so exciting to be in Paris and in only a couple of hours! Not to mention, traveling under the English Channel! I didn't notice that it was that scenic, train is moving too fast!, but it was a pleasant ride. We were met by a tour guide, a driver and coach, so we were soon on our way to see the wonderful sites of Paris! Driving down the Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Opera House.
We went on a sightseeing cruise along the famous Seine River whose banks boast UNESCO World Heritage Status.
From UNESCO Site: "From the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower, from the Place de la Concorde to the Grand and Petit Palais, the evolution of Paris and its history can be seen from the River Seine. The Cathedral of Notre-Dame and the Sainte Chapelle are architectural masterpieces while Haussmann's wide squares and boulevards influenced late 19th- and 20th-century town planning the world over"
We made our way up to the open top of the boat so we could see everything on all sides. Taking lots of pictures of places like Notre Dame Cathedral and the island, lle de la Cite. The gorgeous bridge, Pont Alexandre III with the Eiffel Tower in the background. I took so many pictures, ifeels so unreal when you are really right there, looking up at the Eiffel Tower! It's always nice when the weather co-operates at times like this, we had a beautiful sunny, warm day!
After getting off the boat, we made our way to the Eiffel Tower for our Champagne lunch. Our tickets let us skip the very long admission lines, called fast-access tickets, we certainly didn't want to waste our precious time there standing in a queue. We did have to go through security, then we took an elevator right up to the 58 Tour Eiffel Restaurant and they immediately brought us a glass of champagne. We don't drink but I decided to take a sip, the idea suddenly appealed to me. I'm in a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower, I should at least take a sip to celebrate such an occasion! Well, it tasted as bad as the last I tried it, so long ago, I can't remember when, horrible! I really hate champagne! I had a window seat and was looking down and through the very new glass floor