We had a bit of a lazy today – we didn’t set off out for the day until about 9.30am. It was still early for most people – not much traffic, not many people on the trains, and best of all, hardly any people at the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay.
Confession…we didn’t go into the Louvre. I’ve been their twice, and Stephen wasn’t overly fussed, so we skipped it in favour of the Musee d’Orsay – it has a great collection of impressionist art – including some of my all-time favourite painting.
It was pouring with rain at this point, so we made a dash for the train after attempting to get to Notre Dame, and headed straight back to the hotel for a bit to dry out. It stopped raining after a couple of hours, so we headed out again – this time to the Eiffel Tower. We made it all the way there and the heavens opened up again, so we scuttled back underground and to the hotel. It’s a bit disappointing that it’s raining so hard, but also quite nice to have a quiet day, just cruising on the trains and popping up here and there.
We also braved a local restaurant and had a delicious lunch/dinner of Guinea fowl and pilaf rice. The staff spoke excellent English, which makes me feel relief and shame in about equal parts.
It stopped raining again about 7pm, but we decided to stay in for the evening – we’re just enjoying some reading / TV / blogging time.
We were up with the bird this morning, eager to make an early start. The ferry left at 8.25am and we needed to get there by 7.30. We were there just after 7am, and sailing at 8.25 on the dot. The crossing was really fast – I barely had time to get my laptop out to settle in for some blogging before we were in France!
We walked the 2.2km into Calais Ville (fully laden I might add!) and found the train station easily. It took some time to sort out our tickets for Paris – we failed to notice the English flag (language selection) on the ticket machine and had trouble deciphering the French. The lovely ticket booth man spoke good English though (as do most French) so we were fine. We managed to negotiate a ham sandwich with the local cafe lady – she had no English, but we bumbled our way through.
The train trip to Paris also went by quickly – less than three hours. We were speeding along at about 250km p/h most of the time. Arriving in Paris was an experience – it’s such an assault on the senses – so many people, so much noise, so much going on! But we figured out how to get money, buy our ticket to Avignon, find a taxi. Our hotel is lovely – we really lucked out there. It’s small, but very comfy and the staff are very helpful. And also just by a Metro station, so easy to get around.
We took a bit of a rest and then went for a bit of a wander. We jumped on the Metro to Champs Elysees and walked down to the Arc de Triomphe. Again, very overwhelming – there were so many people and cars everywhere! And the queue to go up the Arc was way too long. We found a Pret café while trying to figure out where to eat so took the easy option and had a sandwich for tea and went back to the hotel for the night. Big day!