The start of our trip went
very much to plan. Taking the Wales And West
(i.e. the slower train) to London meant that
we got into Waterloo, (from which Eurostars
leave for Paris) rather than Paddington. So
we were able to avoid crossing London by
Compared to the Bristol to
London journey, London to Paris was
unmitigated luxury. Very smooth, and in
France, very quick.
I found trying to book the
Paris Youth Hostel to be impossible. They
tell you to call in when you arrive. And as
we found out the next day, very early in the
day they are passing people on to the Hotel
Voltaire Republique. But there is not much
wrong with that hotel, given the price
So far so good! Writing
this on Salisbury Station having got here on
time thanks to Wales and West. All has gone
according to plan. Got up at 6, had breakfast,
dressed, finished packing and took Douggie
(our Golden Retriever) to the Common for his
Chris dropped us off
behind Temple Meads and we walked in. We could
have caught the 8.49 direct to Waterloo but we
have the wrong sort of tickets. Found out that
we will have to upgrade our Super-savers at
Waterloo on the way back - might have to pay
full fare! - depending on the train we want.
I got the Super-savers
in a moment of madness. For a few pounds more
we could have got tickets which would have let
us get any Bristol-bound train out of Waterloo
Little did I think when
I was writing the above that my hat was on its
way to Portsmouth Harbour, unaccompanied. Will
life be possible hat-less? I’ll have to get a
new one in Paris.
I had had my Tilley hat
for about two years when I lost it. A sad
Otherwise things are
going well. We are now proceeding across Kent
in Eurostar. The train is well filled and
fairly comfortable. Not a great deal of room
however. We got into Waterloo only a little
behind time and went straight to Eurostar and
got onto the train with no problems.
Apparently one should
label ones luggage with name and seat number
if one leaves it in the luggage rack. But as
they tell you this only after it is at the
bottom of a vast pile of other peoples bags,
we broke the rules! The satisfactions of
Passport control for
us was minimal. The man saw we had a UK
passport and walked on. Non EEC passports were
The train was packed
with scarcely a spare seat anywhere. Avoid row
21 - you get a good view of the window pillar.
In Paris - after a fast
trip, got in on time, - we went to the
underground and bought a carnet of tickets -
10 tickets for 55F - and went to Republique
and walked to the Youth Hostel - it was full!
However for only 10 F
each they reserved us a place in the Hotel
Voltaire Repuplique and told us how to get
there. Cheap at a tenth of the price. 5
minutes later we had a room for 120F each.
However it is a three person room and we have
a young, quiet, somnolent Frenchman to share.
However it is a nice room overlooking the
Boulevard Voltaire, but not quiet. We
showered, washed underpants and A’s socks and
lay down for a rest.
At 7 we walked and
Metro’ed our way to the Ile de la Cité where
we looked at Notre Dame. By this time we were
getting peckish so took the metro back to
Republique and had a salad and pizza at a
restaurant in sight of our hotel. We ate at a
pavement table and watched the world go by.
The food was adequate but we won't go back.
The restaurant where BGS went at Easter time
was nearby. It was recognisable by the steady
stream of UK school parties going in. It’s the
"au Val du Loire". Might be better known as
"The Chicken and Chips"!
Back to the Hotel
where our room mate let us in, - and so to bed
The room was remarkably
cheap for Paris. The 100% room occupancy must
be the secret of its cheapness.