4 September 2015, Friday
05.09.2015 22 °C
Today was an early start, with a wake up call at 6:00am, and a 7:20am departure from the hotel to the train station to catch the 8:24am TGV fast train to Paris. Like the Eurostar, for security reasons they don't announce which platform it departs from until 20 minutes before departure, so all passengers then had to make a dash for the platform and board the train. Whilst we are travelling on the fast train, our luggage will be going to Paris on our coach, which should reach Paris by 4:00pm. Our train arrives in Paris at midday.
It was light overcast during the morning, but when we reached Paris, it was a heavy overcast, and cool.
From the station, we boarded a local coach, and taken to the Louvre where we had a quick lunch before those of us doing the optional Louvre tour were met by the local tour guide. We only had just over an hour for the actual tour, but our guide was able to show us the highlights, including the old fort found during excavations for the coach park and new entrance, the inverted pyramid, the Venus de Milo, the Revolution painting that was the inspiration for 'Les Miserables', and of course the Mona Lisa. The Louvre actually allows photography, so had a field day. The crowds around the Mona Lisa were packed, but our local guide assures us that today is a quiet day. On a busy day, the entire room is packed.
After the Louvre, we went to our hotel and checked in, and were pleased to find that our coach had arrived with our luggage. Tonight is our formal farewell dinner (tomorrow night is the final night for those finishing in Paris), but as most of us are going to the Moulin Rouge tomorrow, our farewell dinner is tonight.
Our dinner was at a parissian restaurant called "Les Noces de Jeannette", where we had a private room, a 3 course meal, and unlimited drinks. My entree was 'Escargots de Bourgogne' (yes, 6 snails, which I managed to eat with plenty of wine in between), followed by "canard l'orange' (leg of duck in orange source), and finished with 'nougat glace' (ice cream nougat). A great night was had, and a few of the opened wine botles managed to find their way back to the hotel where 6 of us had finished them off in Graham & Sue's room.
I am a little concerned about how much of Paris we will get to see tomorrow, but will see what happens.