Day five of our European adventure brought our time in the UK to a close. Goodbyes are always hard, but this one was maybe just a smidge easier because we were off to the city of lights: Paris!
The day began with breakfast at the beautiful Foxhills resort. Breakfast each morning there was served buffet-style, but not the typical American buffet you might be picturing. Among the offerings, there was always fresh fruit and dry cereal and several breakfast pastries. The hot food, though, was a bit unusual–at least for my Americanized taste buds. Both the London Landmark and Foxhills offered baked beans on the breakfast buffet. Given that both hotels served them, I’m guessing beans are an English breakfast staple? There were also scrambled eggs, but English scrambled eggs are far different than what we’re used to. Their version is more “loosely” cooked in heavy cream, which results in a somewhat soupy finished product. I tried them, but they weren’t my cup of tea. Torri and I mostly stuck with pastries and fruit.
We left Foxhills and headed back to London proper where we would board the Eurostar for our 2.5 hour train ride that would take us through the undersea Channel Tunnel. We had a quick stop to make, though. Fans of Harry Potter, apparently, understand the significance of platform 9 ¾. Torri was quite excited for the photo op, but I passed because having never read the books, this particular “platform” meant nothing to me. Ah, what a sheltered life I lead. In any case, here is the photo. Moving right along though.
We were given the opportunity to grab a quick bite to eat at the St. Pancras train station. After that, we all met in our designated spot for a short wait to board the train.
I rather enjoyed the train ride. We had comfortable seats with plenty of legroom. Also, someone came by and offered us an impressive lunch with a choice of salmon or something else that I can’t quite remember. Torri and I passed on the food, but we did enjoy sipping hot tea as our train passed through the undersea Channel Tunnel (my ears popping all the while). We watched Silver Lining’s Playbook on my kindle and the time flew right by. I was feeling a bit giddy, though, and kept making Torri pose with me for silly selfies. I thought it was fun, but she was not amused. Those with a keen eye might be able to detect a hint of annoyance in the smile she’s flashing below.
Upon arrival in Paris, we were warned about the abundance of pickpockets. And so we held our bags close as we exited the train station and emerged on a busy Parisian street. I would be remiss not to share the photo of the train station, though. This is just not what I picture when I think train station. Impressive, right?
And here is the aforementioned busy Parisian street.
We were led to an awaiting coach where we met our French guide, Sophie. She narrated as we made our way through the streets of Paris to the one thing everybody goes to Paris to see: the Eiffel tower.
We stayed for awhile. Our guides gave us the option to take an elevator to the top for a view. Torri and I did so, but I’m not sure I would do it again. The lines up there were atrocious for one thing. But moreover, when you look out over Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower, there is a key element missing from that infamous skyline: the Eiffel tower. You can’t get pictures of it when you’re standing atop it. So here’s a tip for you: if you have limited time in Paris, don’t bother visiting the tower. The elevators to the top are jam-packed with folks who go a little too light on the deodorant if you catch my drift. And your pictures will be better if you take them from atop the Arc du Triomphe. Promise.
After our time at the Eiffel Tower, we once again boarded the coach and headed to our hotel, The Hotel Du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe. Upon arrival, we were ushered into a private reception room, where–in true Parisian form–we raised a champagne toast and nibbled on the most delicious fresh macarons. Mine was pistachio and, well, oh la la.
We had just enough time to settle into our rooms and change for dinner. Dinner was a buffet within the hotel and it was nothing to write home about. So I’ll just spare you the details and, instead, share pictures of our room, and the view from our room.
Our room was on the third floor and we had a courtyard view. We did hear, though, that there was one couple in our group who was assigned a room on the seventh floor and they had an Eiffel tower view.
Our itinerary for day six included a trip to Versailles and an Arc de Triomphe night climb. More on that to follow.