FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Le weekend

Posted in France, Paris by folkestonejack on May 25, 2019

The disruption to the railways that accompanies most bank holiday weekends is usually enough to dissuade us from travelling too far from home, but for some reason we overlooked that a while back and booked a trip to Paris. The plan for our 48 hour stay was simple enough – visit a couple of palaces, take in the Tutankhamun exhibition at La Villette and finally get round to walking along the Promenade Plantée.

Bear with wings outside the Gare du Nord

It is hard to believe that the channel tunnel has been open for 25 years. It is easy to take for granted now, but I remember only too well the time and expense of a trip to Paris in 1993. The awkward combination of a flight to Paris Charles de Gaulle and a coach into the city centre makes quite a contrast to the smoothness of the journey by train from London St Pancras to Gare du Nord.

The journey between cities was as smooth as it could possibly be and before we had time to adjust we were in the French capital, standing under the wings of the ‘Angel Bear’ installed at the time of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2015. The presence of this 7 metre tall polar bear, painted in red for danger, is intended to remind us of the fragility of the environment.

Our hotel on this occasion is the slightly eccentric 25 hours hotel opposite the entrance to Gare du Nord which has rooms with some pretty quirk decor, an elaborate system of light switches and balconies overlooking the entrance to the station. It’s a convenient place to stay when much of our itinerary revolves around travel to/from Gare du Nord. I quite like it, but I can see that it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

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