I'm still working through the pictures from our last trip to Dorset & Normandy (a hectic work schedule is not helping!), but our next trip is upon us - a day trip to Paris!
It's a funny thing, because although I've always told visitors to London that Paris can be a relatively easy day trip on the Eurostar, I've never actually done it that way. Every time Stephen and I go, we usually head off for the whole weekend, which is easy enough when you live an easy bus ride from the Eurostar terminal. So as a bit of an experiment this Saturday will be our first Paris day trip! We arrive at Gare du Nord around 9:45am and depart at around 8:15pm, not quite 12 hours in France's incredible capital city.
The process of planning out the day has been really interesting, not least because we've been before (and will go again no doubt!) and so we don't feel the need to try to do anything crazy like seeing all of the Louvre in 3 hours. Also, doing it this way means that we won't really have time for any evening entertainments (ballet, opera or concerts like the jazz festival - can I just say that I'm kind of gutted to be missing this again) let alone the famous French dinners. If you haven't ever been to dinner in France, it's hard to appreciate how much of an event a meal can be. We usually take the second seating at a restaurant (usually 8pm or 8:30) and stay until nearly midnight, which is totally normal. I'm not sure that even a 6pm seating would get us out in time to catch our train unless we rushed it, which is exactly the opposite of how to properly enjoy a French dining experience. Not that I'm worried we'll starve (going to Paris for us always revolves around food), but for first-timers going as a day trip, this is a serious downside. No doubt I'll ruminate more on the pros/cons of the day trip experience once we're back.
Going to Paris in July is also something of a gamble since it's on the cusp of the holiday season in France and many places start to close for the better part of two months. That also means that as the locals decamp to sunnier climes, the city really becomes very tourist heavy. I'm a little concerned that with the Olympics in London (and the easy train connections to Paris) that this will be even more hectic than usual, but we'll see. This is an experiment after all!
Anyhow, our focus for the day is going to be on some of the more out-of-the-way places we haven't been to yet, with the added advantage of not being in the prime tourist areas. In particular, Stephen is quite interested in seeing the Tim Burton exhibit at La Cinémathèque Française and if the weather turns out to be nice, I quite fancy Paris Walk's scheduled tour of the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise and/or maybe a boat tour along the Seine, which we've never done. If the weather isn't nice, then I have a sneaking suspicion a return trip to the Arts et Métiers Museum may be in order, plus maybe a wander around the National Library of France (I'll let you guess which choice is whose).
I'm also using this trip to try out a new travel planning tool, Tripomatic and below is the itinerary I've put together using their site (note: a lot had to be added manually as their preloaded entries not unsurprisingly focus on the standard tourist destinations - more on this later).
No doubt plans will change as we get there and see what the weather is doing and also what we feel like, so stay tuned for what actually comes about!