It was 4 a.m. when I woke up at my hotel in central London. My friend and I were booked on the Eurostar to Paris at 8:40 a.m. and were meeting at the Saint Pancras International train station in London at 8 a.m. for breakfast. I quickly got out of bed, showered and got ready in a Ralph Lauren knit dress, very excited for my day trip to Paris. However, when I arrived at the station, there was a long queue at immigration. We had to skip breakfast and settle for a couple of tomato-cheese croissants with coffee to go for the train.
In about two and a half hours we arrived at the Paris Gare du Nord, one of the six large terminus stations of the SNCF mainline network for Paris. The Eurostar offers three classes: the Standard, Standard Premier and Business Premier with two buffet cars that sell drinks and snacks. We traveled Standard and it was comfortable. After passing through the English countryside, we entered the Channel Tunnel (more commonly known as the Chunnel) for about 20 minutes. This is a route beneath the English Channel that connects England and France.
At the Gare du Nord train station, we took a hop-on-hop-off bus tour for our sightseeing excursion of Paris. Our first stop was the Louvre, the world's largest museum and a historic monument, housed in the Louvre Palace that was built as a fortress in the 12th century. Luckily for us, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day as we admired the glass pyramid structure of the Louvre and the Louvre Palace.
Then we walked through the Jardin des Tuileries (the public garden located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde) before stopping for lunch at the Café des Marronniers located in the gardens. The Jardin des Tuileries has been transformed over the centuries from being a private, royal garden to one of the most elegant promenades of Paris today.
After lunch we got back on the hop-on-hop-off bus to go to the Eiffel Tower. It was late in the afternoon and starting to get a bit chilly. My Karen Millen coat was perfect for the Paris fall and kept me warm. Arriving at the Eiffel Tower, we were hit by the largeness of this iconic monument. To me, it was a symbol of man's creative initiative and indomitable will that was reflected in the tower's imposing structure. After spending some time, looking at this majestic tower, we took a cab and headed to our next destination - the Notre-Dame.
Also known as the Notre-Dame Cathedral, it is a medieval Catholic cathedral in French Gothic architecture and is among the largest and most well known churches in the world. Once again it is a symbol of man's genius and creativity finding full expression in the beauty of the architecture.
Before we knew, it was time for us to head back to the railway station to catch our evening train back to London. Unfortunately, we had forgotten to set our watches one hour ahead and were running very late! Hurriedly catching a taxi, we just about made it in time for our train!