|We took the Eurostar train from London to Paris through the 'Chunnel ' on Saturday, October 29th. It was very speedy, about 2 1/2 hours, with comfortable seets, and wifi. I watched my first movie on my iPad, and started it as we left London, finishing just as we pulled into Le Gare du Nord train station in Paris. We were approached in the station by a driver wanting 55 Euros, then 45, to take us to our hotel but instead we stood in line for a taxi which was all very straight forward and legitimate, as we had been forewarned about gypsy taxis gouging people. It was just 10 Euros to our hotel in the 1st Arrondisement, one block from the Louvre.
The Pavilion Louvre Rivoli is a great little boutique hotel which I booked for $91 US per night including breakfast. We can walk easily around the fascinating neighbourhood. The first afternoon, we popped over to the Louvre to see the immense expanse of the buildings, to appreciate the architecture, take photos of the glass pyramid over the entrance, and to stroll around the Jardines des Tuiileries.
We then found a small market and purchased a baguette (mais ouis), some incredible Camembert cheese, smoked salmon, a 14% 5 euro bottle of merlot, and some chocolate liquors to take back to the hotel. Superb!! An early night in our minuscule bed (they somehow didn't have the twin beds we require with our broad shoulders), which caused Brian's back to go out!! Noisy streets in Paris at night. Maybe because of our busy location despite the side street we were on, or maybe because it was the weekend.
Great breakfast in the morning with good coffee, orange/grapefruit juice, Brie cheese, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, fruit, buns and YES chocolate croissants (all inclusive).
We set off back to the Louvre to pick up a 'hop on, hop off' bus for a two hour tour around the city. We saw the Seine River cruises, the Left Bank and Latin Quarter, the outside of the Musee D'Orsay, the Place de la Concorde, the Champs Élysées, the Arche de Triumph, the Justice Ministry, the Eiffel Tower, and Les Invilades which used to be a hospital for veterans during Napoleon's era, now a museum for Rodin, I believe.
When the bus returned to the Louvre, we showed our combined ticket and skipped the line up of several hundred people waiting to enter. We spent the afternoon wandering the halls. We saw too many Italian depictions of Christian poses, marble Roman statues and sarcophagi, and finally found the Mona Lisa down many corridors and hallways. Lots of tourists snapping pictures under the 'no photos allowed signs', so we did too. Before leaving we checked out the African, British, and North American exhibits. There were three BC items only from Canada, and only Alaska was shown for the US. Very small exhibits, but great nonetheless.
The day was winding down and our wee brains were full to overflowing so we sought out a restaurant for dinner. It was Sunday, and everything we came across was closed! Perhaps because it's a Catholic city? Fortunately for us, we stumbled along a few blocks in the opposite direction from our hotel as the Louvre, and found ourselves in Japan town, or Korea town, or at least ramen noodle and sushi town. Dozens of choices, maybe because they are Bhudist or Taoist or ??? and could remain open.
The hotel was able by this time to provide us with a slightly larger room containing twin beds pushed together and we settled in for reading, writing, and sleeping.