Saturday, December 19, 2015

Saturday 19 December - Travel London to Paris

Being a Saturday morning the Underground was not as crowded as during the week.  We took the Piccadilly line across to St. Pancras and had a little time to wait for our train to be called.  A Star Wars trooper drew lots of attention and people were lining up to have their pictures and selfies taken with him.  In fact, he was advertising for one of the shops that sold luggage. Both customs (UK and France) as well as security were cursory and we found seats close to the gates.  Eurostar follows the SNCF mantra of keeping the departure gate a deep dark secret until the last possible moment.  Luggage accommodation on Eurostar is ludicrous and it is advisable to get to the car as soon as possible.  I had already surmised that our train would leave from platforms 7 or 8 and by listening to the chatter on the employees' radios we were ready to go as soon as the gate was announced.  Mary was quick off the mark and was first into our car while I was a close second. Consequently we found spaces for our cases with ease.

We left St. Pancras four minutes late but arrived in the Gare du Nord a minute early.  We ran into platform 7 which is a non-Eurostar platform so this train was presumably going to the sidings rather than working back to London.  The journey does not have much of interest.

The Gare du Nord was very busy but we found our way to La Chapelle and the metro to the apartment. Not a great deal has changed except that the internet is not currently working and so we are using a temporary, slow connection.

The first order of business was to get in some supplies so a quick trip to Monoprix was carried out.  On the way back the greengrocer managed to get Mary to buy a whole tray of strawberries from Morocco - we'll be snacking on strawberries for the next couple of days.

For dinner we walked down to the corner to see if we could get a table at le P'tit Canon.  We were not hopeful as it is a Saturday and just before Christmas.  However we got the last available table. Isabelle, the owner, remembered us and we had a great time.  They had the usual extensive menu which has many favorites.  Mary started with freshly pickled herring and I had terrine de campagne. We both had the duck confit which was excellent.  The duck was crunchy on the outside and very tender inside.  It was accompanied by a pile of fried potatoes, again crunchy on the outside and soft inside.  I am sorry Fred, I didn't have my camera with me.  We had half a bottle of Sancerre with it. The restaurant was very lively and several people were stacked up at the bar anxiously waiting for a table.  Isabelle was everywhere, laughing and joking and taking time to explain the menu.  There were several English speaking groups with whom Isabelle was quite comfortable but, of course, we used French.

This was a great way to start eight weeks here.

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