I couldn’t wait to head back to Paris. I’d enjoyed it so much the first time and yet there was still so much to see. Round 2 didn’t get off to good start though.
I had booked my room through lastminute.com and specifically opted for the secret hotel deal where you pay a heavily reduced price for a ‘top hotel’. The catch is you don’t know the name of the hotel until you book it and you don’t know the exact location either. I bought my hotel stay (Novotel Paris Est) and after doing some research I thought that it would be great. It was advertised as a four star but once I arrived I was unimpressed with the room and hotel in general, not to mention the dodgey location. It was appalling with tattered carpets and old furniture and so it didn’t take me long to check out.
Luckily I got reimbursed from lastminute.com and was able to purchase a new hotel room (Eurostars Panorama Hotel) in a better area near Gar du Nord that allowed me to get around Paris with ease and safety. It’s small but clean and modern and the staff were brilliant. I’d like to stay here again. I really, really like France. I’m thinking of learning French! Oui.
Bottom line: Don’t purchase secret hotel deals on lastminute.com The risk is too great. Take the time to find a nice hotel. It’s worth it.
Last time I was in Paris I discovered to Les Deux Abeilles and decided I wanted to head back for round TWO.
It was a nightmare finding it and I walked around for almost an hour before I remembered where it was. When I got there it was still early enough that there was only one other patron there so the still quiet calmed me down.
I read up on TripAdvisor about Les Deux Abeilles and people were saying that it has the best hot chocolate. So that was what I ordered for breakfast. I’ve always thought that Paul’s served really good hot chocolate. But this was by far the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. It comes in a small jug. You pour as much as you like into your cup and top it off with thick, thick cream. The hot chocolate is viscous and mixed with the cream on top it’s more than heavenly.
CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND – I’ve now been to Oxford and Cambridge.
And it’s Cambridge I prefer.
It’s a 45 minute train trip from King’s Cross Station in London with no stops (approx. £16 return). A ten minute walk and you’re in the heart of this thriving university town. I found it smarter, neater and easier to explore for a day trip outside of the city.
Everyone I spoke to said you have to go bunting when you’re in Cambridge. It’s basically a gondola ride (think Venice) on a narrow river that passes through the university. Best to go with a guide. I saw a lot of people trying it for themselves but it was nerve wracking to watch them. They bumped into everything a lot including our little boat but they managed to stay dry.
I did the St. John’s College tour and it was a good pick. It wasn’t too busy on the day that I went and it was nicely geared towards tourists. Well marked and with the right amount of information to keep you busy. When you finish the tour you’re outside in the park areas surrounded by trees and plenty of spring flowers.
I loved walking through the streets too. So many nice, cute shops to keep you busy and interested.
There was a graduation ceremony on the day that I was there and so there were many students in their robes. It was odd but the tourists were taking random photographs of them. All in all it was a good day out and I highly recommend it.
LONDON - Well I’m heading back to Paris! This time I’m travelling by Eurostar. If you book in advance you can get a great deal. When I flew to Paris last time, the ticket cost me approximately £135 and on top of that I still had to buy a train ticket to the centre of Paris. This time I’m heading to the City of Lights and it’s only costing £79 return…nice!
I’ll be there in May and have already made a list of things I want to do. For instance with the exception of visiting Versailles, I really want this trip to Paris to be about exploring the quiet streets and quaint shopping districts and flea markets. It’s all about mosey-ing. Just can’t wait.