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Florence to Paris to London

Posted on 2011/10/30 11:44:20 (October 2011).

[Monday 24th October 2011]
I'd like to say I awoke on the sleeper train around 8, but the reality is more that I finally gave up on any chance of sleeping at that point, and decided to get up for a little walk around the train. There wasn't really much to see, alas.

We arrived at Bercy station in Paris just before 10:30, and from there took the metro to Gare du Nord. We had a few hours before our Eurostat back to London and decided it would be easiest to leave our bags in the left luggage place at Gare du Nord and wander around from there. I'm really not a fan of Gare du Nord, and in particular the left luggage place. You have to go through airport style metal detectors to get in (and again when you come to collect your bags) and once inside you're then faced with coin lockers which are expensive, dirty, poorly maintained and hard to fathom how to use. There don't actually seem to be any English instructions anywhere, which seems a bit remiss considering, as far as I could tell, every other person using them was English as well.

We headed out from Gare du Nord and started our few hours in the 10th arondisement with a coffee at Au Train de Vie, my favourite cafe. It was the first time Chie had been here, and she seemed to rather like it too. For lunch, Chie had found a place on the web called Nanashi, which served bento style meals, and always had a vegetarian bento on the menu. I'm not sure it was exactly my sort of thing - perhaps a bit too much like healthy food for my tastes - but I was pleased nonetheless to find anything vegetarian whatsoever in Paris. Our third port of call was a boulangerie called Du Pain et Des Idees, where we bought some really good breads - particularly the Fougasse aux Herbes was excellent.

We got the Eurostar just after three, and to round off the trip bought a half bottle of Laurent Perrier to drink on the train, and then spent the majority of the journey dozing off in our seats.

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