Saturday, November 17, 2007

Postcard: Paris

We thought that the rail strikes would be over, but of course when the time came to go to Alison's house in London, our train to Lille to pick up the Eurostar was cancelled. At the last minute, we were wondering if we were going to make it to not only to enjoy Alison's first Thanksgiving, but her first Thanksgiving as an expat in London, and her first Thanksgiving as a married woman. It promises to be one of those lifetime events, not to mention that when I explained the train situation to Mother, who was coming from the states, she said: "If you don't come..." pregnant pause... "I'll be crushed". So the pressure was on.

Loic managed to get someone on the phone at Eurostar and they said if we could make it to Paris, we would have a seat on a tunnel train to London. With the strike, there were about 3 trains leaving Lyon, all to Paris. The problem was getting on one. Loic had the master plan, we'd get up at 4 and be at the station early enough to catch the first train out.

Because I forgot my gloves, we missed the bus, and by chance a taxi cruised by. We managed somehow to get tickets and on the train within the 5 minutes that remained before the train took off. Upon arrival to Paris, we realized that all public transit there was on strike, so we had to walk from Gare de Lyon to Gare du Nord.

Luckily, we passed by the Marche des Enfants Rouge and had a nice Japanese meal about halfway there. I forgot how much I love walking in Paris. We boarded the train to the new Pancras station. The Eurostar took literally 2 hours on its own dedicated track all the way through, not the 3 or 4 hours it used to take when it switched rail systems and went slow through England. The newly rennovated Pancras station was gorgeous, a picture of Victorian beauty.


Blogger Francine said...

What a relief! I was thinking about you guys on Saturday wondering how it was going. Have a wonderful stay and say Hello to everyone for me :)

12:08 PM, November 19, 2007  
Blogger Jann said...

What excitement along the way ~ never a dull moment. I was in Italy not too long ago and the air traffic controllers were on strike. We had to desparately catch a flight to London to get to the States-always be prepared for an adventure! Look at the delicious meal you were able to have ~Cheers!

1:37 AM, November 20, 2007  
Blogger Lucy said...

Glad you made it, and weren't too stressed to enjoy the walk in between! I really liked the Japanese restaurants in Paris, and they seem very popular.
I gather the English newspapers, or at least the anti-European ones, were crowing about how the UK had got its wonderful fast train and renovated station while Paris was paralysed with strikes as though that was how it was all the time, ignoring the fact that on the English side the trains have been slow and the service inefficient for years whereas in general the transport in France and Paris in particular is vastly better.
Hope you have a lovely time.

6:47 AM, November 20, 2007  
Anonymous Erika of Sweet Pea Blog said...

I think you really had a lucky star following you on your journey... as most stories I hear finish in tears and people not arriving!! We are going down to Provence next weekend and have opted for the car just in case the strikes continue. How was the Thanksgiving dinner?

11:48 AM, November 22, 2007  
Blogger clendena said...

happy thanksgiving!

12:48 PM, November 22, 2007  
Anonymous myfrenchkitchen said...

Yes, November and greves in France go hand in hand. We had to almost hike to Stockholm and when we came back, it was charles de Gaulle who was striking next in line. Luckily you have a nice Jpanes meal and memories of Paris to show for this year's strike!

1:58 PM, November 26, 2007  
Anonymous rebekka said...

I just came across your blog...lovely! We had a dear exchange student from Lyon a few years ago, and I have been dreaming of visiting ever since! Are there any cooking courses taught in English there?


3:27 PM, November 27, 2007  
Anonymous Stash said...

Happy T-day, Lucy!

5:59 PM, November 27, 2007  

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