Have you noticed that when you use frequent flyer miles for airline tickets that the route to your final destination is never very direct? A few years ago when my husband and I were flying home from France, the airline sent us to Heathrow, then to Minneapolis, then to Salt Lake City, and then finally home to Seattle; go figure. This time we wanted to get to Paris, but there were no available seats on any of the flights, they could only get us as far as Heathrow. Interestingly, as we were waiting to board, we heard a flight being called for Paris; why couldn’t they have put us on that flight we wondered? C’est la vie.
Our next question when planning this trip was to get from Heathrow to Paris. We explored various options and determined that the Eurostar would be the most enjoyable for us. We allowed plenty of time between our connections so we could have lunch before boarding the train.
Getting to St. Pancras station from Heathrow is super easy; we hopped on the Piccadilly Line at the airport and voila an hour later we were at the train station. We exited the station, walked about two blocks and found a pub called the Euston Flyer. This classic pub has delicious food and friendly waitstaff.
After lunch we still had several hours before catching the train. We debated going to the British Library which is just over the road (as they say in the UK) from the pub, but the jet lag was kicking in, so we decided to get an earlier train.
The staff at the Eurostar Desk (all French) we’re so helpful and friendly! There is a £30 per ticket change fee, but since the next train was leaving in a few minutes and we still had to clear customs and immigration, the clerk waived the fee and personally escorted us to the passport check station. We boarded the train, and almost immediately fell asleep once settled in our seats. Forty five minutes later we were exiting the Chunnel in France.
We stayed at the Avalon Hotel, which is a short walk from Gare du Nord. The staff is friendly, helpful and very patient with my limited French. It is also very quiet, which is unusual for a city hotel.
We had dinner at Brasserie Bellanger, not far from our hotel. This is a Michelin rated restaurant with delicious and creative food. I had Veggies du Moment, and my husband had the special fish dish. Both were stunningly presented and equally delicious.
We each had a starter, entree and two glasses of wine, all for €72. Our waiter was friendly and helpful, and again, patient with my French. I have heard so many people say that the French are not friendly, but this is our seventh trip to France and we have never experienced that.
Later today we’ll be taking the train to Caen, renting a car and visiting Mont Saint-Michel. Check back in a few days for a blog on this historic and famous village.
Wishing you grand adventures!