Germany, Iceland, France (& that Bike Race) & England

July, 2005

to Paris

Today's jobs:

The decision to return the car early is due to tomorrow being the final stage of Le Tour de france, and crossing Paris by road that day may prove less than easy!

OK, so here's how it all went. We left as planned at 08:00 and arrived in Paris centre around 13:00 - just so. Some great navigating by Fran and some careful but relaxed driving by me and we were in our street! So, we were headed the wrong way... this is our first time don't forget :) A brilliant U-turn strategy from Fran got us turned around and we saw the Hotel, drove past and decided to park in the Gare du Nord parking area. Once inside we saw to our astonishment (you can tell we haven't travelled much before) Avis car rental parking, of which we promptly availed ourselves. We took out our main luggage leaving the bikes, walked to the Hotel and checked in. Back to the Gare for the bikes, and I had to haul them up the very narrow stairs in the Hotel as the lift was too small.

So, we were now checked in, had all our luggage out of the car and had returned the car to Avis, a day early and not at the paris central office, but they didn;t seem to care! I needed a shower after hauling two bikes (one at at time) up the five storeys of unimaginably narrow stairs of varibale heights and widths, and creakinesses, and it was a spiral stair as well..

By now it was 15:00 and we watched some of the time trial stage of the Tour on TV. Out ime in Paris is very limited however so off again to look around, heading towards Sacre Coeur, via the Gare du Nord.

At Gare du Nord we found the Eurostar office, made enquiries and booked our seats for Monday's trip to London. Not cheap. But at least its done. The only huge problem is how to manhandle the bikes and all our other junk that far! I guess I will have to be strong that day :)

Sacre Coeur is huge, and full of tourists. Everyone who was at Mont St Michel the other day is now here in Sacre Coeur.

On the way back we saw another building of interest and wandered in - it proved to be the church or St Vincent de Paul. Very plain in some respects but elaborate ceiling paintings and a very big building - and NO TOURISTS!

Finally it was beer o'clock as we sat down at a small corner bar and enjoyed excellent beer, at more than twice the price we were now used to!.