Friday morning sees us up and packing and checking out of our Shoreditch apartment. It’s been a great location to stay, with tube station and bus stop almost outside the front door and a plethora of choices for cafes, pubs and other bars in the immediate area.
After checking out we opt for a taxi to St Pancras International as, despite the effectiveness of the tube, many stations, including Old Street are difficult to manage when pushing large luggage and trying to negotiate stairs when heavy laden. It makes us aware of the issues associated with disabled access.
We hail a cab in City Road and proceed to get entertained throughout the trip by a self confessed London septuagenarian who keeps up a great conversation as we drive to St Pancras international.
We arrive at St Pancras and find the ‘Left Luggage’ area where we check our large suitcases in for safe-keeping until closer to our departure. Then, it’s off in search of brunch and what better place than Searcy’s Champagne Bar – (without the Champagne, but with the eggs and coffee.
Eventually we retrieve our luggage and pass through security and passport control to wait for our train. Up the travelators and onto the train which pulls out of St Pancras spot on time to head out of London at speeds of 150 miles per hour until really opening the throttles to a 185 mph run. Interestingly, I find that there are a few unusual ear pressure issues related to the high speed train
We’re held up briefly waiting for a green signal near the entrance to the channel tunnel and then onward through the darkness to emerge in France. It’s fascinating watching the place names, familiar from history, on the live feed of maps as we head East and then turn South toward Paris.
We arrive at Paris Gare du Nord at 5.50pm and spend the next 45 minutes in a queue for a taxi before arriving at our AirBnB apartment for the week in the 10th Arrondissement just near the Canal St Martin, where Charles, our host, is on hand to explain everything and provide an excellent welcome to Paris. Once again, we are reminded of the value and experience of an AirBnB experience vs a hotel for both price and a ‘local living’ vibe.