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We had arrived in Paris the day before. That next morning we made our way by Metro to Gard du Sud. It had been 30 years since I had set foot in the station and it looked all-different. Tunnels lead up to the gates and we could see little. After a few minutes my wife ventured up the stairs, and there it was, the station I remembered. We waited on the platform for ten minutes for the express to arrive from Lyon (it was the TEE 30 years ago) and then to see our daughter de-train. That picture of 'Mum and Daughter' made the whole trip worthwhile.
Paris was cold and overcast. That did not deter us. We travelled by RER out to Versailles to join the throngs at the palace. We used our Metro passes to travel abut the city visiting Montmartre, the left bank, museums, shops, and Notre Dame. Our museum pass included a a bus tour of central Paris and while it was cold, the Champs Elysees is still the Champ Elysees and La Tour Eiffel, still.... Yes, we spent much of our time indoors and made very good use of the Metro/RER passes. We enjoyed the Musee D'Orsay so much that we visited twice, each time using our meeting point, the polar bear. Where else would Canadians congregate!
We parted with our daughter and travelled by train to London. This was a remarkably easy tirp. We took the metro the Gard du Nord, went through passport control and boarded the train for London. Three hours later we were walking through St. Pancras Station and a block from our B&B. St. Pancras/King's Cross my not be the posh part of London, but it is easy to get about and close to everything. Once again we used our visitor (Underground, a.k.a. 'The Tube') passes to good effect, though for future visits I would purchase an 'Oyster Card' as you can top it up and don't have to use it sequentially. Here were rewarded with and excellent day at Kew Gardens, complete with an exhibition of Henry Moore sculptures. While the weather turned dull and rainy, London still has the Tate, the Theatre, and of course the Pub. Where else can one discuss 'Pinter' with Kiwis over a fine glass of dark English ale.
Canadians tend not to think of train as a way to get around. The railways both in Paris and London were a real pleasure. We were able to use our travel cards on both the Metro/RER and Tube/trains. If only Toronto could get the TTC/GO to cooperate and have as many trains per day as Waterloo has in one hour...
Our final day saw us take the train to the airport, what an easy way to travel! London and Paris were cold that March but the visit was warm. Being able to fly into one city and depart from another gave us a chance to see two great cities and experience the Channel. We would encourage others to see Europe the same way, fly into one centre and depart from somewhere else.
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