Saturday, March 15, 2014

London - Paris Day 4

Leaving London bright and early this morning. We had a 3:45am wake up call and a boxed breakfast this morning. We are up and ready to for the trip for the white cliffs of Dover and then onward to Paris. 

We meet our tour guide Peter and learned a bit about the area around our hotel in western London. Apparently, Richard Branson and Phil Collins have homes near where our London hotel was located in Kensington

Interesting Fact: Western areas in European cities are typically more expensive because the prevailing winds come from the west and most factories with smokestacks were built in the eastern parts of cities so the smoke would blow away from town. 

We pass through eastern London and into the outer suburbs of London. We are traveling through the countryside in Kent. The agricultural center of England. 

Interesting Fact: We pass by the town of sandwich. Lord Sandwich asked his butler for something to eat at the table and he was given meat between two pieces of bread and they called it a sandwich.

We have made excellent time so far this morning. We arrive at the port of Dover where we take a Ferry across to France. 

We were early enough to catch the 8:25am ferry instead of waiting for our reserved time of 9:40. I'm hoping that means we might get a brief nap before our dinner in Paris this evening. We catch a glimpse of the Castle of Dover.  This castle was originally two light houses.

We board the ferry and embark on our trip across the channel. The cliffs are made of chalk and they are beautiful.

It's a bit chilly on deck and the wind is blowing fiercely, but it is shaping up to be a beautiful warm day. It takes about an hour and a half to cross the channel via ferry. We move our watches ahead one hour as we enter France.

We have arrived in Calais, France and will travel through western France to Paris. 

Interesting Fact: In France no billboards are allowed along the roads in the countryside. 

Little towns are peppered throughout the countryside. I like that each town has a steeple peering above the roofs of the other buildings in the town.

Wind turbines are all along our route to Paris.

We stopped at the equivalent of a rest stop along the way for lunch and we have about an hour and a half drive to Paris.

Interesting Fact: Napoleon asked French bakers to develop a long loaf of bread so that soldiers could easily carry the bread in their backpacks. The baguette was born.

We arrive in Paris and we have a couple hours to rest and get ready for our group dinner and a quick tour of Paris by night. Ironically, the hotel we are staying at caters to mostly Japanese clientele. Our bed is pretty large and the room is actually larger than we expected, but the bed is set very low to the ground. Not really an issue for myself or my husband just interesting. My TV randomly turned on by itself and all of the channels are in Japanese or French. Neither of which I can understand, but I did find a cartoon in French with Japanese and English subtitles. Ha! Luckily, they have free wifi.

We had dinner along the Champs Élysées. We arrived at the Arc de Triomphe during the ceremony for the unknown soldier. Hundreds of French soldiers walked down the Champs Élysées and sang a song then they lit a fire under the Arc de Triomphe for the unknown soldier.

We then ate dinner at Chez Clement.

After dinner we did a quick Paris by night tour. We saw the Paris Opera House.

And then stopped to take a few night time shots of the Eiffel Tower. We arrived just before 9pm.

At 9pm the strobes started and ran for 5 minutes. Wow! Breathtaking.

Travel Day by bus and boat to Paris, France

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