Monday, March 14, 2011

Goodbye, London! Hello, Paris!

We got up this morning and trained into London one last time. We switched to the Tube to get to St. Pancras station and met this handsome fellow along the way:

After leaving our bags at St. Pancras (8 pounds per bag! yikes!), we had a quick lunch in the station and then set out--again by taxi, much to Caroline's delight--to check out the Florida State University London Study Centre:

The facility is small, but it's impressive from top:

to bottom:

We stopped off in the library so that I could say I had been in an FSU library at least once before graduating from there (at the end of next month!) with a degree in library science:

Speaking of libraries, Caroline is a total bookworm, and her eyes lit up when we passed the British Library in the cab on the way to FSU, so we walked back there from the study centre. Annabelle and I stayed only long enough to snap a couple of pictures at the entrance:

We left Michelle and Caroline at the library to look at things like original Beatles lyrics and the manuscript to Jane Eyre while we hopped on the Tube at King's Cross:

and headed off in search of 186 Fleet Street, where the murderous barber Sweeney Todd supposedly had his shop. We got off at Temple and walked past Two Temple Place with its lovely golden weather vane:

and turned left at Middle Temple Lane:

Perhaps one should go "dead slow" when stalking a long-dead murderous barber, but we had a train to catch, so we went quickly:

We found the shop, and Annabelle posed for a couple of quick pictures:

Unfortunately there was no street number on the building, but this is the church next door:

and proof that it is 187 Fleet Street:

From there we sprinted back to the Tube and hustled back to St. Pancras to meet up with Caroline and Michelle, retrieve our luggage, and board the Eurostar train bound for Paris. Caroline and Annabelle spent the train ride with their noses buried in their books:

We arrived at Paris Nord, changed some money (tip for future travelers: the 200 euros that costs $276 through the ATM will cost you $350 at the kiosk 10 feet away AND the attendant will not be very friendly, so save your money and use the ATM), and grabbed a cab to our hotel. Fred and I had stayed with the kids at the Hotel Marignan on Rue du Sommerard back in November of 2003. It was a fabulous bargain then, and it remains a fabulous bargain. For 130 euro per night, we have a room for 4 with a private bathroom, daily breakfast, and use of the kitchen and laundry, should we have the time or inclination to cook or clean, which I doubt we will.

After we dropped the bags at the hotel, we wandered into a nearby restaurant for dinner. Restaurants in Paris tend to give me anxiety attacks, as my French begins and ends at Parlez vous Anglais? I needn't have worried. Caroline dropped a bon jour and a couple of mercis on our waiter, and he was charmed to pieces. He actually applauded when she declined the ketchup he brought for her fries! And Annabelle's high-school French came in handy for asking for the bill in French, which was nice.

From there we crossed the street to Les Délices du Fournil (49 Boulevard Saint Germain) for crepes with Nutella (and banana, in my case). One of the young men behind the counter noticed Annabelle and declared: "She is very beeyooteeful!" Annabelle promptly turned 6 shades of red, and we all cracked up. Then he asked "How old is she?" and when I told him, he said to her: "I will wait for you!" I asked if he would pose for a picture in the meantime and he said yes, as long as I would send him a copy. His name for his email is Casanova--hmm, should I be concerned?

We enjoyed our crepes while we walked over to Notre Dame to admire it at night, all the while giggling about Annabelle's French boyfriend, who is--as she says--"in the restaurant business." Notre Dame was beautiful as always, and I think my little point-and-shoot camera did a darn fine job all things considered on this shot:

We shopped our way back to the hotel by way of the souvenir stands. Annabelle wants to find a rhinestone-encrusted souvenir frame to hold the picture of her French boyfriend (he's in the food industry, you know). No luck tonight, but I found this amazing watch for only 5 euro:

You know what they say: A man with one watch knows what time it is, while a man with 2 is never sure, and a woman with a blingy watch featuring a cat AND the Eiffel Tower knows what time it is in Paris!

1 comment:

Jenny Francais said...

Ooooh! I love your watch! And Mr. and Mrs. Casanova look so cute together. I can't wait to see you guys. In the meantime, I will delight in looking at all your trip pictures.