Thursday 10 February 2011

Pre spring in Paris

Since Sunday we've been having lovely weather. Granted Tuesday, when we went to Paris for the day wasn't so good; but Monday, yesterday and today have been glorious. Cold and frosty early in the morning, it soon warms up and the cats have a lovely time going mad on the roof chasing the lizards. We doubt they will catch one; they are just too quick! Having said that, Antoinette's mother used to be able to catch lizards with her bare hands; an Italian friend taught her.
Paris en grisaille

Paris was great, not too busy yet with tourists, although there are always some at any time of the year. The Dutch Embassy is not far from Gare Montparnasse where the TGV arrives, so we walked down. It was efficient and processed the paperwork for Antoinette's passport quickly after having taken her fingerprints--a new addition to the application process since last time. The passport will be ready in 2 weeks.

virtually tourist free Louvre

This meant that we had quite a bit of time before catching the TGV back. We decided to have a wander down towards Les Invalides and then over to the Louvre where we treated ourselves to lunch at Cafe Marly. As far as we were concerned it wasn't warm enough to sit outside -- although there were some hardy souls who did so. If the sun had broken through it would have been a different story. As you can see from the photos it didn't.

We were very impressed with the quality of the TGV train. It goes like the clappers and took exactly 1 hr from Tours to Gare Montparnasse. The level of comfort in 2nd class was also extremely good. Certainly way better than what we'd been used to when travelling into London from Suffolk. Considerably cheaper too! 

Back here the daffodils are exploding out of the grass and the primulas are not far behind and the ground is drying out nicely, which means the first cut of the grass is not far away.


GaynorB said...

The TGV is also fairly inexpensive at certain times. During our summer break at Le Petit-Pressigny Tim (my husband) needed to fly to Boston from CDG. I think the TGV cost less than 40 Euro from Tours to CDG, travelling at around 9am too. This is far less than he has paid from Stafford to London.
When we get the chance we will go up to Paris, but as we spend so little time in LP-P it seems a shame to travel too far.

Niall & Antoinette said...

Agree it is very good value. Total cost was 38 euros each return and in what in the UK would be peak hrs too.
I communted for 5 years into London; the last 2 by train/tube as we lost the parking spaces when the company moved its office from Canary Wharf to St James' Park and Nat Express East Anglia from Liverpool St was NO fun! Nor was the central line tube....

Jean said...

We haven't been to Paris for far too long. (13 years.)
Can you take dogs on the TGV?
If so, we could make the effort to go at Easter.

Niall & Antoinette said...

Hi Jean--I don't know for certain but our neighbour took her cat in its carrier so can't see why you couldn't take a dog.

Susan said...

I imagine those 'hardy souls' were smokers...

The cheapest tickets of all are PREMS, which are less than €20 return. They don't show up if you switch the SNCF site to English though.

Niall & Antoinette said...

Susan--suspect they were.

The tickets we got were PREMS; 19 euro each way not as good as your 20 Euro returns though. Used SNCF site in French; interesting that PREMS don't show on the English site--worth remembering for when we have friends to stay.

Susan said...

Sorry - my mistake - not returns - 17 euros each way. Parking at either of the stations in Tours is perfectly reasonable too, although we always catch the bus (even more reasonable at 1.70 euros). You couldn't do the whole journey by car in less time or for less money. We are big fans. BTW, first class is not worth the money, even with a cheap upgrade. The seats are weird, and impossible to get comfortable in, although there is a lot more space.

GaynorB said...

Good tip about viewing the French version of the SNCF site. Thank you.
We also downloaded the bus timetable from Preuilly to Tours and agree that the prices looked very reasonable - almost a giveaway!
The WV is 'droorth', and sounds very much like a Scots word for the rainy day after a Six Nations defeat. Not a great match, but a good one to win!!