The alarm went off at 7:30 French time, 6:30 British time, but I had been awake for a while pretending to myself that I was asleep. It was a relief to get up, pack and go down for breakfast – nice bread, pity about the croissants. Collecting our luggage, we stepped into the rue des Vinaigriers for the last time. Out of habit, I turned the corner towards the Gare de l’Est but today we had to go to the Gare du Nord.
I trundled my wheelie bag through a bank holiday Paris morning. Most shops were closed and there was less traffic than usual. There must have been a water leak somewhere because the gutters were like little rivers. It was so quiet that the tramps were still abed in doorways and even on the forecourt of the station.
Our Eurostar train is not until 10:15 and it is now 9:15 and we have completed all the formalities: ticket check, passport check (both French and British) and we are sitting in the departure lounge (less a lounge than a shopping mall with seats), watching the people and the clock. We can go aboard at 9:59.
Boarding started early but there was the usual crush. We joined in, of course, not to be left out. The train was fairly crowded but this doesn’t matter too much as all Eurostar tickets come with reserved seats.
I am leaving Paris in a happy frame of mind. This was only a short break and we could spend only a little time getting to know the city and its people but we will be back in the not too distant future and in the meantime have other trips planned or sketched out.
There is nothing much to do now except to watch a sunlit French countryside parade across our train windows as we thrum our way towards the coast, the Tunnel and, eventually, Kent and then London.
The Eurostar reached Waterloo more or less at the appointed hour. Soon we were outside the station waiting for a bus. Our Paris adventure was over for now but I have a feeling we will return before long.