Saturday, 30 June 2012

One night in Paris

I left London with more lethargy than excitement. I was quite hungover having rolled in at dawn, after leaving drinks with my friends in Hackney turned into more serious boozing in a bar on Mare Street, before three of us ended up in a taxi heading to a flat in Islington with three women in their 30s whom we had only just met around the pool table. Waking up back at my friend's flat, all I wanted to do was sit around all day eating take away and watching shit television, but I had a Eurostar to Paris to catch.

I arrived at Gare du Nord at around 7pm, and directly outside a French film company were set up to shoot a scene which provided some mild interest whilst I gathered my bearings. I walked for 10 minutes to Gare de l'Est, where my train to Moscow would be departing from 12 hours later, so I wouldn't have to find it for the first time in the bleary eyed dawn. I then took the Metro a few stops and walked to my hostel to check in. I made some small talk with some Australian girls in my room, before heading out on foot to find some recognisable tourist landmark. I made it up to Montmartre, and the steps up to the top of the hill stank as it was more of a memorial fountain to public pissing than the staircase to a basilica. Still, the atmosphere at the top was really chilled, with street music and immigrants selling beers it was nice to sit and enjoy the scene, and I waited for the sun to set to take some photos as the hill gave a great panorama of Paris. 

The view from Montmartre, looking south across Paris.
I walked back east across Paris to my hostel, getting in around midnight, before settling down in my dorm I shared with Australians and New Zealanders, all traveling around Europe for the summer on some bus tour. I woke up at 6am, quietly slipped out of my room, checked out and hopped on the Metro to my station. I could've had another half an hour in bed, but I had about 38 hours on the train so figured catching up on sleep would not be a problem. I bought some breakfast in Gare de l'Est, and was grunted at by a fierce looking Russian guard as he took my ticket and escorted me to my cabin on the train.

Early morning commuters in Gare de l'Est, Paris.

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