29 Nov2014

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“Life is Sweet” — that’s the message under the cap of a mini-bottle of raspberry jam that I opened up to enjoy with some croissant on our journey from London to Paris aboard the Eurostar. I couldn’t have said it any better. We flew from Manila to London non-stop on Philippine Airlines, spent one night in London and headed to St. Pancras station the next morning to catch a train to Paris. Neither Mrs. MM nor I had ever taken this route before, so this was something new. A friend had counseled to book “Standard Premier” seats, not economy and not business, and they were very comfortable, with enough space for our luggage and coats.

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St. Pancras station in London is quite spectacular, and boarding the Eurostar was extremely easy with minimal lines for baggage check and immigration.

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The station itself, with its glass canopy, is a beautiful structure.

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All sorts of stores and restaurants line the ground floor, along with this wonderful fresh Christmas tree, all decked out for the holidays.

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Once on board, and on our 2 hour 10 minute ride to Paris, they served a light breakfast of croissant and multi-grain rolls, yoghurt, orange juice and tea or coffee. I was surprised they had a meal included, and wouldn’t have brought my station purchased “baon” ham & cheese sandwich if I had known! :) There are dining cars on board, of course, but it’s best to buy any drinks or snacks at the station to save a pound or two…

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We headed through the suburbs of London and quickly to open fields, and Mrs. MM and I noticed that the views after crossing the tunnel (say 17+ minutes UNDER WATER) to France were far more pastoral and beautiful. Perhaps the part that the Eurostar crosses in England is just not representative of the rest of the wonderful English countryside.

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On the way back from Paris, the lunch meal served was even better than the breakfast on the way over. Sea bream with a rice salad and curried cauliflower for me and some cheese and a wheat berry (I think) salad for Mrs. MM.

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Lots of bread and the pudding (dessert) was pretty darned good. Trust the French, who operate the trains, to have good eats. Though the Paris train station, Gare du Nord, wasn’t quite as nice as its London equivalent.

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Of course the one caveat is the luggage — it’s only as much as you can reasonably manage. And you have to lift your stuff onto the train as well. We were good and packed just one medium sized suitcase with wheels on our way over (leaving another suitcase at our London hotel) to Paris, and we resisted the temptation to put food item after food item in our return luggage (not to mention the cooking equipment stores!!!), but of course like true Pinoy travelers we had a large empty duffel bag in the suitcase for the return trip. This is what I looked like with ALL of our luggage coming back from France.

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Both legs of the journey left exactly on time and were extremely convenient for us. I suspect taking the train is also faster than a plane, considering the commute to the airport on both sides, immigration, etc. We would definitely do this again. But I need the name of the balikbayan box company in France so I can send home all the stuff I wanted to put in my luggage but didn’t this time around. :)

P.S. I plan to write these posts in chronological order, so you can see how the trip progresses, though of course I have edited out a few things along the way.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. May says:

    Enjoyed reading this….thanks!!!!

    Nov 29, 2014 | 8:17 pm

     
  2. corrine says:

    Wow! Making memories again with Mrs MM? Excited for the rest of the posts!

    Nov 29, 2014 | 9:35 pm

     
  3. Rona Y says:

    http://www.visit-philippines.fr/pdf/2014/Sea_cargo_new_7.pdf

    :-)

    (not affiliated with the company in any way! I just want to see what you’d ship back during your next visit!)

    Nov 29, 2014 | 9:43 pm

     
  4. Marketman says:

    Rona Y, DARN, if I had only known… shucks, next time. Thanks SO MUCH for that link.

    Nov 29, 2014 | 10:56 pm

     
  5. Betchay says:

    I will bookmark this post. We should really try Eurostar in our next trip. In our Japan trip recently, we had a 7-days Japan Rail pass and we enjoyed it as we were able to visit a lot of places…the only downside is you have to travel light! :(

    Nov 29, 2014 | 11:40 pm

     
  6. Natie says:

    Oh, this really makes me want to go again.. Paris…

    Nov 30, 2014 | 4:13 am

     
  7. scott says:

    thank you for sharing MM, Mrs MM is smart…she makes you carry all the luggage! lol

    Nov 30, 2014 | 5:27 am

     
  8. millet says:

    oh nice!

    Nov 30, 2014 | 9:19 am

     
  9. Eva Mondragon says:

    Hi MM – I’ve been very busy and haven’t visited your page for quite a while. I see that I have a lot to catch-up on. Hopefully, sometime this week I can sit down and enjoy a cup – a very large cup -of coffee while reading your posts. Cheers!

    Nov 30, 2014 | 2:53 pm

     
  10. al says:

    thanks for sharing your travel pics. very educational and informative.

    Dec 1, 2014 | 8:27 am

     
  11. ami says:

    We’ve contemplated doing this ourselves, take PAL to London then Eurostar to/from Paris. May I ask how much the Standard Premier seats cost?
    You might have enjoyed the english countryside better if you took a bus to Dover for the ferry to Calais. So many beautiful views along the way with the added bonus of seeing the white cliffs of Dover.

    Dec 1, 2014 | 3:25 pm

     
  12. Marketman says:

    ami, the fares range from US$120-170+ per person depending on time of departure. Count on say $260 RT if you travel slightly off-peak hours.

    Dec 1, 2014 | 4:13 pm

     
  13. adobodiaries says:

    Hi MM.

    I took the Eurostar from Paris to London a year ago. Economy was okay but didn’t have food. I only had a backpack with me so it was fine. The meals they served during your trip look delicious.

    Looking forward to the rest of your Paris entries.

    Dec 1, 2014 | 5:15 pm

     
  14. MrsKookie says:

    Im enjoying your posts!!! The husby and I are leaving for Paris for our 10th anniversary (we are almost as old as your blog!) and this will be very helpful ;)

    Dec 2, 2014 | 3:34 pm

     
  15. kurzhaar says:

    One or both of us travel regularly by Eurostar and other trains–Thalys, TGV, ICE, locals. I really don’t think that paying above economy prices is worth it for the very quick trip between London and Paris (or Brussels); economy is quite comfortable, especially if you choose your seats well. We (or I) always pack a meal better than that served on the train–that is, if we even expect to be hungry. The London/Paris run is fast enough that one can go into Paris for a matinee and dinner and be back in London the same evening.

    There are other trains that cross the Channel though via ferry links, such as the Dutch Flyer (for those of you travelling with dogs, this is the way to go). Eventually (we hope!!!) there should be the planned Deutsche Bahn extension of its ICE (inter city express) trains to/from London and either Frankfurt (via Cologne) or Amsterdam (via Rotterdam).

    Prices on all of the trains do vary quite a bit depending on how far in advance you book your seats, so it pays to plan ahead. And look out for discounts especially on DB which can be considerable.

    Dec 2, 2014 | 10:52 pm

     
  16. Dr Nick says:

    Not aiming to fly the British flag, but the Eurostar is jointly owned by the French and the Brits and as such is operated separately from the SNCF (French railways). The upmarket British supermarket chain Waitrose supplies the food in the buffet cars. I also notice that your Gu pudding is a British brand….
    Totally agree that Gare du Nord is a dump compared to St Pancras.

    Dec 3, 2014 | 12:34 am

     
  17. Marketman says:

    Dr Nick, thanks for that correction, I obviously was misinformed and should have checked that fact. Will edit post now. Thanks.

    Dec 3, 2014 | 6:43 am

     
  18. Rochelle says:

    St. Pancras is a sight to behold! especially after it’s upgrade to house Eurostar after it’s move from Waterloo station. I’ve only flown to Paris once, the rest I’ve always used Eurostar. They now have travels to Geneva too via Lille :)

    Dec 3, 2014 | 6:19 pm

     
 

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