Paris, 24th April 2009
With all the turmoil that had been surrounding the travel industry recently, we decided that it would be a good idea to take a couple of our colleagues on a mini break to Paris. Why Paris?? Well, to me Paris is one of the world’s most romantic cities and what better way could there be but to spend the day shopping in the city dedicated to haute couture!!!
Getting up at an ungodly hour of 4AM was not my idea of a good start to the day… but then I was confronted with THE slowest taxi ride ever. Only his age precluded me from being rather rude and a) telling the driver to try and drive beyond 11 miles an hour (London was totally deserted at this time of the morning) or b) to keep quite, as I had no interest hearing about his family that arrived here 120 years ago from Russia!
So, finally we arrived at the gloriously refurbished St. Pancras International at 06.15! Thankfully, I had managed to ‘grab’ a bacon sandwich and coffee from kitchen at The Rembrandt before getting into a taxi as even though there were at least 20 travellers at the station, nothing was open.
Everyone arrived on time and were equally as excited about our trip to Paris. So gasping for another coffee, we purchased 14 coffees and proceeded toward the platform to board our train. Considering how early we had to get up we were all “full of beans” and could not wait to reach Paris!
Upon arrival, we were greeted with a bright, sunny morning with the temperature set at a perfect 20 degrees celsius! The first stop was the restaurant, which was literally across the road from Paris Gare Du Nord.
This city is truly unique in its seriousness about their food. While all “foodies” know about the high end Michelin starred restaurants, what is really astonishing is the variety and number of places dedicated to food. There are restaurants, cafes, bistros and brassieres at every turn. The city abounds in boulangeries, pâtisseries and fromageries that specialize in breads, pastries and cheese, respectively.
Our Brasserie, Terminus Nord was outstanding! The hospitality was excellent, the menu was extensive (for someone like me, the choice of sea food and shellfish was endless) and the whole ambience was very French indeed. As we only had one person among us who spoke French, we found the waiting staff to be very patient and their English, remarkable! The quality of food was very good indeed and it’s presentation equally as impressive.
Everyone enjoyed the food so much; eventually there was very little time left for shopping and sightseeing. Terminus Nord is in the 10th arrondissement and as such, not in the best area to walk about or see anything of any interest unless you don’t mind 20 minute walk to Gallerie Lafayette. So, we all agreed to meet at 5 o’clock at the station as everyone wanted to see different things.
The journey back was a somewhat quieter affair, as we were all exhausted and contemplative of the day. Unfortunately, someone had to be ill before we realised that instead of air conditioning our coach was being heated to +24c!!!
All in all, it was a wonderful day and if you asked me if I would do it again, then you can place a wager that my answer would be yes… just tell me the date and time and I will be there. One could never get enough of the indescribably magical city of Paris!!!
Submitted by Kay Shelford, Director of Sales at The Rembrandt