Today we left London for Paris. Up early, check the beds, go to the station. Fortunately, the rain had dissipated the previous day. The chunnel station was a lot like an airport – security, passport control (on both borders), and then a waiting area near long moving walkways that take you to the boarding platform.
The train itself was a much smoother ride than the Underground, unsurprisingly. We got real seats, with seatback tables and room under our seats to store our baggage. The acceleration was much smoother, as well – on the Underground, it was difficult to stand. On the chunnel train, it was difficult to tell when we started.
For a train that goes 75m (~230ft) under water for 150km (~100 miles), you’d think that there’d be more fanfare for actually passing through the chunnel. Rather, the train dodged in and out of tunnels as it passed through cities in the English countryside, and after one of the tunnels we looked out and saw French-looking houses. The houses all had red tile roofs, and were gathered in groups of a few hundred, with a sharply spiked church in the center of each group.
Stepping off of the train was slightly ominous. At the end of the boarding platform were big signs saying “Beware unaccredited taxis.” Under the signs were people with cardboard signs saying “free taxi” in felt-tip marker, panhandling people to take a ride with them.
We smartly avoided them and went downstairs for the connection to the French underground.
The Paris tube was similar to the London one – it was useful to have experience with the London tube as we learned the Paris tube. The Paris tube is much quieter, where the London tube emitted horrible screeching noises for much of the ride.
We got off at the Franklin D. Roosevelt stop to walk to the AirBnB. Why there’s a FDR square in Paris I don’t know, but there is one. The AirBnB we’re staying at in Paris is much closer to downtown. In London we stayed in a suburb, but in Paris we’re staying down the road from the Arc de Triomph.
The apartment was suitably more fancy. Also more vault-like. The door going to the street was about 3 inches of solid wood, and must weigh at least a hundred pounds. Inside that door is a sturdy glass door with a magnetic lock, that requires a key to pass through. Inside the apartment, all of the exterior doors and windows have had recently retrofitted multi-point deadbolts. The door to the fire escape has 5 deadbolts, which you retract by turning the key several times to crank them open.
Once we had settled in for a bit, we went out to find food and shop for groceries. The first place we went to, a Italian place, only opened at 7. The second was a much more informal steakhouse, where we had dinner and chocolate mousse. The mousse was good, but not as good as the mousse that my sister makes (in general it’s hard to beat homemade foods, though).