Monday, 5 May 2014

007 Travel story: Paris (FRANCE) 2013, day 1/7: From London to Paris by Eurostar train

Pirita´s, Mika's and 7 -year-old daughter's own family trip for three 12th - 18th October 2013.

Airline: SAS 
Flights: Helsinki-Stockholm-London
Price: 627,24 € / 3 persons
Flight times
Helsinki-Stockholm 1 h 00 min, Stockholm-London 2 h 35 min
Paris-Copenhagen 1 h 45 min, Copenhagen-Helsinki 1 h 35 min

Train: Eurostar 
London - Paris
Price: 131,40 € / 3 persons
Travel time: 2 h 22 min

Grand Hôtel Magenta, 129 Boulevard de Magenta, 
90,00 € / 1 night, no breakfast included, reserved via

Mercure Paris Terminus Nord, 12 Boulevard de Denain, 
129,00 EUR / 1 night, no breakfast included, booked via

EST Hotel Paris, 49 Boulevard Magenta, 
400.00 euros / 4 nights, no breakfast included, reserved via 
This hotel charged a city tax of 1 EUR / person / night.

12th of October 2013

When on holiday, it's nice to wake up early...not!. We woke up at 3.20 AM and started preparations for the combined London and Paris trip. The flight departed from Helsinki at 7.05 AM and SAS airline didn't offer anything for free, not even one glass of juice, which cost one euro. Fortunately the flight was ahead of schedule and we had plenty of time to move to our connecting flight from Stockholm to London. London plane took off at 7.55 AM local time. We were told that we will arrive in London ahead of time, but there were some other planes in queue at Heathrow Airport so we had to wait for a while before landing. Finally we arrived in London about at 9.30 AM local time.

We had planned to move quickly from Heathrow Airport to center of London, but there occurred some changes to our plan when we realized that Mika's suitcase was missing. It took some time to find out what has happened to the luggage. Finally the airport crew promised £100 credit against receipt to acquire some clothes and other necessary things before they were able to locate the bag.

We traveled by subway to St Pancras station.Ticket cost 5.50 pounds / person, travel time approx 50 min. The daughter slept almost the whole time. When we arrived in St Pancras station we left Pirita's and daughter's bags to the storage. The cost was 9 pounds / bag. They asked do we carry any weapons or explosives in our bags. Well, we didn't. 

This photo by: 7 -year-old daughter

Originally, we planned to go by subway but due to delayed schedule, we took a taxi to the London Zoo.Taxi ride cost was £12. London Zoo opened at 10 AM and we were there at noon. Entrance fee for adults was £23,50 / adult and £17 / child.

There were not much queues at 12 AM because they guided people via different entrances to avoid queues. The zoo photographer took pictures of people who wanted that. At a price of £20 we got our own photo with Zoo information booklet and a key chain. We took only the booklet at the price of 15 pounds.

Then we fortunately found the Reptile House since there was no Reptile House in New York Central Park Zoo, and James Bond was also looking for it there due to his appointment.

(Did you know: James Bond falls in front of the Komodo dragons in the movie "Skyfall".)

Photo © EON, United Artists, Danjaq LLC

We also visited Aquarium, Gorilla Kingdom, Birds of prey, children's park planned by children, B.U.G.S. house and Penguin Beach.

GoldenEye agent?

The Zoo is located near The Regent's Park, so we went to explore the park.

There were joggers, soccer players, people at a picnic and other passers-by. We were looking for the Inner Circle, where the Queen Mary's Gardens is.

We went to the Queen Mary's Rose Garden where 007 was sitting on a park bench in the Ian Fleming book "You Only Live Twice". We also sat on a park bench and admired the roses. Roses called "Super Star" and "Iceberg" are mentioned in the book, but we didn't find them.


A funny coincidence was that we found roses called "Remember Me" (same name as Pierce Brosnan's movie)

"But today, on the last day of August, just eight months, as he had reminded himself that Morning, since Tracy had died, he sat in  Queen Mary´s Rose Garden in Regent's Park, and his mind was totally occupied with just these things."
"James Bond got to his feet and went over and read the lead labels of the roses he had been gazing at. They told him that the bright vermilion ones were 'Super Star' and the white ones 'Iceberg'."

Ian Fleming: "You Only Live Twice"

We were already in a hurry and needed to go back to St Pancras station, so Mika stopped the taxi. This time taxi ride cost was 10 pounds. Then we redeemed our bags from the storage and moved closer to Eurostar train. Before that we had to show the passports and pass the security check, which was at least on the same security level as at the airport.

We bought warm filled Italian breads from Caffé Nero, so we didn't have to go to dining car, especially there was no certainty if there even was one in the train.  Even though top speed was about 280 km/h, we didn't notice that at all. Train went under the English Channel and that part went quickly.

Did you know: In John Gardner book "Death Is Forever" James Bond warns leaders and government members of Europe not to travel by Eurostar train due to threat of explosion.

We arrived in Paris Gare du Nord station and our hotel was located only 300 meters from the station. We checked in to Grand Hôtel Magenta and got a first floor room number five. The room had one double bed and an extra bed. Hotel had a friendly service!

After leaving our luggage to our room, we walked to the nearby Carrefour Market Paris Turgot to redeem our pre-ordered Louvre tickets. Children have free access to Louvre, adult ticket price was 13,60 euros each. Mika also bought some clothes and toiletries. The daughter got some balloons, after saying "Bonjour" to everyone.
Then we went to have a dinner at Villa del Padre. Food was good, but service slow. The staff ran back and forth all the time. They did try hard, you could say. After dinner, we were ready to sleep.

This 007 travel story continues here

See the list of 007 LOCATIONS (visited), excluding 007 HOTELS (visited) and
007 RESTAURANTS (visited), which have sections of their own, please follow the links.

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