Nancy’s Six days of Rail Travel through France and England

Day 1 Start of Adventure

The Louvre Museum in Paris

Landed at CDG in Paris and used my France Rail Pass to board the RER train 30 minutes into the city center. Surprised as to how easy it was to get into Paris! I must say I was a little worried, good to keep in mind for future stop overs in Paris.

Then a guided tour of The Louvre by City Rama – our guide showed us the highlights, which were a tourist’s delight.

Afternoon: Touring Paris by bike or Paris a Velo is an experience! Biked to the 19th arrondissement and rode past Edith Piaf’s house! The tour takes you off the beaten path to explore the real Paris with lots of local flavor.

Day 2 Love, Love, Love Parisian Trains

Paris Metro Station

Morning: Used Paris Visite Card to take the metro from my hotel the Lutetia to Gare de L’est where I boarded the TGV Est to Champagne. Arrived at Reims (great Cathedral!), to the heart of Champagne in 45 mins – love the TGV!

Noon:  Sampled some champagne at a little bar called Comme Champagne in Epernay – a guided taste tour of Champagnes for only 17 Euro. Best 17 Euros or $20 I’ve spent in a while.

Afternoon: Visited a family owned Champagne house called Jacquesson – the owner Jean-Herve Chiquet gave us a tour of his vineyards and his cellars – what great champagne they make!

Evening: Met with Philippe Wibrotte of the Comite Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne – he can answer all your questions about champagne. Took the slow train home from Epernay to Paris – needed the hour on board to sit back, gaze out the window & reflect on my once in a lifetime day.

Day 3 At the destination stations

Paris Gare du Nord Station

Morning: Used my Paris Visite Card & took the metro to Gare du Nord. Had the fast and comfortable experience of crossing the English Channel via Eurostar. Arrived in London 2 hrs and 15 mns later. The timing just felt like I was taking a commuter train and not going to a whole other country. Make sure you travel at a meal time – meals included in price of Leisure Select and Business class tickets, the food is actually worth it.

Afternoon: spent some time enjoying St Pancras – the “destination station” Now I see why everyone keeps calling it that.  More champagne..the station has Europe’s largest champagne bar.

Day 4 At London’s Langham Hotel (very posh)

Langham hotel of London

London’s Langham Hotel reopened just months ago – beautifully refurbished and the food and service were excellent.

 

Day 5 Markets and Virgins (trains that is)

Bridgewater Hall, Square in Manchester

Just when I thought I’d seen everything London had to offer, I discovered the Borough market – take a guided tour by Celia Brooks Brown an American now living in London, her tour is such a treat. Save some time to shop, taste and explore the gourmet treasures of this charming old London market.

I always enjoyed the Virgin flights to London and now I can say I also enjoy the Virgin train experience from London to England’s North country. Had a freshly cooked breakfast on board the London/Manchester train – its a comfortable, quick and easy train ride with a BritRail Pass.

Day 6 Perfect ending with Tea at Betty’s of York

York's Betty's Cafe

In some ways the best part of the trip! Took a train from Manchester to York. Took a walking tour of the city, along the old city walls, the Shambles, Mulberry Hall is a great place to shop. I learned that according to Medieval law it is still legal for a man from York to defend his city from a Scotsman by shooting at him with a bow & arrow!

Afternoon tea at Betty’s of York – a MUST for all visitors. The line is always out the door, so be prepared to wait, but it is so worth it! Try their scones with jam and clotted cream and don’t leave without one of their fruit cakes!

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  • http://facebook.com Martha

    Can you tell me about boxed bicycles from Charles de Gaulle airport to Brittany when we first arrive in France? My husband and I feel we will use our old Peugot bikes daily when we stay in Bazourges de Perouse, a small medieval town 10 miles from the nearest train station. Making plans for the whole month of October.

    Martha
    gmwunsch@peoplepc.com

    • http://www.raileurope.com pbarlas

      Hi Martha,
      Sure, we actually have someone in house that biked through France as well. Please let me know what in specific you need to know about the bicycles. Is it how to transport them while on the TGV?

  • http://www.uk-airport-news.info Airport News

    Borough Market is great. Even many Londoners don’t know about it. It is expensive though, and probably not for vegetarians ! I think walking tours of London are best when combined with the Tube. On Sunday I was on an architecture blitz and saw the BT Tower, St Pauls, the Gherkin, the Lloyds Building, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London (from the outside), Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, Number 10 (from the gate), Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace (from the outside!) all in a day. With the right guide or good planning you can see so much of London in a day.

    • http://www.raileurope.com Phaedra

      London in one day! You are an efficient traveler :-) That’s great you maximize your time.
      I’m the opposite, I pick around two things to do in a day and see how the day goes and of course catch a coffee and treat at each location–that is a must!

  • http://www.iflybusiness.com/destination-guide.php John Peter

    Hey Nancy,
    Your 6 days trip seems to be have been really exciting.Yep,France and England are such awesome places.

  • http://www.liveinfitness.com/articles/articles.html Peter Issac

    Wow! You seemed to have visited the best places in the world.Your traveling experiences are so interesting to read.

  • Patt

    My best friend and I are going to London and Paris in September. We’ve gotten the Paris Pass and London passes for our time there-easy in and out of the museums and all. However, given that we will be in Paris for a week, I was wondering what you could recommend for doing outside of the city. We are pretty flexible so taking a train somewhere is definitely appealing :-). We will be in London for 4.5 days then off to Paris for a week and then back to London for 2 days. My friend would love to go to Scotland and I was wondering if maybe we shouldn’t go there at the beginning of the stay in England and then hit the major sites the last few days in London. Any thoughts out there. Oh, by the by, we are in our late 50’s, somewhat fit so walking is fun for us!

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