Paris……Day 1 Montmartre

After the challenges of English rail strikes –

. Lancaster train cancelled

. Very kind Train Station Master organised (and paid for by Avanti West Rail) a taxi to take me to Preston to catch an alternate train

. Finally got a First Class seat….but no water in that front carriage for some reason, so there was no food service…..just 2 bottles of water

. All seemed to be going well to be arriving to catch the Eurostar to Paris when there was a diversion to Milton Keynes and a 15 minute addition to the already tight arrival time.

. Very generous fellow passenger was heading in the direction of St Pancras Station overground when we finally arrived at Euston, so he bustled me along a short cut and I made the passport and customs queue for Eurostar 5 minutes before they closed…..phew.

. Very comfortable ride with a quinoa salad and chicken roulade meal to help pass the time……lovely countryside, and arrived into Gare du Nord on time.

. Well, it looked doable on the map, but the 3 km hike uphill to the Caulaincourt Hostel bang smack in the middle of Montmartre was a challenge with the weight of the backpack and the weariness settling in….. but I was determined.🙋‍♀️

. Made it to room #20 down 2 sets of stairs and luxuriated in the single room with squeezy but very welcome shower. Took me a while to realise the toilet was across the hall. 😄

So am now settled in for the week and after a coeliac’s least favourite continental breakfast without fruit or any cheese or meats…….orange juice and berry tea and I braved the cornflakes which I will regret later…….I prepared the walking route for the day. The steps below are taken from my bedroom window and indicate the slow and steady pace to come.

This is why I am walking the cobblestoned streets rather than on a bus or in the Metro….so many gems that can easily be missed.

The first sighting of Sacre Coeur, St Peter’s and my next meal…..missing my eggs.

Trying to avoid tourist crowds and scammer havens is difficult when such magnificent buildings are calling…….so have devoted a whole blog to it. After the subdued hush of the Cathedral I continued the loop back up the hill and carefully imprinted the banks and phone shops on my brain to visit tomorrow – many things are closed on Mondays.

Familiar images of Parisien apartments blend with contemporary art; and global franchises sit alongside genuine Montmartre one-offs. Recent COVID restrictions have seen many closures just like other cities everywhere.

And with my meanderings in Montmartre bringing me back to Rue Caulaincourt, I carried on to the rather sobering famous Cemetery – such a collection deserves a blog of its own….and so it shall. Plus my local Supermarché…with cheeses to make my heart flip!

Anyone coming to Paris needs to have this peaceful hilltop sector firmly on their list….especially in Autumn.

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