Thursday, August 8, 2013

Honeymoon: From Amsterdam to Paris

We had approx 2.5 hours before our scheduled departure to Paris. The initial plan was to travel by budget air to Paris. Even though the flight time is 1 hour, but we will need additional time to clear customs/immigrations, it could add up to a couple of hours. Hence, the next best alternative was to travel by train. With the extra hours we had on hand, we headed to explore the airport.
 The lift to Panorama terrace, which offers a fantastic view of the aeroplanes and aprons. During the winter period (begins the last Sunday in Oct), the terrace is opened from 9am till 5pm. During the summer (begins the last Sunday in Mar), it will open from 7am till 8pm. This is also the location of KLM Cityhopper Fokker 100, which was modified to be a viewing exhibit. We didn't have time to head over there though :(
 It was so windy once the lift doors opened that Leecher had to don on his jacket. Looking much like an Eskimo, lol!
 The lower level was more of a smoking place, so we got into the life once more and headed up to the upper floor.
 Spot the air traffic control tower. Call me biased, but nothing beats our iconic Changi control tower :) It got too cold/windy for us to bear, so we headed down.
 Schiphol station is situated directly below the airport. With our online tickets, we arrived at the platform waiting to board the Thalys train that will take us to Paris :)
Thalys is a joint service offered by 3 railways companies (Belgian, French & Dutch). Henceforth, it was our choice of shuffling b/w Amsterdam & Paris. Even though a one-way trip takes around 3 hours, but you save the hassle of clearing immigration & heading into city. The train stations are located near the cities & well-connected to their underground lines. If you book way in advance, tickets can be relatively cheap. We only managed to book our tickets 2 weeks before actual departure, so we paid a premium for it.
Someone catching up on lost sleep, lol! I was then tasked to stay awake, keeping an eye on our baggages. 
You can always head to their Thalys bar if you are hungry. They offer an extensive menu of hot dishes, sandwiches, desserts, pastries, snacks etc. You can also stay connected on the train with their WiFi onboard, provided you are travelling on a certain class. Alternatively, purchase WiFi credits at the bar to stay connected :)
Time to alight from the train! 
We have arrived in Paris :) Paris Gare Du Nord is one of the 6 large railyway stations. This is also the busiest railway station in Europe, with approx 190m travellers in a year.
The trains stood out in the station due to their striking red body :)
Train stations always have a certain charm around them :) Even though the station wasn't as famous as Grand Central Terminal in New York, it has made its appearance in several movies, like the Bourne trilogy. Wasting no time, we had to navigate our way to the hotel. 
We made our way from the train station to metro line. Navigation was relatively easy, similar to the Tube in London. When planning for the trip, I found that a decent hotel in central Paris is relatively expensive. Since we'll be staying for 1 week, the hefty price tag spent on hotel alarmed me, lol! The auntie side of me screamed "That money could be used to buy another bag", lol! I managed to locate an alternative source of accommodation, but the place wasn't available for 2 days. Hence, we had to stay at a hotel for 2 days before moving over.
We stayed @ Hotel Royal Magda Etoile, a 3 star hotel near Champ Elysees. It was a stone throw away from Charles de Gaulle-Etoile station, which saved us the hassle of dragging our heavy luggages on the street. 

I have booked for double standard room type & they kindly upgraded us to a suite. Even though it was a suite, the space was still very tiny! I'm thankful for the extra sofa/space to put our luggages.

The kind hotel staff even left a tray of surprise on the table for us :) A bottle of champagne, nibbles and a hand-written note. This little gesture does make a difference, doesn't it? 
Royal Magda Etoile Hotel
7 Rue Troyon 
75017 Paris
Tel: +33 1 47 64 10 19

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