Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Spring Fever 2008

Paris to Champagne

I woke up at around 0730, had a refreshing shower and made my way up to the Club for breakfast. I knew that I needed to leave the hotel at about 1100 in order to be in good time for my train and wondered whether or not to attempt another bit of sight-seeing before then. Perhaps still feeling cheated by the way things had gone on Monday, I decided to make the most of it and caught a metro train to the Ile de la Cité. (Actually it ended up being two trains as I got the coloured lines tangled on my metro map, but heigh-ho.) As with so many things in a major city, it all takes time and I did a kind of fast walk around Notre Dame at a decidedly non-tourist speed before returning to base, on the correct train this time   In good time, I was checking out of the IC Le Grand and caught a taxi to the Gare de L'Est.

The traffic wasn't too scary and I arrived at the station with a rather excessive 50 minutes to spare. When my train eventually arrived, I was surprised that it was just a little 4-car multiple unit and I correctly guessed that it would fill up quickly. Nevertheless, I managed to get a good seat in the little first class section. As the train glided near-silently out of the station, picking up power from the overhead wire, I didn't realise that it had a surprise in store for me. Maybe half an hour later, however, something rather startling happened : an underfloor diesel engine burst into life, took the strain and began to power us off the main line and onto an unelectrified branch line. My train was both electrically powered and diesel powered and the really clever bit was that it switched from one to the other without stopping! No such thing exists in the UK. I hadn't even had my TGV ride yet and already the French were demonstrating their mastery of rail transport.

The weather on arrival in Troyes was shocking : rain pouring down and desperately cold. I had to wait about 15 minutes for a taxi. When the driver asked me how long I was staying in town, I explained that I was going on to Reims and then Strasbourg. "You are globetrotteur, Monsieur", he observed. I enthusiastically agreed, not even daring to mention the Middle East and Caribbean   I was soon checking in to my latest hotel, the independent Maison de Rhodes, a little discovery that I was pleased to have made on the Internet. I spent the remainder of the afternoon relaxing, in view of the appalling weather, and had an exceptionally nice dinner in the hotel. As the rain had eased off, I managed a short after-dinner walk and was able to take a few photos of illuminated buildings. I really hoped that the next day would bring better weather.


Wed 09 Apr

Next Day

Previous Day