Pictured left to right outside the new store are: Paul Hardwick, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Director of Retail; Emma Bailey, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Tutti Taylor, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Councillor Candy Vaughan, Mayor of Eastbourne; Trevor Ridler, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Business Development Manager; and Shirley Waters, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents..
Zoe Holmes, senior retail consultant at our Colchester travel agents, took a short break to the romantic city of Paris. Here is what she got up to in her limited time in the French capital…
(Hotel names/Ship name): Amarante Beau Manoir
Travelled with: Eurostar
Duration: 1 night
Superbreak very kindly whisked me and seven other agents off to Paris for the night so that we could experience their Eurostar breaks at first hand.
After an early train to London, I met the group, which included Scott James and Chris Hagan from Superbreak, at St. Pancras Station for our Eurostar check-in. We were lucky enough to be travelling in Standard Premier class and had the whole carriage to ourselves. The seats were very comfortable and we were treated to a lovely breakfast – croissants of course. In just over two hours we arrived into Gare Du Nord Station. From here we were given our ‘Paris Visite’ passes and had to navigate the metro system to our hotel.
Our Hotel, Amarante Beau Manoir, was located on rue de l’Arcade on Paris’s right bank, surrounded by Parisian style gourmet shops and with the Champs Elysees, Place de la Concorde, popular museums and the River Seine only a few steps away. The hotel had a very ‘traditional’ feel to it; the rooms were quite spacious and comfortable and it had a sweet little breakfast room in the cellar. The main selling point for this hotel is the location, as it was just metres away from the metro station and situated right in the heart of Paris’s luxury shopping district.
After a quick lunch, we enjoyed a sightseeing river cruise on the Seine with Bateaux Parisiens. This is an hour-long tour which departs from the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Along with commentary in 13 different languages and heart-warming music, you pass under many bridges and by prestigious monuments; learning history along the way. Prices for this start from €12 and are cheaper if pre-booked.
We tried to visit the Eiffel Tower that afternoon, but the queue for tickets was an hour and a half long – plus the queue for the lifts to get to the top. So we decided to return the next morning when we had some free time. So after a freshen-up at the hotel, we were back on the metro again heading for ‘Chez Francoise‘, our restaurant for the evening. This was a very nice place, located in the Air France building (definitely one that has to be recommended to you as you wouldn’t stumble across it!). We were welcomed with champagne and the food was lovely. We were entertained by a live band so you could even have a boogie in between courses if you so wished.
Early the next morning, we headed straight to the Eiffel Tower. I would highly recommend visiting the tower at this time as, even though we had to queue for the lift, we only had to queue for about ten minutes to buy our tickets. You can buy two types of ticket – one for the second level and one for the summit and, whilst the views are breath-taking from either level, you cannot go to Paris and not go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I also thought it would be a really good idea to walk back down the steps rather than wait for the lift down – great at the time but I couldn’t walk for the next two days.
We then had some free time before we had to check-in for our return Eurostar and so we managed to do a little shopping in the Opera area (main shopping district) and have lunch, before making our way on the metro back to the Gare du Nord.
We travelled back in standard class. It was just as comfortable as the journey out, but food is not included, so we had to make use of the buffet car. I would recommend upgrading to Standard Premier where possible as a light meal is included and the seats are slightly better. Unfortunately, we were delayed at the Tunnel due to an electrical fault so the return journey took over three and a half hours. Eurostar were very good though and were re-issuing tickets for any passengers with missed onward connections.
Overall, I had a really good trip and got a very quick insight to Paris. I would recommend using the Superbreak website for any Eurostar travel as their system is really good and easy to use.
Many thanks to Superbreak and Fred. Olsen Travel for making this great trip possible.
Must see? The views from onboard a Seine river cruise
Must do? Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower
Must try? A traditional duck a l’orange