The D&O Diary was on assignment in Europe last week, with a first stop for a short visit in London for meetings there. It isn’t always sunny in London in November. But when the sun does shine, it can be pretty special. The sun shone brightly in London while I was there and I was fortunate that I had a little bit of time in the mornings before my meetings to walk around and enjoy the scene, before moving on to my next stop on the travel itinerary.
To the west of the city center are the three royal parks, that are more or less connected, forming a large and long green space – Hyde Park, Green Park, and St. James’s Park. I have walked through these parks before, many times. But though I have walked the same paths before, on a day of blue skies and November sunshine, it was still enjoyable.
My meeting schedule was pretty full while I was in London, leaving little free time. However, my lunch plans on Tuesday got completely rearranged leaving me with a little window of free time, so I walked around Camden Town and Regent’s Canal area.
On Thursday, I took the Eurostar Train from St. Pancras station in London to the Gare du Nord in Paris. I have taken the Eurostar many times before, but it still seems nothing short of miraculous. Moving at speeds that at times exceed 190 mph, the train covers the distance between the two cities in about 2 hours and 15 minutes, traveling from from inner city to inner city quietly, comfortably, and efficiently. The 31.5 mile long Chunnel is pretty amazing as well.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take the great weather I had enjoyed in London with me. Paris, on Thursday and Friday at least, turned out to be gloomy and chilly. This wasn’t a huge problem as I was in meetings both days. The dreary weather was not all bad. There is also something to be said for seeing familiar sites in a different light (literally). The picture below of the Eiffel Tower disappearing into the mist has its own special kind of beauty.
But if I was unlucky with the weather in Paris on Thursday and Friday, I was very lucky on Saturday — the weather was spectacular. With a free day in Paris before I headed home, I basically walked across most of central Paris. After walking through the Jardins du Luxembourg, I then walked along the river to the Eiffel Tower again. After a short ride on the Metro, I walked through the Jardins des Plantes, then across the river as far north as Place du Republique and the nearby St. Martin Canal, with numerous detours along the way.
I have been fortunate to travel quite a bit in recent years. There are very few things I enjoy more than exploring and discovering a new place. One of the few things I do enjoy more than discovering a new place is returning to a familiar city, particularly a place as distinctive as Paris. It was a special experience to be able to ramble around the city on a sunny Fall day. It was of course great to see all of the famous sites, even though I have seen many before. For me, what really makes walking around Paris special is visiting all of the key landmarks on my personal map of the city. My personal map is linked by associations and experiences across many prior visits.
More Pictures of Paris