Paris, London | January 2011

Working for a French company has its perks. For instance, when working on a project requires a trip to headquarters. So it was that the day before my 36th birthday, I was on a plane flying east over the Atlantic. The plan called for meetings in Paris for 2.5 days, followed by 2 days in London.

Paris

Our office in Paris is on Rue de Tilsitt, right on the Arc de Triomphe circle. So the hotel for this stay was a block away, relatively central to most sights.

The best way to ward off jet-lag traveling east is to stay up the first day until normal bed-time. So after arriving at the hotel around 3:30pm CET, I went out exploring with my colleague/boss Ed. It was a cool and cloudy day with an occasional light drizzle. I must say, due to my tiredness coupled with the weather, Paris didn’t make the best first impression on me. But even in my downbeat state, I couldn’t help notice the gorgeous architecture.

Right outside the hotel on Rue du General Lanrezac
Parisian winter
Arc de Triomphe

From the Arc de Triomphe, we walked over to the Eiffel Tower. This time the dreary weather and the tiredness were compounded by the crowds of people at the Tower along with the many vendors hawking all kinds of souvenirs. I must admit, I was left more than a little underwhelmed. The walk through Paris streets was quite charming though.

Dreary Eiffel Tower

Charming Paris streets

Unfortunately, the rest of the time in Paris was taken up by long days at work, which left no time for further exploration. At least a view of the Arc de Triomphe was only a window peek away.

Arc de Triomphe from our office
Eiffel Tower beacon at night
One cool thing was the fact that you can see the Eiffel Tower from many places around central Paris; like walking to dinner one evening, happening to glance up and see the Tower
Sunny morning

After such a short stay, we hopped on the Eurostar at Gare du Nord station, and whisked off to London.

Eurostar @ Gare du Nord

Honestly, Paris was a bit of a disappointment. But I cannot blame the city. I think it was a combination of a few things that left me underwhelmed. I had built Paris up in my mind quite a bit. But then faced with the dreary weather and long work days, I wasn’t really able to explore the city at all.

London

I’ve always loved London, and it was great to return after Paris. Again, long work days prevailed, but we were able to get out early on Friday afternoon and head down to Westminster.

Holborn Circle from our office
Big Ben
London Eye
London bokeh
Eye over London
Parliament
The ubiquitous red telephone boxes
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