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PassPorter is a small business, and for many years it supported our family. But the world changed, print books took a backseat to the Internet, and for a long time now it has been unable to make ends meet. We've had to find new ways to support our family, which means new careers and less and less time available to devote to our first baby, PassPorter.

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If you miss us, you can still find some of us online. Sara started a new blog at DisneyParkPrincess.com -- I strongly urge you to visit and get on her mailing list. She IS the Disney park princess and knows Disney backward and forward. And I am blogging as well at JenniferMaker.com, which is a little craft blog I started a couple of years ago to make ends meet. You can see and hear me in my craft show at https://www.youtube.com/c/jennifermaker . Many PassPorter readers and fans are on Facebook, in groups they formed like the PassPorter Trip Reports and PassPorter Crafting Challenge (if you join, just let them know you read about it in the newsletter). And some of our most devoted community members started a forum of their own at Pixie Dust Lane and all are invited over.

So we encourage you to stay in touch with us and your fellow community members wherever works best for you!

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Old 04-11-2014, 10:27 AM   #331
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Great pictures from around Paris! The Arc de Triomphe is beautiful, even with the scaffolding on.
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:56 AM   #332
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Great little car tour of the city!
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Old 04-11-2014, 12:46 PM   #333
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Kudos to Graeme for the driving skills and also to you for your ability to get photos from a moving car! I've seen this in person, too-- when Mark was driving us around London last year I was getting fuzzy triangular shots of Windsor Castle with mostly car window in the frame while you were getting shots that looked like you were standing still!
Well, they say practice makes perfect...

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And bumping around on cobblestones doesn't help! There are areas of Boston I can't go to any more because driving the scooter on cobblestones is so uncomfortable. Bad enough that my neighborhood is all old brick sidewalks-- not much better!
I can just imagine what the scooter's like on cobblestones. On a tangent, some of the London Marathon (takes place on Sunday) is run on cobbles. They do put down some material for the wheelchair racers, but I know from the commentary each year that the runners dread that section of the course.
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Old 04-11-2014, 12:47 PM   #334
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Great job getting such good shots from the dreaded roundabout. They are known for their crazy driving skills! I am glad to see you all survived!
I was glad we survived unscathed. Not somewhere I would ever drive around myself...
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Old 04-11-2014, 01:34 PM   #335
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Now there's the classic, older, Parisian buildings most of us associate with the city! Beautiful.

I knew the London marathon is this weekend, but I did not know about the cobblestone streets. Yikes! As a runner, I would plan on walking that section. Sounds like injury-ville to me!
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Old 04-11-2014, 02:15 PM   #336
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Glad you were able to get your macaroons. Great pictures from the city!!
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Old 04-11-2014, 02:24 PM   #337
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Love all the variety in architecture as you were traveling through Paris. Great pictures of the Arc! We just got our first roundabout here in our county. The signs make it so simple to use, but some folks are still not getting it.
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Old 04-11-2014, 03:10 PM   #338
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Love all the variety in architecture as you were traveling through Paris. Great pictures of the Arc! We just got our first roundabout here in our county. The signs make it so simple to use, but some folks are still not getting it.
We always love finding roundabouts in the States, as everyone always seems to approach them very gingerly, whereas we don't, having been bought up with them. They really are so simple to navigate, once you understand the rule. Over here, it's look to the right and give way if something's coming. I guess over the other side of the pond, it would be look to the left instead.
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Old 04-11-2014, 04:32 PM   #339
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I can just imagine what the scooter's like on cobblestones. On a tangent, some of the London Marathon (takes place on Sunday) is run on cobbles. They do put down some material for the wheelchair racers, but I know from the commentary each year that the runners dread that section of the course.
I can't imagine running on the stones. The anniversary of the marathon bombing here is next week and tomorrow they're shooting a "Boston Strong" Sports Illustrated cover. Bostonians are invited to be part of the crowd for the cover, so I'll head over there!
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Old 04-11-2014, 06:10 PM   #340
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I can't imagine running on the stones. The anniversary of the marathon bombing here is next week and tomorrow they're shooting a "Boston Strong" Sports Illustrated cover. Bostonians are invited to be part of the crowd for the cover, so I'll head over there!
Laurie, I'm so glad to hear that you're going to do that! I'm thinking about going to watch the marathon this year.
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Old 04-11-2014, 06:19 PM   #341
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We always love finding roundabouts in the States, as everyone always seems to approach them very gingerly, whereas we don't, having been bought up with them. They really are so simple to navigate, once you understand the rule. Over here, it's look to the right and give way if something's coming. I guess over the other side of the pond, it would be look to the left instead.
And at the Arc de Triomphe it is look everywhere all at the same time
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Old 04-12-2014, 02:08 AM   #342
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I can't imagine running on the stones. The anniversary of the marathon bombing here is next week and tomorrow they're shooting a "Boston Strong" Sports Illustrated cover. Bostonians are invited to be part of the crowd for the cover, so I'll head over there!
I was thinking about the bombing yesterday and wondering when the anniversary is. I can't believe it's come around so soon. It really doesn't seem like a year ago already.
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Old 04-12-2014, 02:09 AM   #343
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And at the Arc de Triomphe it is look everywhere all at the same time
Very true!
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Old 04-12-2014, 02:13 AM   #344
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Monday 24 March – part three: are we going to get our train?

We did hit a lot of red lights as we went through Paris. Literally, you’d get past one, then have to stop at the next one. I was starting to get a bit worried, as we needed to be checked in by just after 12:30pm, and the GPS, which had been saying we’d been there by 12:20pm, started to edge around to 12:25pm. I was very relieved when we made it to the car park, although we got stopped by this guy, who wanted to know where the rental car return was. We tried to make it clear to him that we really didn’t know and couldn’t help him, but he was very persistent. In the end, I said to Graeme in quite a loud voice that we needed to get a move on, otherwise we’d miss our check-in. He seemed like the type of person who needed hand holding every step of the way, and we just didn’t have time to do that.

Graeme dropped us off by the elevators and we made our way up into the station. We could see the Eurostars standing at the platforms, but couldn’t see the check-in area. Thankfully, having been here in December, we had a rough idea where it was, and that it was upstairs, so we set off in the general direction, and found the escalator up to it. As we got on the escalator, it was literally about 12:30pm, and I was so relieved to finally get to the ticket barrier and put our ticket through. I don’t know if it lets you through if you’re less than half an hour from departure time, but I didn’t want to find out.

We passed through both French and British passport control with no issue. At one, the French one I think, he checked my photo, then Mark handed his over and he just waved him through without even looking at it! Good to see there are such thorough security measures in place… not!

When we got to the security check, there were no trays to put anything in, which I think must be the norm, as that’s how it was the last time we travelled on the Eurostar. Mark got a thumbs up from the staff for having his keys and money in a clear plastic bag!

When we got into the waiting area, it was packed, which didn’t surprise me, as we’ve said before, it’s far too small. I knew there wouldn’t be any seats anywhere, but our main concern was food, as we were both hungry by now, so we kept walking down to the food area. There was a bakers, which was packed with a long line, and another place that didn’t have a single person in line. We did what any sensible person would do and got into the long line, as that must mean it’s a good place.

Just as we got up to order, they announced that our train was boarding, but I wasn’t worried, as we had 20 minutes before it was due to depart. I got a smoked salmon tart, which was very nice…



… while Mark got a ham sandwich…



We also each had one of these – I believe they were Viennesse chocolate, and they were lovely!



All stocked up with food for the journey, we headed down to get our train. It was interesting, as it’s the first time we’ve been in one of the first few coaches, and if you are, you get a different boarding area a bit further up. I got some photos as we made our way down to the platform…



The signs said this was for carriages 1-6, but I tell you now I know about this, I may well use it for other carriages, as when we got down to the platform, we were in line with carriage 12! I wouldn’t be very happy to find out there was a boarding point further down, which is a heck of a lot quieter, as it only caters for six carriages, while the other one caters for about 12. At least we now know for the future…

We found our carriage, and boarded, discovering our seats were right at the back of the carriage. We’d have been able to get them to fine, but for the French guy who was just quite frankly messing around with his case in the middle of the aisle. The layout is essentially like a plane, in terms of if someone’s in the way, you won’t get past them until they’ve finished. All I can say is obviously he’s never flown, as this is just downright rude.

When he was finally done, and he’d stashed everything (and I mean coat etc., it wasn’t just the case! ) we finally made it down to our end of the carriage and found our seats. They were fine, although I think we had been spoilt with standard premier on the way out. I think, if we had this scenario again in the future, I’d have the upgraded seats on the way back, rather than the way out, as once you get used to a better level of service, it’s hard to then go back down, if that makes sense?



We tucked into our lunch, and by the time we finished, we were leaving Paris…



I was a bit worried about how I’d do in these seats, as I had messed up pretty badly, and these were facing backwards. I tend to get motion sick in cars and sometimes trains, so I usually try and go for front facing seats, but actually I was fine. I was also concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get many photos, as I wouldn’t be able to see what was coming, but my fears were unfounded, and I managed absolutely fine, as you can see:


Neat to see an airport along the way…


As you can see, it was a beautiful day out. What a shame it couldn’t have been like this yesterday, then we could’ve made it to Bois de Boulogne. Oh well, third time lucky – one day!

We were back at Ebbsfleet dot on time. Really, you can’t fault the Eurostar for punctuality. Having said that, when things go wrong, as we know to our cost from previous experiences, they usually go wrong very badly, and you can be delayed a few hours. At least it doesn’t happen that often.

We got off the train, and headed up to the station, paying for our parking - £27 ($43) for three days. I know, I know – it’s a bit steep!

We made our way back to the car, and within half an hour, we were back home. I love the way that it’s so simple to get home from the station, and how easy it is to get to Paris. We really should visit the place more often, given how little time it takes to get over there. Still, isn’t it always the way that places on your doorstep are the places you don’t visit as often as you should and, in fairness, we have visited Paris a fair few times in the past… and I’m sure we’ll be back there one day.

The weather today was dry and sunny with temperatures in the low 50s.
The best thing today was driving through Paris and seeing all the sights
The worst thing today was having to go home.
The funniest thing today was seeing Graeme with all his bubble wrap!
Today we tried driving back to Gare du Nord
And the result was it was a beautiful drive, although the traffic didn’t help and we were a bit close to missing the train by the time we got there!
The most magical moment today was seeing the Arc de Triomphe

Well, that’s it for one trip report, but stay tuned, a pre-trip report coming for our next trip in the next few days…
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Old 04-12-2014, 08:34 AM   #345
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Great weekend! We say the same thing about New York City - that we don't go as often as we should, and it would be an easy train (or bus) ride. When we first moved to DC, we imagined going to NYC several times a year for theater trips. In fairness, that was pre-dog and pre-kids!
I have the same issue with motion sickness when riding backward. Glad it didn't bother you!
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