Monday, February 29, 2016

(Europe Sep 2015) Day 4: Brussels to Paris. Visit Paris. Stay at St Malo

Day 4 (6 Sep 2015): Brussels to Paris. Visit Paris. Stay at St Malo

This day's breakdown:
0805-0809 Brussels Central to Brussels Midi via train
0837-0959 Brussels Midi to Paris Nord via Thalys train 
1015-1025 Deposit luggage at Paris-Nord
1035-1045 Paris-Nord to Breguet-Sabin via Metro
1055-1200 Visit Bastille Marche (Market)
1200-1300 Stroll towards Notre-dame
1300-1350 Lunch near Notre-dame
1420-1550 Visit White Basilica and Montmartre 
1550-1645 Tea break
1700-1720 Back to Paris-Nord to pick up our luggage
1725-1745 Paris-Nord to Montparnasse via Metro
1908-2209 Paris-Montparnasse to St Malo *Husband's backpack was stolen on-board this train
2300-2345 Walked to a police station in St Malo to attempt to make a police report, but it was too late in the night for any English-speaking staff to be on duty, so we had to return the following day.

Today, was the saddest day of the trip.   
To be honest, I've been dreading going through the photos for this day, which was why it took me soooo long to upload this blog article.

The day started out good, we enjoyed ourselves while we were in Paris. However, the problem came when my husband's backpack was stolen on-board a train when we were about to leave Paris and head for St Malo in the evening. In the backpack, was my beloved bear which had been with me for the past 15 years. If you were to view some of my previous posts, you may recall seeing photos of the bear.

Anyway, here's how this day went...

We started off the day by taking a Thalys train from Brussels Midi to Paris Nord station.  There are a few stations in Brussels city, so make sure that you take the train from the correct station since I believe Thalys train only departs from Brussels Midi station.

I bought my train tickets online about 3 months before my trip, since the fares for European trains tend to change. It's usually much cheaper if you buy it early (about 3 months in advanced) once the tickets are being released for sale online.  

Thalys train, 

Hubby bought this from the train station before we boarded the train.

There's a cafe bistro car onboard this train too, where u can buy beverages and snacks.

After about 1 and half hours train ride, we arrived in Paris Gare du Nord station in Paris, France.

Unlike Japan, it is not easy to find luggage storage in France.  Usually, only the bigger train stations (like Paris Nord, Montparnasse...etc...) will have luggage lockers. 
Also, depending on the situation in France, some times they may shut down luggage storage facilities if there's any increase in security status in France.  
There are hotels whom are also reluctant to help you store your luggage after your check-out even if you were staying with them.  This is purely based on what I've read on some travel forums.

The luggage lockers in Paris-Nord station. We chose a big locker which costs E9.50

We then went to purchase a carnet of 10 metro tickets for our metro travels within Paris.  This is cheaper than if we had to buy 10 separate single trip tickets.

And then, we took the metro to Breguet-Sabin station to visit the Bastille Marche (Market). 

Bastille Market is usually held on Thursdays and Sundays, 7am to around 2 to 3pm. They sell foodstuffs, vegetables, fruits, cheese, seafood, cooked food, bags, magazines, clothings...etc...
It's a pretty nice place to spend a leisurely Sunday morning here, if you have already visited the other more popular tourist attractions.

After our visit to Bastille Market, we strolled towards Notre-Dame.

Notre Dame

We then had lunch at a cafe overlooking Notre Dame.

Spaghetti...hidden under all the sauce.

After lunch, we went to take the Metro to the Sacré-Cœur White Basilica.

It was a short walk from Anvers Metro station to Sacré-Cœur White Basilica.
This area is usually very crowded with tourists, so be careful of your belongings and watch out for pickpockets.

Sacré-Cœur White Basilica

Even though I really hate crowded places, but I enjoyed taking photos of this place. There's a nice view overlooking Paris city.

 Next to Sacré-Cœur White Basilica, is an area called Montmartre, where many artists used to stay.  You can see many artists around drawing and painting.

After a long walk, we decided to find somewhere to take a break. 
Had teabreak at this cafe
Nutella Madeleine

After our tea break, it's time to head back to Paris-Nord to collect our luggage to head for Montparnasse station to catch our evening train to St Malo.
There are a few major train stations within Paris city, so make sure u know which station your train line is using.

Back at Paris-Nord station to collect our luggage

Our large locker, E9.50 which can fit both our luggage bags.
 After collecting our luggage bags, we took the metro to Montparnasse station.

We bought food from this fast food outlet (Quick) at Montparnasse station to bring on our train ride, but the food wasn't eaten since we didn't had the mood to eat anything after realising our belonging was stolen.
 We then boarded the TGV train at Montparnasse station to go to St Malo. But even before the train departs Montparnasse, my husband's backpack was stolen from the overhead rack just above our seats.  We only realised this just when the train doors closed and started to depart Montparnasse station. 

We reported to the train staff, and they have been sympathetic and also informed us that a gentleman's laptop was also stolen in the next carriage.  Seems like this is a common occurrence.
So travellers, please constantly take note of your bags and belongings. Don't let your guard down even when you have already boarded the train.

More details on what happened, see here
TGV from Montparnasse to St Malo
 I think I cried the entire journey from Paris all the way to St Malo, due to the loss of my bear. Sigh.

Upon arrival at St Malo, we were advised by helpful train staffs with directions on how to go to the nearest Police station to make a police report. 

So we checked in to our hotel first (Balmoral St Malo, just diagonally opposite St Malo train station), and then walked about 15-20mins to the Police station. But since it was already so late at night (nearly 12midnight by then), so all the English-speaking staffs have already went home, so we were advised to return the next day.

Our room at Balmoral St Malo

Our room at Balmoral St Malo.

And thus, ends Day 4 of our trip. 

Go to previous entry: Day 3 Visit Bruges
Go to next entry: Day 5 Visit Mont St Michel