robert and i went to paris for a couple of nights to see the grande arrive of the cyclists at the finale of the tour de france; after the exciting finish in vejer last year of la vuelta, i thought it would be fun to see. after all, paris is a mere 2 hours 10 mins from kings cross now, the same time as it takes me to get to my mothers in manchester! i was super impressed with the standard premier seat that we had managed to book for only £5 more – bigger seats, drinks and snack served in your seat – made you feel as though you were being treated. it also helped that one of our friends was throwing a boat party to celebrate the tour de france. paris was sunny and busy, especially with the tour de france, but it was quite easy to get a good spot on one of the bridges to watch the cyclists speed round paris at least 7 times. i am definitely not a cyclist, nor am i a fan of watching the event, but being in a beautiful city with this all going on, was definitely worth it. we ate dinner in an old school parisian brasserie – Benoit – very good service and good food, but quite pricey – and even more so with the plunging exchange rate. contrastingly we ate lunch in a vietnamese restaurant in montparnasse – restaurant Mai Do – it was clean fresh food and probably one of the best vietnamese meals we have had for a long time. i particularly loved the big social life by the river – young and old picnicked, skated or just sat on the artificial beach and watch the boats go by. its always good to book eurostar in advance, several times a year they offer £60 return fares – just sign up to get the info.