Arras to Paris!

I had decided to buy a breakfast at the convent for €3.  It turned out that I was too early and only had the continental.  Dammit!  Bread, jam, cereal, hot chocolate, milk, orange juice.

I headed for the train station to buy a ticket to Paris.
“Parelez-vous Anglais?”
Oh.  I managed to imply that I wanted a ticket to Paris, and had a pile of random French in return.  Someone else came over to explain, fortunately.  It turned out that there was a strike on so they didn’t have all the lines running.  I decided to come back later to try my luck rather than changing 3 times.

From the station I went to Wellington Quarry.  This is a section of the tunnels dug by British and NZ troops during WW1.

A British soldier's equipment

You get taken on a tour through the tunnels with a guide and an audio guide.  Everything is multi-lingual.

Who has been here?

The area was originally used as a rock mine so most of the tunnels are very large.  I was surprised at how dry it was.  There are several stops on the way with video presentations.

Named after the origin of the units that dug them


Several thousand men slept here prior to the Arras offensive in 1917


HQ office



Sometimes new tunnels had to be dug. This is a typical NZ tunnel.

This is the exit the men took when they launched the attack.

Overall it was very good, and only €6.50.  No discount for NZers.

I headed back to the station to find that trains to Paris were running, but only the TGV.  Only €30!  I had to be resuscitated when I translated the price.  I took an afternoon train and was in Paris within an hour.  Not bad.

Paris has bi-lingual announcements in the stations and multi-lingual ticket machines – the first I’ve seen since leaving Germany.  I headed out to the Campsite Du Bois de Boulogne in the 16th district.  The directions were ok until I exited the bus – then I saw 2 signs saying ‘Camping’ pointing down a road.  THEY WERE LYING.  The campsite is actually in the opposite direction.  From the bus stop go towards the river, and take the path off to the right.  Follow it to a road, turn right, and go about 50m to the campsite entry.

If you have your own tent it’s €16/night, but with free showers and internet.  The tent sites are by the river or the main road.  I chose the road because rivers are cold at night.  This meant the traffic kept me awake all night.  But I wasn’t that cold.

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