This morning we checked out from the hotel and went for “le petit déjeuner”, which means breakfast, at Café Lutetia on Place Charles Michels (49 Rue Linois). We had cream café, tea for me of course, orange juice, and baguette with butter and jam, just like real Parisians. After having breakfast French style, we walked right across the street to Starbucks (yeah, seriously) to get more coffee for Aaron and Holly – American style! We then passed by a boulangerie and I couldn’t stop myself from going in and buying a couple of croissants for me and Kelly. It was probably the best croissant I’ve ever had.
We talked about doing some sightseeing in Paris, but instead we decided to go to Lille as soon as possible rather than going there tonight. So, we went back to the hotel to get the luggage, then took the metro to Gare du Nord, and then we got on the TGV train to Lille.
We didn’t get a choice to pick our seats when we bought the tickets, so we ended up having to sit in separate cars. It turned out okay that way though, because Kelly got an apparently much needed nap (slept like a baby) and I was just enjoying the landscape swishing by. I had cookies and peach ice tea, and my head full of French conversations with myself. I’ve been using every opportunity on this trip to speak French, and it has really given me some more confidence. And it’s fun! A few weeks ago I started using an app for learning French, called Duolingo, and it has helped a ton.
Lille has two major train stations located very close to one another – Lille Flandres and Lille Europe. We arrived at Lille Flandres after only one hour on the train.
Our hotel, Novotel Lille Centre Gares, is only a short walk away from the train station. The staff at the check-in counter was just lovely. I tried to do the whole conversation in French, and it went okay while I was talking, but got difficult as soon as he started talking, because it’s hard for me to follow when people speak too fast. He noticed this and asked with a friendly smile: “Anglais?” (which means “English”). I asked him to please continue in French but just a little bit slower. He did just that, and then I could understand everything! He was so helpful and nice, and I felt really good being able to discuss check-out times, breakfast, wifi, room number/floor and other things, all in French! Our room was very similar to the one in Paris, and we were very happy with it. Another pleasant experience with the Novotel hotel chain.