We headed off to Hammersmith station in the morning to catch the Picadilly Line tube to St Pancras station allowing plenty of time before our train departed for Paris. It was all very easy and after going through security and passport control we didn't have to wait too long in the boarding lounge before our platform came up on the board and we went and hopped on the train. The journey took just over two hours meaning we arrived at Paris Gare du Nord at around 2pm. We sat opposite a couple from America who were going to Paris for their Honeymoon and they were good value to chat with along the way. We sorted out what underground metro we needed to catch and made our way to the hotel that we were staying in, 'Hotel de l'Esperance'. Mum and John stayed in the same hotel when they were in Paris so we knew it would be good. It is a small boutique hotel located just a stone's throw away from the rue Mouffetard and is in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. It is situated in one of the most picturesque parts of the Latin Quarter.
So we dropped our bags off and went for a wander around the area to get our bearings and came across such gorgeous little streets and neat looking deli's and restaurants. It all started to feel real now and what a place to be to celebrate our birthdays! We arranged to meet Murray, Jane, Charlotte, Ollie and Fran at the apartment they are staying in at around 6:30pm for drinks and nibbles before heading out for dinner with them. Simply by coincidence the hotel was literally five minutes walk away from the apartment so it worked out perfectly and how special that we were all in Paris together! So we had a big catch up with them, and Fran booked us in to a very popular, buzzing little restaurant called JAJA in Saint Germain. Unfortunately we were not able to get a table in the main part of the restaurant so we were seated downstairs and it was very hot. They propped a fan on our table though and it was well worth it because the food was simply incredible! After dinner we went for a walk around the area and passed the Notre Dame which looked very stunning by night. We decided to have a wee night cap so we found a nice place that we could sit outside and take in the atmosphere. It ticked over midnight, so we had a second drink to celebrate Andrew's birthday too! All in all it was an fabulous evening and a birthday I will never forget!