The Last Push! Paris: City of Dreams, Romance… and Pickpockets?

The Last Push! The Final 700 Tier Points to BA Gold!
Paris: City of Dreams, Romance… and Pickpockets?



After a short bus ride around Orly, the bus deposited us at Orly West Immigration.

Still unloading passengers – first bus has its benefits.

The plane, resting after its journey

Into France…

This was seen to in the same French fashion as before (look at passport, glance upward, hand back). From there, luggage claim is in front of you. Whilst we on the ground at 9:40CET, it seems that luggage delivery would be taking its own sweet time – with the first bags delivered at 10:00 and my bag spitting out 10 minutes later.

To get to Paris…

With that, it was a quick walk through French customs, and I was in France again. My next challenge was to find the OrlyVAL station. An escultator and some blind luck lead me to the train station.

To the OrlyVAL!

Now, there was a ticket kiosk at the station – and it’s an important one because the OrlyVAL is chargeable if you want to exit the system and enter the RER station. So, I ponied up the €11.25 for a single to Paris-Nord, and headed for the OrlyVAL station. I must have been bumped on the way as I got into the narrow train to Athony.

Ticket Kiosk.

Ticket Machines


The OrlyVAL (much like the CDG VAL) is useful in getting from point A to point B, in a very narrow train. With a 6 minute ride, there’s not much room to go wrong.

Although I wish they built these trains a bit wider…

I managed to get out of the OrlyVAL and fed my ticket into the barrier. It spat out the ticket unhappily and open up the barrier allowing me to enter Antony station – and like any suburban station it looks like a place for not hanging around.

Next train indicator

Single decker special coming in.

Thankfully with a train due to central Paris in 3 minutes, I didn’t have to hang around.

The RER Line B service arrived (heading up to CDG) arrived promptly, and I found some seats near the entrance.


As I tend to do, I checked my pockets for everything. Passport… yes… wallet…. wallet… wallet… OH F**K.

A full empty of the coat indicated that my wallet had gone. You know that feeling when everything goes white? This is one I had. I attempted to find it a few more times, but each time getting more frustrated.

My next concern was how the hell was I to get home – as my train ticket home was in there. Thankfully – I had put a spare wallet with a spare credit card and £10 in the back of in the bottom of my black rucksack…. and more importantly – my passport was safe.

Things were now not looking so black. Heck when I finally got to Gare du Nord, I hade time to share my experiance

With the RER arriving at Gare Du Nord, I bundled out of it, and headed straight for the Eurostar Check-in area.

Crossing the RER station to the main line station

Art. I think.

The grand departures list.

Old vs New – The newer Thalys PKA on the left, and a classic broken nose SNCF train with Corail coaches on the right

A Waiting Eurostar

The Gare Du Nord Train shed from The London Hall

Not to check in, but to make calls to my bank and credit card issuer. My debit card issuer noted no transactions had been made, whilst my credit card issuer noted a transaction had been made at McDonnalds at Orly airport (two transactions I found out later for a grand total of £10).

That would have to be dealt with when I got home.

For now, I needed to get home… and with some minor trepidation I headed to the Eurostar Check in. With the card stolen that I checked in with, I was expecting to buy a new ticket to get home.

But no, the agent understood my problem, and asked for my passport. With the details verified, a boarding pass was issued to London St Pancras.


With that done, it was time to clear immigration and enter the Eurostar waiting area. This is a three stage process – firstly “Exiting” France, then “Entering” the United Kingdom (as the UK border is in Paris for Eurostar), and finally clearing security and customs.

And surprise – Customs too an interest in me asking if I had anything to declare to French Customs. I presented my duty free (which was cleared without an issue), and they did a full baggage strip down.


Eventually, I was let on my way, with another 10 minutes of my life taken.

Entering the main departure hall, there’s a lounge at the bottom of it – which I can’t use as I’m not on a business ticket. And unsurprisingly, there were no power outlets too.

Waiting areas…

Waiting trains…

Thankfully, the laptop had a good charge left in it, and combined with the phone, I tethered my phone to the laptop for a bit of internet and admin. A good hour later, boarding was called for the 13:13 to London St Pancras. Boarding would be split by two zones – Zone A for one set of coaches at the “Paris” end of the train, and Zone B for Business and the “London” end of the service.

And yes, Eurostar has gate lice too.

A final ticket inspection was carried out once boarding was classed , and I headed down to the train

Next – Eurostar to familiar shores and homeward bound

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  1. anita says

    whats gate lice?
    looking back could you remember at what point did it happen? i’m going in august and i’m nervous!!

    • says

      Gate Lice: those who hang around gates for hours on end before boarding of a train or plane opens.

      The theft happened at Anthony RER stations if my credit card is to believed (they had a good couple of dinners at McDonalds out of my cards before I stopped the card).

      Keep your wallet out of sight… And close to you at all times! (And have a backup one too!)

  2. anita says

    do you remember someone bumping you? or leaning up against you when it occurred?
    man that sucks. atleast you have a good demeanor about it. i would have been uber pissed and huffed and puffed probably ruining my trip.

    • says

      I remember being bumped a few times. So it must had happened then.

      If I had *everything* in there I would had been crying – and on the phone to parents to try get some money on the way. But I’ve learned to keep one credit card out of sight and out of mind… So if the worst happens, I have *something* to get home on. The fact the wallet had £10 for incidentals was a bonus (otherwise, I would had been walking from the train station to home).

      It did sour what was an amazing trip though.

  3. Xander says

    I very nearly escaped a similar fate at Abbesses (the Paris métro stop). I saw some loud and obnoxious North African youths (basically like the French equivalent of a chav) eyeballing me and as I got off, they got off as well. I noticed they were on my tail and I booked it up the spiral staircase, into the ticket hall (I figured they were less likely to steal someone’s shit when people are around). My plan worked as the ticket hall contained 3 gendarmerie officers, so when the youths got there they became veeeery calm and quiet, with the officers giving them a “fuck off or you’ll get arrested” look. which, needless to say, they did.

    • Xander says

      what I meant was I very nearly suffered a similar fate, should learn to proofread before posting.