Paris and London: Has Eurostar Made Them ‘Twins’?
Travel Blog • Eva Holland • 06.30.10 | 10:08 AM ET
Simon Kuper makes the case in a Financial Times essay that chronicles the changing relationship between the two cities over the years. Here’s Kuper on the dawn of Eurostar:
Those first trains connected two fairly insular cities. I had returned to Britain from Boston the summer before the Eurostar was launched, and after the Technicolor US, I was shocked by dingy London. Tired people in grey clothes waited eternities on packed platforms for 1950s Tube trains. Coffee was an exotic drink that barely existed, like ambrosia. Having a meal outside was illegal. The city centre was uninhabited, and closed at 11pm anyway. Air travel was heavily regulated, and so flying to Paris was expensive. Going by ferry took a whole miserable day. If you did get across, and only spoke the bad French most of us learnt at school, it was hard to communicate with any natives.
And then both cities began to change.