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and within an hour and a half to plant your feet upon the shores of France, and then away to Paris ! This journey, the longest by rail, but the shortest in time, is a merciful provision for those who dread the terrors of the deep, for in the short time occupied in the passage it is almost impossible to fall a victim to sea-sickness. There is one point, however, to be considered, that whereas on the Newhaven and Dieppe route you have more beautiful scenery, and take in Rouen, which every tourist ought to visit and enjoy; the route via Calais does not present so many attractions in the way of picturesque scenery and places to be “ done."
To those, however, who have once been by way of Dieppe, and are anxious to run through to their destination as quickly as possible, there is no route that can compete with that by Calais. It must be borne in mind, however, that this is the most expensive way of reaching Paris; but there are not a few who will be willing to sacrifice the difference in cost in order to avoid a lengthened sea passage.
As far as our own experience has gone, continental tourists by this route generally compose themselves for slumber as soon as Herne Hill is passed; waken up at Dover, and resume their slumber on taking their seats in the carriages at Calais.
For the benefit of those who are wakeful, and who choose the daylight, we give a brief outline of what may be seen en route.
Herne Hill, where the Victoria portion of the train unites with the City portion, is a London suburb, but in its early days was celebrated for its hunting-fields. Where graceful villas now adorn the vales, great dismal swamps at one time abounded, and at that time the Heron made its haunt on the hill which is now called Herne Hill.
Passing Dulwich on the left, we admire the improvement
to the College in the handsome edifice now erected, and then the Crystal Palace comes in sight. Penge, Beckenham, Bromley—are not their names written on the hearts of all Londoners ? and where is there a city in the world surrounded with such rural and pretty country as our great City of London ?
Then through the quiet village of St. Mary Cray; past Farningham Road, where we get a peep at the village formed by the Home for Little Boys, one of the best conducted and most praiseworthy institutions of its kind in the world. There are ten houses situate in their own grounds, in each of which dwell a married couple without children of their own, who act as father and mother to the 30 (once destitute) little ones under their care.
And now we near the busy towns of Rochester and Strood on the Medway. No one can pass these towns without associating with them the memory of Charles Dickens, the plots of many of whose stories are laid in this neighbourhood; nor of Gad's Hill, where for so many years he lived and wrote for us. A fine view from the railway is obtained of Rochester Castle, part of which was built, it is said, by Odo, Bishop of Bayeux. There are many stories of triumphs and struggles attached to the old place, as there are also to the Cathedral, which two places make Rochester famous.
Chatham is full of naval and military importance; and as we run past we see the fortifications, the ship-masts, the blue-jackets and the red-coats, all which things are supposed to stand as emblems of our power.
We have hardly dismissed from our minds the reminiscences awakened by Rochester, than we come upon
Canterbury, the Bethlehem of our national religion; the Mecca of our pilgrim days.
St. A stine, Thomas à Becket, Chaucer, and troop upon troop of celebrities crowd upon the memory; but as we have not a pocket edition of Stanley's “Historical Memorials with us, we trust to memory to bring us visions of the old cathedral which has stood as a tower of strength through stormy ages, and to feel thankful that this memorial of our national history was spared from the destroying flames originated, only a short time since, from the same cause which laid in ruins the Alexandra Palace on Muswell Hill.
Dover, Here history is at a discount, all our attention being devoted to getting speedily on board, after taking a flying visit perchance to the hotel close by the harbour.
Twenty-three miles only of sea separates us from France; and Shakespeare's Cliff has hardly dropped behind us in the distance before the coast of France is seen ahead.
Calais is surrounded by moat and wall, and guarded by a citadel. There is a fine quay; and the two piers stretch far into the sea. The town is well built and regular, easy to find your way about in it. The churches, Notre Dame and St. Sepulchre, are its principal buildings. Calais 6
was described by an English traveller of the times of James I.," says Murray, "as a beggarly, extorting town; monstrous dear, and sluttish. In the opinion of many," he adds, “this description holds good down to the present time." But this, we think, is hardly fair. Of course, everybody who sees Calais for the first time will think of Eustace de St. Pierre and his devoted companions in their heroic conduct at the Siege, and the very name will recall the inscription which might have been found on the heart of Queen Mary.
The mail route from Calais to Paris is by way of Boulogne, and as we have already described the journey from Boulogne to Paris, (see pp. 39, 40,) it is only necessary here to notice the journey from Calais to Boulogne, a distance of twentyone English miles. To those who are visiting France for the first time, this is an interesting way to take, especially it t is the intention of the tourist to break the journey.
As we leave Calais we are struck with the tameness of the level
scenery ; and when anon we get amongst the hills, they are equally devoid of interest. On the seashore we may observe an insignificant little village which bears the name of
Ouessant; but it is a place which has been remarkable, for if all accounts be true, Julius Cæsar started from here to lay hold on our “tight little isle." There is no harbour now, but once it stood in relation to England almost as Calais does now.
Marquise is the next town of any importance, and being amongst rocks and cuttings and quarries, it is pretty to look upon.
Ambleteuse, a miserable little village on the coast, has yet an interest for us; for when the unfortunate James II., hounded from place to place, and deserted by all, had to resign his palace in favour of the Prince of Orange, escaped to Rochester, and on the 23rd December, 1688, set sail for France, he disembarked at Ambleteuse, from whence he proceeded to St. Germains, near Paris, where Louis XIV. gave
him a castle, a small income, and a generous welcome. Within three miles of Boulogne, in the churchyard of Wimille, is a monument to the memory of Pilâtre de Rosier and Romaine, the adventurous aëronauts, who thought to cross the channel from Boulogne, but the baloon caught fire when they were nearly 4,000 feet up in the air, and they perished by a fearful death, being dashed to pieces. That was in 1785, and long before balooning had become the art it is now.
Passing down under the walls of the old town, we enter Boulogne station, (see p. 39.)
Paris to Switzerland,
HERE is a choice of routes between Paris and Swit
zerland ; you can go by way of Epernay, Chalons, Bar-le-Duc, Nancy, and Strasburg; but as the place of principal interest in this route is Strasburg, and that can be more easily and pleasantly done via the Rhine, we omit it here, and refer you to Cook's “Tourist's Guide to Holland, Belgium, and the Rhine.” Perhaps there is one other attraction in this route, namely, the extensive vine country through which the tourist passes, but as this can be seen at so many other places, it is hardly worth the tourist's while to make this an object.
So setting aside this route, we have two others left us, viz:
To Basle, by the East of France and the Alsace and Lorraine Railways, via Troyes, Belfort, and Mulhouse.
Or to Geneva or Neuchatel, by the Paris, Lyons, and Mediterranean Railway, via Fontainebleau, Tonnere, and Dijon.
We propose, therefore, to supply ourselves with tourists' tickets, which shall enable us to go out by Basle, and return by Dijon, or vice versa, thus taking in the two routes. And to that end we have supplied ourselves with the coupons described in Appendix, p. 204.