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Disneyland Paris, Paris, Travel

6 days in Paris & Disneyland – my itinerary

January 5, 2016

Sunset over the Eiffel Tower from Montparnasse Tower

We managed to pack a lot into 6 days in Paris, so here’s a quick overview of our itinerary. I’ll be doing individual posts about some of the things we did and places we saw, but for now, here’s a short look at everything we crammed into our stay in Paris and Disneyland. 

Moonrise over Paris

Sunday

We got an early morning flight out from Birmingham to Charles de Gaulle, took a train into Paris city centre, and arrived at the Mecure Tour Eiffel for around 2pm.

On check in, we were told we’d received a free upgrade which was a wonderful way to start our holiday. We dropped our bags off, and headed straight out to the Eiffel Tower, which was just a few hundred meters away from the hotel. Tom was feeling energetic, so we walked half way up (the top was shut) the Eiffel Tower, and took in the moonrise over Paris, which was wonderful.

Afterwards, we strolled through the Champ De Mars and the Christmas markets, avoiding illegal street vendors selling roses, questionable bottles of win and light up Eiffel Towers.

 

Sunrise behind the Eiffel Tower, Paris

Monday

We had great intentions of getting up early on Monday morning to watch the sunrise behind the Eiffel Tower, but it didn’t happen. Happily, I discovered that when I pulled back the curtains at 08:20, the sun wasn’t quite up yet – I had completely forgotten about the one hour time difference between England and France.

Tom was showing no signs of getting up, so I grabbed my camera and raced to the Eiffel Tower to capture the sunrise –  I wasn’t the only one who had the same idea because there were quite a few photographers there. I’d forgotten just how stylish and photogenic Paris is.

Sacre Coeur

I went back to the hotel, dragged Tom out of bed and we stopped at one of the Christmas stalls on the Champs Elysee for breakfast before catching the metro out to Sacre-Coeur. While the building itself is a beautiful, and the view is breathtaking, our trip to Sacre-Coeur was tarnished by the sheer amount of scammers and scumbags around the site. There are a couple of paths that go up to the building, and there were groups of men trying to block the paths so that you’d have to interact with them. A couple of them tried to grab Tom’s wrist and tie a string bracelet around it (I think it’s so they then demand money for it), which was quite intimidating and we didn’t feel entirely relaxed there after that.

After a morning of walking, we did some more walking and went to the Hard Rock Cafe, which is a must wherever we go on holiday. In the afternoon, we went to Pere Lachaise, which is one of the most visited cemeteries in the world. Perhaps a cemetery is a morbid place to visit on your holiday, but I needed to see why so many people visited it.

 

Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Rose window

Tuesday

We got up early and caught the train to Notre Dame, which was well worth the early alarm because there was hardly anyone around, and it meant we didn’t have to wait too long to go up the tower. I will definitely do a separate post on our trip to Notre Dame, so all I will say for now is that it is breathtaking and definitely worth getting up early for.

We found a bakery near Notre Dame for lunch and then spent about an hour walking around Shakespeare and Co, which is basically heaven for bibliophiles.

View of Eiffel Tower at sunset from Montparnasse Tower

After that, we went to the Pantheon and explored the area around there a little before walking to Montparnasse Tower, which provided us with a beautiful 360 view of the sunset across Paris.

 

Statue of Liberty Paris

Wednesday

Check out was at noon, which gave us a couple of hours to find the Statue of Liberty and wrestle our cases shut. We caught the RER A out to Disneyland Paris and arrived at the Dream Castle Hotel for about 2pm.

Due to tickets costing around £70 per person, per day over Christmas, we only had tickets to the park for Thursday, so we spent Wednesday afternoon and evening exploring the Disney village, filling our faces in Planet Hollywood, and watching the new Star Wars film.

 

New Year's Eve at Disneyland Paris 2015 - 2016

Thursday

The alarm went off at 6 on Thursday morning as we wanted to make the most out of our only day in the park. By 8am we were full on breakfast (crepes, duh) and were on the free shuttle bus into the park. The downside of being early was that we had to wait just under an hour for the park to open, but it was worth it to avoid an absolutely crammed shuttle bus later on in the morning.

Our first stop was to pick up a PhotoPass+; I thought it would be a good idea, but it actually turned out to be a big waste of money for us. Unless you can go on all the rides covered in the pass (some of them were shut when we went) or are there for more than a day – it’s not worth it. Mostly because Disney photographers aren’t present at all character meets, which I was really disappointed about when I found that out because that wasn’t made very clear. I’ll talk more about that in another post.

With the pass around my neck, we joined the queue to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse, who were decked out in festive attire. The queue wasn’t really that long but it took us well over an hour and a quarter to get our photo taken – mostly because people were taking the mickey (pun intended) having a family photo and then separate photos – I thought that was taking the mickey anyway.

The first ride we got around to going on was Space Mountain, which made us both feel far too old for roller coasters. We both got off looking green around the gills and took the next few hours easy. We watched a couple of parades and milled around until midnight where we rung 2016 in with fireworks at the castle.

 

Friday

We got back to the hotel around 2am in the morning and hastily rammed everything into our cases. It was another early morning to catch the TGV into CDG to get our lunch time flight home.

 

This is the second time I’ve been to Paris, and there are still things I’d like to go back and see – I always thing it’s nice to leave a city wanting more.

Where are you hoping to travel to this year?

Paris, Travel

Paris: Part 2 – Trip into Paris & Arc de Triomphe.

September 21, 2012

You can read Paris Part 1 here.

After two wonderful days in Disneyland, it was time to head into Paris, which meant a 40 minute train journey followed by a rather horrible trip on the Metro.

I don’t like underground travel systems, I find them impressive from an engineering point of view they really are pretty spectacular, but I really hated the Metro. It was hot, humid and the train so bumpy, it was like sticking a train on a trampoline. Me and my sister hated it, but it was worth it to get into Paris.

Our hotel wasn’t far from the Metro station (ugh, flashback to that awful band) which was rather handy as walking through the streets of Paris with suitcases in tow isn’t easy.

We were treated to wonderful views of the Eiffel Tower from our hotel, we knew it would be close but we didn’t realise how close, it was a mere three-four minute walk away.

We got to the hotel and showered and rested our feet as much as we could before we headed out into Paris for the evening. I’ve never experienced a city quite like Paris.

There are people absolutely everywhere, as you would expect in a city, but it still seems calm and peaceful. There were parks full of people but you didn’t feel uneasy as you would in the UK, though I suspect that might be something to do with armed Police Officers wandering around casually with a machine gun, that’d calm UK park-dwelling youths down.

We stood in the Champ de Mars admiring the Eiffel Tower and then it struck as a little odd that there was a park full of people just all sat down or wandering around looking at the Eiffel Tower. (And wow does it look great at night)

After admiring the Eiffel Tower, we strolled down to the Seine and came across a couple of bars and cafe’s at the side of the river, which made incredible crepes, we couldn’t say no! You know what they say, when in Rome Paris.

The next morning we stupidly decided that instead of having breakfast in the hotel, we’d go to try and find some while heading for the Arc de Triomphe. Now, I don’t know if there are no cafes in Paris that are open for breakfast or whether we missed them all, but we couldn’t find anywhere to eat and ended up going for breakfast in McDonald’s on the Champs Elysees.

McDonald’s in Paris are great, they have a McCafe, which serves all kinds of coffee, cakes and pastries, I wish we had these in the UK. It was basically an affordable Starbucks but even tastier.

After filling our faces on croissants (of course, what else?) we decided to scale the Arc de Triomphe, to which my sister said “What do I want to go and look at an arch for?”. *Facepalm*

Another wonderful thing about Paris is that if you’re under 24 you get into a lot of attractions for either free or a seriously reduced rate, the Arc de Triomphe just happens to be one of those attractions, which was a nice surprise for my purse.

The walk to the top was a scary, tight spiralling stairs are not my idea of fun, though I did think it was funny that there were benches at the top of the stairs so tired tourists could sit down and rest.

You don’t actually come out at the top of the Arc, you end up in a gift shop and a room with some information on how it was built and the history behind it, which was nice.

A trip up a few more steps took us out onto the top of the Arc and we were treated to brilliant views. It was a nice clear day and we could see as far as Sacre Coeur and of course, there was no missing the Eiffel Tower. On one side you could see historic Paris, but over the other side you could see a ‘modern Paris’ emerging, with new buildings that would look more at home in the business district of London.

Disneyland Paris, Paris, Travel

Paris: Part 1 – Disneyland.

September 1, 2012

I don’t know how many blog posts I’ll end up writing about this, it could be two or it could be five. Lets hope your sake, it’s not five.

A few months ago my Mom made the mistake of asking me where I wanted to go on holiday this year, she probably could have guessed the answer before it came out of my mouth. Paris. Oh and while we’re at it, lets go to Disneyland.

Surprisingly she agreed and I began to count down the days until August 13th, when I’d get to go to the House of Mouse.

Disneyland

Disneyland Paris Belle's castle
As soon as we arrived in Disneyland, I was blown away. Whether you’re 4, 44 or 94, there’s something you’ll enjoy and something you’ll be impressed by. The attention to detail is incredible and seeing that giant iconic pink castle, really makes you feel like a kid again.

Everywhere you look, you see something new and think ‘wow’. One attraction is a huge tree which is Robinson Crusoe’s tree. To begin with I didn’t even realise it wasn’t a real tree, it was plastic. Then a moment of minor panic set in when my brain went “Wait, what? You’re stood in a plastic tree!”

After two days in Disneyland, my brain was really struggling to figure out what was real and what wasn’t. (I imagine this is what it feels like to take hallucinogenic drugs.)

The rides were equally as impressive and disorientating, as for some reason Disney think rides will be better if you’re in the dark and can’t see where you’re going. In fairness I’d have only shut my eyes anyway, so I didn’t miss anything.

We spent an afternoon in the Film Studio Park, which I found really interesting. Animation is something that’s already fascinated me, so it was nice to get to learn about it and the history behind Disney cartoons.

Food

Eating in Disneyland was expensive, but what do you expect? We found that Planet Hollywood was one of the cheapest restaurants to eat your dinner in and you must go to the Earl of Sandwich, I’ve never eaten a better sandwich in my life. I rather childishly wanted dinner in Cafe Mickey, so I could have my dinner with Mickey Mouse but you had to book a day or two in advance for that.

Parade 

The Lion King, Disneyland Paris ParadeWe’d been told that it was well worth watching the parade in the evening and it definitely was. The parade cars looked great and we got to see characters from all the big Disney films like; Toy Story, the Lion King, Winnie the Pooh, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and of course, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and the Chipmunks.

Hotels

The magic continued throughout the hotels which all had a theme, we stayed in the Hotel Sante Fe (one of the cheaper ones) which was Cars themed, which was great. I think a traffic cone lampshade would look great in my room.

Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck were in the reception of our hotel in the mornings and of course, I had my photo taken with Minnie Mouse, like I could pass that up, especially as I was already wearing Minnie Mouse ears!

It’s fair to say that after two days of trekking round Disneyland my feet were in bits and I was looking forward to the train into Paris for a sit down if nothing else. Despite the aching feet, Disneyland was brilliant and I’d definitely go back there again and recommend it to anyone who hasn’t gone.

And finally….

I had a good chuckle at this sign, it looks like someone creeping up on someone in bed.