7 Days in Paris and Disneyland Paris - Bonjour Mickey et Minnie

I recently visited Paris for the first time in many years and thought I would let you know what I got up to.  I had a really great time and managed to pack in a lot of stuff in the 7 days I was there.  This was a holiday where I didn't do much shopping which is unusual for me but at least it's a good excuse for going back again ;)  

I travelled on the Eurostar for the first time ever and it was a really good trip. I really recommend spending a little bit more money to travel on the Standard Premier service as it was spacious and quiet and we were served a drink and meal during the journey. It took just over 2 hours to get to Paris and then 10 minutes by taxi to the hotel.  I stayed at the Crowne Plaza Paris Republique which was on the Place de la Republique in the Marais District.  It was walkable to many of the tourist sites, but also has easy access to the Metro if you don't fancy walking. We stayed in a family room which has 2 double beds so was very spacious. This was a nice hotel at a reasonable price (I got a great deal through Expedia), so I would definitely stay there again.

Most people  I encountered spoke really good English (probably used to dealing with English people who know sod all French) but I managed to remember some French from school just the basics bonjour, merci etc which got me by.

On my first day I went to visit the Notre Dame as that was the closest to where I was staying.  I decided to walk and found it really easy to find my way around Paris with the help of a map from the hotel.  They don't charge an entrance fee, but they ask for donations if you light a candle.  They do charge to go up in to the towers but I didn't have time to do that on this visit.  In this photo it looks really clean but if you go round to the back of the building on the outside and look at the spire it shows how dirty it was before it was restored.
Photo taken outside the Notre Dame Paris
Notre Dame
Photo taken inside the Notre Dame Paris
Inside the Notre Dame
The next day I had arranged to go on a guided tour of the Louvre.  I thought this would be a good way to see the key pieces of art and get around as much as possible. It lasted around 3 hours and our guide Raphaela was interesting and knowledgeable.  I saw the Mona Lisa  (major scrum to get anywhere near, but myself and another English lady managed to worm our way to the front without using our elbows and bags to shove people out of the way).  It always amazes me how many people manage to get to the front only to look at the art through their camera viewfinder, rather than just appreciate the fact that you are standing so close to a masterpiece.  I also saw the Venus de Milo. Raphaela gave us loads of the back story which really enhanced the enjoyment of the tour. 

We booked this tour through Expedia (its called Skip-the-Line: Half-day tour of the Louvre museum) and I would heartily recommend it. One of the advantages of the tour was the skip the line access, so we did not have to queue to get in the Louvre as we went in a side entrance for groups.
The Pyramid at the Louvre
The famous Pyramid at the Louvre
I took this photo of the famous pyramid at 9am in the morning, so there were hardly any crowds around.
Venus de Milo at the Louvre in Paris
Venus de Milo
The Mona Lisa in the Louvre museum in Paris
Mona Lisa (protected by bullet proof glass hence the reflection in the photo)
After visiting the Louvre I walked all the way up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe.  I did stop at a few shops on the way such as Sephora, but I was just too tired at that point to really make the most of it so didn't buy anything (I know, I know I'm regretting it now).  I was planning to go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe but they were doing some building work on it, so I didn't bother.  One to do next time I'm there.
Arc De Triomphe in Paris
Arc de Triomphe
I then spent 4 days in Disneyland Paris.  I have been to DisneyWorld in Orlando a number of times now and Disneyland California last year, but I have never been to the park in Paris.  When I booked there was a great offer on if you paid for 2 nights you got 2 nights free (this included the hotel and park tickets).  I stayed at a Disney Hotel called the Sequoia Lodge which was about a 10 minute walk to the parks which was great.  We stayed in a Golden Forest Room, which meant we had a free breakfast every morning (cue croissants smothered in nutella every day.  Yum).  We also had access to the Golden Forest Lounge where we could get free drinks and snacks everyday.

The room was nice and spacious, with 2 double beds.  The only issue we had in the whole stay was the fact that the bathroom sink was leaking.  We noticed a wet patch in front of the sink on the first day, but just assumed the people that stayed there before us were a bit messy (maybe they had kids that couldn't quite reach the sink or something).  By the next day the wet patch was so much bigger, although we couldn't quite work out where the leak was coming from as there was no water dripping down the front of the sink. It was starting to smell a bit damp and musty in the room, so we mentioned it at the front desk and they said they would deal with it.  It wasn't funny having to wear shoes to use the sink otherwise your feet and socks would get soaked.

Wow this is turning into a long story.  We didn't hear anything from the front desk after than so assumed the sink has been fixed.  That was until my sister was using the sink and the next thing she knew she was standing in a pool of water.  Definitely not fixed then.  We complained at the front desk once again and that seemed to do the trick, although it was the day before we were leaving by the time it was fixed and the carpet never fully dried out.  This did not spoil our trip to Disneyland, it was just a hassle to sort out.

The first couple of days in Disneyland had great weather, it was so sunny and had been since we got to Paris, but the last 2 days it rained on and off. This didn't spoil the holiday as I think it made the parks even quieter as people were put off visiting in the rain. Unfortunately I took my photos on the rainy days (not well planned considering I knew it was likely to rain).  I had a great time there and would definitely recommend it for people who love Disney but can't afford to go to Orlando and people with young kids or visiting Disney for the first time.  As we stayed in a Disney hotel we could get into the Disneyland park 2 hours early each day to get on some of the rides. As not all the rides I wanted to ride were open that early I generally got to the park 1 hour before its main opening time which meant I didn't have to get up too early.  I had a great time in Disneyland and it was really easy to get there on the train from Paris. It took about 40 minutes and cost 7.50 euros one way.  
Snow Whites Castle Disneyland Paris
Snow White's Castle
Disneyland Park in Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Park
Walt Disney Studios in Disneyland Paris
Walt Disney Studios
Sadly my time at Disneyland came to an end, but luckily my holiday wasn't over yet as I went back to the centre of Paris for 2 more days.  I stayed in a lovely boutique hotel called the Ecole Centrale which was not too far from the Place de Republique in the Marais District again.  This was a lovely small hotel and the people there were very welcoming, so I would definitely recommend this hotel as well.  The room was smaller than the previous 2 hotels, but it was nicely set out and sufficient for our needs. It was just across the road from a Metro station and again was in walking distance to some of the major attractions like the Pompidou Centre and Notre Dame.

The first day back in the centre of Paris I had arranged a guided tour of the Eiffel Tower.  This meant that I didn't have to queue to get into the tower or to the 2nd floor and once on the 2nd floor the tour guide went round each side of the Eiffel Tower and pointed out various places around Paris.  This was really great and there were only about 15 people on the tour and the guide was really interesting. We then had to queue for 30mins to get to the top of the tower and it was quite nerve racking going up in the lift as it is very very high.  Thankfully the weather was much improved that day, the sky was blue and the sun was shining so we had great views from the top of the tower.  I booked the tour with Viator.

I found out later that there had been some tennis stars there that day promoting the French Open and Kim Kardashian was there later that day, just before she got married!! Sadly (or not really) I missed them.
View of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocodero
View of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocodero
View from the Eiffel Tower
View from the Eiffel Tower
At this point I was so tired that I started using the Metro which was really easy to use and cost 1.70 euros per trip.  This meant I could get to the Sacre Coeur which was the final place I wanted to visit on my last day as it was just too far to walk to.  
Sacre Coeur in Paris
Sacre Coeur
Once I had been inside the Sacre Coeur (which was amazing by the way, but no photos were allowed) it was time to get back to the hotel and pick up my bags and get the Eurostar back to London.  This time there was a delay of about 20mins and the trip back was slightly longer and took 2 hours 30mins.  It was still a good trip back although waiting to board the train there were no seats in the waiting area so that was a bit of a pain, but never mind it had been a great trip.  

I stayed overnight in London at the start and end of my holiday but will do a separate post about what I did and bought there later.  

I would definitely like to visit Paris again sometime as I didn't get to do much shopping (although don't worry there are a couple of hauls to post) and I know there are some really great brands I would like to try out so I will definitely be back. 

Sorry my photos aren't better I never seem to take the time to set them up properly and never take as many as I mean too.

I did quite a few other things, but this post is already long so I won't go on and on.  If you have any questions, just leave me a comment and I will get back to you.  I am already planning a quick trip next year to do all the things that I missed out this time (The Palace of Versailles, top of the Arc de Triomphe, Montparnasse Tower, The Pantheon and there are loads more museums to check out.  Not forgetting the shopping as well).

Leighlee
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Comments

  1. Hi Alexis It was a great trip and I can't wait to go back :)

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  2. This is so cool. I love Paris and Disney :)

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  3. Lovely !! I wish I will visit one day Paris! <3

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  4. omg soo soo jealous i would love to go looks like you had a great time x

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