Category Archives: Paris

Disneyland Paris “The Most Exhausting Place On Earth”

Unlike the previous day, where we had ventured into the city to enjoy our petit dejeuner, we decided to eat in our hotel. This was for two reasons, one of which was that we had a lot to fit into our day before we travel home later that evening, and the second reason being that time was more of the essence than ever, as we were going to Disneyland.

We wolfed down as many pain au chocolat and boiled eggs as we could without wanting to have a heart attack, packed up our belongings, left them with the hotel staff, and excitedly pranced down the street to the metro station once more to board the train from Montparnasse, changing at Nation and finally reaching our destination of Marne-la-Vallée.

We got there with perfect timing, just as the park opened at 10am. After exchanging the coupons (which Julien had purchased onboard the Eurostar) for tickets, we were through the gates and into the magical world of Disney.


I haven’t been since I was a kid, and at the back of my mind thought to myself “am I too old for this?” however, the answer was definitely no. Yes, its obviously got strong pulls and links to the whole fantasy of childhood dreams and magic, however it’s great for adults alike. It hasn’t lost the magic, and it’s great fun to just shed all your adult woes and cares for a day, and just relive the magic of Disney I remembered from being a kid.


As we entered the grounds, we walked through the old style town, named Main Street USA, and took in all the quaint little shops that managed to cross the tackiness of Disney with turn of the century décor, surprisingly well.

I’m not a big fan of rollercoasters that are too big, as I’m a massive coward, and literally squeal whist riding something as tame as the Big Wheel at a fun fair. With this knowledge Julien suggested we walk up to Adventureland and start off with the Indiana Jones ride. After queuing for around 35 minutes, we were at the front of the line, and Julien was insisting we take a seat right at the front of the train.

It was petrifying. I screamed so hard I nearly lost my voice, and managed to hit my head on the safety bars that were strapped over my shoulders. I also managed to completely miss the fact we went upside down because I couldn’t open my eyes.


Its worth noting that if you are someone who goes to Thorpe Park or Alton Towers often, the Indiana Jones ride is in fact, not at all scary, however it is a lot of fun. I’m genuinely just an awful coward.

After this, we walked away, and I was buzzing with adrenaline. Ready to get on to all the rides, we excitedly got out the park map and started planning. However, what we didn’t take into account was the fact that the queues can be ridiculous. Some of the rides offered a Fast Track service, where you go and take a ticket, and return within half an hour, and can then use the fast queue. However, this is not available on all rides unfortunately, and we did end up spending a lot of time in lines, waiting around.

On top of this, some of the rides that we were hoping to go on were closed for maintenance, one of these being Space Mountain, which was very upsetting as that was the one ride that I really wanted try. This information may have been available somewhere on their website, however it wasn’t very clear and we were very disappointed not to get to experience it.


After posing for some pictures with the Star Wars X-Wing Fighter, we left Discoveryland to head back up to Adventureland. Here, we agreed to go on Pirates of the Caribbean, unfortunately nothing to do with the film franchise, however.


This was very fun and jovial, however although I’m a coward, I did feel like I could handle something a little more thrilling. Saying this, there was one tiny drop, and as you can see in the photo below, it still managed to make me scream like a little girl.


We then spent some time running around the Theme Park in general, climbing on the rope bridges, exploring caves and going in Davey Jone’s Locker.


Feeling braver, we made our way across to Frontierland, where we went on my favorite ride of all time; Big Thunder Mountain. We had our Fast Track tickets already, so only had to queue for around 15 minutes. We got on the ride, again sitting at the front, and literally had THE best time. It was enough to make me scream and a little nervous, but not that horrible feeling where I think I might spew all over the other theme park goers.


After this, we ran across and queued for 5 minutes at the Haunted House, which I remembered to be a lot scarier than it actually was at the age of 25. It was fun, nonetheless though, and quite clever with all the animatronics as you travel around in individual cars.


We then made our way across from the Disney Park, to the Walt Disney Studios Park, just across the street. Here we walked around, and saw some of the sights such as the Toy Story attraction, however agreed that we were short on time and couldn’t really go on any of the larger rides. Plus I may have been scared to go on the Aerosmith ride (yeah I don’t get the Disney connection either) as it sent you doing the loop the loop about a million times.




With that we returned to the Disney Park, where we grabbed some lunch, which unfortunately Disney do not do so well. The only options without queuing for a long time to go into a restaurant, were 3 variations of burgers and fries. I’m not entirely adverse to a burger; a good burger; however these were soggy and relatively nasty burgers.

After wolfing these down out of desperate need for energy, I decided I wanted a Coke, so randomly selected one from the vending machine.  I was overjoyed with the discovery of names you can get once you just hop across the Channel.


We agreed that we had time left for just one more ride, and then some gift shops, before we’d have to head back towards Montparnasse.

I let Julien decide which ride he’d like to go on, and for some reason I’m still not entirely sure of, he chose Autopoia. This is a ride which consists of ‘50’s style cars and you drive them repeatedly around a track. This ride is designed for very young children too, so obviously these aren’t real cars, and go around the track on a Scalextric kind of runner. Julien doesn’t drive, so I thought maybe he wanted a toned down version of the real thing, so agreed to do this with him.

IMG_8472 It was good fun, and we definitely had a laugh whilst whizzing around 6 year olds with their dads, and probably just being annoying big kids, however it was very enjoyable.

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We finished off with gift shopping, where Julien bought himself Star Wars related hats, and then bought me the biggest Thumper toy in the entire shop which obviously went down very well.


We made the long journey back to the hotel, feeling absolutely exhausted, and having to both take a nap on the metro. We certainly had so much fun but we were positive we needed longer there, as we only got to experience a handful of rides and certainly would have been able to have more fun, not having to pick and choose our rides nor having to time them the way we did.

IMG_8492 After picking up our bags from the hotel, we got back on the train to Gare Du Nord to catch the Eurostar. In just a couple of hours, we were back in London, exhausted but content, dragging our suitcases and all our new souvenirs back along the platform, to the tube, and so to bed.

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Paris…No Swimming in the River Though; That’d Be In Seine

Every so often Julien gets hired to DJ abroad; recently playing a big corporate event in Munich, the same markets operator, ICAP, asked him to play an event in Paris.  Fortunately they were kind enough to let me come along as a freebee with him for a weekend away together this time round.

So early one Saturday morning in June, I packed my wheelie suitcase, and headed on the tube to King’s Cross St Pancras.  It has to be said, being up and out at 7.30am on a Saturday with no hangover, they’re really missing a trick with making some kind of real life documentary about the characters you see trying so hard to get back to bed at this time.  It was almost like a game, figuring out which late night / early morning reveller was going to cave and be sick on you first.

After successfully dodging being spewed on in any capacity, I got off the tube, excitedly springing along to go and meet Julien, with images in my head of riding bikes by the River Seine, and laughing heartily whilst munching on baguettes.

We met, went through the very basic security checks ran by the Eurostar and before we knew it were speeding our way over to La Ville-Lumiére.  Two hours and 15 minutes later we were in Paris Gare Du Nord, and pulling our bags along on to the Metro.


We thankfully just had to take one line straight down to where we were staying, a hotel in the Montparnasse area of the city.  Admittedly, it is not the most beautiful, or typically French district, however the hotel was pleasant and in a well-connected area.

We got in, ditched our bags, and headed downstairs for some food and drink, shortly after which Julien went to setup for later, and to complete his sound check, whilst I went shopping due to realising I’d forgotten trousers and underpants and everything else I might need.                                                              

After a quick power nap, we set off to have some dinner before Julien had to start playing.  We walked up the road to find a quaint little restaurant, where we enjoyed some lovely French food and a couple of big glasses of wine. 


As we walked back to the hotel, it was about 20.58, and Julien stopped me where I was walking in the street.  He told me to look to my left, where there was a clearing in the buildings that led all the way down to the Eiffel Tower.  As the clock struck 21.00 the entire tower lit up with sparkling lights, twinkling all over in the distance.  You can see why they say it’s such a romantic city.

We got back to the hotel, where Julien began his work at the party, whilst I took advantage of the champagne.  After a fun night we crawled into bed at around 2am, to rest before we began the tourist part of our trip.

We had a cheeky bit of a lie in, mainly due to my bubbles induced headache, and hauled ourselves out of bed.

Instead of heading to the restaurant downstairs for our breakfast, we agreed it’d be nicer for us to have it out and about in the city somewhere, so we hopped on the metro, and headed up to Saint-Michel station, next to Notre Dame.


After wandering around the old town and the beautiful Gothic buildings, we finally decided on a quintessential little French restaurant. It was like how you’d imagine; tables and chairs outside, with couples enjoying cigarettes with their coffees, whilst enjoying the morning sun.

By the time we’d got there it was more lunchtime than breakfast, so we had a look at the full menu. Wanting to be typically French, I chose the French onion soup with a side of garlic snails, or escargot if you like.

I’d had the escargot before, however a very long time ago, as a child on one of our many family holidays to Barneville Carteret, Normandy. In all honesty, I should have left it there really, and not ordered it again all these years later. It’s the texture. You know that you are eating a snail, and the texture is EXACTLY how you would imagine it to be; however much garlic butter they want to serve it with to disguise it, you are still more than aware that you are eating a mollusque.


So after encouraging Julien to be “more French” by trying desperately to get him to help me eat the snails, we finished up, and set off to explore the city some more.

We walked back to Notre Dame, where we admired the beautiful architecture of the Cathedral. We had hoped to go in, however on a Sunday with this many people, the queues were just too big.


We decided to rent a couple of the bikes that they have around the city. After trying to decipher how to rent one, thus causing a massive queue of angry cyclists behind us, waiting to use the machine, we finally managed to disembark our bikes from the docks and off we cycled along the Seine.

These bikes are a great idea, and are in fact the original version of what we call “Boris Bikes” in London. However, I wasn’t expecting them to be so heavy. It certainly took a good few attempts of not falling off sideways until I could steady myself enough to actually get away and cycle in a (semi) straight line.

Off we went, with the wind flapping in my hair, and great big grins on our faces, laughing and joking about baguettes and strings of garlic. However, after this lovely image took place for all of ten minutes, we then decided to embark on the roads of Paris.


Now bearing in mind that I have balance issues even when standing up, combined with a very heavy metal bike, and then throw in the CRAZY French driving and also doing it all on the wrong side of the road, it wasn’t long before I swerved into a van, and scared myself a little. Needless to say, I got beeped at and honked at repeatedly, and quickly decided to drag the bike up onto the pavement, before I end up in a bad way on the roads.

I looked up to see the back of Julien’s head in his little panda hat disappear like a small dot in the distance. I tried shouting after him, although he couldn’t hear me, and kept on cycling.

After walking my bike along the pavement in a right old huff and grump for a few minutes, I saw his hat in the crowd, where he’d pulled up and waited for me. Obviously, because I am a woman I gave him a needlessly hard time, and exaggerated the story ten fold, about how in fact a LORRY, not a van nearly ran me over and I was very close to death etc etc. After telling me (rightly so) to stop being such a drama queen, and reminding me that I am in fact alive still and no collision actually happened, we embarked again upon our cycle ride, however this time opting for quiet back roads.

Just as we got to the bottom of the hilly streets that lead up to Montmartre the heavens opened, and we found a dock for the bikes, and ran to take cover under some shop awnings. When this had eased up a little we continued our climb up the hill and finally got to the bottom of the steps that lead to the Cathedral. Just then and there it REALLY started to tip it down, and we had to take shelter in a shop, where we bought some rather fancy rain macs. Unfortunately the packaging didn’t quit make it clear that on the backs of these rain macs there was a massive print of the Eiffel Tower. There was a reason why they were only €2 though.


We started the climb up to the top of the stairs, which is incredibly steep, and exhausting. However because you’re overlooking such a beautiful view, you can time your need for breathers perfectly, with just wanting to take a selfie, so no one can really see just how horribly unfit you really are.


We reached the top, and turned around the see the simply breathtaking panoramic view of the city. It really is a lovely place, and just oozes with the sense of romance and love. And then that all quickly disappears as you get asked if you’d like to buy ten key rings with the Eiffel Tower on by the masses of street traders in the area.

We walked inside of the cathedral, and as it was a Sunday, there was a service on. We were welcome to sit and watch, so we did this for a bit, as the choir was singing. The architecture inside the building was phenomenal. It is a truly majestic work of art, and words cannot do it justice. We sat in silence for a while, taking in our surrounding, and then walked the perimeter of the building, admiring the windows and the arches all the way around.


After this we stopped for a hot chocolate and some gateaux, before heading back down the hill. We walked through all the dainty, curving and winding streets, imagining how lovely it’d be to live in some of these places. It just seems like such a quaint little idyllic lifestyle to have, if you were lucky enough to live in the Montmartre district.


We hopped back on the Metro, where we got off at Porte Maillot, and walked down to the Arc de Triomphe. Rather stupidly, we didn’t see the entrance to the underground passageway to get to the actual structure, which is essentially in the middle of a roundabout on one of Europe’s busiest roads. So we decided to take our lives into our own hands, and ran in between speeding motorcycles and cars, whilst getting beeped and sworn at ferociously. Luckily we made it to the middle, admired the stunning building, and then sensibly took the under passage back to the Champs Elysees.



We walked down the Champs Elysees, taking in all the shops, including the flashy car showrooms, until we reached the Southern end, where we jumped on another Metro to the Eiffel Tower.


We walked down from Trocadero station, past the Musee national de la Marine, through the Jardins du Trocadero, across the Pont D’lena Bridge and to the foot of the tower. We looked up, taking in the beauty of one of the most iconic structures of our time, and decided after not having the patience to go inside any other landmarks today, bar Montmartre; we would certainly go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. However, as we approached, we soon realised that there were maintenance works being carried out that day, and you could in fact, not visit the top of the tower.


This was a real shame, as it was genuinely one of the things that we really wanted to do, however, such is life, and now I know in future to find these things out beforehand.



At this point, the sun was beginning to set, so we decided to take a stroll back towards the Champs Elysees, arm in arm along the River Seine. We sat for a while on the bank, reflecting on what a lovely, yet tiring day we had had, exploring the city.


It really is beautiful, and has a sense of calm about it, however at the same time, much like London, it can be extremely tiring, and we were both completely exhausted.



We finished the day by having a ginormous steak and plate of frites, and then dragged ourselves back to Montparnasse and into bed, knowing that the next day we needed all our energy to tackle Disneyland…