Not a 'question' really, but thought I shall share some of my experiences over the last Christmas period spent in Paris.
I travelled with my wife ( 5 months pregnant ) and my 4 and a half year old son. We travelled from London via the Eurostar.
The Eurostar - we booked well in advance, and for comfort's sake, booked the standard premier seats which were only a few pounds more than the standard class at time of booking. Very spacious, acceptable light snack options and a fairly quiet carriage. The child meals were more adult sized and type. Someone flooded the loo in the carriage ( of course ) so had to use the ones on the far side. There was also an armed French policeman patrolling the train and seated near our carriage...wondered if this was normal or a special occasion. Didnt see one on the way return.
Upon reaching Paris Gare du Nord, I went straight to eh 'billets' counter, hoping to buy the Navigo Decouverte. Wrong. After queuing for nearly 25 minutes, the clerk said I needed to go to a different counter, which was beyond platform 16, opposite to the information desk. I had read somewhere online that these passes can be bought in any ticket counter. Our stay was from the 22nd of Dec, to the 30th. So this pass was ideal as it serves Monday to Sunday and covers the buses, metro and the RER. We took small photos ( 2.5 cm X 3 cm ) of ourselves so saved a bit. Zones 1-5 costs 37.50 euros, plus 5 euro charge per card, per person. The amount was the same for the child. I bought is on a Sunday, for validity from the following Monday to the next Sunday. We had no travel plans for that night in Paris so this suited us just fine.
We headed to the exit opposite to this counter, as it had signs for 'taxi'. Bad idea. The guy saw our bags, the kid and said '50 Euros' to get us where we want to go. We had booked an apartment in the 15th arr., in a street by Avenue Suffren. I heard alarms go off in my head at that price so we retraced our steps all the way back to the first ticket counter and took the exit there, which had a taxi rank. The nice and polite driver helped us with our heavy bags ( we packed winter clothes, boots...) and it came to 18.5 euros in all, which we rounded to 20.
Settled in nicely, wandered out in the evening up to the Eiffel. We had dinner at Chez Ribe, tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g187147-… A bit pricey, but as we found out later, in this district, this was the price you paid for a good meal.
Off to Disneyland we went on the Monday. Metro from Dupleix to CdG Etoille, then the RER C to Marne le Vallee. All the signs at CdG station are very clearly marked with the Disneyland mentioned, so you can't miss it. It too us about 40 minutes to reach. The entrance is right outside the station at Marne le Vallee. I had been here once back in 2000, but was on my own and after a couple of rides went off to Planet Hollywood for many drinks. Couldn't do that now !
The place was heaving, despite the windchill and drizzle. Christmas lights, a fantastic tree welcomed us. We had bought a 2 day/2 park ticket online in advance, and had a print out, so we skipped the the ticket queues and went straight to a counter meant for people with such vouchers, got our tickets and got in. For some reason my son had got it in his head that we were going to a disney 'shop', so he was puzzled, and gumpy as he does not like crowds. I think in his head he had the idea of the Disney Store we had been to in London. We bought him a little toy at the start and he was perky from then on.
We went on a few rides, attractions...( pinocchio, snow white....). Ate lunch before 12 to avoid the queues in one of the burger places. Its hard to cover everything over 2 days ...will be a good idea to select rides or attractions in advance and target them, and use the spare time if any to explore more. Suggestions:
1. Be one of the first in to the park..get there by 9 am. The queues are short for the popular attractions ( trains, It's a Small World, Big Thunder etc ) . The second day we went early and did 7 rides within 90 minutes.
2. Take a guide and a programme. It helps.
3. Take it slow...I saw people rushing to do everything, leads to tantrums, tempers and tiredness.
4. Eat early or take a sandwich lunch/snack.
5. Do not miss the Motor stunt at the Studios. I think it has 3 sessions a day. We saw Lightning Macqueen in action, along with several other stunts.
6. There is also a Disney Jr show in there, we went in to one with an interactive show with Stitch. It was hilariously funny. Even for me.
The best part of the visit was the parades. We saw a day parade with all the characters and Santa on day one. Later when the lights were fading, there was another well lit and fantastic parade with many other characters, stories and much fanfare.
Both the days - we reached early and left at around 6 pm back in to Paris. We wanted to have a good evening, either out or in and enjoy the next day, and these parks can tire you out. back packs, kids, cameras, toys, crowds...the day is lost before you know it. We had a 'Simply' supermarket opposite to our flat, so that was handy. We bought supplies, cooked meals, drank wine, beer,..legs were too tired to get dressed and venture out for dinner these two days.
It was a fun experience with family and we all had things we enjoyed. But glad we got it over with right away at the start.
Part 2 follows...