Over the past weekend I had the opportunity to tag along with my friend Brenna, and her friend Kelsey, to Disneyland Paris. Brenna and I left Thursday night and took an overnight bus to Paris (the nine hour bus ride was not fun, but better than paying extra for a flight or train). We arrived at 6 in the morning and found our way to our hostel (St. Christopher’s Inn–I would definitely recommend it if you need a place to stay in Paris. The staff was nice, the beds were comfortable, and it was relatively cheap) where we met Kelsey. After relaxing for a bit we set off for Disneyland (!!!).
We spent the day riding rides, meeting characters, and letting our inner child run wild. The magic of Disney for me is that once I enter the gates I’m transported back to my childhood–a time that was simpler and extremely happy. The coolest part was visiting the rides that are particular to EuroDisney (Ratatouille, Crush’s Coaster, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril). We also rode on a lot that have American counterparts (Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean–to name a select few). It was always interesting to see how they merged French and English so that all visitors could understand what was going on. We constantly forgot that we were in France until we were jolted to reality by directions all in French (Buzz Lightyear speaking in French was HILARIOUS).
We got to watch a parade (very similar to the ones I’ve seen in the States), and the evening culminated in a light and firework show on the castle. They did an astounding job of combining French and English and a variety of characters. My favorite part were the songs in French–they did a good job of showcasing songs that sounded even more beautiful in French. The park closed too soon and we headed back to our hostel to plan the next day. We had one day to see everything Paris had to offer and we were determined to see it all (this is one mistake I made the last time I went, we didn’t do enough planning, and as a result didn’t see half the things we could have).
The next morning we were up early to eat breakfast at the hostel before setting off to Montmarte to climb a bunch of stairs to Sacre Coeur. It was a basilica on top of a hill where the view of Paris was astounding.
From there we took the Tube to the Catacombs where we waited in line for 2 hours to get inside. To me it was well worth it to see the sheer amount of bones that were stored there. The corridors were surrounded by bones on both sides about as tall as me. Just piles and piles of bones. It was kind of gruesome, but extremely cool. It was crazy to see where people had made designs out of the bones.
After climbing out we walked to Luxembourg Gardens (stopping for lunch on the way). On our way we found an open air market selling anything from soap to chocolate where we sampled a few different things (the chocolate, not the soap). I also bought a scarf (because I was FREEZING, and now I have something to remember Paris by). From there we walked to Notre Dame where we walked through before stopping for a photo op on the way out.
From there we walked to the Louvre where EU students get in free (yay for education!). We saw the Mona Lisa and then sat for awhile (hey, we had walked a long time at this point).
After we rested our feet we took the long trek to the Eiffel Tower (about an hour and a half walking). It was cool because we got to see a lot of Paris along the way, but my feet started screaming in protest about an hour in. The walk was worth it because the Tower was stunning in the sunset. And then we saw my favorite part, when the Tower sparkles.
Afterwards we took the Metro back to the area our hostel was in and ate a light dinner (escargot, mussels, chocolate crepe, and creme brule). It was my first time trying mussels and I wasn’t disappointed. We made Kelsey try escargot and mussels (much to her dismay). Soon after that we had to make the trek to the bus to take another overnight bus back to London. When we got back we realized that the Tube didn’t start running until 7am (we were there at 6), so we had to figure out the bus. After a bit of an exhausted hassle we made it back and went promptly to bed.
All in all this trip left me with a much better impression of Paris. I started to appreciate the language barrier (and even picked up a couple of new phrases) and was able to laugh at myself when I got into situations where no one understood me (it happened a couple of times, surprisingly). I saw so much more of the beautiful city, and discovered things that I want to see when I go back. It was an exhausting, but amazing trip. Now I have a week to recover before Spring Break… Life is rough 😉