Europe 2016 - Paris
Updated: Sep 1, 2021
This trip consists of 4 different countries. Therefore, I am writing 4 different blog posts. You will not want to miss any of it!
I am a runner and had been doing the runDisney races for quite a few years. Disneyland Paris finally added races, and I just HAD to do them the inaugural year. Along with some friends, I signed up for the 5k and half marathon. It seemed like forever between signing up and the trip actually happening. When the day finally arrived, I met my friend Sandra at SFO for our non-stop flight to CDG (Charles de Gaulle). One thing about being a runner and traveling to races, you will end up meeting other runners on their way to the same races. That happened while we waited for our flight to board.
One of my favorite things about being a runner is watching all the amazing sunrises. I was in the back of the plane waiting to use the lavatory when I looked out and saw the sun starting to peak over the clouds.
**Tip: avoid flying into Paris from America. The custom lines are always extremely long and hot. It seems that CDG doesn't have any air conditioning.
Our bags took quite awhile to get unloaded, and I am pretty sure mine and Sandra's were the last 2 taken off the plane. Once we got our luggage, we had to find where to get on the train that takes us directly to DLP (Disneyland Paris). After a long flight, we were thankful for a very short train ride. Once we found our hotel (it was confusing), we dropped off our bags and went in search of our other roomies, Karyn and Ian. We found them in line for the expo to open. One thing to know about Disney races, they all have expos, and its the best place to buy race merch...usually. Because of the laws in France, it was very hard for the American companies to have booths at the expo. Therefore, this expo was quite small. But it was a fun experience. After dinner, we all went to bed. We were pretty beat from the long flights there.
Up early the next morning for 2 words, MAGIC HOURS!!! It is when the park opens early for particular ticket holders. The lines are very short! Literally, the longest we waited was 10 minutes for Dumbo. Some rides weren't open yet like Small World and Pirates, but we just went back to those when they opened at normal park hours. Their Space Mountain is so cool!! Way better than either in America. It has 360s and corkscrews. We want on it back to back with no wait.
(1st pic: Space Mountain. 2nd pic: Big Thunder Mountain under construction. 3rd pic: The outside of the Pirates queue. 4th pic: me and Small World. 5th pic: TEACUPS!)
Between the hours of 8:30a-12:30p, we road everything we wanted to except Small World and the Storybook Canal. We even got to ride some things twice. Then we went to the other park, Walt Disney Studios, where we had lunch at Chef Remy's. In true Disney fashion, everything was made to appear like we were mouse size. Chairs were made from soda bottle tops. Some stools were wine corks. Lights were giant spoons with candles in them. Tables had umbrellas that looked like cocktail umbrellas. There was a giant wine bottle in the middle of the room too. Bummed I didn't take a pic.
After lunch, we did single rider on the Ratatouille ride. It is the only park with that ride. So fun! Next up was one of my favorites, Crush's Coaster! For the record, do NOT go on this right after eating a meal.
We decided to head to the room to rest and relax for a bit before the Inaugural Welcome party. After getting dinner at the party, I went to get in line to meet Captain America. Anyone who knows me knows I have a slight obsession with him.
After meeting Cap, I went on Rockin' Roller Coaster. Their's starts out right into a 360 followed by a corkscrew!! Then I met up with the rest of the crew for more rides. Slinky Dog zip zag was fun and cute. We then left the party to get some sleep before the 5k the next morning.
Most runDisney races in the States start at either 5a or 5:30a. I think one started at 6a...once. Well in Europe, most races don't start before 10a. So the fact that the 5k started at 7a was early for them LOL. Ian was Ralph, Karyn was Vandellope, and I was Taffyta Muttonfudge all from Wreck-It Ralph. Sandra had a Belle theme for the weekend.
Back at the hotel for a quick shower and to get ready, so we could head back to the parks. We got on Small World and Storybook Canal before lunch at Cafe Mickey. We got to meet a lot of characters at lunch. They spent a lot of time with us too. Each character was fun and silly, also they loved giving kisses. Must be their French side.
Funny side story. Karyn's dad was also there, and he might resemble a certain jolly man that delivers presents in December. Chip and Dale SWORE he was Santa. They each sat on his lap and wrote out their Christmas list. I think it got up to about 1 million acorns. They promised not to tell anyone that he was there. That didn't last long as Goofy came looking for Santa too. It was so hilarious!!!
After lunch, we did a little shopping and had a group meet up for the runners on the DLP FB page. Then Sandra and I grabbed sandwiches from Earl of Sandwich and headed back to the hotel.
HALF MARATHON DAY!!! It was quite cold this morning. We had blankets and aluminum wraps to help keep warm. While in our corral waiting for the race to start, we met 2 other Americans who were freezing! So, we all snuggled together to try and stay warm because that is what runners do. The race finally started, and a few kilometers in, Sandra's shins started hurting so we just walked the rest of the race. We picked up others along the way who liked our pace or were doing the race alone. Our group of 3 grew to 8 at one point. The course was absolutely beautiful! Of course, we ran through the parks, like we did in the 5k. Then we left the parks and through this quaint little town, around a lake, and through a little forest.
Once back at the hotel, we had to take quick cold showers. Thankful Karyn's dad's room was next door so we could utilize both showers. Once ready, we left for Paris proper. 1st up was the Eiffel Tower which we went all the way to the summit. While it was windy, it was quite beautiful! I love seeing the city from up there. We had to have celebratory champagne too!
We then boarded a boat for a dinner cruise on the Seine River. While this was my third time to Paris, to see if from the water was a new experience for me.
Once back on land, we took the Metro to the Arc de Triomphe. The view of the Eiffel Tower from the top of the Arc is the best. Every night on the hour, it lights up. Glistening and gleaming for about 10 minutes. It is magnificent!
Under the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier along with a very large French flag.
The following morning, I was able to go to the parks one last time for a few pictures and do some shopping before heading out. It was travel day for us all. They stayed in Paris, and I was headed to Germany.
Click on the Europe 2016 - Munich blog to read about that part of the trip.
You will want to make sure you read Munich, Salzburg, and Amsterdam before finishing Paris.
Once I landed back in Paris from Amsterdam, I took a taxi, driven by the slowest driver ever, to my hotel. I had a super fancy dinner of Pringles and a small bottle of wine from the plane.
The next morning, I took the metro to the Disney store on the Champs Elysse. I got there at 9:20a, but they didn't open until 10a. So I walked to the cafe next door for a cafe au lait and a chocolate eclair. Once the Disney store opened, I didn't buy anything, but its still fun to walk around.
I then walked down to the Louvre Palace. I love the detail in it. It is a former royal palace located on the Right Bank of the Seine River in Paris, between the Tuileries Gardens and the church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois. Originally a fortress built in the medieval period, it became a royal palace in the 14th century under Charles V and was used from time to time by the kings of France as their main Paris residence. Its present structure has evolved in stages since the 16th century. In 1793, part of the Louvre became a public museum, now the Musée du Louvre, which has expanded to occupy most of the building.
I then stopped at the Laduree for a licorice macaroon, which didn't taste anything like licorice. Across the street was an abbey with beautiful stained glass windows and lots of detailing in the stone too.
After a lovely dinner of chicken and potatoes, I went back to my hotel to pack. I was headed back home the next morning.
A common theme this whole trip was lack of sleep. When I was checking in for my flight, I decided to upgrade my seat. It was the best money I spent as I ended up with a whole row to myself. As we were taxing down the runway, I laid across the 3 seats and slept for at least 90 minutes. I didn't sleep the rest of the trip but that was fine. We landed an hour early which was nice. I had signed up for Global Entry before this trip and was very grateful I did. It took me 30 seconds to get through customs as there was no wait. I got my luggage and headed to my house.
- Wander With Mekela