Bonjour: Paris Surrounds

We just got back from a weeklong trip outside of Paris. That's right - I said outside.  As you can probably guess, we absolutely adore the city of Paris (which is why we visited in 2007, 2012, 2014, and 2015) but opted for a different trip this time.  Partially because I felt dealing with a baby, stroller and 4 year old on the Paris metro would be less than relaxing and partially because I had always wanted to see some more of what lay outside one of my favorite cities.

We stayed in a villa near Disneyland Paris splitting our time between the park and some other more grown up friendly pursuits in the surrounding areas.  We could have taken a train into Paris at any time but we managed to kill all of our time without even thinking of going into the city.  We spent one day just relaxing and taking in the local town and then the rest of our time out and about.






Our primary target was Disneyland Paris. I've always been curious about it and having a princess obsessed 4 year old seemed like the best excuse to go.  Agatha loved it, of course. As an adult, I feel like it was a pretty poor excuse for a Disney park. All of the expense and the crowds without the great execution I've seen at Disneyworld.  The lines for everything - including buying a snack or souvenir no less the rides - were incredibly long.  Based on the fact that many rides and stalls seemed to have unmanned areas that could have accommodated double or triple the guests, it seemed the park was operating on half staff with a full crowd which was very frustrating with small children. I could go on but I won't except to say it was disappointing.  That said, it was in France so it's got that going for it!



Now on to some great highlights. We visited Vaux Le Vicomte - which was wonderful.  Shades of Versailles without the crowds - we practically had the whole castle to ourselves.  Sadly they didn't allow strollers in which mean only Agatha and I visited but it was still a lovely afternoon.  They even had princess dresses for kids to play for a small fee.  Naturally I found the servant's quarters far more interesting than the grand halls. I wonder what that says about me?






Another highlight was a day spent in Reims which was about an hour away from where we were staying.  We had a lingering lunch in a local cafe and then took a champagne cave tour with Veuve Cliquot.  The brand and it's found has such an interesting history and of course there was tasting at the end.  Thankfully they were no phased in the least to have children there (I was a bit worried it might not be practical to bring them) and it was my favorite part of the trip.

All in all, it was a wonderful week.


16 comments:

  1. Beautiful! I am always curious about how they do Disney in other countries as well. A friend just visited Disney Tokyo and said that Disneyland was much better. The only thing missing from your post was more pictures of your beautiful kids:)

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    1. Oh that's interesting. I didn't know Tokyo was considered the crown jewel. I will definitely go back to Japan with the kids once they are tiny bit older but I would imagine everything in Disney Tokyo is in Japanese so it would be harder to enjoy. Tokyo itself is so chock full of things to do though.

      I try to keep this blog light on the kid talk/pictures but if you follow my instgram, you 'll see them a lot!

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  2. Thats too bad they didnt allow strollers! Is babywearing an option for visitors? (ie tula/ergo)

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    1. Yes a carrier would be have been fine I'm sure. We just didn't have one with us. I've never mastered the whole baby wearing thing despite my best efforts.

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  3. Have you ever done a travel wardrobe post? I am going to Paris this summer and want to try and keep it to a carry on. I am just lost. I am not interested in being a fashionista, but I don't want to look like a slob, which is my go-to daily look here! :o)

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    1. No I never have. I feel like I"m hardly an expert on it but perhaps I should just put one together for conversation sake? I feel like a ninja packer now that we have 4 of us in one suitcase.

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    2. Oh, I'd be so grateful, but of course I know how busy you are, and that your other readers might not be interested. It's just that I basically only have my daily Life-on-the-Farm wear, a few Sunday-Go-to-Meetin' dresses, and a basic black Funeral-or-Fancy-Evening-Out dress. :o)

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  4. I am a total Disney-nut and own Disney Vacation Club contracts at four resorts in Florida but I just can't get excited about Disneyland Paris. I have heard others report similar experiences to yours. The interesting thing is that until very recently, The Walt Disney Company did not own a major stake in the Park. That might explain the under-staffing, deferred maintenance and poor crowd management. I have heard that the jewels in the Disney crown are the parks in Tokyo. I would love to visit those but cannot get my family to agree to the long flight from Boston.

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    1. Yes I did read about that. Hopefully they will make some changes when they take over.

      Tokyo is amazing but not sure if I could get excited about going to an amusement park where everything is in Japanese. Having visited Tokyo proper without kids, I can tell you it's quite difficult when you can't even recognize the characters in signage to get around, etc. A great place to visit though.

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  5. What do the numbers on the steps mean?

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    1. Those are years where Veuve Cliquot has vintage champagnes. (there are other steps not pictured)

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  6. On your previous trips to Paris, have you ever stayed in the Le Marais district? Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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    1. No, never stayed in the Marais but we've spent some time there on our prior trips. A great neighborhood to eat and shop.

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  7. I love seeing where you travel with your kiddos. We are making our travel with our daughter list, just need to get things finalized to get a passport!

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  8. I have to admit, I was a little surprised when I opened this post and saw the photo of the castle at Disneyland Paris. I've always gotten the impression that you felt a little bit lukewarm about the whole Disney Parks thing, so to hear that you bothered with Disney Paris was a little bit of a shocker! Normally I am a big fan of the Disney parks, but I had the same experience you did at Disney Paris. The crowds! The lines (there was a 30 minute wait in line just to use the restroom)! Ugh. Sadly, would never return or recommend a visit to anyone. If only I had know about Vaux Le Vicomte when I was there, that sounds like a much better way to spend one's time in the area! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. While I'm certainly not a Disney fanatic, I definitely appreciate the Disney experience as good family entertainment. Since my daughter was born 4 years ago, I've taken her to Disneyworld twice, gone on one Disney cruise and Disneyland Paris. In other words, Disney has plenty of my money. :)

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