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For Simone's school break, we decided to take her to the Happiest Place on Earth (Most Crowded Place on Earth) - Disneyland Paris! Also, for Sarah and I, we also went to the Most Romantic Place on Earth (except for when you have a yappy 5-year old following you around everywhere) - Regular Paris!
So we hopped on the train that takes us directly from London to Disneyland (yes, Disneyland has their own train station!) and walked around Lake Disney to our hotel. Once we were checked-in it was lunch time and we were all pretty hungry. When you walk from any of the Disney hotels to Disneyland, you have to walk through the Disney Village, which is full of (places to spend your money) quaint shops and restaurants. So we stopped to eat at the first place we saw - Mickey's Cafe. It sounded like a quick, cheap place to get a burger (no, we stupidly did not look at the menu before we went in), but this quick lunch turned out to be the most expensive meal we had in Disneyland! A chicken-finger kids' meal (which came with cheap-o paper Mickey Mouse glasses (which Simone wore for the entire trip), an appetizer, and a pizza cost us over 50 Euros - yikes! Admittedly, it was pretty good and had more in common with French cuisine than the name "Mickey's Cafe" would lead you to believe, but we were going to thoroughly inspect the prices on the menu beforehand for the rest of the trip.
After that, it was all Disney, all the time! We walked in just before the parade was about to start, so we took advantage of the short lines. We walked right into "It's a Small World Afterall" (which Simone called "My World" - appropriate), but by the time we got to our 2nd ride, the "Madhatter's Tea Cups", the lines were already getting longer. The next ride was "Dumbo", and Sarah and Simone stood in line for over an hour! Simone, however, never seemed to mind the waiting and had a great time! She went on the Small World ride I think 4 times, and Pirates of the Caribbean 3 times (where we got this hilarious picture). We also went on Alice's Curious Labyrinth, Snow White's Scary Woods, Lancelot's Carousel (pretty lame compared to the Loof Carousel in Spokane), Pinocchio's Voyage, Peter Pan's Flight, Adventure Isle, Captain Hook's Pirate Ship, Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, Alladin's Enchanted Passage, Autopia (Simone loved being able to drive a car!), and Phantom Manor - whew! I also wanted to go on a rollercoaster and mistakenly waited in line for 90 minutes to go on Space Mountain...I've never been on a more intense rollercoaster! My head got knocked around so much that I actually thought I was going to lose my balance and/or pass out when I got off, and when I grabbed a hold of a post to steady myself, some French ass-clown laughed at me. Well, screw you French ass-clown...and Space Mountain, too!
We all had a great time, but after 2 full days in Disneyland, Sarah and I were ready for some grown-up time. So we hopped on the train and were in Paris an hour later. After checking in to our hotel, we immediately set for Jardin des Tuileries for a couple of hot dogs (French hot dogs are 2 sausages & cheese on a baguette...delicious!) and then crossed the Seine to see the Musée d'Orsay. They didn't tell us beforehand, however, that nearly half of the museum was inexplicably closed...the half that contained many of the artists that we really wanted to see. Lame, but we'll try again the next time we go. We continued to walk along the Seine until we reached Notre Dame. We walked around and gawked inside...simply beautiful. While we were standing around trying to decide if we should go up into the tower and see the gargoyles, a guy came along and shut the line down. Oops...maybe next time.
The next day we hoped on the Metro up to Montmarte. We climbed up the hill to Sacre Coeur (another amazingly beautiful church) for a spectacular view of Paris, then over to St. Pierre (the oldest church in Paris, and very cool). While walking through Montmarte, and artist offered to draw a picture of Simone for 20 Euros. We said OK, and now we have a picture of what Simone might look like if she were white...interesting. We continued our walk and, thanks to our Rick Steves book, we saw the nightclub where Edith Piaf used to sing and the studios, cafes, and cabarets where artists like Picasso, van Gogh, Renoir, Utrillo, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Dali hung out. Very cool. We then hopped back on the Metro to the Eiffel Tower, which Simone was very excited about climbing up...668 steps later, we made it to the 2nd platform (about half-way up) and were all pretty tired...but we had an spectacular view of Paris and took lotsa-lotsa pictures.
We had a little bit of time before catching our train the next morning, so we walked over to the Musée Rodin to see Auguste Rodin's sculptures. I handed the camera over to Simone, and she did a great job taking pictures of all the sculptures! This museum also has a few painting by van Gogh, Renoir, and - one of my favorites - Edvard Munch (who I didn't get to see at the half-closed Orsay).
Finally, we hopped the train back to London. Don't forget to check out all of our pictures of this trip in the Gallery.
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