Yes, this blog is just like waiting for a bus.. you hang around waiting for a post and all of a sudden, three turn up at once. Tonight, I am on a hat-trick and although I have drunk a certain amount of wine, I am not going to start a Peter Crouch robotic celebration - I will wait till England bring home the World Cup! (Apologies to any overseas readers or non-football watchers - tune into the the world cup and you may understand what I am referring to!)
I have promised a report on my holidays and despite it being rather late at night/early in the morning, here it is.
So, a week in France - 5 nights at Disneyland Paris and a couple of nights up towards the north coast.
There is no doubt that despite Garys comments before I left, I was a little concerned about my trip to France. The last time I visited Paris was on a school exchange when I was about 10 years old and unfortuately I hated it then - mainly as we were forced to stay on our own with french families we had never met. Pretty tough at that age.
Well, I am happy to report, my worries were totally unjust - we had a great time.
The holiday involved five nights in the Disney hotel (Hotel Cheyenne - the cowboy theme), with three days spent in the Disney parks and two days spent in Paris. Then two nights, one full day, spent up near the north coast. It wasnt the most relaxing of holidays as we were up before 7 every morning for breakfast and didnt get to sleep until midnight - but we certainly packed a lot into a week.
So, Disney - how bl**dy good is it? Well, if you havent been then just get on with it. It is the best! Having been to Florida twice in the past, I was a little worried that the French version wouldnt quite be as good. To be honest, it was just as good and in some ways, even better. What do I love about Disney - its fantasy land - while you are there, nothing else matters. It is not reliving your childhood, its reliving the childhood that you wish you had.
Taking the son was just great - he is 2 1/2 years old - for the month before we went, all he could talk about was "I cant wait to see Mickey Mouse". When we got there and he got to see Micky Mouse - well, it brought a tear to my eye!!! Now we are home its just "I cant wait to see Mickey Mouse again"!
From a previously more cynacle point of view, the wife - who is Chinese - didnt know a lot about the magic of Disney and Mickey Mouse before we went and was just looking forward to going to Paris, thinking Disney was just for kids. After the first day in the park and seeing the son with Mickey and watching the Disney parade, she was converted - it was on her insistence that we had to give up a day in Paris to go back and watch the parade again and we had to swap a day in Paris so that we could spend the Sunday in the park because it was open until 10pm..... We left at about 9.55pm! A couple of things that hooked her were the "happy music".... Wherever you go in Disney there is music and its can only be described as happy music - all around the grounds, in the restaurants, during the parade, on the rides, queueing for the rides, in the toilets even - you cannot escape the happy music! The other factor was the total attention to detail - the design and cleanliness of the park is just out of this world.
Ok, so I am going on a little about Disney - Last comment - if you have never been, just go. If you are of the opinion its just for kids - its not, just go. If you think its going to be cheesy and commercialised - (well, it is commercialised) but still, just go. If you havent got any kids to take, borrow some - if you need to, you can borrow ours - I know he would be happy to go again and again and again.
Enough! How about the rest of the French holiday. Well, in 2 days in Paris we did everything - the Eifell Tower, the Arc De Triomphe, the LOuvre - including the Mona Lisa and Venus D Milo (excuse the spelling), the Champs Elysee, the Sacre Couer, the Seinne, the Notre Damme, the Pompidou Centre and a quick walk up through the red light district...... Had to see the outside of the Moulin Rouge!
After this, we needed the couple of nights in a quieter village and we spent the one rainy day of the holiday driving around the First World War cemetries/monuments - total contrast to Disney, but aside from the thoughts of the horrors that occured in the region, the country side was beautiful and it was still pretty astonishing to see how rural the north of France was compared to the UK - we really are overpopulated in the UK and thepace of life in the French countryside was just so relaxed - I am now understanding why the English are moving over there in droves.
So, a fantastic week really - and all topped of by importing some fantastically cheap contraband - cigarettes at £3 a pack and the wine...... Well, I filled the boot of the car up with 5 Ltr cases of wine that worked out at around 70p/litre. Compare this with the cheapest available at Tescos around £3/litre!!! Oh, and one more thing - talking of Tescos - have you been to a Carrefour - makes Tescos look like a corner shop :)
Alright, its getting pretty late and now I am back at work and trying to pay for the holiday (and tonights intake of soper cheap Vino Calapso is starting to catch up with me - excuse the typos). The final thing I want to mention was the French people - There is no doubt about it, before going I had my reservations about the French, in particular about conversing as my level of bad o-level french was really rusty - and I had heard alot of stories about the French pretending not to speak English just to be awkward - well this simply was not the case - There was not one person we met who coould have been more helpful - As Gary said before I went - great people, great country - I highly recommend a visit.