DLP – non park days

Tickets for Disneyland Paris (DLP) are expensive, and it’s possible you may have one or two days when you want something else to do. If you’re lucky, your hotel might have a pool, but if you fancy going a bit further afield, the 2 best options are a trip into Paris itself, and a visit to the Val d’Europe shopping centre.

A Day in Paris

Travelling into the capital is fairly easy – the train station beside the park is on the RER A4 (red)  line which goes straight there.  Queues for the manned ticket desks can be quite long, but the automatic ticket machines are pretty straightforward and can be used in English.  You’ll need an RER ticket (about 9 euros each way), and it can be worth getting a carnet of 10 metro tickets to use when you’re in town (13.30 for 10).

64QXlNhTlD2HyfwmNQtqs4Ai8oft6DvsgFa66rOjC6M,xaFx7USxzhlGr-HEnypugAzTWU84QqhDBNN1G3-ltag,zq9P1neIF8UuYI3o8stBPXCzmqfNbxm-Y8j8KTPB3ss,bp3fqyPrWgKaYOMjs_dtDr1wIxcjLSicfAlXcimHHUk  Prepare yourself as you would for any big city notorious for pickpockets – keep your bags and valuables close to you, and watch out for strangers approaching you. Get off at Charles de Gaulle l’Etoile, and follow the brown signs to surface right in front of the Arc de Triomphe.

nPdTKfT7ZwQ3X4bofJSobmPt_5GzQ5ZEes5iSosi12M,Xz2e6BIqaQGvB0Rabn6_qsFvHemvrc6t_NeJaGh7wA4,aHygXRfJLiwfwNmC-JrNDbpHZclrFx2AGGpkuP_47MI,RkZlOT9L8a1GIeVbm7qyjrkUzXDFTJmqbjncsq-g0HQMarvel at the traffic whizzing about the world’s most famous roundabout, with some animal-like herding instincts telling them when to stop and go.  From there, take the metro line 6 down to Bir-Hakeim, for a great view of the Eiffel Tower as you cross the river.  Find a street side table for an al fresco  sit down over a beer or coffee, and admire the passing Parisians.

PRwEB-v39xBNnAPiTaky6KDYyXCl_naD01wJvJroBic,PG-GkF9PXvZErwvIvLKcrw4R1L8E9yZea4w_ODndgjc  Stroll along the river bank, unless you want to actually go up the tower.  I normally like hop-on-hop-off buses in new cities, but they’re very expensive in Paris (31 for one day).  A nicer alternative is the http://www.batobus.com, which for 15 euros allows you to hop on and off at 8 of the most popular stopping points, while giving you the classic views from the Seine. (Insert in-seine joke here).  Lm1YwaY9dxHmXo_17D8OIYJXW2BP51kCDddl1vUVaTU,_lmTTejFfO36GigAa_gX47y_50oxFv91p8E99HRbE0k

Get off at Notre-Dame, and walk around the detailed gothic magnificence.  At the back of the cathedral, cross the bridge to the Ile St Louis, and seek out Berthillon, one of the finest ice cream vendors on the planet.  Enjoy your glace while strolling the quieter streets in this district.QXXeNjsgCRf5GtW0bzRGdxN54x4H7nRr39OysO0cI3Y

crez6_3jc1DyVw5LmjZXusv4XU1woi5LPpfesGlLgr8,8OZPAmNUmHw35fzZNprAEz5qmYx6n9BG9pgWjEh1Ams  Free toilets are available beside the Hotel de Ville.  Warning: the Metro isn’t great for people with mobility issues, and the train doors don’t give you much time to get on and off.

Val d’Europe

This enormous shopping centre http://www.valdeurope.fr/ was constructed at the same time as DLP, in order to cater for the people who’d be working in and around the parks and hotels.  It is HUGE.  Nicely done out with glass coverings and a spacious feel to it.  There are all the usual shops you’d expect, including a massive Auchan supermarket, and Apple store, Sephora, and Gap.VztaIb_E75bNRjJ-Len5Y5_JplNba8O_1WGxn1P7gzQ,CHwLx0WB6pfE6TNLtVHAAYsKdGDXlR8Vne9rh_O7Pfs

There is also a designer village next door, with many high end shops like Jimmy Choo and Armani.  Your hotel might give you a discount card for 10% off, as will a Disney Shareholder card, but the shops might not accept these if the goods are already reduced.  But on our trip we managed to get a free coffee and bun from Starbucks.  My favourite shop here was the Parisian fragrance experts Annick Goutal, which has some intriguing and unusual scents , many of which are gender-neutral.

dlp wardrobe 001A bottle costs about 60.  The shopping centre also has a terasse of eateries, ranging from McDonalds (with an automatic computer ordering system), to a Lebanese place.  The Pasta Pizza restaurant does a good Menu Presto for 10 euro, comprising a plate of pasta and a drink.  They’ll also serve olives and bread at no extra charge.  And on top of all that, or rather underneath, there’s an aquarium in below the ground.

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Most hotels offer a shuttle service to the centre (5 euros return each), or you could go by train (one stop from the DLP station).

DisneylandParis – what to wear

It’s the same problem every year – I need a capsule wardrobe to take on holiday that will allow for a number of eventualities, unpredictable weather, be comfortable enough and also smart enough, and that will fit in my suitcase without pushing the weight over allowed limits.

For holidays involving theme parks, I always start with footwear.  Fashionistas will recoil in horror, but experience has taught me that Crocs are the best option.  They are comfortable enough to be on your feet all day without causing blisters, they will survive splashy log flume rides, they are light and squishy enough to fit in your suitcase – I’ve even swum at Discovery Cove with mine hooked over my wrists.

Blue crocs, checked short-sleevd shirt (Craghoppers), denim cropped trousers, lightweight green jumper (Warehouse)

Blue crocs, checked short-sleeved shirt (Craghoppers), denim cropped trousers, lightweight green jumper (Warehouse)

A good alternative are FitFlops.  I’m not convinced that wearing these will give me legs like Cameron Diaz, but they are certainly a practical comfortable option.  They come in a wide variety of styles and colours, and the chunkier sole gives more support than the standard flip-flop.  I always wear Craghoppers trousers to travel in – their zippy security pockets are very well designed, the lightweight ones are easy to wash and dry quickly, and the ones with zip-off bottoms convert to shorts or crops.

Blue crocs, checked short-sleevd shirt (Craghoppers), black cotton cropped trousers, lightweight green jumper (Warehouse)

Black FitFlops with coral toe-post, black cotton vest, stone lightweight trousers with security pockets and zip-off bottoms (Craghoppers), Mickey sweatshirt, floppy sun-hat.

A pair of wedge sliders in a metallic shade is a good choice for smarter evening wear, and works well with more casual outfits as well.

Bronze wedges, cream top with beaded neckline, black sleeveless shirt, grey crops.

Bronze wedges, cream top with beaded neckline, black sleeveless shirt, grey crops.

I love my Timberland thongs – the dark brown leather is lovely and soft, but there’s not much protection against inclement weather.  I wasn’t sure about a white linen jacket, but it was very useful indeed – light and summery, didn’t crease too badly, and smartened up any outfit.

Brown leather thongs (Timberland), cream linen crops, green striped short sleeved shirt, white linen jacket

Brown leather thongs (Timberland), cream linen crops, green striped short sleeved shirt, white linen jacket

The weather in Paris is unpredictable – it’s best to prepare for all conditions, so that’s a light waterproof jacket, sun cream, and a floppy sunhat to protect against the rays when stuck in a long queue.  I loved my lightweight cardigan in truffle, with shimmery apricot inserts.  A basic colour scheme is useful if outfits are going to mix-and-match, and a light scarf containing the main colours in the capsule wardrobe pulls everything together.

Flat black sandals, tribal print tank, watermelon vest, truffle/ apricot cardi, scarf in apricot with blue/ brown/ cream pattern.

Flat black sandals, tribal print tank, watermelon vest, truffle/ apricot cardi, scarf in apricot with blue/ brown/ cream pattern.

 

And finally, remember to pack any medication you will need.  Pharmacies are few and far between, and won’t sell many of the items you can buy in a UK chemist, so pack plenty of painkillers, Diocalm and rehydration salts, plasters and tea-bags (well, they’re a medical necessity for me!)