Paris, France: City of Lights

After spending a week in the Czech Republic, we spent a week in Paris before going back home to Hawaii.

Eiffel Tower. Paris, France

Flying to the City of Lights and going to Disneyland is our dream vacation that we had since before we got married. 

When Cassy and I married,  we had a very tight budget. We planned on going straight home after the reception. Our wedding was on Saturday and work was on Monday. Family members felt so bad for us they paid for our one night stay at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki. We had no destination wedding. 

Hard work pays off. Making sacrifices back then allows us to be free today. We are able to travel around the world with Paris being one of our destinations.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris, 25th Anniversary

We stayed at one of the Disneyland Resort in Marne-La-Valle which is 45 minutes away from the city. It was nice secluded and near the RER (mass transit) station. We got an amazing deal, 700 USD for five nights including park tickets for the two of us. We weren’t going to spend our entire time at Disneyland. It gave us the feeling of leisure. We didn’t have to rush on any of the rides and we still could go site-seeing.  

Paris takes security very seriously especially at Disneyland Paris. I saw armed military personnel outside the security checkpoints where they checked for contraband. Mickey Mouse doesn’t mess around! 

A lot of people think that if you visit one Disneyland, you’ve visited them all. I believe the opposite. Every Disneyland is a new experience. Disneyland Paris has a beautiful castle, their Haunted Mansion is a little more scarier. They are home to the worlds only Ratatouille Ride (one of my favorite movies) and they still ahve the Tower of Terror (which is updated in Disneyland USA). There are actually two parks in Paris: Disneyland PAris and Walt Disney Studios Park. The shows are amazing! 

The biggest advantage of Disenyalnd Paris is that it is not as crowded as Disneyland Callifornia. On most of the rides, we waited 15 minutes or less.

The only downside was food selection and lack of cast members/photo pass photographers. We had to take selfies or ask other guests to take pictures. That was a Disney first.

The merchandise was great and most of the prices are very resonable. We went grocerys hopping earlier that week so we didn’t have to eat too much park food. Although we enjoyed a few treats and we ate a special meal at Walt’s Restaurant.

I wouldn’t fly to Europe just to go to Disneyland, however Disneyland finished off the trip well and was magical. Anywhere there is a Disneyland, I recommend that you go. If you don’t like rides at least go for the show, there’s something about fireworks and music with movies that you are familiar with that evokes a certain emotion.

Maybe we love Disneyland because it epitomizes Walt Disney and his philosophy resonates with us today.

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Walt Disney

Here is a video of the Disneyland Paris Night Time Show

Palace of Versaille

Hall of Mirrors, Palace of Versailles

One of the sights on my list to see was the Palace of Versailles an hour and a half away by RER. I saw a documentary in Film class and I’ve always wanted to go there. It was spectacular. It was different than the castles that we’ve seen in the Czech Republic. It’s amazing to see the magnificent displays of grandeur.

The Louvre

We went to the Louvre, the world’s largest art museum. Even though I read that it was 782,910 square feet, I really had no clue how big it was until I went there. You can’t see everything in a day. In fact, we spent an hour thinking we were circling around the complex, when in fact we spent an hour circling around a small portion of the Louvre.

We saw the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Michaelangelo’s Dying Slave, and a lot more. Everything intrigued me from the artifacts to the stature. If you are into art or a history buff, you must go to the Louvre. 

City Sightseeing

Arc de Triumph

We saw the Arc de Triumph, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower. We had Foie Gras and Escargot at a place that was recommended to us. Although we had some more sight seeing that we planned on our last day, we went back to the hotel for rest and safety.

Although the city is relatively safe, we took precautions to deter pick pocketers. We observed a lot of gypsies. I looked up the most common scams and have seen almost everything that is described on this list

One person outside the Louvre was going to sell us a special skip the security line. We didn’t buy it. Other people were trying to sell us an umbrella even though we had one. It was very interesting.

Foie Gras

However, on  our last day we experienced a stop on the subway. All the warnings on the loudspeaker were in French. It took some time to figure out what was going on. Apparently, someone lefta suspicious package on the train. Coming from Hawaii, we aren’t used to the intense environment because of the terrorist attacks across Europe and in Paris. It gave us some concern.

That was the Day we went to the Louvre and after we were done, we went straight to the hotel on a different route. Later on, I found that suspicious packages are common and usually no threat (someone left their luggage or box). It made me appreciate that we had an opportunity to travel to Paris. I didn’t think I would be traveling so soon after the 2015 Paris Attacks.

I continue to pray for peace and safety in Paris.

Have you been to Paris? How was your experience? Is there any where else you’d like to go? Where would you take your family? Where would you go if you wanted a break from the children?

Thanks for reading this.

To your success!

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