The adventures of Jasper part 4.
09.07.2012 - 16.07.2012
Uh-huh, oui oui! The road trip continues through the land of no borders. Crossing into France we stopped a few days in Bordeaux to visit a couple wineries then headed north to Paris, the city of lurrrve!
Bordeaux was a bit of a let down. We had high hopes for multiple wine tastings… I mean tours… throughout the region, unfortunately most wineries are a touch snooty and don’t accept walk-ins unless you have made a tour reservation. All hope was not lost however, we managed to stumble across a couple of friendly Château’s & independent wineries on our travels that showed us around their winery and let us sample a tipple of their finest drop.
Arriving in Paris we were greeted once again by grey clouds and rainfall. We met up with our Parisian friends Pierre & Eugenie whom we met during our first trip to Vietnam in 2009. They took us to a gorgeous French restaurant where I dared to try beef tartare (a meat dish made from finely ground or minced raw beef, which is actually super delicious if you can put out of your mind the thought of eating raw meat) and we enjoyed enough bottles of red between the 4 of us to give us all a pretty rotten hangover the next day (unfortunately they still had to work).
To complement our hangover perfectly Paris was still blanketed by dark grey clouds and rain (European summer eh?) so we opted for a day of indoor sightseeing and ventured to the Louvre.
The next morning brought a small break in the clouds, enough to let a bit of blue sky and sun peep through! First stop, Eiffel Tower, where we gazed in awe at its scale and beauty, snapped a couple cheezy pics (much to Joel’s dismay – but you can’t tell me you’re not impressed with our heart shaped efforts below eh?!) and met up with my Grandma and Grandad.
We spent the next 2 days exploring Paris altogether which was a bit of treat getting to share a part of our travels with them. We were treated to a cruise down the Seine River where we got to see Paris from a more aquatic angle before witnessing the French Bastille Day celebrations and ultimately ending up back at my grandparent’s hotel room to catch up over French wine and deliciously smelly cheese. In the evening we went for a walk through the red light district, saw the Moulin Rouge and climbed the bazillion steps to Sacré-Cœur to get a good vantage point for the Bastille Day fireworks over the Eiffel Tower. Turns out you couldn’t see the Eiffel Tower from Sacré-Cœur so we ended up missing the main firework display… but we had a really nice night anyway just hanging out with the g’rents.
We spent most of the next day wandering the streets of Paree together. We marveled at Notre Dame, attached a padlock to the love-lock bridge, threw away the key for everlasting lurrrrve and celebrated my early birthday with a picnic in the park, complete with delicious French champagne and macaroons for dessert.
To top off the day we caught the metro out to Jim Morrison’s resting place at Père Lachaise so Joel could sit by his grave and toast a dram of scotch in his honour. We got to the graveyard just in time for closing so the scotch unfortunately had to be saved for a later occasion…(turns out it came in handy just a couple days later, but I’ll get to that!). From there we said goodbye to my grandparents and went back to our campsite for a good night sleep before hitting up Disneyland!
We sprung out of bed early the next morning keen to spend as much of our last day in Paris as possible living out our youth at Disneyland! It took us close to an hour to get there by train only to realise once we got to the ticket counter that Joel had left his credit card behind, mine was completely maxed out and we were about 10euro short of covering the admission price in cash ie. We.Had.No.Means.Of.Paying.For.Our.Tickets! Knowing it would be at least a 2hr round trip to pick up our other credit card and come back meant that option was firmly ruled out.
There were computers at the Disney Hotel so we figured we would be able to buy tickets online if only we knew his credit card details off by heart… we didn’t. I tried to get in touch with my Dad and also my grandparents in hope that they could help us but skype is unreliable at the best of times so there was no hope there. Luckily I have a wonderful best friend on the opposite side of the world who received my text and sent me through her bank details and let me buy our tickets on her card – thank you again!
With tickets finally purchased, all we needed to do now was print them and we’d be in! The printers in the Disney business centre could only be operated by swiping a credit card… um fail.
The hotel reception offered to help but then couldn’t access the internet to receive the email I’d sent them with our tickets attached… fail.
3rd try lucky we were able to print our tickets out at the concierge desk and finally made our way to the main entrance!
Of course for the rest of our day to be a walk in the park after that would have just been too easy. We approached the front of the entrance gate only to find out the scanners were currently unable to read printed e-tickets and everyone in possession of one now had to join the back of the line at the customer service desk to swap their e-ticket for a ticket stub. After a 45min wait to get to the front of the queue we finally swapped our tickets over and made our way back to the main entrance and finally THROUGH to Disneyland!
Having stuffed around for 2 and a half hours in total to get in we were pretty well over our day of Disney already any child-like excitement was well and truly extinguished! Fighting the urge not to just turn around and go home we went on a few rides, managed to pick ourselves up again, (with the aid of a small sneaky unconsumed bottle of scotch from earlier), and actually started enjoying our day at EuroDisney.
We spent the afternoon getting fast pass after fast pass, squealing on rides and eating strange aromatic flavoured popcorn then left the land of Disney around sundown and caught a train the city to visit the Eiffel all beautifully lit at night! It was pretty magical :-)
I loved Paris; the rich history, beautiful architecture, the Eiffel Tower, the romance, seeing old friends and being able to share a part of it with my grandparents! Paris was just wonderful – we will definitely be back!