We just took our first holiday since moving - we spent a week in the Paris area with my family. Although Paris is only a 5 hour drive, we decided using public transportation would be more comfortable. We drove about 45 minutes to the Bellegarde station in France and took a high speed train to Paris. The kids were sooooo excited to ride on a train!
In preparing to move, we bought new convertible backpack/rolling bags for travel. We thought we would need the flexibility to carry our bags while pushing the twins in strollers and we were right! After arriving in Paris we took 2 different Metro lines to the Champs de Mar area where we were staying.
I used the website My Little Nomads to find hotel recommendations in Paris. Given there were 7 of us, I looked for an apartment to rent near the Eiffel Tower. I can say the Charles Floquet did not disappoint. It was awesome! Amazing views from the 7th floor penthouse suite and 4 bedrooms which was plenty of room for us all to have some space. Apartment rental with small kids is really the way to go, you have more flexibility for in-house meals and laundry. (oh the laundry ....)
Monday we hit up the Natural History Museum which is a collection of building/exhibits that you can chose from. We walked through the garden before entering the Gallery of Evolution Exhibit. We loved the 2nd floor where there were taxidermied animals from all over the world up close and personal. We then headed to the Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy and saw a T-Rex skull! Some people go to Paris for shopping and food - I went for SCIENCE!!
Monday night while my parents were on a Seine River and Eiffel Tower tour we ventured to Luxembourg Gardens and made it 10 minutes before the playground closed. The kids ran off some steam then we found amazing gelato in the Saint Germain area of Paris for dinner. (on vacation, you should have glaces for at least 1 dinner!)
Tuesday was a big day - a Fat Tire Bike Tour of Versailles. We knew the day was calling for rain but we hoped for the best. The tour was really enjoyable. You meet in Paris then take the train to Versailles and pick up bikes. We then biked to the local market to pick up food for a picnic lunch then headed into the grounds of the Versailles Chateau. Will and I have been inside the Chateau, but riding through the grounds gives you a completely different appreciation for the magnitude of the estate. We battled rainy weather all day and just as we were returning the bikes to head for Chateau tour the skies just opened up into a downpour. It was the last straw. I had the kids run into an open nail salon for cover and we decided to skip the castle tour and head back to the train for Paris. I was disappointed we were not able to make it for the castle tour, but the kids (and adults) were just done at that point! We found recommendations for this tour (and more Europe itineraries) on the Ciao Bambino site.
Wednesday was a travel day, but before we left Paris we headed to Luxembourg one more time for the kids to play. We then headed to Val d'Europe for Disneyland Paris!
Our hotel accommodations at the Disney partner property we reserved was HORRIFIC! (all of the recommended hotels were booked for a party of 7) I would never, ever stay there again. The area we stayed at was ideal with a 10 min shuttle, local restaurants and shopping. But next time we will look for an Airbnb. DO NOT STAY at the Adagio Marne-la-Vallée Val d'Europe.
Thursday was a big day - our first day at Disney and P's 6th birthday! By this point the kids were really tired, including P. The twins had at least napped in strollers each day but P had been walking at least 11km everyday and had stayed up late to see the Eiffel Tower lights so by her birthday she was cooked. We all kept a lot of patience and tried to have a great day. The 25th Anniversary Parade and the Princess Birthday Dinner were definitely highlights.
Friday was another big day - my Dad's birthday! We celebrated by visiting the Walt Disney Studios Park and had a great day riding rides and seeing shows.
Although we had a great trip, everyone was happy to be home Saturday night (especially when there were birthday presents to open!)