It took me 30 years to make it to Disneyland Paris. And if you wait for things to happen for too long, they normally don’t turn out that cool. This one did! I tried not to get too excited before going and kept saying to myself “keep calm, there are just some students wearing a Mickey costume and when they are off they probably make out with Cinderella “, but as soon as I entered the Disneyland area Mickey was just Mickey for me. And guys: EVERYTHING had ears! The shampoo on my room had ears, the flowers had ears, the cookies had ears and certainly I also got some ears for myself. I don’t want to tell you a long story about Disneyland Paris (just see the pictures!), everybody has his own favorite character and attractions… But there are a couple of things that might help you to organize your visit:
1. First you have to decide where you want to go. There is a Disneyland Park (on this post) and the Walt Disney Studios Park (anterior post). I would recommend you to do only one park per day (ticket prize is currently 65 euros), you would miss out too many attractions otherwise. A fast pass is always a good idea (it makes you wait 5 to 10 minutes instead of 1 hour sometimes). But with your regular ticket you are also allowed to use the fast lane during special hours (don’t forget to ask about that!).
2. Don´t miss the Disney Magic on Parade (all the characters walk on the Main Street every afternoon) and the Show Disney Dreams (a huge lights and fireworks show on and around the Sleeping Beauty Castle every night). These two will definitely be your highlights!
3. There are some rides everybody wants to take (like Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain). Try to make them first – as soon as you get in – and walk around later.
When at Disneyland Paris, make sure to discover their latest ride “Ratatouille: The Adventure” – inspired by the famous Disney/Pixar movie, where the rat Rémy is dreaming to become a star cook in a snobbish Paris restaurant. In this new 4-D-attraction (located at the Walt Disney Studios Park) your shrink to the size of Rémy and experience how it feels to be a tiny rat in a huge busy kitchen, where everything is falling down, people are about to step on you any second, the tomato smashes in your face and the cold breeze of the fridge and the heat of the oven bring you this point of confusion when you don´t really know what´s real and what´s just a special effect. Walt Disney Imagineering (the design and development department of The Walt Disney Company) have been working on this attraction for six years and it´s the most modern one they currently have. So I felt honored to be one of the first journalists who were able to ride it this summer. The event started with a boat tour through Paris – the home town of Rémy – and of course some huge macarons!I´ve never experienced Paris from a boat before and I was trying hard not to fall in love with all the kitschy things around me but passing Notre Dame by sunset and the sparkles of the Eiffel Tower in the night made me rather feel like a Disney princess than a rat. Don´t worry, it all changed on the next morning, when we first had some time to explore the Walt Disney Studios Park and then joined the Ratatouille opening ceremony.It only rains when you stand under this umbrella. I really needed a refreshment after the free fall at the Hollywood Tower Hotel (on the picture above).The new attraction is all inspired by Paris – the city the movie Ratatouille takes place in. So they have created a Mini-Paris at the Disneyland Paris, including the typical houses, roof tops, lanterns, street sceneries with painters and newspaper sellers – even the rubbish bins were the same like in Paris. And they also had a cook who prepared a ratatouille in several layers – like the one Rémy did in the movie. And guess who came along to say hi? Certainly Rémy himself with his kitchen crew!After the ride in the rat mobile (I couldn´t take pictures inside) you kept feeling tiny at the restaurant of the attraction. Bistrot Chez Rémy had champagne corks as chairs, cooking pots as lamps and huge plates separating the tables. And what do they serve? Certainly ratatouille (thanks God with a steak and a couple of fries)! That´s the message of the movie if you remember. Well, I can tell you at least one exception…Aerosmith Rollercoaster was my favorite attraction of the park (after Ratatouille of course). The reason it looks so empty: They have closed the whole park just for us during the evening party. Can you imagine yourself any happier? Nearly alone at Disneyland Paris and you can have rides over and over again with no lines! Lucky me: I could take plenty of pictures with Donald, my favorite Disney mate – we have the same size of the nose you have to know. Daisy, the fatass, was interrupting our romance a bit though…Thank you Disneyland Paris for this wonderful adventure!
I kept the highlight of our island hopping tour through Brittany (France) for my last post: Île de Sein, the best island to get drunk! You will ask: „Why exactly Île de Sein? You can perfectly get drunk on every island.“ Maybe. But you can do it even better on this one. See the 7 reasons below: 1. Even if the world seems to go down on the way to the island – as soon as you have passed a special point the sun always comes out. That´s what all the sailors and fishermen say who come over every day. And that´s what we have also experienced. So much luck must be celebrated! 2. In the sixties the island had 1000 inhabitans and 28 bars. Now there are only 150 inhabitans and 6 bars. No problem! Nearly the whole island is surrounded by a stone wall. When the sun shows up, peole come out and put their drinks on this wall. This is how the longest bar in the world has been established. By the way: I´m drinking Kir Breton (Kir Royal of Brittany). I´m not quite sure if you can remeber the recipe: take Cidre, put cassis inside.3. Most of the houses on Île de Sein are or have something colourful, which is pretty unusual for this part of France. The good thing about it: you will always find back to your house or your hotel even if you are drunk. You just have to remeber if it was pink or blue or yellow… No streets, no numbers.On the day I was visiting the island (end of April) they had spring tide. It only happens twice a year. The sea went back more than usual and you could pick all the sea treasures like oysters or crabs from the bottom. 4. The streets between the houses were built so narrow that you could roll a beer barrel between them but you would never fall down if you were drunk. One of the walls would always „catch“ you.5. If you compare it to the other two islands we have visited, Île de Sein is pretty far away from the continent. So it´s food stayed really traditional and you don´t have to look with a telescope on your plate to find it. I had a ray fish with pomegranate sauce and potatoes. A good base to order another 3 Kir Breton.Thank you, Christine, for showing me Brittany. And the drinks. Find here all her posts.6. If you get really brave after some drinks – no problem. People on this island will believe you.On the picture above you can see another tiny „beer“-street. The water was coming back by the time the ferry was leaving ( 4 p.m.). It was your own fault if you still haven´t picked up your dinner till then.7. If something goes wrong between you and the bottle, Sauvetage en Mer will save as soon as you come back to Audierne. Well, this one is a shitty reason. But the other 6 are really true!
On our island hopping tour through Brittany (3 islands on 3 days) we needed to find a hotel located in the middle of these islands (Ouessant, Glénan and Ile de Sein). The ferry was always crossing very early in the morning and the wine for dinner was to good to say goodbye at midnight – so we couldn´t lose any time on driving too long. The small town Douarnenez seemed to be a perfect stopover. When we were looking for our hotel I really felt in love with this charismatic city with an amazing harbour ending in the open sea. So once you are in Brittany, please don´t miss Douarnenez! Even if you are not looking for a hotel… just to see the sun going down.Our Hotel Ty Mad (from 110 Euro per night) was located near a tiny church. It was used to be a monastery long time ago. Now it is an amazing design hotel with a swimming pool, a sauna, a gourmet restaurant and a bar. And with a window view to miss your dinner aperitif for… I was seriously considering staying at this hotel when they brought me this dessert. Caramel au beurre salé (caramel made of salted butter) is something you can´t go without trying it. But in the next morning my dessert was history and we had to go on with our tour. Ile de Sein, the last island, was waiting for us. Read in the next post why it is the perfect place to get drunk.
At the moment we arrived in Fouesnant to catch our ferry to the Glénan islands (the second stop on our island hopping tour through Brittany) I was still thinking: Ok this is exactly the way I was expecting France to look like. Cute doll houses, plenty of flowers and perfect gardens – everything seemed as if Yves Rocher has just finished his last commercial over here.20 pictures of houses later we were finally standing at the landing place. And nothing looked french-like at all any more. The white beach and the colourful boats reminded me rather of my last Cuba vacation. But where was actually the ferry?The ferry was not crossing during the low season. And on this april day the sea was pretty rough. So why not take a tiny boat to get over to the island?As long as the coast was still visible I thought it was a funny experience to be in such a small boat on such a big waves. Later on I felt thankful for everything I could find on the sea to focuse my eyes on (a lighthouse, a buoy, other sinking boats). And during this 40 minute ride at 10 degrees I´ve noticed the first and maybe the main difference to Cuba: the water running down my face and my feet had the temperature of a mini bar.When we finally made it to the island, the coast was looking so peaceful again that I remembered why we actually got on this boat without having any doubt. And Cuba was back again!Îles de Glénan is an archipelago with 7 to 12 islands (depending on low or high tide). Hope you are on the top 7 during the high ride though… But no worries: the ferry brings you only to the main island: Saint-Nicolas. It has the best beaches, a restaurant and a youth hostel for the diving and sailing school.What you can´t see on this picture: Every peace of me was completely wet. But I was really happy that the two most important things survived: 1. my camera and 2. my lunch.You might be thinking: why is she posting pictures of flowers instead of showing us some cute diving students? Well, it´s not just a flower it is the Glénan daffodil, which only grows on this island. 2008 it took 2 weeks for 10 people to count them. The result was: 60000 flowers… and even more crazy visitors to see it. The beaches of Glénan are also known as the french Caribbean. At the beginning of our island tour I didn´t really believe something could ever compare to the Caribbean. When I saw THIS (scroll down) I was just thinking: Caribbean who? When the high season in June starts there is still one good thing about Saint Nicolas: the whole island is surrounded by beaches like this. So it never gets too crowdy. I´ve got one more tip to share with you: on the left side of this long beach the water temperature in summer is about 16 degrees (open Atlatic ocean), on the right side 20 degrees! So just step 3 meters to the right!
800 inhabitans, 1000 tourist beds, 4 bars, 7 fishing boats, but no trees and no policemen (both perfect for my excelent driving skills): Ouessant was the first island on our island hopping tour (3 days, 3 island) across Brittany. And at the same time the most western point of France. Somehow it really felt like arriving at the very end of the world…The beautiful cliffs on the coast of Ouessant are not only the reason for the many visitors, but also for the many lighthouses on the island (5 directly on it, another 20 you can see on a clear day). Ouessant is maybe not the right place for swimming, but really perfect for walking around, cycling and eating.As there are no trees and no wood on the island, the traditional food was cooked on sods (a lamb dish takes 6 hours). Because of the strong wind the grass never grows very high and because of the mild temperature during the whole year it´s roots never get frozen. I´ve never walked on such a soft grass carpet before.Everything wooden on the island was made from the ship wreckage. As you can imagine, there are no many exciting things happening on the tiny Ouessant. But there are a lot of funny storries about things the waves sometimes bring to the coast. One morning a container ship full of rubber ducks sank and the water turned all yellow. Another day the waves brought many shoes and the people on the island had to get together in the evening after collecting them all in order to find the right pairs.TY Korn was the best pub (ground floor) and restaurant (first floor) on the island. I didn´t want to wait 6 hours for my lamb, so I just ordered a crab which I had to crack with a nutcracker.There is one thing I haven´t done since my last teenage school trip: a night walk (nobody kissed this time!). On Ouessant it really made sense to walk around in the night because it was the best way to admire all the lighthouses “at work”. We also passed by a mysterious looking house on the cliffs and walked around it (I guess it wouldn´t look half that mysterious during the day). Creach is the most powerful lighthouse in Europe. When I was lying in my bed after this really long day I saw it´s lights running across the hotel room and hypnotizing zzzzz…. haha.On the next day we had to catch the ferry back to Le Conquet in the early morning. The second island was waiting for us. Le Glenán was the total opposite of Ouessant – no cliffs and a caribbean looking beach.