Dreams and reality don’t always match. When you marry a retail worker in the middle of the (retail) Christmas season, you are lucky to get any days for a honeymoon at all. So, instead of jetting off half-way across the world, we only had time to go somewhere closer to home and so, we went to the happy place of all happy places: Disneyland Paris. I have greatly underestimated the challenges of travelling with dyspraxia, and so my plan for the day was a regimented go-see-everything-and-eat-in-all-the-best-places schedule, but half of it didn’t happen. Still, I am quite proud of how much we actually managed to do with our time.
The day after the wedding we started early to have breakfast with my parents before sending them off to Gatwick. Eventually, we missed the 11am Mass that we had planned, and went to the 12.30pm one like I more often do now I live in the suburbs. We took a car back home so we could carry all the things that had been carried by family on the way up, and ended up spending the rest of the day in a pub and later playing board games at the Ludoquist with my friend Joshua.
The official start of our honeymoon, with porridge in a plastic box and waiting to drop my wedding dress to the dry cleaners when it opened at 7.30am. Next was a commuter’s train into St Pancras, where we had to check into the Eurostar no later than 45 minutes before departure: plenty of time for more coffee to make up for the third early alarm on little sleep in a row.
The Eurostar was delightful even in second class, although walking to the bar was not the best idea even for me, let alone my husband. After the drama of my cardigan falling under the train and retrieving it, and the argument that followed from a misunderstanding in the chaos of such circumstance, I realised I had left my sunglasses in the bag I used the day before. Not exactly the sweet and romantic start to our marriage that we expected.
Luckily for me, Paris was rainy that afternoon. Once we left Gare du Nord we were so hungry we could not be bothered to go looking for a specific Bouillon 20 min away, especially not in the rain, so we ended up at a French-Vietnamese place just down the Boulevard de Denain called Café la Chaufferie. The menu looked very touristy, but it’s to be expected in such an area. We had steak tartare, mine the Vietnamese-style one. It was rather good, definitely more than many touristy places that are overpriced mediocre dishes, but despite the eclectic menu, it had a large crowd of locals eating there at the same time as us.
After that, we headed to the Louvre, where we soldiered through two wings out of 3 (we weren’t really that fussed about the Sully wing and its antiquities and probably would have skipped it even if we had more time). We grabbed a sandwich in a train station and headed for our Disneyland hotel.
The tiredness of the past 4 days caught up with us, and so we headed for a shopping centre and aquarium nearby. We had a fish lunch and eventually didn’t go to the aquarium, spending our time buying Disney-themed clothes and sunglasses for me. We brought back some wine we couldn’t open and took back to London (where I have a different kind of bottle opener), cheese and charcuteries to eat at the hotel, as well as some foie gras and citronettes for Christmas (only the former lasted that long, ooops).
As excited as it gets, we dress warmly and head for Disneyland. Instead of a coat I was wearing several layers of jumpers, including my lounge fleece dress. Luckily, it doesn’t really look like PJs and we didn’t bump into anyone who shops or works at M&S and gave me weird looks. We managed most of the attractions that were open that day, and even glimpses of the parades throughout the day, before some shopping in the stores on Main Street and the finale. My husband’s dyspraxia meant that we split on some occasions, but he had fun too and we ended the evening having some food in the saloon in the Disney Village.
Our last day was a sad time for me, as it meant no more breakfasts staring at a nearby petting farm as well as no more time at Disneyland. I really wanted to see the Walt Disney Studios Park, but it’ll have to wait for another time. We planned to head for Montmartre and have lunch at Bouillon Pigalle, but transport made it impossible. My husband had an accident on the metro, and we headed for a French restaurant near the stations to minimise the walking distance after that. Le Bistrot No 15 had a lovely crowd of mostly locals, and the nicest escargots I’ve ever had. I had a veal escalope, which can be hard to find in the UK, but the starter was a hard act to follow. Grabbing some artisanal bread to go along a last-minute shopping at M&S in the station, we headed for the Eurostar back and the last day of our honeymoon.
Today’s blog post has been part of the Love Blog Challenge 2020 on the subject “Travel”. Find the rest of the series here