If you and your beloved are going to Paris in the passionate early days of a relationship, then you can look forward to a wonderful time in a city that was designed for romance.
Unfortunately all of this changes once your relationship has sped past the joy of staying in hotels just to have sex in a strange room. This is especially so if some of your earlier adventures have resulted in the creation of young children. Any trip to Paris, by this time, is probably going to involve sharing a sweaty family room in a themed hotel in Disneyland Paris.
Our ‘Cheyenne’ Wild West themed room was so historically authentic that it had no mini-bar to ease the pain. However, it did have a plastic cowboy boot for a bedside lamp. This meticulous attention to detail didn’t stop there, the breakfast ‘Saloon’ was very authentic too. A relatively simple queuing system, that seemed to confound the Spanish, usually resulted in mass brawls and chairs being broken over heads in an almighty scrap over the last of the croissants.
Bizarrely children love Disneyland and we spent hours chasing their most loved characters around the park just to get their autographs, which is not as easy as it sounds. You may well catch a fleeting glimpse of Tigger Orange or Pooh Yellow from afar. However, by the time you’ve organised the family into a posse to hunt them down, they have long since disappeared through a hidden door for their fag-break.
On our last visit there were particularly long queues waiting to greet the most popular characters. Unlike in a supermarket there is no announcement to tell you an employee’s nicotine level is running low, and they are about to close the queue. Hence our kids would nearly be within good shin-kicking distance when suddenly the character would wave a paw and bugger off. The best we’d managed was a signature that read ‘Third Soldier From The Left In Robin Hood’. I noted that the Spanish had done considerably better than us by barging their way to the front of the queues, again.
Didn’t anybody explain to this lot, when we let them into the EEC, that there might be a bit of queuing involved in being part of a civilised Europe? Weren’t they also informed that you don’t fill your pockets full of croissants at breakfast time, thus depriving other nations of their rightful allocation, just so you can have a free lunch once inside the park?
Fortunately Mr Disney, bless his cryogenically frozen cotton socks, has come up with something clever to thwart Spanish queue-jumping when it comes to the rides. They now have a system whereby you can book a timeslot on your favourite ride in advance. Thus you turn up at your allocated time, enter via a special gate and then breeze through to the front of the queue. The rules for this new system are explained in all languages, except Spanish.
The highlight of my trip was having a good laugh at the still queuing Spanish as their unrighteous indignation caused them to choke on their stolen croissants.
For my other guides to France click here.