Last month was my 5th visit to Disneyland Paris and the first time I ventured into the centre of Paris itself. It is something I’d always wanted to do, so we decided to finally leave the Disney bubble. A little bit of planning and we ended up having a perfect day. I thought I would share the as much detail of our day as I can in the hope that it helps anyone planning a day trip to Paris whilst visiting Disney. Please bare in mind this is my first experience so I am by no means an expert!
Arc De Triomphe
We booked tickets before our trip online. You can book them here, The tickets are a bargain at just €12 each. The tickets can be used for a visit to the monument any day within a year of purchase. It is super helpful that you don’t have to pick a time as you can fit it in whenever during your day. You can present the tickets either digitally on your mobile or print them off. We decided to print them off but kept a digital copy in our iBooks on our mobile just incase.
We booked tickets for the Eiffel Tower months in advance. I booked them on March 8th for our trip June 6th. It is best to book tickets in advance if you want a particular time slot as they book up quite quickly. You can book different tickets (with varying cost) depending on the type of access you would like. I booked a lift entrance ticket with access to the Summet (the highest viewing area) which cost €25 per adult. I personally think that this price is a bargain and is worth every penny.
You can pre-book excursions to Paris from Disneyland Paris through various different companies, including Disneyland Paris themselves. Pre-booked excursions can be pricey and have a lack of flexibility, both of which we didn’t want. Instead we decided to do the navigate the city ourselves and use the Paris Metro to get around. We figured that it would either be a disaster or a great idea. It worked out perfectly and would do it again this way next time. 100% recommend the Paris Metro.
The Disneyland Paris station is located near the hotel bus stops. The station is before the entrances to both parks and the Disney Village. We bought tickets which cost around €30 for two adults. The ticket allowed us access to all zones for one full day. We bought them from the information booth as we found this easier. Only problem is that we had to pay with cash as neither of our cards (Revolut) wouldn’t work, which was something we hadn’t come across before.
We picked up a map for the Metro in the station but didn’t end up using it. We decided to use the Paris Metro iPhone app to navigate the trains/metro instead. The app is ridiculously easy to use and we couldn’t have done without it. The app is free but does have ads. I didn’t find the ads an issue at any point and I didn’t ever need to upgrade the app for more features. I have circled the app on the screenshot below so you can see which one I used. If you’ve used the Tube Map app in London before, you’ll notice it works in a very similar way.
The app opens with a full map of the different lines. Disneyland Paris is the last stop on the red line so is at the very edge of the map on the right. The only line that stops at Disneyland Paris is the red one, which makes it so that when you start your journey as you can’t really go wrong. Perfect start for people who haven’t navigated the Metro before.
The menu is accessed on the left hand side. You can use the Route Planner feature to find out which line/s to use and how long it will take.
I had no idea which stations to go from and to. When planning your journey, you can search by tourist attraction which was really helpful. The app then calculates your journey using the stations nearest to each attraction.
As an example, I typed in ‘Parc Disneyland’ as the starting point, and then ‘Arc De Triomphe’ as the end point. The Charles de Gaulle – Étoile station which came up for Arc Du Triomphe, was literally right outside of the Arc Du Trimophe. In some cases more than one route would come up. We tended to go for whichever route had the least changes to make it easier.
When you click on the route you can see the full details of the journey, including details of how long the journey should take. On the train there is a screen which scrolls through all the stations the train is going to stop at, highlighting the one you are at.
You also have the option to view your journey on the map. The station you are starting at, and going to, will be highlighted by a pulsing circle.
Plan for the Day
We started the day by heading to the Arc De Triomphe. It was a 45 minute journey from Disneyland Paris on the Metro. It was a direct train so super easy to do and went by quickly. We arrived about 9:30 but the monument didn’t open until 10. We decided to walk along to McDonalds to fill in the time.
To access the Arc De Triomphe, you go through an underground walkway. When you get there you have to go through security so that your bag can be checked.
There are a lot of steps to the top of the monument. 284 steps feels even worse than it sounds trust me! It was totally worth it for the view from the terrace though. The day we visited it was very foggy and it was still an amazing view.
There are so many beautiful restaurants around Paris to eat in. Due to my allergy though, we stuck with a McDonalds for lunch. It was cheap, quick and I didn’t have to worry about what I was eating.
We walked all along the Av. des Champs-Élysées, looking in the shops as we went. A lot of the shops are the same as what you would find here in the UK. Zara, H&M, and of course The Disney Store. I paid a visit to the Disney Store and bought myself a couple of bits which you can see in my haul I posted previously.
We then walked to the Eiffel Tower from the bottom of Av. des Champs-Élysées, following Google Maps to get us there. It was about a 20 minute walk. We followed the route that went down Rue Jean Goujon and across the Pond de l’Alma bridge. The route was really easy to follow and it was nice to be able to get a few photos from across the bridge of the Eiffel Tower.
I don’t think anything will prepare you for what the Eiffel Tower is like when you see it in person for the first time. It is absolutely huge and so beautiful. It was worth taking the day to visit Paris just to see the Eiffel Tower.
We had tickets booked for a 2pm visit and arrived about twenty to. We went through security twice. We first had our bags checked before we had access to the bottom of the tower. Before you go up the tower, there are booths selling food and merchandise. We picked up a bottle of water each before we went up. We then went over, had our tickets checked and waited (for quite a while!) to go through more security. The security this time is airport style. You go through a metal detector and your bag goes through the machine to be checked. Then you going the smaller queue for the lift and head up to the first viewing point.
The lift up is all clear so you can see out as you go up and down. It is a *little freaky* but I didn’t mind too much. There are two floors before the ‘summet’ which is 276m high, with only the antenna above you. I didn’t take many photos from the top as the visibility wasn’t great right at the top the day we visited. There are two levels at the summet, one closed and one open. It is totally worth braving the summet. We spent quite a while a the different observation decks, taking photos and enjoying the view. I bought a pin in the gift shop to remember the trip by before heading back down.
We then decided to go over to the Notre Dame as we had more time than we thought. We walked to the nearest metro station Bir-Hakeim, about 10 minutes away. It was a 20 minute journey with one change. The station (Cité) near the Notre-Dame is literally round the corner from the Notre-Dame. We decided not to go inside as the queue was absolutely massive and by this time of day, it was extremely warm to wait outside in the queue. We decided to walk along and stopped to have a drink in a cafe as we were shattered. By time we’d finished it started to rain so we headed towards the metro station. It took about an hour with two changes.
I’d do it again
I couldn’t find a lot of clear information about going to Paris from Disneyland Paris, so I wasn’t sure how the day would turn out. We got to the train station about 8:30am and got back to the station about 6:30pm. We used the Paris Metro to get ourselves around which was easy to navigate without any issues whatsoever. We got to visit three of the major attractions and walk around the city. The weather could have been sunnier but you can’t control the weather unfortunately! If you are thinking about spending a day in Paris during your next Disneyland Paris holiday, I would totally recommend you do. I would 100% do it again.