on France, fairgrounds and that mouse

On Sunday I am setting off for a short break in Paris with my lovely daughter, her best friend and my best friend. The weather is set to be hot and sunny and we are very excited. Montmatre, Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysee will be just on our doorstep, we however will be spending time in another world and probably won’t see any of them.

It is fair to say I have never got along with Paris. On my first visit we found ourselves penniless with no ticket home, the next time it was a train catastrophe, tickets sold for the wrong day and almost didn’t make it to the South and our lovely holiday. On another visit I broke my ankle in a hotel in the Left Bank and hobbled all the way home. But, as I am not one to give up, this time it will be fun.

I first visited Euro Disney 20 years ago, then travelling on my own with my three boys we had the longest journey by coach, boat and coach before arriving at our hotel. I can still remember the excitement of the children and the exhaustion of me, the mother, as we headed into the park. Highlights included the Peter Pan ride, I am so looking forward to revisiting that this time, and the magical qualities of Space Mountain which actually did more for my pre-teen son’s acne than all the spot creams in the chemist.

There is a reason it has taken me 20 years to return. If I am honest France is not my favourite country, I really do not like fairgrounds and I have a passionate hatred of the Disney dreamworld where everything is wonderful all the time.

Why am I going? I am going because sometimes you have to challenge yourself and your attitude, sometimes it is good to do things other people will enjoy. I am going because I can. This time we are flying, no 18 hour journey to get there. This time we are traveling with adults, no fighting, tearful, tired children. This time we are staying in a swish and swanky hotel, with a swimming pool, did I mention it is going to be hot and sunny? This trip is about cocktails, nice food, friendship and fun. Fingers crossed we will get to meet Winnie the Pooh, and crossed further that I will be able to stop myself muttering about AA Milne versus Walt Disney. I may even be polite to the Mouse, should we come across him. I am actually excited and so looking forward to doing things I don’t do, roller-coasters, Disney etc, etc, in a place I don’t like. I am especially looking forward to watching people I love have the time of their lives. I just know it will be fantastic.

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