Date : 25/June/2018

The title is inspired by Elon Musk’s famous blog post on Tesla’s 10 year Plan

We had visited Paris city as our first major trip in Europe 3+ years back but couldn’t do Paris Disneyland and Normandy D-Day beaches.

 

Paris Travel Guide – 5 Days In Paris ( Part Un )

https://vikramviknowledgesharing.wordpress.com/2016/12/28/paris-travel-guide-5-days-in-paris/

Above blog only covers Paris city travel, not sure why millions found it romantic city of Europe.  We found it most dirty, disorganized & 3rd world country’s city of Europe.

Other than Eiffel Tower and super crowded Monalisa portrait hall in Laurve, there is not much to waste your precious money and time in Paris.  This city feels like one from 3rd world country compared other European cities in east as well like Prague, Budapest etc. Just for visiting Disneyland & Normandy; we had to visit this city again.

 

Disneyland Paris

Since many years I read a lot about this place in Paris but mainly negative news through newspapers, forums and one of the US colleagues, thus I didn’t have great hopes visiting this place.

But my wife had clean slate about this place and she wanted to visit “The Happiest Place on Earth” & after 2 days we did have happiest time on earth 🙂

Here are tons of tips to make your trip memorable

– There are 2 parks which you can visit in 2 days namely Disneyland Park ( 10:00 – 23:30 ) & Walt Disney Studios ( 10:00 – 19:00 ) 

– 1 day is NOT enough to cover both parks, you will miss many interesting rides. We recommend minimum 2 days

– As you’re spending good amount of money for park, stretch a bit more to enjoy 2nd day as well.

–  After validating ticket, do NOT forget to pick up 2 pamplates namely Park Layout Plan & Programme Plan

–  Most annoying thing for me was waiting for ride for 45 minutes and it gets over in 30 sec to 2 minutes 🙂

–  We’ve created 6 categories to plan your day/days to have memorable experiences as below

 

1 / 6 . Travel

–  If you’re staying in Paris then catch RER A4 which takes 45 – 55 minutes from Chatelet Les Halles station.

–  Ask for schedule on major stations before riding and also buy round tickets upfront to avoid night time rush at Marne-la-Vallee station ( next to Disneyland park )

–  Atleast reach by 09:30 at Disneyland, earlier is better as well to take pictures when there is less crowd

 

2 / 6 . Stay

–  If you’ve loads of money then definitely stay in Disneyland hotel inside Park itself. This can be really amazing experience

– We had stayed in Paris and took RER train to travel or some prefer to stay in hotels nearby Park but we found them costly as well during June – Sept months

3 / 6 . Park Tickets

   –  Thanks to my wife, I took super wise decision to buy tickets for 2 days

   –   We bought 2 separate tickets ( 1 Day / 2 Parks ) 68 Euro per person / per day

   –   We could do only 50% – 60% of Disneyland on Day 1 so first day ticket didn’t get fully utilized

   –   On 2nd day we spend morning to noon 60 – 70% of time in “Walt Disney Studio” and remaining time till 23:30 in “Disneyland” doing remaining rides from Day 1 and light + fireworks show at 23:00

   –   Do NOT buy 2 day ticket but 2 separate tickets for 1 Day either 1 Park / 2 Parks per your plan.

          –  Buy tickets online in advance; as it’s costly to buy at Park and wasting precious time standing in queue

4 / 6 . Food, Drink

–  There is nice & cold drinking water taps outside toilets ( Disneyland, Walt Disney Studio ). Don’t forget to carry your own water bottle

–  Food is costly and doesn’t have variety.

       –   There are some really nice Ice cream shops which sell 3 big scoops for 5 Euros, you should definitely try those.

–  You can carry your own food, so carry dry fruits, fruits, sandwiches to keep energy level up till 23:00

5 / 6 . Rides ( Must Try, Good, Average )

 –   Not all rides have Fast Pass ( time slot in which you can come back later, this has queue as well but shorter one )

        –  Collect as many Fast Passes possible in morning time itself

 –   Waiting time display is approximate, you can easily add 20% more to it

        –   Do NOT spend all your time in rides but also watching live shows

–   Keep some rides for evening slot say after 16:00 as majority of the crowd will be tired and you will lesser waiting time

–   Some rides has got “Single Rider” option where you need to ride alone with strangers and can’t do with your family / partner. This option as well saves lots of waiting time.

–   Note that not all rides in Disneyland works till late evening, so check for individual ride’s timing.  Strangely it’s not mentioned in pamphlet

–  Note that some of the rides will be closed for maintenance

–  For light & fireworks capture your seats at 21:00 itself, better sit in back of Central Plaza. As this gets over around 23:30 & to reach Paris it’ll take 01:00 next day; we suggest to view on 2nd day’s night show.

–  There were still 20 – 25% of rides which we couldn’t cover, you can check those in youtube and plan accordingly

–   Must Try:

      Disneyland -> Indian Jones and the Temple of Peril, Peter Pan’s Flight,  Meet Micky Mouse ( LOOONG WAIT ), Princess Pavilion ( LOOONG WAIT ), Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Royal Castle Stage ( MUST ), Disney Parade ( MUST )

     Walt Disney Studios -> Animaguique Theater ( MUST, BEST OF ALL PER US ),  Crush’s Coaster,  Ratatouille

      –    Good:

Disneyland ->  Les Voyages de Pinocchio, Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains,   Adventure Isle

–    Average:

Disneyland -> it’s a small world, Le Pays des Contes de Fees, Casey Jr – le Petit Train du Cirque, Alice’s Curious Labyrinth, La Cabane des Robinson, Pirates’s beach, Le Passage Enchante d’Aladdin, Disneyland Railroad, Orbitron, Videopolis Theatre, Sleeping Beauty Castle ( looks awesome from outside during light & fireworks show in night )

Walt Disney Studios  ->  Art of Disney Animation

6 / 6 . How Not To Get Tired and Keep your energy level upto 23:00

 – Plan, Plan, Plan as “Failing to plan is Planning to Fail”

–  As you’re spending good amount of money on park, make sure you utilize your day at park properly

–  Take hourly breaks

–   Don’t rush to many rides in morning time with overexcitement

–  Plan your rides of the day accordingly ( refer Rides’ section )

Others:

We took lots of tips from the blog  Disneyland Paris Itinerary for Adults: Two Parks in One Day

( Click on individual picture to large scale picture )

Normandy

Being a history lover & reading about WW II since my school days; I always wanted to visit D-Day beaches in Normandy and at last I’ve planned it during 2nd visit to Paris.

I wanted to see Atlantic Wall built by Nazi Germany and how it couldn’t stand even 1 day under attack from brave Allied forces on D-Day.

You also appreciate amount of smart engineering effort put into building bomb proof bunkers, defence structures, guns etc at some places you can go inside and feel as if you were there on that day of action.

I had very high expectations from my visit but French government is not fully committed, passionate & respectful to maintain this important part of WW II history. It feel they don’t value sacrifice made by thousands of young soldiers of other countries for France & Europe’s freedom.

In Normandy you’re at the mercy of tour operators who charge very high money ( which can be low for USA citizen but much higher for others ) for showing small portion of historical significant points.

Don’t understand why all things are kept into museum instead of in fields as they were found. Some of the museums are managed by private people or organization. It’s sad to see apathy shown by French government to maintain these important artifacts.

I tried to find info through tripadvisor but it’s quite scattered and in bits & peaces.

Below is my sincere effort to plan your trip so that you can use your time optimally.

Travel

–  You need to make base in either of 2 cities Caen or Bayux or nearby town

–  We took intercity train from Paris to Caen and later bus to Luc-sur-Mer

–  For 2 hours of round journey we paid nearly 60 Euro per person for poor quality of trains compared to Deutsch Bahn. Sometimes I felt France is downgrading from Developed country to 3rd world country by each passing year

Stay

–  As Normandy is mostly visited by USA citizens cost of stay is really high in Caen & Bayux, so we decided to stay in small village near Caen.

–  We highly recommend below airbnb for stay for 2 people

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/14729289

Public Transport

–  Do NOT rely on public transport to visit historical points, it is almost non existent

–  Buses run one every 1 or 2 hours and on weekend hardly any

–  This is one of the apathy shown by French government ( & Normandy region government ) to such important historical site.

–   We were lucky as the airbnb host’s son had holiday in that week and he took us around in his car for whole day otherwise we couldn’t have seen anything as I can’t drive and we were thinking to visit place with local public transport

What to see, visit

> We could visit below during 2 days stay in Normandy. Per me you need minimal 1 week to cover everything in detail related to D-Day landing

Omaha Beach

– Normandy American Cemetery & Visitor Center

– La Pointe du Hoc

Gold Bech

– German Gun Battery of Longues-sur-Mer

       Sword Beach

       –  Hillman Strongpoint ( we did bike ride of 9 km one way through scenic route through villages from Luc-sur-Mer )

      –   Hermanville War Cemetery

> As an Indian citizen I may not feel attached to these brave Allied soldiers but when I saw graves with name of soldiers as young as 18 years who bravely fought against Nazi Germany; felt quite emotional about bravery, commitment, sacrifice and love for their country.

> Plan, plan, plan like Allied did for best usage of your time in Normandy as there is so much to see with pathetic tourist amenities provided by French.

Main Places of Interest
  1. Omaha Beach
  2. Gold Beach
  3. Juno Beach
  4. Sword Beach  
  5. Utah Beach

Attractions are divided into 3 categories Museums, Natural Attractions, Military Cemetery

We’re not sure if any of these beaches has got war related memorials, attractions on the beach itself as we didn’t find any info related to it.

1. Omaha Beach

–  Museums ( Overload Museum, Big Red One Assault Museum, Liberation House, Omaha Beach Memorial Museum, The Omaha D-Day Museum )

–  Natural Attractions ( La Pointe du Hoc, Tour of Gefosse-Fontenay Blockhouse, Maisy Gun Battery )

–  Cemetery ( Normandy American Cemetery, The German Military Cemetery )

2. Gold Beach

     –  Museums ( Arromanches 360 circular Cinema, The landings Museum, Museum of undersea wrecks, America Gold beach Museum )

    –   Natural Attractions ( German Gun Battery of Longues-sur-Mer )

    –   Cemetery ( Ryes War Cemetery )

3. Juno Beach

     –  Museum ( Juno Beach Center )

    –  Cemetery ( Beny-sur-mer Canadian War Cemetery )

4. Sword Beach

     –  Museum  ( The Pegasus Memorial, Merville Gun Battery Museum, 1944 Radar Museum, N4 Commando Museum, Atlantic Wall Museum The Bunker )

    –  Natural Attraction ( Hillman Strongpoint )

    –  Cemetery ( La Delivrande, Germanville, Ranville War Cemetery )

5. Utah Beach

    –   Museum ( Utah beach D-Day Landing Museum, Airborne Museum, D-Day Experience, Normandy Victory Museum, US Assault Landing Craft, Airship Hanger, WW II Museum, Open air Museum )

           –   Natural Attraction ( Azeville Gun Battery, The Fort of Tatihou, Marcouf 44, Crisbecq Gun Battery Museum )

           –   Cemetery ( German Military Cemetery )

Tips

– During our visit we met students & teachers group from USA who was accompanied by old person who was in US Navy & the way he was explaining things in detail was simply amazing. I missed to capture his name. I’ll advise to get audio guide or book on these place during your visit.

–  Do check what exactly tour guide is going to cover, I saw most of the tour guide charge very high amount and hardly cover anything. Better rent a car or ask local person to accompany you.

–  Combine important points at Omaha & Gold beaches

–  Similarly Juno & Sword beaches

–  Utah beach is quite far and takes long time to travel itself

–  Check museum related reviews on tripadvisor and take decision to visit as it will need lots of time and each of the museum costs quite a bit.

       –  http://en.normandie-tourisme.fr/sites-and-attractions/the-d-day-landing-beaches-5-2.html 

–   https://www.lonelyplanet.com/france/normandy/d-day-beaches

( Click on individual picture to large scale picture )

 

YouTube Documentories on Atlantic Wall & D-Day
  1.   Nazi Megastructure – Atlantic Wall

2.   Nazis Germany – İncredible String Of Fortifications The Atlantic Wall (An Engineering Feat)

3.  The Pointe Du Hoc Bunker Story

4.  D-DAY: June 6, 1944: ACTION at the Normandy Beaches

5.  Normandy, France: D-Day Beaches

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