Paris 2014 – day 1 – getting there

Since this day is going to be extremely crowded, I figured I’d best split things up a bit. Hence day 1 is actually going to have THREE different pages.

From where we live, it’s not far to go to get to Leeds Bradford airport. My father-in-law took us, whilst my mother-in-law stayed at the house to look after our son. He loves his grandparents, and has been known to run to the door to look for them at the mere mention of their names.

Arriving at the airport with a reasonable amount of time to spare (the flight isn’t until 11am), we get checked in and go through security pretty easily. The airport is obviously nowhere near as big as Manchester, for instance, and has just the one terminal. We go through the obligatory giant duty free shop (does anyone actually buy stuff there? All I see is endless arrays of perfume) and go to the shops at the other side. We need to get a few tiny, plane-friendly toiletries, as ours would be so large we couldn’t get them through.

I should briefly mention, for those of you who didn’t read the last bit, that we’re travelling sans suitcases. All the stuff we’re taking is in our backpacks – clothes, Disney tickets, toiletries, money – everything. Well, okay, some stuff is in our wallets/purses or in my wife’s handbag, but you get the idea. Made checking in a lot quicker.

As is customary, we go to the nearest restaurant place that’s serving an all-day breakfast – the type of thing which is extraordinarily expensive and you basically choose what you want, essentially being charged per bit of bacon or whatnot. These things are always alright at airports and, if we’ve got a morning flight leaving the UK, we’ll try and find somewhere like this for a quick bite to eat (I’ve found you can’t normally find them in America or Australia).

After a while we head to the gate, wait and board the plane. You know the routine. It’s a small airport and a small plane so there’s no walkway – instead it’s a case of walking out to the plane and going up the steps. Fair enough. Everyone on board and we’re off.

This being a budget airline, a short flight and us generally trying to save as much money as we can, my wife and I aren’t seated together. Oh well. I read whilst she listens to music. It’s only an hour and a half anyway. However, I feel slightly more conscious than normal that we’re flying – that being, we’re sitting in a somewhat flimsy metal tube with wings that is hurtling itself through the air, with the only thing separating us from a very big fall being physics very few people understand (I have a vague idea of them).

Arriving on the other side at 1:30pm (there’s an hour time difference), we’re conscious of trying to get to where we need to go as soon as possible. We pull up at the terminal at CDG, and there’s the terminal! It’s right over there! If we can just get out, we can be over there in a minute!

But of course they won’t let us do that. We’ve got to get on a bus to travel the distance to the building that’s just next to us – between which there is no traffic of any kind, no obstacles or anything. So that’s just wasted a few minutes there!

We’re some of the first people off the pointless bus (we pick the correct side) and we’re also some of the first people at the passport control desks. Nice, pretty quick – we’re basically off the bus and through the terminal and, without having to wait for baggage, out the other side in about 5 minutes! That’s got to be impressive.

We’ve arrived at terminal 3, and we need to get to the train station in terminal 2. A short walk away is an airport monorail service, which we catch over there. We arrive where we need to be at about 2, and there’s a train at 2:07, but we don’t have any tickets.

We really can’t guarantee that we’ll make that train – there’s not enough time left, so we aim for the next one, which I think was about 3-ish. I get the tickets after eventually managing to work one of the self-service machines, during which time I’m accosted by someone claiming to be from a group collecting for deaf, blind disabled orphans. She wants our address. Hmm… how about no? I’m hardly going to tell you my address (and that I’m not there) so it can be burgled.

Waiting at the station, we have the sandwiches we brought with us from the UK, then when it’s time head down to the platform and catch the TGV. They’re very nice trains inside – seriously, it looks like they’ve got all the stuff you could want. I think we were on the top floor. I’m dubious to say as well that we had nobody check our tickets (it’s a 10 minute trip) either on the train or on the platform, and none of the ticket gates we have back in the UK.

So, with that trip over we arrive at the parks! The station is literally just outside the entrance, and there’s a luggage facility on the top floor, only… well, it looks kinda dodgy. We’re not keen on leaving our stuff there, and having to come back to get it late at night. Instead we plump for a pretty cheap official Disney left-luggage thing (with actual staff, rather than it just being lockers), use the printed Disney ticket to get the tickets for the two days, and wander into Disney Studios.

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