[As you might be able to guess from the title, this is a post written by Normal Guy – I hope you enjoy this report of our trip to Paris! xoxo]
Paris is a special place for Vief: it’s where her family’s from, it’s where Japan Expo is held and, perhaps most important: it’s where Disneyland is. Since Vief and I have been together, I’ve had the pleasure of sharing in her love for this city a few times already. Now you may have noticed this website is severely in need of an update, so I’ve decided to take matters into my own hand and tell you about the amazing few days we’ve spent there this July.
Now this little trip had all the ingredients to make it a special one, but first we had to get there. We’ve noticed we haven’t exactly been blessed when it comes to travelling: we’ve missed a flight or two in the past, encountered numerous delays and train strikes, not to mention our bus trip to London last year. On the way there we missed the train through the Channel Tunnel because of a stowaway on the bus, and on the way back the bus broke down and we had to switch buses in the middle of the motorway. Never again, we said.
Obviously the fastest way to travel from the Netherlands to Paris is by the Thalys train, so when they had a special offer because of their 20-year anniversary, we didn’t hesitate to buy ALL the Thalys tickets.
So there we are, 7 AM, at the train station, Starbucks in hand (the first one of many to come), a little groggy. We were already preparing for the train to derail or whatever, but actually the journey itself was rather uneventful. We arrived in Paris ON THE SAME DAY!
After dropping of our stuff (me: one backpack, Vief: two suitcases) at Pascale’s and Richard’s place, Vief was clear about her priorities: the new Angelic Pretty store had just opened. Kawaii overload! Unfortunately, I didn’t buy anything. Later, we had the most amazing hamburgers at Hank Vegan Burger. We need a place like this in the Netherlands. Also, I saw they’re opening a vegan pizza place too. I can’t wait to visit next time we’re in Paris! After some more casual shopping we went home for a little siesta. Later that night, it was time for more food (then again, with us, it’s always time for more food). We went to Végé Saveurs, a vegetarian Asian restaurant that specialises in fake meat dishes. Also amazing. I’m really happy with all the possibilities for vegan fast food Paris offers and I can’t wait until the day the Netherlands are on the same level.
So, today was the last ‘relaxed’ day of our trip. In the morning we went to the new Forum des Halles, which has become really pretty. It kind of reminds me of a big railway station. I bought new (vegan!) Dr. Martens and we had a nice chat in Dutch with a lady who is about to become the store manager for the new Docs store in Rotterdam. After that, we took a stroll to the Centre Pompidou and also, there was more Starbucks.
We ate lunch at Pascale and Richard’s, who made a really nice salad and homemade ‘chicken’ nuggets! Super tasty and way better than the real thing. (Also, no ground beaks and nails in it. That’s a definite plus.)
In the afternoon we went to Musée d’Orsay and I gave my new Docs a test run. Because we walked through the Jardin des Tuileries, the shoes were white in no time. Nothing compared to the pain in my feet at the end of the day though. Oh well. I’d never been to Musée d’Orsay before, and their collection of (post-) impressionists is amazing. Basically all the Van Goghs that aren’t in the Van Gogh Museum, are over there. Unfortunately we weren’t able to find either a TARDIS or Krafayis in the paintings. The Rousseau exhibition was really awesome and I’m glad we were in Paris in time to see it. For someone who never left Paris during his lifetime, he really knew how to paint a proper jungle. After some obligatory outfit pictures we went back to HQ.
Later that night we brought dinner to the most amazing roof terrace and watched the sun go down behind the city skyline. We took some couple pictures for our families back home, and Vief did some dancing.
I didn’t really know what to expect of Japan Expo. And to be honest, I didn’t really bother to find about beforehand. From the name I just assumed it was kind of like a World Expo, focused on Japan. I was wrong. It’s more like a Comic Con focused on Japan. Then again, I’ve never been to a Comic Con before, so what do I know, right? Anyway. There was loads of Lolita, cosplay, Japanese food, manga and karaoke.
Let me just state here: Vief looked amazing. She finally completed her jellyfish outfit that was originally meant for the Under the Sea event that same morning, and it turned out to be even prettier than I imagined. So it wasn’t really a big surprise that a lot of people stopped us to take pictures of her. Being the loyal boyfriend that I am, I kindly stepped out of frame every time, holding her bag
A lot of first times for me, that day. First time drinking bubble tea, which is really good but also a bit weird, sucking tapioca through a straw. First time eating onigiri, which I am determined to make myself really soon. And first time contributing our kawaii wishes for the world to a time capsule, which is to be opened again in 20 years. Ours contained a lot of stickers and sparkles, obviously.
After travelling back to the city centre in a packed 50 degrees Celsius train, we realised we didn’t have any dinner plans. Because we still had to celebrate our anniversary, I decided to go all fancy and we had dinner at the Gentle Gourmet Café, an all-vegan restaurant that was a bit more upscale than what we’ve had so far. Again, the food was amazing. You might notice I write about food a lot. I guess that’s one of the things Vief and I have in common.
This day was the one we had been looking forward to the most: we went to Disneyland! I decided not to wear my Docs today and in the end, that was the right choice. We started the day by going to Donald’s Desk, and we are now the proud owners of Annual Passports! Because Vief is participating in the half marathon coming September, it seemed like the only right choice, considering that you only have to visit the park for 3 days to break even with the price of a passport.
I was really lucky to be going to Disneyland with such an experienced visitor. Instead of just roaming about the park not knowing where to go, we basically had a really good overview of all the places we wanted to visit. First up was Crush’s Coaster, the Finding Nemo-themed rollercoaster. I won’t bore you with naming all the attractions we saw, but another one that was really good was Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy. This darkride only opened in 2014 so we both didn’t see it yet. The combination of 3D with real objects worked out pretty well and I can recommend it to everyone going to Disneyland in the future.
The queues were pretty okay during the day! The only one that took us about 1 hour and 15 minutes was Tower of Terror. In the end it was totally worth it, but it took some serious patience. It didn’t help that we were behind a group of tourists where one girl literally used her phone camera every minute to check her bangs. Once you’re focused on that, it’s really difficult to NOT see it anymore :’)
Dinner was a bit bleak compared to the day before, because Planet Hollywood’s vegan options are virtually non-existent. We went back into the park for the Disney Dreams show at 11 PM, and on the train back we were lucky to have a seat. I think we both passed out once our heads hit the pillows.
Time to go home, sadly. After my usual breakfast (coffee), we went back to Gare du Nord for another early train (and yes, another Starbucks). There was some more queuing to pass security, but surprisingly, travelling back home was without any further delay! I hope we permanently broke our streak of bad luck with travelling now. All in all, I had a blast!
I hope you enjoyed reading this travel diary as much as I did writing it. If you want some ‘expert’ tips on Japan Expo, Disneyland or vegan food in Paris, comment, and I’ll try to answer your questions as good as possible. Or I’ll let Vief do it
And P.S., as a bonus: some facts
– 12% of our total expense budget went to Starbucks. No shame.
– I now know what an ‘ita’ looks like. I saw a lot of them, by the way.
– Sebastian Masuda doesn’t seem to age.
– Musée d’Orsay is neither spelled Musée d’Orsée nor Musay d’Orsay.
– Vief’s Disney Annual Passport is valid for 10 days longer than mine, even though we bought them at the same time. Curious.