Planes, trains and striking government workers
20.12.2012 - 20.12.2012 4 °C
Arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport we were very excited to be in Paris but for Allanah especially that we were going to Disneyland. All we had to do was get out to the hotel but of course it wasn't that simple. We got tickets for the RER which was 27 Euros each compared to 50 each for the TGV and the TGV would also have required a taxi ride back one station from the Disneyland parks to our hotel at Val d'Europe. However, the RER was over an hour while the TGV was only 10 minutes direct. Nonetheless we took the RER on the advice of the guy in the information booth and set off on the train.
We made it as far as Gare de Nord and a message came over the intercom that the train was stopping here. No explanation and we were supposed to change trains after 2 more stations at Chatelet Des Halles. We got off, walked through to the departure boards and tried to figure out what was happening and what we should do. Very puzzled we were at a loss until a lovely lady stopped and asked where we wanted to go. She didn't speak any English but I was able to understand a bit of her French and the third word I picked up was 'greve', which I knew from recent experience in Portugal meant strike. Yes, the train drivers on the RER line B (only the line we were on) decided to go on strike in the middle of our train trip, 2 stations before we were about to get off.
The lady tried to take us through to the metro to get through to another RER line which would take us out to the Disney Parks but our tickets wouldn't let us through the barriers so against a tide of people she came back and advised us to go to platform 42 to get a train there which would take us in the right direction. I thanked her profusely for her help and we made our way back to the platform. With the RER line B closed these trains were very full through to the city but we managed to squeeze on for the very short trip to Chatelet Des Halles where we could get back on track, changing to the Red line which would take us out to Val D'Europe and the Disney Parks. While the rest of the trip was uneventful, by this time it had taken us almost 3 hours (with a brief pause for sandwiches) instead of the 15 minutes we could have taken by TGV. The upside was that we had very quickly got an education on the train system which has since come in handy.
We arrived at the ResidHotel which is quite new and well placed just one stop (less than 5 minutes and only 1.75 euros) from Disneyland. It is just next door to a big shopping centre with supermarket, restaurants, boutiques, etc as well so really suited us. The apartment we had was compact but well laid out so we were comfortable and able to feed ourselves on fresh food from the supermarket and local shops. For our first night we went and bought a BBQ chicken, cous cous and mixed salad with a chocolate mousse and some other bits and pieces.
At a fraction of the price of the Disney hotels and without the screaming Children running unsupervised around (from what we read this was a major drawback of staying on site) we were again very happy with our choice of hotels and got an early night in preparation for 2 days of fun.