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Old 08-06-2012, 05:30 PM   #1
tsgirl
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Esprit de France Trip Report- Day 1 and 2

Hi Everyone. We are just completing Day 3 of the incredible new Esprit de France trip. Photos will follow upon our return, but I wanted to share all of our experiences while they were still fresh in our minds.

My family of 5 (my husband and I, plus 3 daughters ages 14, 18, and almost 21) began our third Adventures by Disney three days early to visit DisneyLand Paris. If you have never experienced a Disney Park before, this is a great idea. If you are like us, and are truly Disney addicts, you could skip this plan. We were somewhat disappointed, even though criticizing anything Disney is difficult for me! It is a terrific idea to start your adventure a few days before the tour starts, to avoid jet lag on the tour, as long as you try not to repeat anything you will be doing with the tour in Paris at the end of the 8 day trip.

We took our rental car back to the airport after our 3 pre-days, and were picked up by an ABD driver who took us to our first hotel in Versailles, the Trianon Palace. As soon as we got out of the car, we were met by the most incredible pair of ABD guides, Jason and Clementine. As always seems to be the case, one guide is a native of the area (Clementine) and the second has a history with Disney (Jason). This time, however, our "native" also works at Epcot and our "Disney" guide is a seasoned performer in areas additional to Disney. They are the most organized, warm, and incredibly fun team. Unfortunately, this is their last tour of the season as a team. Hopefully, they will be back next year. Jason is a pro and has helped open many other ABD trips.

We learned that there were 43 of us (45 with the 2 guides), which we thought sounded like a lot, but all in all, the trip has run really smoothly. ABD arranged for an extra large bus and there hasn't been a single argument about seating. For our first day/night, since we didn't have jet lag, we walked into the gardens of Versailles. The hotel is literally located next to one of the gates. As part of the tour, the next day, you are treated to an escorted tour inside the Palace and allotted some free time to stroll the grounds, so one shouldn't plan to do that upon arrival. In the hotel, there is an indoor pool, gym, and spa to enjoy. On the property of Versailles, there are row boats to rent...you can eat lunch in the gardens...in the evening, after the welcome dinner, there was a fountain light show and fireworks. I assume that this does not always fall on the right day, so I would check ahead or ask your guides when you arrive. The Welcome Dinner we experienced was in a private room. As I mentioned, our group is quite large and since it is August in France, the main restaurant was closed. I thought the dinner was a bit sparce, by ABD standards, but this may be situational. The group introduced themselves, and everyone was friendly. Most families had older children, which worked well in conjunction with ours.

Day 2 began early. Luggage had to be out by 7:30 and we needed to be by the bus by 8am. Breakfast was buffet anytime after 7am. We all headed to the bus, which was equipped with a bathroom and video screens. We shuttled over to Versailles, passed all the lines (as ABD always magically does), and began an informative tour of the Palace of Versailles. Our guide spoke into a small mic which our ear pieces picked up. I had wondered how we would all hear the guide (even though our 43 split into 2 groups), but this worked perfectly.














After some free time in the gardens, we boarded the bus and drove over to Giverny. Giverny is where Monet's home is. We began our visit with lunch in a quaint restaurant on the Monet property. We had Boeuf Bourgignon. It was wonderful. For those with dietary restrictions, alternate food was provided, as always. I have one vegetarian daughter and one pescatarian. Food on an ABD tour has never been an issue. They handle dietary restrictions with ease. After that, we toured Monet's breathtaking gardens and home. Those who were interested participated in an art class. After that, we all met up for luscious crepes with nutella or sugar. It was a great day. Here you can see our incredible guides, Jason and Clementine.






The original trip itinerary included a stop in Honfleur on the way home, but they have decided to skip that. This change makes sense. The stop was too early for dinner, and with such a long day, it was simply nicer to arrive at our next hotel, the Royal Barriere, in time for dinner. During the 2 hour drive, we watched a Disney movie (which took place in France...any guesses?).

The Royal Barriere is gorgeous, right across from the water in Deauville. It is within an easy walk to many restaurants and a large Casino. The area hosts a film festival at the end of the summer, so restaurants and hotels have photos of famous people lining their walls. There are cafes, creperies, and gelato stands lining the streets. It is a fantastic spot. We all tried to go to sleep early since there was another early morning to follow. Luckily, we stayed at The Royal Barriere for 2 nights so there was no need to pack for Day 3. Some of the rooms at The Royal Barriere are named after actors who stay in that room often. Too bad John Travolta wasn't there at the same time. His room was right next to ours! Also, take a look at those horses on the beach. That view is from the window in our room.








Last edited by tsgirl; 08-12-2012 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 08-06-2012, 05:43 PM   #2
asmith1113
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Thanks so much!

Thanks for your update. We're on this trip in May '13 and it will be our first ABD, so having your additional first-hand information is very helpful!
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:13 PM   #3
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Thank you for your trip report. We are on the Sept. 1, 2012 tour! Just got our ABD box with trip stuff today.
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:43 PM   #4
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Yay! I think you're the first person we've heard back from who's done this trip! (Besides Fred! ) Really looking forward to more of your report! And pictures!

Ratatouille?

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Old 08-06-2012, 10:45 PM   #5
amsae
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Please tell Jason hello from his Ohio State Buckeye Family!! He is a great guide and you are so lucky. Ask him about poor Ceci from Bavaria, I just hope he does not cry again.... LOL!
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Old 08-07-2012, 01:11 AM   #6
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So happy people found the trip report helpful. I hope we have Internet in the next hotel, but if not, I'll write the next installment when I can. FYI, there is no free wifi in the first hotel, but you have 2 days of free wifi in the second hotel. Also, there are NO CLOCKS in the Royal Barriere, so plan ahead. Waking up as early as we have to is tough.

No, not Ratatouille....guess again?
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Old 08-07-2012, 01:36 AM   #7
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Amsae, message me your name so Jason knows who you are. Are you the big family that first travelled with over 30 and then did Germany with him? I just found out I will have Internet tonight in the chateau hotel, so I'll post yesterday's trip report to Mont St. Michel and today's day in Normandy a bit later.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:23 AM   #8
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What a shame that you didn't get to Honfleur...it is the prettiest village by far on that côte.

We spend a lot of time up there and it's not for nothing that Deauville/Trouville is known as the 21st arrondissement of Paris especially at weekends and in summer

Always interesting to read vistors impressions of France outside of Paris so I will be lurking along here
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Old 08-12-2012, 07:58 AM   #9
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Just found your report! It looks amazing. I have hopes we can do a trip to Europe in the next five years. Versailles looked very busy. ABD comes in handy to get through the big line.
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Old 08-12-2012, 10:26 PM   #10
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I'm so glad you've added the photos! Monet's gardens are gorgeous! And the Royal Barriere looks wonderful!

So do I understand that you really didn't care for Disneyland Paris? I'd love to hear what you *did* think. And did you make it on Crush's Coaster? I thought it was one of the best rollercoasters I've done!

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Old 08-13-2012, 05:09 PM   #11
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Your trip report and pictures were amazing and helpful in my upcoming trip(Sept. 1, 2012) . Thank you again for taking the time to let us know about the trip. I do have one question for you in regard to packing. Do most people wear shorts or pants? Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:13 PM   #12
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1whooper, that's a tough question to answer because it really depends on the weather. The trip started cold, so a lot of people wore long pants. I assume those who didn't just hadn't brought any. Once the weather got warmer, most people wore shorts (or even skirts/casual dresses). Unfortunately, I think it best to pack both. I brought 2 pairs of pants (1 was jeans), 2 pairs of capris, 2 pairs of shorts, and 3 casual dresses. When it was cold, I layered. Hope that helps!

Cindy
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