Hello there everyone!! I've been procrastinating way too long in getting this TR started! This here story is about my DD Noelle (I call her Ellie!!) and her amazing, unbelievable, fabulous 13th birthday trip to Paris!! First... a cast of characters..... NOELLE!! aka 'Ellie' Ellie is a fun loving, goofy, sweet, silly, has her diva moments, fashonista that has been dreaming of seeing Paris since she was 8 years old! She is a fabulous student in school, dances (ballet, jazz, tap, hiphop, and modern!) almost every day, plays soccer, and loves to hang out with her friends! Ellie turned 13 on this trip... which is the reason we went! ME! I'm Paula.... a 30(ahem)something gal with a love of travel, photography, and Disney. Happily married for 17 years, with 3 great kids(Kyle 16, Ellie 13, and Allison 10), 2 dogs (Buddy a 4yo border collie and Maggie a 6month old beagle-lab mix), and 3 cats(Rex, Zoey, and Tigger: all 10 yo)! Yep.. we have our own little zoo!! I am a pharmacist by day, and a digital scrapbook designer by night. (yeah I know... wierd combination huh?? lol!) THE BASIC ITINERARY!! Dates: September 13th - September 26th 2011 Ellie's Birthday: Sat September 17th Paris: 8 days/7 nights Disneyland Paris 4 days/5 nights Here's a little background to why we took this trip... some challenges I encountered planning it, and why i think that its soooo important for me to write this TR! The PRELUDE! I love to travel ( I think I MAY have mentioned that part already!!) and I will use any excuse I can come up with to do so. My DH does NOT like to travel... but fortunately is very good about letting me go!! My daughters both love to travel as well.... my son, is a homebody like his Dad hehehe! So...in a moment of pure brillience.... about 4 years ago.. I told all 3 of my kids that when they turned 13 I would take them anywhere in the world they wanted to go! Pretty smart huh?? Well Kyle was the 1st to hit 13...but he didn't want to go anywhere! He opted to stay home and get a laptop! He's DEFINATELY his father's son! Ellie however had no intention of skipping this opportunity, and decided she was going to Paris! She saved up her money for 3 years so she could shop til she dropped!! The CHALLENGE! I had originally planned to do an Adventure By Disney trip to London/Paris. I had even booked it! But, as I researched, so many things that we wanted to do, wasn't included.... and there really wasn't enough time for due to the itinerary. So eventually I just decided that I was going to take the chance and go WITHOUT the safety net of a group My DH was NOT happy about it either, and for the 1st time ever he put up arguements as to why I shouldn't take her. He had alot of valid points... and I had NEVER been to Europe, my French is pitiful, and the trip was going to cost a small fortune and the economy was sinking fast! As I did more research I came to the conclusion that we could take the trip for 2 full weeks.... and spend HALF the money as it would have cost to do ABD!! AND see the sites we wanted!! But it took a YEAR of planning to manage it! WHY I AM WRITING THIS TR!!! well... 1st of all, my DISfriends will probably disown me if I didn't.. cause I promised lol! But more importantly.... some of the BEST information I got was by reading others TRs! Am I the ONLY gal from the states that is crazy enough to take their 13yo (alone) to Paris?? I hunted and I searched.... I could find TRs with adults.... ones with grandparents.... ones with little kids....ones with Sr High/college kids. But I didn't find ONE with taking a young teen!! We were spending alot of time in Paris... but even though I found great info, there was nothing that really got into the details/drama of taking a 13yo girl and what she might really enjoy!! Plus...most (not all!)of the TRs I read here was primarily DLP (which was great!!) but we really wanted to see the city too... and there was more limited info about that here! I know that the majority of folks on this part of the board are from jolly ole England... and probably know Paris like the back of their hand!! But, I can't imagine I'm the only DIS-boarder from the states that when heading off on a Paris vacation, made their very 1st stop right here in this friendly spot on the boards!! And if they are anything like me.... they know NOTHING! So in the hopes of helping out another mom... so that she doesn't end up buying 16 (yes 16!) tour/guide books and spend countless hours online researching, and not to mention.... a chance to show off some of my 6000 photos I'm writing this trip report! I really hope you come along for this adventure!!