Paris: who knew a magic kingdom existed in her realm?

while our intention at first was to spend more than a few days exploring Paris, we learned that family who is dear and special and lovely would be near, so we flexed our plans to travel outside the city of lights to Marne de Levee. plus, who couldn’t resist icy princesses and the queen of hearts?

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we arrived to Disneyland Paris by express coach from the 1st arroindsement, a quick and very comfortable ride, plagued by sleeping women and open-mouthed children and snoring men. we entered the park and waited to meet our loved ones. after some searching, we finally found the Scottish clan, and high pitched giggles resounded for kilometers.

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there wasn’t much planning on our part for the actual park itself, so we queued for meals, rides, trains, and more rides. while fastpass is available at this Disneyland, it still runs on tangible tickets, unlike in the americas where everything is conveniently booked on the mobile. no complaining was heard, however, as the time was spent laughing and playing and renewing familial bonds.

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the few rides we embarked were reminiscent of Magic Kingdom, where flying boats and pirates and small world wonders wreaked havoc on our adult brains. les petit enfants stared with delight as each attraction began, and moaned in distaste when we had to exit. it was worth the wait just to see the look of wonder on their faces.

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we ate and drank and loaded our stomachs with sugary goodness. we ran ourselves ragged walking around the park, filling our eyes with tourists and overactive children, while our lungs seeped with remnant second hand cigarette smoke.

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as the day ended, our bodies succumbed to the exhaust of it all. we said our tearful au revoirs and boarded the bus back to Paris.

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in the morning, we would begin our journey to Beaune, the key to the sommelier’s heart.

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it’s been a nuit fatiguée, y’all.

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the Eiffel Tower: a sleeping seductress in the city of lights.

sleep is scarce in our seventh floor flat; the moon is bright and hazy and full, beaming through the skylights and windows of our airy living space. the Iron Lady sparkles on the horizon, glittering the ceiling in her seductive ways. sirens abound in this part of Paris, the tell tale alarms sing in my dreams, igniting memories of the high energy films often seen from my seat on the plane.

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with little rest, we are up way too early. even so, tourists tend to congregate everywhere, from the moment we walk out the door we are covered in trinket shoppes and harassed by foreigners with rings of tiny Eiffel Towers, 5 for 10€. in obligatory tourist fashion, and after various complaints from sommkid regarding her tired legs, we opted to see Paris by bus, the hop-on hop-off providing a much needed break from the long blocks of the city.

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the wind is cool and wet. gray clouds hover above us, threatening a dreary day full of umbrellas and hot chocolates and patisserie stops with macarons. as we pass the Arc de Triomphe, sommkid breaks out her camera and begins to snap away. all told so far, there are more than 100 photos from this trip alone, and it’s only the second day in. (I wonder where she gets it!) again, the city beckons me with her decadence.

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we disembark at the Trocadero, and cross the busy roundabout into the gaggle of sightseers snapping and facebooking and instagramming their moments in time, the Iron Lady placidly sleeping in the background. again we find ourselves giving in to the selfie annoyance and retrieve our phones.  of course there is always time to find beauty in the foreground.

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fresh gingerades and nutella banana crepes await us at the carousels. since it is technically winter, the fountains are silent and the statues dusty without their daily showers. sommkid eagerly rushes toward the painted ponies and pays for her 2€ ride.

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later in the day, at the time printed on our Eiffel tickets, the sommelier sleeps off the jet lag and rillette and fromage from the previous day. sommkid and I once again brave the weather and forge our way back to the Iron Lady for our close up. after surviving two security details, we rode our way to the second platform, watching as a century of iron whisked past our gaping eyes.

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arriving in what felt like seconds, we walked out to the terrace to breathe in the spectacular views of the city of lights.

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we explored the high map of the city, and while we discovered, we took in all that was Paris, the enchantress of all things we love.

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and then we hit the wall. hard. sommkid barely made her way to back to the bus, where she immediately fell asleep in my lap while I discreetly eyed the ornate, gold-rimmed city.

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that night, awake with sugar and cream and a little caffeine, she awoke with silliness and playful giggles. we feasted on sweetbreads and steak frites and blood-center veal. sommkid further developed her nose for les vins, even sipping a small drop of sparkling to wet her palette. we talked through the night about our favorite things, serenading each other in lyrical fashion. and then there was this:

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be still my heart…. bonne nuit, y’all!

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