A Luxury Travel Itinerary for France for the Luxury Disney Traveler
Disneyland Paris and More of France for the Luxury Disney Traveler
How to Spend Two Luxurious Weeks in France
If you are an upscale Disney traveler who’s considering a trip to Disneyland Paris, it makes a lot of sense to extend your stay in France so that you can experience more of this great nation. If you’re traveling from North America (or from anywhere outside of Europe for that matter), it’s a long way to go so why not make the most of it with a full travel itinerary of France, anchored by Disneyland Paris.
We did just that, so in this post I will share with you my luxury itinerary for a two week vacation in France, starting with a first-class stay at Disneyland Paris.
This luxury travel itinerary covers four destinations in France over a two week period. Of course you can adjust anything as you see fit, but this will give you an idea of what I did with my family and my recommendations along the way.
A Two-Week, Four-Stop, Luxury Travel Itinerary for France for the Luxury Disney Traveler
To start things off on the right foot, book first class airline tickets for your international flight. In our case, this meant that we had comfortable pods to truly enjoy our journey with the ability to get some critical sleep time on the flight over.
From our home airport in Toronto, flights to Europe tend to leave in the early evening local time and land in the morning Paris time. The flight itself is only around seven hours, but once you land it will be morning so you’ll really need to do whatever you can to get at least two or three hours of sleep on the flight. First Class pods help to make this more comfortable.
In this itinerary, once you touch down in Paris, you will need to be (relatively) refreshed and ready to go for a full day in a Disney Park.
A Luxury Disney Travel Itinerary for France
(Duration: Two Weeks)
The First Leg: Disneyland Paris, Three Nights
Before leaving home you will need to make travel reservations for several of your journeys within France. The first decision is how you will get from Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport in Paris to Disneyland Paris in Marne-la-Vallée. Basically you have two options:
- you can take the TGV high speed train from the airport to Disneyland Paris or
- you can reserve a private car service to whisk you from the airport directly to your Disneyland Resort hotel.
If you take the fastest TGV train, it’s possible to get to Disneyland Paris from CDG in roughly 10 minutes. The train station is located right in the midst of the Disney Village area and you can very easily get to the Disneyland Hotel by foot (a short 15-minute walk).
Things to consider about taking the train.
After you pick up your luggage, you will need to make your way through the airport to the TGV departure area. This can be a bit of a challenge depending on where your airline gate is located at the airport. You’ll also need to get a train ticket. It is easy to do this in advance by booking online and you can also buy one at the airport. It’s possible that the train you want could be sold out, so if you plan to take the TGV I would recommend buying your ticket in advance.
The other thing to consider is your luggage. When you take the train you will be fully responsible for lugging your own suitcases everywhere you go. Trust me when I say that getting onto a French train with a bunch of heavy suitcases and lugging them up the stairs inside a railway car (likely on a crowded train) is no fun at all. So keep this in mind depending on the size of your family and the size of your suitcases.
Using a Private Car Service
We chose to go with a private car service, since this is how I always travel to Disney destinations anywhere else. The cost is not significantly different than TGV premium class tickets and it is far more appealing to me to see a driver waiting for me after the luggage carousel. You simply get your luggage, pass through a brief French Customs booth and then your driver will be waiting to take you door-to-door to your Disneyland Resort hotel.
After doing a fair bit of research and reading many online reviews, I chose to use Inter Service Prestige (ISP) car service. ISP was great and exactly what we expected. Our driver spoke English, the car was clean and he greeted us promptly on our arrival. The drive took approximately 45 minutes, but there was door-to-door service and things couldn’t have gone smoother. We booked this round trip fare in advance, but paid cash in person after each of the two trips. The return trip was equally as impressive.
Arrival at Disneyland Hotel, Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Hotel, Castle Club
Our Luxury Disney vacation to Disneyland Paris began with a stay at the Castle Club in the Disneyland Hotel. Not only did we receive the excellent service that we are used to from Disney Club Level accommodations, but we also received the coveted VIP FastPass for staying in the Castle Club. This FastPass cannot be purchased and it gives you unlimited access to all FastPass attractions in both parks. It made a big difference to the efficiency of our stay as we easily covered all the ground of both parks and the Disney Village area during our three-night stay.
The Castle Club features a private elevator that takes you directly to the front gates of Disneyland Park. It could not be more convenient than that. Plus, while the Club Level Lounge at the Disneyland Hotel only offers two meal changes per day (a breakfast and an afternoon snack — although you can drop in at any time for a hot or cold drink), the breakfast service features Disney characters every day. You won’t find a more quality meet and greet experience anywhere else.
We spent three nights in our Castle Club room. With the benefit of a VIP FastPass, three nights is plenty of time to see both parks fairly thoroughly, along with strolling the Disney Village area a couple of times (it’s not very big). You really don’t need more than three nights here at a time…not with other fabulous destinations in France right on your doorstep.
The Second Leg: Nice, France and La Cote d’Azur (three nights)
The next stop on this luxury itinerary of France is the bustling coastal city of Nice. Ideally located on the southern coast of France, this unofficial capital of the French Riviera is a great base from which you can visit many of the exceptional sights and sounds of the south of France. I lived in Nice for just over a year many years ago and it was great to be back in my European home-away-from-home.
Getting to Nice from Disneyland Paris
While you can take the TGV high speed train from Disneyland Paris to Nice, save yourself the hassle and book a flight on Air France. If you use the car service to get to and from Disneyland Paris and Charles de Gaulle airport, then you can be dropped off right at your airline check-in at the airport on the return trip. Flying is fast, convenient, competitively priced and there is good ground transportation from the airport in Nice to your hotel.
Where to Stay in Nice
Without question, there is only one place to stay in Nice and that is Hotel Le Negresco. Located right in the heart of the action on Le Promenade des Anglais, Le Negresco is a Nice institution. From the airport, you can hop on bus #98 and it will take you on a short scenic drive along the Promenade — almost right to the door of your hotel. For only a few Euros for each passenger, this an efficient way to travel.
When you’re in Nice for any amount of time, you’ll notice that Le Negresco is the landmark institution that appears on just about every tourist souvenir for Nice. It is the landmark of the city and it’s an exceptional luxurious property to book as your home base. We were lucky enough to get a suite facing the Mediterranean and it made for a very memorable stay. We did not want to leave when our three nights were up and everyone would have been happy to stay here for another week. The hotel itself is stunning—it’s basically like staying in an art museum. The surroundings reflect the extravagant decor that defined this part of France for many years. The appointments are first rate, the service is exceptional and the ambiance simply cannot be beat.
While in Nice, there are so many things to see and do. It really depends on what appeals most to you. Our stay included many local ventures, such as visiting the ancient Roman ruins in le Cimiez, the Matisse Museum, the Port of Nice, Castle Hill and a lot of time in Vieux Nice, which is my favourite part of this city. Of course, swimming in the Mediterranean in front of the hotel is a must.
The Third Leg: Monte Carlo, Monaco (three nights)
While you could visit much of the La Cote d’Azur from Nice, we wanted to spend some time in one of the jewels of the region: Monte Carlo. Not only is it interesting to stay here and experience the lifestyle of the rich and famous first hand, but Monte Carlo is much closer to Vintimiglia across the Italian border, making it an easier day trip from Monaco.
To get to Monaco from Nice you can take a bus, the train or take a taxi. For convenience, we decided to take a taxi, which was 90 Euros flat rate door-to-door. Not only will a taxi allow you to see much of the stunning scenery along the coast between Nice and Monte Carlo, but it also means you don’t have to drag luggage to and from train stations on either end (which would mean you would ultimately have to take taxis for the connecting legs anyway).
In Monte Carlo we stayed at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel. The Monte Carlo Bay is a modern luxury resort hotel located at the very end of the principality. It is quite a stark juxtaposition to Le Negresco, just as Monte Carlo is to Nice. While the Monte Carlo Bay is an upscale property with a large meandering pool area and ocean swimming access, it’s not somewhere that we would likely stay again. I would suggest that the Hotel de Paris would be a better choice and is located much closer to the heart of the sights and sounds of Monte Carlo (and next door to the Casino).
Whether or not you choose to stay here, Monte Carlo is worth seeing for sure. Extreme wealth is all around you here, so be prepared for sticker shock. Since the physical size of Monaco is so small, it is much more built up and modern than anywhere else along the coast. You won’t find any large mansions in sight as every available inch of land is used to maximum potential by building luxury condominiums. It is much more Las Vegas than it is Riviera. Still, there are several must-dos here, including a trip to the Oceanography Museum, the Prince’s Palace and Monaco Ville (the old town), among others. Gamblers will want to bring some evening wear if they plan to venture out to the world famous casino one evening. Fans of luxury cars will be in heaven in Monaco, as Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis and other exotic cars are everywhere. Porsches and BMWs seem to be the bare minimum if you want to fit in here.
While staying in Monte Carlo, it’s worth hopping on the coastal train and taking the half hour ride to the Italian town of Vintimiglia. Friday is market day, but I would recommend avoiding that day due to excessive crowds. Instead, head over on another day to enjoy some local shopping, dining and sights and sounds, all within a short walk of the train station. I like visiting Vintimiglia because it is so conveniently close when you are in the area and you will notice that you are in Italy and not France or Monaco (even though it is a border town).
All of this said, if there was one leg of the trip that you could drop, it would be this one. It would be completely advisable to spend six nights in Nice if the appeal of staying in Monaco is not your cup of tea.
The Fourth Leg: Paris (four nights)
The final four nights of our two-week luxury itinerary in France were spent in Paris.
To get to Paris from Monaco, this time we decided to take the TGV (high speed rail) to compare it to the flight. This was a major mistake. I highly recommend that you fly to Paris from Nice. Even though we booked first class seats on the TGV, the train was slow, dirty and more than half of the bathrooms did not work. The SNCF (French Rail) website had promised free WiFi for the journey. Since it’s a six-hour ride, this was important for keeping our 10-year-old occupied. Unfortunately this was an outright falsehood by SNCF as there was no WiFi to be had. The journey was a slow nightmare. Avoid the train and take an Air France flight from Nice to Paris.
You have so many choices of luxury accommodations in Paris that it is head spinning.
After much research and consideration, I decided to book a boutique luxury hotel in the St. Germain district instead of one of the larger hotels across the Seine. We stayed at Le Relais Christine, which is a nice and cozy boutique hotel on a very quiet side street in St. Germain. This is an excellent location. In your immediate neighbourhood you can walk to cafes, shops, parks, restaurants and much more. It’s bustling with life at night.
Le Relais Christine is a pleasant boutique hotel and the staff are very friendly. However, the walls are paper thin and we had trouble sleeping due to noisy neighbours. This is a big minus for this property and it’s unfortunate because it is otherwise quite a nice place. The fact that they have Marshall Bluetooth speakers in each room only compounds the noise problem. Plus, these modern-looking amplifier-style speakers are completely out of place with the quaint decor of this hotel. Would I stay there again? I’m not sure. Would I stay in this area again? Definitely.
Within walking distance are the Seine, The Louvre and the Champs Elysees. The Eiffel Tower is only a short taxi ride away. So I would definitely recommend staying in St. Germain while visiting Paris.
There are many options when it comes to what to see and do in France. This itinerary is just one example of how you can extend a luxury vacation to Disneyland Paris by seeing more of this great country while you’re there.
Planning a Luxury Disney Vacation to France?
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Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist