Our Family Trip à Paris … with a Speedy Little Twist

The FIA Motorsport 2021 Prize-giving Award, Paris with a Young Family & Eurodisney

“The husband is a Kenyan rally driver and for the past 20 years I’ve haven’t really been the best petrol head groupie … this was all until the word ‘Paris’ was mentioned … well that changed things didn’t it :)”

“I have to admit to not being the most enthusiastic rally wife in the past. The reason being is that it gives me a lovely weekend to do what I love …. and honestly, going to Kenyan rallies as a ‘WAG’ can be a bloody nightmare! I ‘m always in the wrong place at the wrong time , getting in the way and being shouted at by officials at every corner … so I stamped my foot, crossed my arms and huffed off. This was all until the word ‘Paris’ was mentioned… thereupon I was the most supportive rally wife you’ve ever heard of.”

FIA Africa Rally Championship

Why was Paris mentioned? …. Flash (my husband) and Tim (his incredibly hilarious, kind & generous co-driver for 20 years) were given the incredible opportunity to compete in the FIA Africa Rally Championship (ARC) 2021 for the first time ever. They were sponsored by the wonders that are ‘Minti Motorsport‘…. and you won’t believe it but they smashed it!! They won the Africa Rally Championship with 120 points in the penultimate round, which took place in the Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally section. With Sub-Saharan Africa being a vast, often merciless, playground for drivers and their crews, it was a huge achievement for both Flash and Tim…. I’ve gotta be honest we were proud!!!

Following their win, they were invited to go and collect their prize at a prestigious prize-giving ceremony, held in Paris (Cough, and charged a fortune if they don’t attend). So naturally, I was keen to become a rally groupie for this particular event alongside Denise, Tim’s charming wife & my pal … so off we went to Paris with Flash and Tim, and the kids in tow .

The Prize-Giving Event

The prize-giving was the most incredibly lavish event I have ever been to. All the huge rally celebrities from around the world were there and of course, I didn’t know any of them apart from Ginger Spice! Her husband is apparently a petrol head sort too. We met a mixture of people from all around the world from the rally/motorsport fraternity and Flash and Tim received their commendable prize .. what a hoot it all was.

Paris, The Fun Stuff

Our trip took place during Covid and there was uncertainty with countries closing down their borders on a daily basis, so we decided to take the kids along with us rather than be stuck apart over Christmas. Of course, being with the kids meant that we were going to have to do fun stuff too.

Having traveled yearly to France in the past (I used to go sometimes 2-3 times a year), I had a lot of ideas up my sleeves of what to do to keep us adults & the kids entertained.

At the top of the list were all the Christmas markets, Eurodisney and visiting famous sites such as the Eiffel Tower & the Siene … was a museum too much for kids of this age??? … the list was endless. Having grown up in Kenya, my kids certainly do not know a lot about snow or cold weather or a twinkly Christmas in Europe. They had so much to look forward to; the incredible French Christmas lights, the smell of roasting chestnuts and glupy hot chocolate with heaps of whipped cream (mulled wine for us please). There were so many incredible Christmassy things they had never even dreamed about. The highlight for us was Jardin des Tuileries Christmas market which was a roaring success (though bank-account breaking), but a lively atmosphere and so much fun to be had, especially with Tim and Denise there with us (this definitely resulted in less holiday-strops … from all of us!)

Tim is brilliant with both our kids. We definitely would not have managed to get them walking around Paris for 4 whole days by ourselves. He constantly entertains them by pointing out the pretty girls to Billy and by teasing Zia. It meant that our trip as a whole was pretty winge-free (Tim & Denise may not agree :)).

Happy children = Happy parents after all.

As well as walking ….. Tim & I and the kids went up the Eiffel Tower (2nd floor access & skip the line tickets were well worth it) which created very special memories for my little family, we had a blast!!! I booked a Christmas light tour on a double decker bus, in which both kids slept throughout, but I enjoyed it :). Our treat of the trip (that I organised for my own birthday treat 🙂 as the event was on my birthday) was Bateaux Parisiens, a lunch river cruise with wine & live music was an incredible day, with delicious food (for us adults), beautiful scenery and a day which we all loved .. psssst. book to be next to the window!!! We went for some delicious meals in the Parisian square side cafes and Tim had the toe-rags try all sorts of French delicacies which I would have never achieved … including snails :). This has to be one of the most amusing memories which we luckily caught on video.

It’s certainly a memorable trip, all round and we feel lucky to have been able to do it.

The Important Stuff

In Paris stayed in the Hôtel Madeleine Haussmann which was the tiniest, pokiest hotel (as are most affordable Paris hotels), but it was clean and the breakfasts were good …. And it was in the BEST location you could expect … everything was walking distance.

EuroDisney

Then off we scooted to Eurodisney for 3 nights …. For a Kenyan free-range family, the excitement levels were high. We’d highly recommend staying in the Disney Hotel (spend a week or so searching for good rates online and you’ll get a great special eventually) as it’s in the centre of the action (In my opinion Disney’s Sequoia Lodge is not a patch on it). Here you can access Eurodisney before and after the crowds each day, which makes the experience far more enjoyable.

There are two parts of Eurodisney, Disneyland & Walt Disney Studios, plan your days accordingly or it’s a lot of walking!

Our tips for enjoying this bonkers experience, is pay, pay, pay to avoid too many strops & stamping feet … Pay to stay in the best place, pay to skip the 4 hour long queues, pay for extortionately overpriced candyfloss.

The shops .. these were all firm favourites with our kids, they basically all sell the same thing, but they loved them (the shops in Walt Disney are more varied than Disneyland).

The rides … The big hit was Big Thunder Mountain for the whole family, we all enjoyed Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing (it was slow but relaxing!) .. we loved it, again and again and again! Phantom Manor scared the living daylights out of me, but the kids seem to enjoy it :). I was too much of a wimp to go on Indiana Jones & The Temple of Perils or Hyperspace Mountain (thank god Zia was too short, so a great excuse not to go), but it was Billy’s highlight of the entire trip!!!

Meet’n’Greet – They loved meeting the characters such as Stitch and Goofy. Billy loved meeting the Marvel characters. Zia’s highlight was meeting Minnie Mouse!

Shows … We loved Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show but sadly that’s no longer going. Billy loved meeting the Marvel characters and seeing their streetshows (free, by the way), we’d 100% recommend The Lion King, Rythms of the Pridelands (and buy your tickets, don’t queue), it’s incredible!!! NB. Check the language & length of the shows before you queue. Unless you’re fluent in French, don’t queue for 3 hours to watch 10 minutes of Frozen, a Musical Invitation … in French (biggest disappointment on the trip).

The food … was extortionate and pretty awful, almost without exception. If you want an ‘experience’ we’d recommend you book months in advance to get a table. If you’re like us and not this organised, go and queue for a pizza at 10.45am at Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost (which then opens at 11am) before the crowds arrive … or eat in Starbucks outside or the only restaurant that we actually quite liked was the Silver Spur Steakhouse. … Pssst. food in the hotel it was slightly better.

Hot Tip. Before going to Eurodisney, check which rides are closed before you travel as many are closed at every one time.

Ready to book your own family adventure? Why not take a look at some of our other posts and get some ideas of where we suggest you go.

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