Where else in France is magical to visit after our Disneyland Paris trip?
Q We are booked to go to Disneyland Paris for six days at the start of April, taking our car over the Channel, but after that we have a week left before our ferry back from Dunkirk to Dover. Our current plan is a road trip after Disney to Luxembourg, possibly the Netherlands and then back through Belgium. But are we missing out on some hidden places?
A What an excellent opportunity to discover new parts of “near Europe” in the course of a week – starting around 25 miles east of Paris. During your stay at Disneyland, you might choose to make the very short journey to the cathedral city of Meaux, which sits prettily in a loop of the Marne river. And central Paris is just 40 minutes away on the frequent RER (suburban rail) service from the gates of Disneyland.
Your road trip wishlist looks impressive but personally I would not venture quite as far because there is such a wealth of locations closer to hand. Aim east through Champagne country (pausing for a tasting or two along the way) to Reims, a stylish city with a fine cathedral and also a fascinating Musee de la Reddition – where Nazi Germany surrendered to end the Second World War in Europe.
Luxembourg is possibly a diversion too far, though you could spend a couple of days exploring the nation for free thanks to the radical plan of abolishing fares on the excellent public transport. I would be more inclined to head into the French and Belgian Ardennes, comprising exquisite countryside dotted with lovely towns.
Depending on the remaining time, you can then parallel the Franco-Belgian border to Lille – definitely worth an overnight stop for its architecture and gastronomy – or explore the Belgian trio of Ghent, Bruges and Ostend. Don’t overlook Dunkirk itself: understandably war-damaged but with a fine harbour, a lovely beach extending towards the Belgian border and lots of excellent places to eat, drink and shop ahead of your journey home.
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