En Route to Disneyland

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Delve in to the depths of the Black Forest for thrilling family fun.

Sights

Château de Chantilly

Rebuilt in the 1870s following the French Revolution, the Château de Chantilly is home to the Musée Condé, one of the finest art museums in France. Surrounded by a pristine lake, regal gardens and the Grand Stables, a visit here will make the family feel as though they have stepped into a storybook.

Kids will enjoy the small train that takes you around the estate, and inside the Château itself, you'll find paintings and sculptures from around the 19th century. If you want to explore the surrounding area, take a few hours to walk through the Trois Forêts, one of the biggest forests surrounding Paris.

Louvre-Lens Museum

Born from the idea to transport some of Paris' finest works of art to other areas in France, the Louvre-Lens Museum is a fantastic modern building, housing a great range of art both old and new. A sleek design of aluminium and glass, the building is a beautiful contrast to the other, more traditional structures in Lens.

The museum was opened in 2012 and has a great selection of art, from as far back as 3500 BC, to more modern works. There are two exhibition walls and a temporary exhibition space, so there's plenty to explore.

Louvre-Lens Museum

Louvre-Lens Museum

Montreuil-sur-Mer

If you travel via the A16, pop by this beautiful town to see old houses, churches, ramparts and cobbled streets. It was founded in Roman times and serves as a pleasant stop off for lunch, as the area boasts some great restaurants, and hotels if you choose to stay the night.

Here you'll find two museums, an old citadel and stunning countryside. Take a long stroll through the town sightseeing to work up an appetite before heading to Salon Rodiere for a fantastic lunch, followed by tea and cakes.

The streets of Montreuil-sur-Mer

The streets of Montreuil-sur-Mer

Nausicaa

Perfect for visiting as soon as you hop off of the shuttle at Calais, Nausicaa has an impressive array of aquariums such as the Tropical Lagoon, Shark Aquarium and the Submerged Tropical Forest. Kids will love the Penguin Beach and Touch Pool, where you can befriend some stingrays!

There's also a Sea Lion Reserve, and at The World Ocean you can learn about the five oceans of the world, and how they connect and share the same space. This is a great trip for the kids, as they'll get to see all kinds of underwater creatures.

Froissy Dompierre Light Railway

Built in 1916 for the Battle of the Somme, this trusty little steam train takes you along the River Somme, in the Upper Somme Valley. Travelling between Froissy and Dompierre, the train was originally used as a supply line for the trenches during the war, and has since been used by a sugar factory.

The train ride will give you some time to relax and to enjoy the beautiful settings of the Somme Valley, and it only takes around 30 minutes. You'll be lead through an old tunnel, over a high bridge and up the valley hillsides. Kids will enjoy travelling through the forest, looking through the trees in search of animals! The train is a really unique and authentic experience through history.

Monet's Garden

Monet's Garden

Monet's Garden, Giverny

About 70 kilometres west of Paris is Giverny. This pretty commune sits alongside the River Seine and is famous for its gardens, which were used by artist Claude Monet when creating several of his most well-known masterpieces. Monet moved to the area of Giverny around 1890, after saving enough money to buy a house.

Around this time, there were many other artists who had settled in the area, inspired by its beauty and Monet's influence. Over time, Monet created these magnificent gardens and proceeded to paint them, creating such great works as Waterlillies, the Japanese bridge from which can still be seen in the water gardens.

Beussent Chocolate Factory

Opened in 1985, the Beussent Chocolate Factory is a great detour if you're travelling down the A16 to Disneyland. The factory creates handmade chocolates and sources its cocoa beans from its very own plants in Ecuador. As a family-run company, it is a really lovely place to stop by if you and the family are chocolate fans!

Just 10 kilometres from Montreuil-sur-Mer, the factory makes its chocolates under very strict standards, and the artisans who work here are all experts in the field of chocolate. You'll be able to taste some of the factory's delicious chocolate, and there's also a chance to grab some tea and cake, or a freshly baked loaf of bread from the bakery! Delicious.

Basilica of St Denis

Basilica of St Denis

Basilica of St Denis

If you're on your way into Paris and fancy teaching the kids some history, the Basilica of St Denis is in one of Paris' northern suburbs. Saint Denis is the patron saint of France, and it is said that he was the first bishop of Paris. The Gothic cathedral was finished in the 13th century, and it's become famous for being the first Gothic church.

When you visit, check out the beautiful stained-glass windows, including the large rose window, which shows the story of Creation from the book of Genesis. Inside you'll find huge vaulted ceilings, as well as cadaver tombs and royal burial sites. Many of the monarchs of France have their remains here, making it a very important spot for French nationals.

Parc Astérix

You might want to treat the kids before you've even arrived at Disneyland, and a great way to do this is with a trip to Parc Astérix. Just 32 kilometres from Disneyland Paris, this theme park is based on the stories of Astérix, a favourite cartoon character with adults and children alike. The park is made up of six 'worlds', ranging from Egyptian to the Viking.

There is something for everyone here, and kids of all ages will love the range of water rides, rollercoasters and even a ghost train! You can meet all of your favourite Astérix characters at the Village show, and there's even a fun sea lion and dolphin show at the Theatre of Poseidon.

Parc Zoologique, Citadel Park, Lille

Lille is a little off the track on your way to Paris, but this slight detour is well worth it for animal lovers. The zoo here is one of the most popular in France, with well over 1 million people visiting every year. The largest park in Lille, the Citadel Park has a children's playground and lovely walking route along a canal, which comes from the Deûle River.

The zoo itself is home to around 400 animals, from birds of prey to monkeys and zebras. Perfect for children, alongside the zoo you'll find the Cub Corner, which is a funfair for kids. The zoo is free, and is quite compact which makes it easy to navigate particularly if you're with young children.

Getting there and around

Disneyland Paris is about 3 hours in the car from Calais. You can get to France is just 35 minutes from Folkestone with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle you'll be there in no time at all.

Book your journey

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Photo Credits:
Louvre-Lens Museum – Image by Flickr user Yann Caradec
The streets of Montreuil-sur-Mer – Image by Flickr user Richard Norton & David Allen
Château de Chantilly – Image by Flickr user Guillaume Cattiaux
Monet's Garden – Image by Flickr user mat's eye
Basilica of St Denis – Image by Flickr user Claude Attard

All pictures licensed for commercial use at time of publication.

Book travel

from £23
Prices start from £23 per car, each way* *£23 Day Trip & Overnight - Ticket must be purchased as part of a 2 day return. Return must be completed by midnight (local time) on the second calendar day. Book your travel now