After another super long drive, we finally arrived in Paris! Switzerland was definitely the most fun two days of the entire trip, having seven other Contiki tours at the same hostel made for some fun nights. Plus, we got to try real Swiss cheese fondue which was delicious.
Upon arrival in Paris, we drove (and some people slept) through the city to see the sights whilst Zach gave his usual two hour talk about the history of the country. It was slightly surreal seeing the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe in real life.
After our sightseeing tour, we headed to our hotel in Porte de St Ouen, a slightly salubrious area of Paris. But hey, who’s complaining – it’s Paris!! We had a whole free night to enjoy after dinner, so a bunch of us wandered around the streets of the neighbourhood, enjoying the atmosphere.
The next morning was a slightly later start, breakfast wasn’t until 7:30am! After that we jumped back on the bus to go to Fragonard, a French perfumery. It was amazing to see how perfume is made, and where they source all the different plants. Afterwards we all went slightly nuts in the shop, I think almost everyone walked away with some perfume! We split the cost with some others, they had a deal for five bottles. After Fragonard we had a free day so a bunch of us headed to the Champs Elysees for some retail therapy.
We were supposed to meet our coach back at the Musee D’Orsay at 4.15 for the trip back to the hotel. A whole bunch of us turned up and waited until around 4.20, then went searching for the coach….right as we reached the road it drove past us! So then we had the joy of trying to work out the Paris Metro! At least there was about 20 of us so we were all doing it together in the 38 degree heat. But boy that was definitely the most challenging part of the trip so far.
Finally we made it back to the hotel, just in time to get changed for our Parisian night out – dinner, followed by a cabaret show and of course a night out on the town (I mean it wouldn’t be Contiki if we stayed at our hotel all night!). After struggling up the steps to Sacre Couer, and all dying at the top for about ten minutes, we headed to our restaurant in Montmartre. Dinner was amazing, we all tried escargot which was surprisingly delicious, and the wine was unlimited.
After dinner we walked back down to the cabaret show at Nouvelle Eve, which was absolutely incredible. Unlimited champagne, dancing and about five Contiki tours all in the same room made for a super fun night. Finally, we went to a bar called O’Sullivans to celebrate/commiserate our last night on tour together.
Overall I think I can say this Contiki tour was easily the best holiday I’ve ever been on. Everyone became super close and we really are like one big family. Despite the fact that we all now have the famous “Contiki cough”, we had a fantastic time seeing Europe and made so many new friends, I wish we could do it all over again!