Le Joie De Vivre a Paris!

Trip Start Sep 08, 2012
Trip End Sep 18, 2014

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Sunday, September 16, 2012

Paris has never been on the top of my list as a travel destination. I tend to want to go to cities that are older and off the beaten path. As we arrived in Paris later in the day the bus took us on a little tour and I was blown away and the grandeur of all the massive buildings. Immediately my impression changed, and I was ready to explore! Our hotel was one of the ibises, good quality hotel for the money, however it was located outside the city center. A common theme across contiki bus tours. That night we had a night time bus tour of Paris, including a stop at the Eiffel Tower where we all took pictures and saw the tower sparkle. I believe we had dinner in the hotel...
There wasn't much to do in the hotel except sit around and drink at the little lobby bar. So some if us set out in search of a bar. We walked and walked and asked every person we saw...nothing. We finally found a gas station where we bought some snacks and just went back to the hotel. My suggestion again, is to try to find a bar or restaurant near the hotel. Or even take taxis to back into the Paris center. It would definitely be worth it. I know I sound like a broken record when I say that the location of some hotels hindered out nights out, but we still had fun just hanging together. On contiki you meet amazing people, and it's crazy how close you can become after just a few days.

The next day we had a full day in Paris! Our first stop was at Fragonard Perfumeries, which is a a store/museum. We sampled a few scents which were really nice. I bought a small bottle for my mom(maybe .5 oz) for about 30 euro. After that we had free time until we had to meet back at the Eiffel Tower for our included pass to go up, and for a group picture. Make sure you buy the group photo, it's a great keepsake. Otherwise, good luck trying to get a picture of the whole group yourself. Our TM suggested a nice place for lunch and one of the boys on our tour REALLY wanted to go there. We were all starving, so we reluctantly agreed to follow! Just before that we went to the lock bridge where you can buy a lock and put it on the bridge for you and your significant other. There must be hundreds of thousands of locks, if not more! It's a great place to take some really cool photos.
We kind of wasted a lot of time looking for this lunch spot, and finally when we got there it was closed! So we went to the first restaurant we came buy, which was pretty crowded. I couldn't tell if it was touristy or not, but the waitress didn't speak much Anglais. We ordered all the typical dishes including snails and french onion soup. It was pretty good. The snails were a bit too rubbery for my liking.

Next we went to the Notre Dame Cathedral. It was beautiful inside and surreal to be there, especially when a service was taking place.

I really wish we had planned out our day better because we didn't get to see very much, but I'm sure I'll be back!

We took the metro (easy to use) to the Eiffel Tower and went up to each level. It was very nice to be up there and take pictures of the beautiful view. You can also have a glass of champagne for about 11 euro haha.

That night most of us paid for the moulin rouge option. It's really expensive, but it was worth it in the end. The show is made up of several talent acts, connected together but dancing half naked ladies (yes, no tops) who sing in French. The meal was good, I had the fish and pâté. I don't want to ruin the show too much for you in case you go, but there's an amazing juggler, acrobatics and snakes... There is also a burlesque comedy act which was very funny.

Afterwards our TM took us a a bar right next door which was really fun. It was super sad that it was our last night. Everyone was dancing and singing together. The bar also had a large back room with salsa dancing... You had to pay cover to get in, so we didn't go but it looked great. By the way, this tour crosses with European Horizons which is the budget level version. So they were at the bar as well. We became friendly with some of them on the lake cruise in Lucerne, so it was nice to have the friends join us again. The TMs had bottles of some kind of liquor which they were pouring into our mouths...so that was fun haha.

It was a rough morning the next day to say the least, and we all had to get back on the bus for the airport transfer or ride back to London. Ilena and I had Paris flights, so we had to say our goodbyes as we got off the bus. It was really sad knowing we might never get the chance to see our new friends again. Ilena cried! I miss everyone a ton and have yet to see my tour mates. I do know other people who have met up, and even gone on more tours together! Thank heavens for Facebook!!!

I hope this blog provides a good idea of what to expect, even though it lacks some details here and there since it's been so long! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me! My next tour will be with G Adventures to Southeast Asia in late October. I feel like a Contiki traitor, but their Asian tours just didn't work with my schedule. I will be back to review that one sometime.

If you want to sign up for this tour, or any other others you can use my personal link below to receive a 50 euro credit for Tour Radar! They have loads of tours from various travel companies.

Thanks for reading!!
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