I recently returned from a 7-day Contiki Canada London and Paris tour. The style is Easy Pace with just two cities to explore, but when you’re on one of the Contiki Europe tours, there is never enough time to experience everything the destinations have to offer and bond with new friends! The Contiki Canada itinerary included 6 nights’ accommodation, 6 continental breakfasts, 2 dinners, sightseeing tours of both cities, and plenty of free time to spend on your own.
Our London hotel was located in Russell Square, within close walking distance of the British Museum, the University of London and the Charles Dickens Museum. Soho, Covent Garden, Camden Market, and Oxford St shopping are just short subway rides away or a slightly longer (but totally doable) walks. From the airport, it is very easy to take the 45 minute Underground to Russell Square – just board the Piccadilly Line to Russell Square station and the hotel is around the corner. Tube stops like Camden Town, Covent Garden, Leicester Square, London Bridge, and Westminster are named after the attractions they lead to.
The bus city tour on the first night in London was called a “driveby shooting” by our tour guide – have your cameras ready to shoot from the window. It was not the most ideal way to see the attractions, but it gives you an orientation of the city and more time to actually walk them later on your own. You’ll see Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, House of Parliament, Tower of London, and other main attractions.
The city is very walkable but The Tube is extremely easy to use, and a two-day Underground pass is included with this Contiki Europe tour, in addition to an interesting Jack the Ripper walking tour and West End musical (we saw Mamma Mia!). A Street Art Walking Tour was a ME Time Optional (activities that are not included in the price of your Contiki tour in Europe that you can opt in to and pay for when you’re in destination) for £9.00.
Before you leave London, you will experience an English pub (or two, or three…) with your tour group, probably in Covent Garden. During your free time, take advantage of Happy Hour savings, where business people will crowd the pubs after work. Remember to eat dinner early as most kitchens close around 10 pm and you won’t be able to enjoy a snack with your drinks. Also note that the London Bridge is not what is pictured below; this is the Tower Bridge (very confusing for tourists).
Say goodbye to Part 1 of the Contiki Canada London and Paris tour – and move on to part two in the City of Lights and the City of Love. Getting to Paris took longer than the 2-hour high-speed train alternative. On this Contiki tour in Europe, a two-hour bus ride brings you to a two-hour ferry ride, where you will see the White Cliffs of Dover, followed by a 3.5 hour bus ride to the Paris hotel in Port de Clichy.
In Paris, entrance into the Eiffel Tower, a visit to a perfumery, and a trip to Versailles are included. Paris ME Time Optionals include a group photo at the Eiffel Tower (Euro 11.00), 3-hour Fat Tire Bike tour (Euro 23.50) and Moulin Rouge dinner and show (Euro 149.00).
Paris was a much larger city with many more neighbourhoods to explore than London. Unfortunately, a subway pass is not included for this part of the Contiki tour, though with only two full days in Paris and bus drops offs in main areas like the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower, there isn’t much time to venture far. I recommend if you are not continuing your journey to another destination, choose the Contiki Tour: London and Paris with Paris Extension to stay an extra two nights in the City of Love.
Tours of Europe are fast-paced and Contiki Paris tours are great for giving you an overview of the important sites. Note how you want to spend your free time visiting attractions in Paris that are not included: do you want to spend an afternoon in the Louvre (I didn’t, and here’s why), visit the Love Lock bridge, see Notre Dame Cathedral – note these are all in the same area – or head to one of many other museums or the beautiful hill top area of Montmontre. Perhaps you simply want to relax and have a picnic under the Eiffel Tower. If you’re on a budget, there are many free things to do in Paris.
Contiki Holidays London and Paris tour is good for someone who does not have much time to travel, since it is only a week long, and good for those who want to add on the optional Rome or Amsterdam extensions, turning the tour into 9 or 10 days long. Of course, you can arrive a few days earlier and depart a few days later like I did to extend your vacation in two cities. Remember, this 7 day tour is more like 5 days: Day 1 is when you meet your group for dinner, day 4 is when you travel from London to Paris, and day 7 is when you say goodbye at breakfast.
On this Contiki tour, you’ll experience London’s trendy neighbourhoods and Paris’ joie de vivre. If you have any questions about this or other Contiki Europe tours, comment below!
The average cost per day for this tour is C$183
View my Paris photo diary here.