Pam

Pam

Follow Pam

26-year-old Female living in Sterling Heights, MI USA

Level 1 Traveler

1 tour

4 countries

Say something on Pam's profile

Default_avatar

PamPam (Pam)

London & Paris plus Rome Review and Advice

Hey guys. I wanted to create a review here for the tour in case you guys have some questions you're not sure about. The itineraries are a little vague and my group all seemed to share the same questions so please ask me anything. May 24th - Flight to London Sleep on the plane. The window seats are nice because you have something to lean on and you dont need to get up a thousand times to let someone out. There's free movies (some that arent even out yet) and free booze. Try to get a direct flight because if you miss a connection and get delayed, you're screwed out of a day. May 25th - Arrive in London I chose to do a shared transfer from the airport to the hotel. I was pleased. I didnt want to mess with the tube and stand in there for 45 minutes with your luggage. It's about 30 dollars and you split with 4 other people. Gets you right to the hotel. You can't check into your hotel until 2 but London has a Contiki Basement you can chill out in for awhile. Wi Fi hunting becomes a sport in Europe. You have to purchase something from a place if you want a password, otherwise everyone chills out in the lobby Facebooking because there's no Wi Fi in the rooms. I ended up walking around Russel Square for awhile and grabbing a drink at the pub. We met for dinner in one of the hotels and got our actual itinerary for the next few days with times etc. Afterwards we did the walk around Covent Garden and then a couple of us stayed out to drink at the pub. Contiki isn't necessarily all about drinking. Some people split up and some people drink a few nights. Just introduce yourself to everyone and find out which group of people you connect with most because like it or not, the group of 51 sort of formed its own cliques. London is a GREAT place to get drunk. Specially because there's a bar in the courtyard of the hotel and you can crawl up to your room afterwards which I did on a few occasions. It also feels safer than the other cities you'll soon visit. May 26th - 1st Full Day in London I opted out of the Stonehenge and Bath tour because I knew it would take most of the day up and I had plans to see stuff. Before the trip I had bought the Original Hop On Hop Off Tour and the London Pass through Viator. Love Viator. If you just need inspiration on what you want to see, check out what they have. Do not expect to sleep in on any day of this trip until Rome. You have to meet the bus around 7 something to get where the tour is going almost every morning. Also, the food in London blows. The English breakfast is different. Everything is just different. I found myself feeling starved most of the time I was there because I just didnt eat enough. There is a McDonalds off the Kings Cross station. Remember that, and thank me later. The Hop on Hop off allowed me to upgrade for another day for just 7 pounds so I decided to do that and was glad I did. The blue line picks you up right outside the hotel and I got an entire view of the city within just a few hours. I also purchased a play at the Globe beforehand (5 pounds) because Im a big Shakespeare buff and used my London Pass for the exhibition tour. NOTE: The London Pass sucks. It is not 24 hours, it ends when everything closes on the day you use it. After the play I saw Buckingham Palace. Some days they do not do the Changing of the Guard ceremony so ask around and see when you want to do that. When I got back I ended up running into some tourmates and going out for dinner which started the beginning of the best friendships I will ever have. London plays the BEST music for clubbing, just so you know. Share a cab on the way back. It's about 6 pounds and if you go with 5 people, that makes 1 pound each. Cabs in London are luxurious. Also, the drunker you get, the easier it is to sleep on the Flintstone beds back at the hotel. May 27th - 2nd Full Day in London This is a free day to yourself with the exception of the performance at night. You do not get to pick which West End performance you get to see. I skipped it and bought my own ticket to Phantom at a tourism office. My new friends and I had to split up during the day because they needed to see different things than I did. So I went to St Pauls Cathedral (cant take pictures inside) and Tower of London (cant take pictures inside Crown Jewels) using my hop on hop off tour to get me everywhere. Buy the Tower of London tickets in the Contiki basement beforehand so you dont have to wait in line. You still have to wait for security but that's one less line. Go to the Tower in the morning because there will be a longer line in the afternoon. You also get the Underground pass when you do dinner the first night. Save it for this day. The Underground is so easy and there's a station a block away from the hotel. So I rode the hop on hop off for awhile and took pictures of everything. I even made it to Westfield shopping which is way the hell out of the way but it's got every store you can think of and the tube takes you right back. Made it back in time for Phantom while everyone went to see Mamma Mia. Came back to the hotel and drank at the patio. You dont want to be hungover for the travel days btw. May 28th - Travel to Paris This is the part where I get back into the tour activities and start hanging out with the group. You leave at 8am drive on the couch 2 hours to Dover. The coach is actually wonderful. The seats recline, you can charge your stuff. I normally get motion sickness but I didnt on the couch even when I was hungover. You get on the ferry which is sweet. It's got a duty free, an itty bitty casino, a bar and a cafeteria. Make sure you get pictures of the White Cliffs before you leave because once the ferry takes off you are hauling ass across the English Channel, only takes an hour and a half to get to Caleigh. Then it's another 4 hours to Paris. You stop and take a break halfway. Once you get to Paris you're still on the move. You have dinner which is amazing. The hotel you stay at (Ibis Porte de Clichy) is awesome and has wi fi throughout but the location is a little far off from stuff and the metro in Paris is a freaking nightmare. The trains split off, you have to make sure you catch the right one. I recommend staying with the tour manager. Right after dinner you're on the couch to the City of Lights tour which basically means you see the main stuff when the sun is setting. You get dropped off at the Eiffel Tower, tour manager gives you tickets to the summit. It's gorgeous up there. When you come back down meet the tour manager to take you back to the hotel. Enjoy the comfiest nights sleep you feel like you'll ever have. May 29th - 1st Full Day of Paris Breakfast is delicious. Meet at the coach and the driver drops you off right in the middle of the city. If you go to the Louvre which I did, take the entrance next to the arch. Have someone buy the tickets while you stand in line. It moves fast. Pick the pieces you want to see in the Louvre and then get out of there. There is too much to see for it to take up your whole day. I purchased the Hop On Hop Off tour for Paris but didnt end up using it. We kept meeting the coach in the middle and letting it take us wherever. Do not tip in Paris. It's included. Back at the hotel everyone decided to get dressed up for the Moulin Rouge. Regardless of the dress code, everyone wants to dress up and most of the group wanted to do this. You dont want to look silly in jeans if everyone is in a dress and a suit. The food again is amazing. The normal price for what you pay at the Moulin Rouge would be 210 euro but Contiki offers it for 144. It's worth it. May 30th - 2nd Full Day in Paris Meet at the coach for the trip to the perfumery. I skipped this. It seemed like a tourist trap and just walking by the place gives you a headache. The wholesale perfumes are not that much cheaper. However, I almost wish I did go because instead I had my phone stolen in the middle of the day in front of the Opera House. They do not exaggerate about gypsies in Paris. And by gypsies I do not mean Esmerelda in Hunchback of Notre Dame. They dress just like everyone else. They travel in small groups and will come up with devious plans to distract you long enough to take your shit. Sure enough, I had my phone in my hoodie pocket and made it super easy for them to grab. So keep everything zipped up and attached to your body. You will say "no" more than you ever thought possible because everyone will be trying to get you to buy or sign something. Just stay away from them. People in Paris are rude. They do not say excuse me or Im sorry if they bump into you. In fact you get the general idea that they dont care about your existence at all. Just be aware of your surroundings and what you have on you at all times. Luckily my tour manager got me to an internet cafe where I reported the phone stolen and had it wiped within minutes. We had the rest of the day to shop around Paris until the trip to Versailles. You only get a tour of the inside of the palace. King and Queens Chambers and the Hall of Mirrors. You do not get to see the gardens. Again, Parisians are assholes. Watch your toes when they shove past you. Back on the coach our tour manager organized a wonderful dinner for all of us to go to and took us out for the night. I was really thankful for that because otherwise Paris would have almost entirely lost its charm. May 31st - Travel to Rome Say goodbye to a couple of your friends because the London and Paris group ends here and everyone goes on their extensions. For the Rome extension, the coach takes you to the airport and you are now without a tour manager. So hopefully you made some good friends that will watch your stuff for you while you get some food or have a smoke. The flight is a nice two hours. The weight restriction is as strict as they say it is so make sure you dump a few heavy things in your carry on. The shuttle picks you up at the airport and takes you to the hotel which for us was the Hotel Champagne Palace (wi fi downstairs). Couldnt really ask for a better place. The location is literally 30 steps from the Termini metro station and the metro in Rome is the best thing ever. There's two lines intersecting at the Termini station and each stop takes you directly to a monument (Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Vatican City). You barely walk at all in Rome. And when you get the map, keep in mind that it is probably zoomed in 4 times more than the other maps you see. Everything is in walking distance. I did not use the Hop On Hop Off at ALL in Rome. Keep in mind that you'll probably want to hang out with your friends now instead of doing all the stuff you buy in advance. My group went and ate at the Trevi Fountain at a place called al Picchio and we had the best Italian food in Italy. Absolutely amazing. And just because you're having Italian food in Italy, doesnt mean it's going to be as good as you think it is. You still have to try a few places to get it right. The redder the tomatos, the better. And Rome is very romantic. There actually is an accordion playing outside your window most of the time. Eating in the street is fun too. June 1st - 1st Full Day in Rome It rained. Everyone will try and sell you an umbrella. Vatican City in the morning was crazy busy. The line wrapped all the way around the colonnades even in the pouring rain. A poncho did not cut it, I was soaked. So we said screw that, went and visited a few churches and then came back to pick our friend up around 3. And suddenly the line was gone so we walked right in to St Peters which is free and awesome. The Vatican City museums are entered through a different location, buy it before if you want to get in under an hour. Keep in mind they are closed on Sunday. The sun came out and we dried up pretty fast enough to eat on the street again. Came back to the hotel and went out to the Colosseum at night. Had dinner. Our bill for the 5 of us was 184 euro. So try really really hard to find the 3 course specials they have going on. Like bruschetta, pizza and dessert for 16 euro. Thats a good deal. Coke there is 8 euro. You have to pay for water. I brought 100 pounds with me and 200 euro. The 100 pounds covered London but I needed to get at least 100 more euro out for Paris and Rome. Use your card when you can. We had a great nights sleep and even slept in because there was no rushing to the bus in the morning. June 2nd - 2nd Full Day in Rome A couple of us went off to the Villa Borghese Park which is absolutely beautiful. I highly recommend it on a nice day. I also prepaid for my tickets to Galleria Borghese which was a good idea because this place sells out of tickets a week ahead. Buy these tickets before you go. We also went shopping near the Spanish steps where the fancy stuff is. I liked shopping near the Vatican City metro stop though. Everything was still really nice and cheaper. We went out for dinner together for our last night, found a place for dessert afterwards and had our goodbyes in the morning. Oh and buy the shuttle pass from Contiki for the transfer to the airport. Makes it 10 times easier. I hope this helps make your experience more enjoyable! Contiki is worth it because of the people you meet in your tour. The memories and friendships you make will last a lifetime. The safety of traveling in a group makes you so happy you booked it. Be the loudest table in the restaurant. Thank god for happy accidents. Care for each other like a wolf pack and you will have the time of your life. ;)

Asked 11 months ago about Meeting Places Europe London And Paris Plus Rome Review London Paris Rome England Great Britain United Kingdom France Italy (10 responses)

PamPam (Pam)

Photo

563233_2798268636348_402247247_n_small

Uploaded about 1 year ago

PamPam (Pam)

Photo

Detroit-20120908-01712_small

Uploaded about 1 year ago

PamPam (Pam)

London & Paris plus Rome

London-paris-plus-rome-tour-209x146

4 countries \ 10 days \ from US$1855 per person

Discover London, Paris & Rome with this action packed tour. No need for studying maps, guidebooks & languages - leave it to us! Your time in London include a city tour of the major sites, a day trip to Bath & Stonehenge, tickets to a West End musical. Onto Paris, via the English Channel, for a city tour by night, a visit to a French perfumery & a day trip to Versailles. Then get busy in Rome & see the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Colosseum & St. Peter's Basilica. Don't forget to eat pizza & of course Gelato!

PamPam (Pam)

Photo

Washington-20120519-01023_small

Uploaded about 1 year ago

PamPam (Pam)

London & Paris plus Rome

London-paris-plus-rome-tour-209x146

4 countries \ 10 days \ from US$1855 per person

Discover London, Paris & Rome with this action packed tour. No need for studying maps, guidebooks & languages - leave it to us! Your time in London include a city tour of the major sites, a day trip to Bath & Stonehenge, tickets to a West End musical. Onto Paris, via the English Channel, for a city tour by night, a visit to a French perfumery & a day trip to Versailles. Then get busy in Rome & see the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Colosseum & St. Peter's Basilica. Don't forget to eat pizza & of course Gelato!

Recent Photos

  • 563233_2798268636348_402247247_n_thumb
  • Detroit-20120908-01712_thumb
  • Washington-20120519-01023_thumb

View Pam's gallery

Questions?

x

Visas? Money? Where to go? Chat to us about travel.