As part of the EC English school in London social programme we offer one day trips around the UK as well as weekend getaways to some popular European destinations. Maria and I decided to try a weekend in Paris organized by Anderson Tours. Paris, known as the “City of Light,” is celebrated for its beautiful city, its architecture, museums, parks and amazing cuisine. We can confirm that it’s worth all the hype!
First thing after arriving in Paris was a three hour bus tour around the city. This gives you a glimpse of all the sights worth seeing. We found it extremely useful as it gives you a nice overview of Paris and you don’t feel lost later when exploring the city by yourself.
The hotel is located in a convenient business area called La Defense, which has great connections to the all main attractions. After arriving at the hotel you will have two full days for sightseeing. It is enough to make you feel one with Paris and forget about the daily routine back in London. Going around the city is extremely easy, either by using the metro or even better, by walking around.
We decided to start with taking a stroll down the famous Champs-Élysées street. Starting from The Arc de Triomphe, one of the greatest arches in history. If you climb to the top of the arch you have an amazing view of La Defense, the Champs-Elysées, the Effel tower and the Sacré-Coeur.
Walking down Champs-Elysées you can see the most prestigious shops and showrooms as well as a nice collection of remarkable historical buildings. It’s a perfect plan for a Saturday morning splurge! If you continue down the street you will find yourself in the largest square in Paris – Place de la Concorde.
Straight forward is the Louvre Palace, home of one of the largest and most important museums in the world – the Louvre Museum. The museum has a collection of over one million works of art including the famous Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, Mona Lisa. Taking a selfie with Mona Lisa is a must, when you visit this museum!
You can carry on with walking by the Seine River and you will end up in front of Notre Dame Cathedral. It’s a gothic masterpiece with a magnificent interior and you can enter for free! Another option is to go in the opposite direction and head towards the Eiffel tower. One of the most visible icons of Paris is an iron lattice tower built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 World’s Fair. The Eiffel tower is located on Champ de Mars. For the most wonderful views and pictures try to be there in the late afternoon, just before sunset.
But be aware there might be a long queue to enter the tower. If you are not too tired we would recommend you to take the stairs as the queue is shorter and you can enjoy the view while you are climbing up.
Another majestic building which is looking over the city is Sacré-Coeur Basilica on top of the Montmartre hill. Due to its location it is the highest point of Paris – even higher than the top of the Eiffel Tower! It is interesting that Sacré-Coeur Basilica has managed to keep its beaming white colour even in the polluted air of a big city like Paris. The secret is in the special calcite stone which reacts to the water and acts like a bleacher every time it rains.
It’s not only the basilica that you can see in Montmartre, you should go around and explore this area know to be home to many famous artists. And the most adventurous can book a delicious dinner and watch the Moulin Rouge’s amazing show with its famous French Cancan.
Tickets for the tour are available from £199. This includes return Eurostar tickets, guided sightseeing tour of Paris by bus, two nights hotel accommodation with breakfast and a knowledgeable tour manager, who is always available to answer your questions and give useful tips. While you are in London it would be a shame to miss the opportunity to visit another magnificent city, which is only two hours and a half away.
Anja, Student Services Assistant