Au Revoir Paris, Bonjour French Riviera!

We left Paris to head to Lyon via the Contiki Chateau in the Beaujolais wine region. We were meant to stay here but they were overbooked with 2 other tours so we just stopped in for a wine tasting and then moved to stay in a hotel in Lyon for the night before heading to the French Riviera.

The beautiful Chateau was amidst a massive wine region which mainly produces a light red wine, everywhere you can see whilst driving through this area are vineyards, on the sides of roads, in paddocks, across mountain sides, basically anywhere. The wine itself was quite nice (yes I am now a wine connoisseur due to all of the wine tastings we have done throughout this trip), however I do enjoy more of a full bodied red.

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After we left the Chateau, we moved to Lyon for a good nights sleep. We had the option of heading out to the city of Lyon after dinner for some drinks and to do a bit of sightseeing, but I had just become symptomatic with the almighty Contiki Cough, so thought a good nights sleep could do me well. The next day we continued through the country-side down to the town of Villeneuve-Loubet where we were to stay for the next 2 nights. On the first night Kat and I quickly went to the shops to get some bread, cheese, meats and beer. We then made our way to the beach to relax and watch the sunset, at 2030 :/ haha some of the other lads went for a swim but I really wasn’t feeling up to it because of this damn cough.

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The following day we jumped on an early train to head to Nice so we could make the most of our short time there, and it was totally worth getting up early for. We walked from the train station, up to the fruit and veg markets, then down the main strip past all the colourful buildings with there individual patterns and louvers to the esplanade, and what a view.

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After heading to a bar for some food and drinks (the bar staff were dicks) we then began to wander the back streets for a little while down towards the lower markets, all of the vibrant colours from the varying types of flowers, fresh fruits and veg created its own atmosphere which was full of life.

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After strolling through the markets, we made our way up some more back streets until we came across a church & clock tower, and enjoyed a couple of the hundred odd gelato flavours at the Fennichio Glacier cafe. After this we walked up to the Castle Hill or Colline du Chateau, this is via a multitude of winding paths and can also lead you to an unexpected waterfall coming from the Chateau, once up the top however is where you can get absolutely breathtaking views out over the contrasting red roofs of Nice, and the mixed hues of blue from the ocean and sky.

After spending an hour or so wandering around the Chateau, we headed down to the beach side to hire some sun chairs, eat some hot chippies (to satisfy Kats daily potato needs), drink some cocktails, relax and go for a swim in this absolutely beautiful part of the world.

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After this we strolled back to the train station to head back to our hostel and prepare for a night out in Monaco visiting the Palace and the Monte Carlo Casino. Monaco is the second smallest country in the world but the most populated per area, after learning some history on our way in, we soon departed the bus to go for a stroll through the streets up to the Palace and to enjoy some dinner. Shout out to our tour manager Anne-Elyse and driver Balazs!

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After this we went to the Casino, walked along the Monaco race track which when not in use for the Grand Prix. Once out the front of the casino, and after walking passed all the Maserati’s, sports Mercedes, Ferrari’s and other rich boy toy cars, we finally got to head inside this world famous rich mans casino. Inside was quite elegant with murals and sculptures, more artwork and of course, the machines and gambling tables. Kat and I got a cocktail each from the bar, Kathleen got a Mojito and I enjoyed a James Bond Casino Royal Martini, come on guys, I had to. After this we tried our luck at gambling but lost and didn’t have enough budgeted to risk anymore so we stopped, but one day we will be back with some pocket change to play at the high rollers rooms.

We then got back on the bus after about and hour and a bit at the Casino and headed back to our Hostel once more, because tomorrow, we say Ciao to Florence! So another sad Au Revoir to another favorite of our trip, we absolutely loved you Nice. Vive la France.

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Paris Paris Paris 🍷🧀 🐌

So the WIFI has not been fantastic at all, and Kats laptop is starting to bite the bullet, so I’m attempting to do all this from my phone, woo! So I apologise for the layout of the photos and orientation of the videos, I will have to fix it up when I can get on a PC. 👍🏼

Two and a half hours sleep after a classic Kat & Mark big night, and we are waiting for the Contiki bus to take us to Paris. Kat is hungover +++ and I’m just riding the hangover wave. We first get on the bus and a group of wogs sit next to us, shout out to the boys of the trip, Ali, Ali, Mo and Yosh! They are constantly coughing their guts up, thanks for getting me sick lads.


A further shout out to the best tour leader Anna-Elyse, and our awesome coach driver, and best shirtless cleaner Balazs! Photos to come!

The bus trip to Paris included a 90-minute ferry ride from Dover to Calai, and the white cliffs of Dover were absolutely beautiful! Note to Kat and Mark, you have to go back and get a boat ride around the cliffs when you’re not hung AF. During this ferry trip, Kathleen didn’t fair(y) to well, and vomited thrice. Kat was then generally unwell the further bus trip to Paris. But once we arrived and unpacked our gear into the room, Kat was feeling a little better! That night we had a Parisian dinner of escargot which Kat didn’t mind, and every time I have it, it constantly make me wonder why, I have chosen this dish, like I love love love garlic butter, but the snail just adds another element I’m not sure whether I enjoy or not. After this we had a night tour of Paris on our coach, after this Kathleen and I and a few other got dropped off at the Eiffel Tower for photos and a night climb. It was amazing and had breathtaking views of Paris.

The next day, we were still shit out of luck with the weather, of course it rained on our free day. Kat and I got dropped off with some of the other tourists at the Arc Du Triomphe, which was an absolute highlight of our trip around Paris. Once we had been tourists there, Kathleen and I walked down the Champs Elyse, which is a busy street I might add, and went to one of Kathleen’s must do stops in Paris, Ladurée, the famous macaroon shop. After she indulged herself, we then continued down the Champs Elyse until we came across the Grand Palais and Petit Palais. Followed by a quick look at the Fountain des Fleuves, Place de la Concorde. We then strolled through the Jardin des Tuileries to the Place du Carrousel and the Louvre. Kat and I were pushed for time so we decided not to head into the Louvre as it wasn’t top of our priorities for the unfortunately limited time we had in Paris


Once we had decided to move on from there, we walk across the Seine River, and past little market stores where Kat found some vintage perfume posters. We continued down the Seine until we crossed back over to get to the Notre-Dame Cathedral, another one of my highlights. Prior to heading in we had lunch next to the Cathedral which consisted of two types of pasta, crepes, scotch and wine, and bread, the never ending bread baskets. We then heading into this medieval cathedral, the stain glass windows were simply amazing, along with the interior paintings, sculptures and overall feeling. We said some prayers for loved ones, and then moseyed back down the Seine to our coach pick up point.


The Parisian architechture in these buildings, roadways and in basically everything you can see, is amazing, the amount of detail that goes into the construction of every building, and then every stone carving; the lines, contours and symmetry is absolutely magnificent and equally beautiful.

Tonight we have another highlight of Paris, the tour group are heading to a burlesque show, where as I bought Kat for her birthday this year, VIP tickets to Moulin Rouge, needless to say she’s absolutely excited. But before this we had a group Parisian dinner, I had Duck a l’orange and Kat had a beef dish, after scoffing these down we quickly made our way down the Moulin Rouge, I never thought I’d say this but, holy shit, what a show. 


The main act was absolutely amazing, and the interval shows were gobsmacking. It’s hard to write down and explain what is was like without photos, but, there was an act where two people on roller blades on a raised platform and the man swung the girl around by her feet wrapped around his head, another where a lady swam with multiple 3-4m pythons then there were three men doing acrobatic stunts and finally a man performing ventriloquism. It was absolutely fantastic and Kat and I have already said we are going to come back again. Recommend +++. 


Now it’s time for group drinks and an Irish bar called Sully’s to get to know our group a little better, followed by an early departure tomorrow to a winery and Lyon, then on to the French Riveria, Nice and Monaco! A further shout out to the other couples of the trip who’ve also become great friends; Hamish, Louise (Han-)Joel(o), Stewie and Chris! You were the meat in all our sandwiches Joel.