At CTC we believe that an experiential, hands-on education plays a critical role in learning and retaining information. This is why our programs include behind-the-scenes visits to relevant local businesses, practicums, and optional co-op components that give students that opportunity to earn money while gaining experience in their field. This year, we took it a step further in including a trip to England and France as part of the program curriculum, giving students the chance to experience new cultures, tour facilities internationally and experience trip guiding in cities like London and Paris. Wondering what the students did day to day? Read on to find out.
Day 1 | Arriving in London
Upon arrival into London, the trip manager met with students for the transfer to Russell square, Contiki’s launch pad for European adventures. At the Royal National Hotel is the Contiki basement, the one stop shop for all things London and exclusive for Contiki travelers. The Basement crew gave the students the details on what they do while welcoming Contiki guests, while the trip manager gave an explanation of what a life on the road is like. Students then checked into their rooms and were given time to freshen up, settle in, and get ready for a fantastic welcome dinner.
DAY 2 | LONDON
On day two of the trip, students visited two Red Carnation properties for a site inspection; The Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel and the Rubens at the Palace. At a Red Carnation property, no request is too large, no detail is too small. Guests of their hotels enjoy the finest experiences from generous hospitality, creative and traditional cuisine, splendid luxury; and passionate service. With a Red Carnation Representative on hand, students learned about how a luxury property is operated, and enjoyed a tour of the guest rooms. The day finished with an immersive EatWith dining experience.
DAY 3 | LONDON TO PARIS
Today everyone hit the road road first thing in the morning to to make their way to Dover, taking in the beauty of the White Cliffs of Dover along the way. After the ferry arrived in France, students traveled through the Valley of Somme to reach Paris. Students were able to see the stunning Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Champs- Élysées, and the Notre Dame Cathedral.
DAY 4 | Paris
On day four the students visited the ever-so-cool Jo&Joe Hostel in the Gentilly district of Paris. Here the hostel staff showed them around the hipster haven and filled them in on the needs and must-dos for the backpacker community. Fully equipped with a yoga studio, bar and kitchen, this is far from the average hostel and a fun social way to stay. After a stop at the Louvre, they then got to indulge in their inner foodie and explore the culinary delights of Montmartre, where they tasted their way through the bakery tour. The highlight of the evening was a boat cruise on the Seine River – an absolute must for anyone visiting the city.
DAY 5 | Paris to Chateau de Cruix
On day five the students headed south in search of charming countryside and beautiful chateaus. The first stop was at Fontainebleau, once home to Napoleon, to take in its medieval stature and grand surrounding ponds. The drive ended at the Chateaux de Cruix, Contiki’s exclusive accommodation. With a Contiki representative, they had a backstage pass to the property on a tour, to hear a short presentation about the chateau’s history, it’s significance for Contiki travellers, and how it operates. In the evening, they enjoyed a locally prepared dinner as part of the MUNCH program.
DAY 6 | Chateau de Cruix
Today the students got to explore Chateau de Cruix’s home-based winery, followed by a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, they assisted in the preparation of their MUNCH dinner and learned how to make French cuisine.
DAY 7 | Chateau de Cruix to Paris
Today the students had to lave castle life behind, driving back North towards Paris, but not before making a stop at the Palace of Versailles. This palace is found on the outskirts of Paris and was once home to French royalty. Students had the chance to walk through the captivating Hall of Mirrors and take a leisurely stroll through the vast gardens surrounding the palace. Returning to Paris, they spent their last evening stocking up on those last-minute souvenirs before joining together for a final farewell dinner.