I have been a photographer for a few years now and when the opportunity arose to work with Leger Holidays I was so excited.
My first assignment was to visit Paris on a 4-day coach break, taking photos for Leger’s brochures and website. Having never been to Paris before, I was awaiting this trip with such excitement. Once I had received my itinerary I knew I was in for a highly rewarding weekend.
I really enjoy walking and when the beautiful scenery matches the weather I find myself walking miles on end. The great thing about booking with Leger Holidays is that you can also make use of the excursions and really get to see everything.
The positive spirits of both the coach drivers and the passengers made for a pleasant coach journey from England into Paris. Everyone was welcoming of one another and after a couple of onboard drinks, the jokes were flying around.
The hotel I stayed in, the Inter Hotel Le Cardinal on the outskirts of Paris, was fantastic. The rooms were perfectly clean and well laid out, the staff were so friendly and more than happy to assist us with any questions and the included breakfast had plenty to keep you going.
On the first morning, the first major sight I saw was the Arc de Triomphe in all its glory. I couldn’t believe how big it was, and one thing that stuck with me is how the coach just fell completely silent as we drove around it. Everyone was just taken aback and it’s at this point I really felt that I was in Paris. As we came down The Avenue des Champs-Elysees somebody said, “I wonder if they have a Primark here”. The whole coach atmosphere was fantastic and everybody was so excited to start exploring.
We were able to park almost directly below the Eiffel Tower. The huge structure was unlike anything I had ever seen before, and again, it looked so massive in real life. The sun was shining through all its little gaps and it just took my breath away. The beautiful blue sky contrasted the metal wonder perfectly and everything just seemed to stop for an instant.
Just walking through the centre of Paris I could see that it was unlike any other place. The streets were lined with trees that have been perfectly trimmed so that they were all symmetrical,
historical statues stand on every corner and even the street lights look like something out of a movie.
The Louvre was definitely a huge highlight for everyone on the trip. I remember having a conversation with a passenger who said that you know the art inside is going to be good when the building itself is a masterpiece. The entrance is a huge glass pyramid and each panel seemed to reflect the suns light slightly differently.
As I followed the road and went over a beautiful bridge I reached the Notre Dame, the home of the fictional character Quasimodo. The gothic masterpiece is such a joy to behold and the gargoyles perched on the corners are almost lifelike.
The river Seine cruise is an optional extra that Leger offers and everyone on the coach wanted to do it. The gentle cruise was made even better by the gorgeous weather and a pleasant breeze. It’s a great way to see the city from below and also gain some knowledge of the history of Paris. The detail of the bridges that can only be seen from below; the little houseboats that line the edges of the river; the sound of the water lapping up the side of the boat as you glide past the Notre Dame; and the way the city
looks from the boat. It was so peaceful and tranquil and the sun shone over the top of the buildings as brightly as the smiles on the people’s faces.
In the evening, Leger had organised a three-course meal in a restaurant in the Latin Quarter. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for nearly everybody on the coach. The restaurant was tucked down a back street, without the help of Leger, we would never have found it. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by a couple of jolly locals playing the guitar and accordion. They proceeded to seat us in an underground area and brought out lots of free wine and bread.
Being in France, I decided to have the snails that were on the menu and they were delicious. I’m always happy to try new things, but in all honesty, I hadn’t expected to really enjoy them. They arrived with shells and I had to pick them out with a skewer. They were really tasty and not at all chewy, as I expected. The main course was a choice of different meats served in different sauces, so there was something for everyone to enjoy. Whilst we were eating our desserts, the guys with the guitar and accordion came down to play for us. Their English was as perfect as their sense of humour and it really capped off a brilliant evening.
The second morning began as pleasantly early as the first and we were soon off to Montmartre. Highlights in Montmartre are definitely the Moulin Rouge and the Roman-Catholic Sacre Coeur church. There was a really nice smell in the air from the abundance of patisseries.
By lunchtime, we were heading off to the gardens of Versailles and nobody knew what to expect. The thing I liked most about the gardens was the perfect symmetry of everything. I have always enjoyed things to be in order, especially in my photography, so Versailles really filled me with deep happiness. The flowers are beautifully maintained and there’s just so much colour everywhere. It’s a truly breathtaking place and a great way to round up the whole trip.
Leger Holidays made it easy for me to really experience the culture of a city. It’s great if you don’t feel up to travelling all on your own or if you want to see everything a place has to offer but you don’t want the stress of sorting it all out yourself.
I am looking forward to my next assignment.