loading spinner
20953
England/France

The Best of London and Paris: A Tale of Two Cities

Compare the grandeur of these two cities as you discover iconic monuments, historic landmarks, distinct cultures and classic architecture on expert-led walks through London and Paris.
Rating (4.56)
Program No. 20953RJ
Length
10 days
Starts at
2,999
Flights start at
825
England/France

The Best of London and Paris: A Tale of Two Cities

Compare the grandeur of these two cities as you discover iconic monuments, historic landmarks, distinct cultures and classic architecture on expert-led walks through London and Paris.
Length
10 days
Starts at
2,999
Flights start at
825
Program No. 20953 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
airfare
Need airfare?
Our airfare tool can help. Check it out
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jul 15 - Jul 24, 2021
Starting at
3,199
Sep 2 - Sep 11, 2021
Starting at
2,999
Sep 23 - Oct 2, 2021
Starting at
2,999
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jul 15 - Jul 24, 2021
Starting at
3,999
Sep 2 - Sep 11, 2021
Starting at
3,799
Sep 23 - Oct 2, 2021
Starting at
3,799

At a Glance

London and Paris. Both historic capital cities boast world-class museums and instantly recognizable landmarks and buzz with commerce, politics, education and culture. But it’s what separates them that makes them most intriguing: the languages, the aesthetics, the food, the attitudes. Compare for yourself on this journey that combines field trips led by top-notch Road Scholar experts and abundant time for independent discoveries.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
3-5 hours of walking and standing per day. Extensive use of the London Tube and Paris Metro system, often accessed only by stairs.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Learn about the modern history of the Royal Family from trusted insider Ken Wharfe, then discover Kensington Palace, the former home of Princess Diana.
  • Uncover the great artistic treasures of Paris at the Musee du Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay and the Musee Rodin.
  • Enjoy free time to explore the neighborhoods, historic sites, pubs and cafes of London and Paris.

General Notes

Program includes independent time to explore the city and several meals on your own. Group Leaders will provide directions for self-directed excursions. Suggestions for free-time activities provided in preparatory materials. Current Events in Paris: Due to the fire at Notre Dame, the cathedral is closed to visitors. Road Scholar programs that visit île de la Cité will be able to see the outside of the cathedral, but we will not be able to go inside.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Mike Armitage
Mike Armitage was born in London and now lives in Windsor. Michael undertook a lot of professional training on behalf of the British Government internationally, particularly in Africa and Eastern Europe. Discovering an enjoyment of teaching, he managed to combine this with his love of London, and in 2010 completed a three-year course and became a Blue Badge London specialist. He researches and leads walks for visiting Government dignitaries, the Friends of the Imperial War Museum, and the Windsor Festival among others.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Mike Armitage
Mike Armitage View biography
Mike Armitage was born in London and now lives in Windsor. Michael undertook a lot of professional training on behalf of the British Government internationally, particularly in Africa and Eastern Europe. Discovering an enjoyment of teaching, he managed to combine this with his love of London, and in 2010 completed a three-year course and became a Blue Badge London specialist. He researches and leads walks for visiting Government dignitaries, the Friends of the Imperial War Museum, and the Windsor Festival among others.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Tales of Two Cities, Paris, London, and the Birth of the Modern City
by Jonathan Conlin
This dual history of Paris and London explores how the two modern metropolises grew alongside each other in design, politics, law and culture.
Watching the English
by Kate Fox
Fox's clever guide to the conversation, behavior, quirks, habits and foibles of the English is wildly popular back home in Britain. Second edition.
Paris to the Past, Traveling Through French History by Train
by Ina Caro
The infectiously enthusiastic Ina Caro charts 25 day trips from Paris in this marvelously conceived history and guide. From the splendor of Chartres, wonders of Sainte-Chapelle and elegant Place de la Concorde, Caro enchants.
Londoners
by Craig Taylor
Drawing on the unforgettable stories of nearly 100 Londoners, Taylor provides a rich and vivid kaleidoscopic view of modern-day London through the diverse voices of those who, regardless of whether they love or hate it, capture the heart and soul of one of the world's greatest cities.
Eyewitness Guide Paris
by Eyewitness Guides
Gorgeous, well-illustrated and filled with maps, this compact book provides an excellent overview of the French capital, its history, traditions and sights.
A Traveller's History of London
by Richard Tames
The story of London, from the Romans to Tony Blair, tailored to the traveler.
Hungry For Paris
by Alexander Lobrano
An American in Paris since 1986, European correspondent for Gourmet and editor of Zagat's Paris, Lobrano brings a journalist's savvy and a food lover's insight to this enchanting guide of over 100 places to eat, enlivened by color photographs and charming essays on French food and dining.
London Map
by Berndtson & Berndtson
A colorful and detailed laminated city map with a variety of useful inset maps.
A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens
Dickens' famous tale of love and intrigue, set against the backdrop of the French Revolution.
In Montmartre: Picasso, Matisse and the Birth of Modernist Art
by Sue Roe
Beginning with the teenaged Pablo Picasso’s arrival in Montmartre in 1900, this multi-faceted biography takes on the extraordinary men and women, including Henri Matisse and Gertrude Stein, who transformed the European art world.
London's Royal Parks
by Paul Rabbitts
A history of the evolution of nine London parks from their days as private hunting land to monarchy acquisition to current status as a manicured public space. Divided into chapters by park, including Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Windsor Great Park and St. James’s Park.
Mastering the Art of French Eating
by Ann Mah
New to Paris and with her diplomatic husband called away, Ann Mah (not unlike Julia Child once upon a time) explores France through ten of its iconic regional dishes, from Brittany (crepes) to Provence (soupe au pistou) and Languedoc (cassoulet). Recipes included!
Paris in Mind
by Jennifer Lee (Editor)
With selections spanning 300 years, this wonderful anthology reflects America's long connection to Paris and the French. The 30 American writers tapped include Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway and David Sedaris.
A Moveable Feast
by Ernest Hemingway
A treasure for anyone interested in Parisian cafe society and its luminaries circa 1925. Hemingway includes sharp portraits of Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Maddox Ford and others who idled on their way to greatness.
London, A Literary Anthology
by British Library
Ranging from the 15th century to the present day, the British Library’s generous selection of poems and novel excerpts evokes the spirit of London through the ages. Full-color works of art from the library's collection are interspersed throughout.
Paris to the Moon
by Adam Gopnik
Gopnik writes with candor and humor about Paris and Parisian ways in these charming reflections on adapting to life in glorious exile.
Eyewitness Guide London
by Eyewitness Guides
This superb guide to London features color photography, dozens of excellent neighborhood maps and a district-by-district synopsis of the city's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry.
The Road from the Past, Traveling through History in France
by Ina Caro
Time travel through France by way of its finest castles, chateaux, cathedrals and monasteries. This unusual travelogue is an invaluable companion for traveling in Paris, southern France, the Dordogne and the Loire Valley, combining personal observation with large doses of well-presented history.
Three Men in a Boat and Three Men on the Bummel
by Jerome Jerome, Jeremy Lewis (Introduction)
Written in 1889, "Three Men in a Boat" (to say nothing of the dog!) is a laugh-out-loud account of a man-powered voyage along the River Thames, full of detail on life and lore. A Longitude favorite.
Paris Map
by Borch Maps
A sturdy laminated map of the city center at a scale of 1:12,000 and all of Paris at a scale of 1:15,000.
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
10 days
9 nights
17 meals
8 B 5 L 4 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive London, Check-In, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
London, England
D
The Guoman Tower Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Orientation, 5:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This program is staffed with a Group Leader in each country, who will accompany us throughout the program and deal primarily with logistics as well as lecture, conduct field trips and serve as an information resource on program-related topics. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: We will enjoy a 3-course plated and served meal in the hotel dining room with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure to unpack, relax, and prepare for the program ahead.

DAY
3
Panoramic City Journey, Victoria & Albert Museum, Free Time
London, England
B,L
The Guoman Tower Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 8 miles, approximately 1 hour. Walking about 2 miles, periods of standing; paved streets, some cobbled areas. Extent of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, we will enjoy a breakfast buffet with a range of hot and cold items, as well as coffee, tea, water, and fruit juices.

Morning: We will depart the hotel by motorcoach for a panoramic overview of London’s many monuments and most famous sights. Our Group Leader will discuss the city’s history, as well as its architecture throughout the ages. Our journey will conclude at the Victoria & Albert Museum. This museum houses the world’s largest collection of decorative arts and design, holding some 4.5 million objects from all over the world. After an introduction to the museum by our Group Leader, we’ll have some time for independent exploration of its galleries.

Lunch: At a local pub, we will have a 2-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Free time. This block of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions, or you may wish to join them on a discovery walk to further explore London.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure to relax or further explore London.

DAY
4
Kensington Palace, Free Time
London, England
B
The Guoman Tower Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 6 miles, under 1 hour. Walking about 2 miles, periods of standing; paved streets, some cobbled areas, tarmac and gravel paths. Extent of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will continue our exploration of London as we board a motorcoach and head to Kensington Palace, the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well as Princess Eugenie. We’ll be able to explore Queen Victoria’s bedroom, George I’s staircase, and the spectacular King’s Gallery, among other fascinating snippets of history. The palace was also home to Princess Diana, and there remains a selection of her famous dresses in the Royal Ceremonial Dress collection. Here we will be treated to a very special lecture by Ken Wharfe, former head of security to Princes William and Harry and Personal Protection Officer to Princess Diana. The lecture will explore his relationship with the family right up to the time of her tragic death.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
St. Paul’s Cathedral, The National Gallery
London, England
B,L,D
The Guoman Tower Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 4 miles, under 1 hour. Walking about 2 miles, periods of standing; paved streets, some cobbled areas. Extent of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll board a motorcoach for a field trip to St. Paul’s Cathedral, an unmissable silhouette on the London skyline and often considered to be Christopher Wren’s architectural masterpiece. It has been standing in its current form since 1711 and its tranquil interior is majestic in its Baroque splendor. Our Group Leader will take us through its turbulent and fascinating history as we explore its magnificent three-domed structure. From St. Paul’s, we will travel to Britain’s National Gallery. This vast repository of artistic treasures contains classic pieces by luminaries such as Da Vinci, Caravaggio, and Van Gogh. Our Group Leader will provide an introduction, followed by time for independent exploration.

Lunch: At a local restaurant near the National Gallery, we’ll have a 2-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Free time.

Dinner: At a local restaurant close to the hotel, we’ll have a 3-course plated and served meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: After returning to the hotel, the rest of the evening is at leisure.

DAY
6
Transfer to Paris: The Channel Tunnel & Île de la Cité
Paris
B,L,D
Les Jardins du Marais

Activity note: Upon arrival to Paris, our luggage will be transported from the station to our hotel ready for check-in while we explore Île de la Cité. Walking about 3.5 miles, periods of standing; paved streets, some cobbled areas. This day includes use of the Metro in Paris. This underground public transportation system is accessed by going up and down flights of stairs; elevators or escalators are NOT available in the majority of stations. This can add considerably to the amount of walking done in the day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will transfer from the London hotel to the St Pancras train station, where we will board the Eurostar train for our journey under the English Channel. We’ll ride through the countryside of southeast England before travelling through the Channel Tunnel. Upon its completion in 1994, the tunnel became the first fixed link between Britain and continental Europe.

Lunch: Aboard the Eurostar train, we’ll have vouchers allowing us to choose food and drinks from the dining car.

Afternoon: Upon arrival in Paris, we’ll meet our Group Leader — a licensed professional “Conférencier”— who will provide expert commentary on field trips as we explore Paris together. From the train station, we will go by motorcoach to l’Île de la Cité for a walking field trip. Île de la Cité was originally occupied by the Iron Age Parisii tribe. Legend says they claimed their name from Prince Paris of Troy. It became a prominent settlement in Roman Gaul as Lutetia and later capital of the Merovingian dynasty. Today, it is home to some of Paris’s most iconic sites including the Sainte-Chapelle, the Conciergerie, and Cathédrale de Notre Dame. The Sainte-Chapelle, one of the glories of Gothic architecture, was started in 1239 by Louis IX and completed less than a decade later. Originally part of the royal palace of Capetian monarchs, it was built to house religious relics Louis IX acquired from the Holy Land. Due to its slender columns and flamboyant architecture, being inside the upper church gives the feeling of being inside a jewel box. The Conciergerie rises out of the Île de la Cité’s western bank. The seat of the medieval kings of France, it was expanded and fortified under Louis IX and Philip IV in the 13th century. During the French Revolution, it became a prison where many spent their last days while awaiting the guillotine, including Marie Antoinette. Though rebuilt throughout the 19th century, numerous parts remain from medieval times, including the Hall of the Guards. Notre-Dame Cathedral was conceived in 1160 by the Bishop of Paris who wanted a much grander edifice than the existing Merovingian building. Construction began in 1163 and was not completed until 1345. Damaged and restored a number of times — including the disastrous fire of April 2019 — it remains one of the largest and finest examples of Gothic architecture anywhere. We will be able to admire the exterior. We'll continue by motorcoach to the hotel to check in.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a 3-course plated and served meal with wine, coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Musée d’Orsay, Free Time
Paris
B,L
Les Jardins du Marais

Activity note: Walking about 2 miles, periods of standing; paved streets, some cobbled areas. This day includes use of the Metro in Paris. This underground public transportation system is accessed by going up and down flights of stairs; elevators or escalators are NOT available in the majority of stations. This can add considerably to the amount of walking done in the day. Extent of walking and other activities during free time according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the continental breakfast buffet includes a wide variety of cereals, pastries, fruit, cheese, cold cuts, yogurts, with juices, tea, coffee, water, milk included.

Morning: We’ll travel with our Group Leader by Metro to explore the spectacular Musée d’Orsay, on the Seine’s Left Bank. The Musée d'Orsay houses the world's largest collection of Impressionist art. The former Gare d’Orsay railway station, built in Beaux-Arts style for the Universal Exhibition of 1900, was refurbished, repurposed, and reopened as the Musée d’Orsay in 1986. The collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative objects show the tremendous diversity of artistic creation in the Western world from 1848-1914, showcasing remarkable works of the early modern era including the Impressionist, post-Impressionist, and Art Nouveau movements.

Lunch: At the Musée d’Orsay’s restaurant, we’ll have a 2-course plated and served meal with a soft drink or glass of wine included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Free time. This would be a good opportunity to explore the Rive Gauche (Left Bank) neighborhood known as St. Germain des Prés. Once a gritty haven for artists, philosophers, and writers — many of whom frequented the famed Café Les Deux Magots or the Café de Flore — it has become an upscale neighborhood that still retains much of its historic ambience. It is also the home of Café Le Procope, the oldest café-restaurant in France (1686) that was a favorite — at different times! — of Voltaire, Danton, Hugo, Balzac, Rousseau, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Food Culture of Paris, Rodin Museum & Gardens
Paris
B,L
Les Jardins du Marais

Activity note: Walking about 3 miles, periods of standing; paved streets, many cobbled areas, gravel paths. This day includes use of the Metro in Paris. This underground public transportation system is accessed by going up and down flights of stairs; elevators or escalators are NOT available in the majority of stations. This can add considerably to the amount of walking done in the day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will take the Métro to one of the city's many open-air markets; these markets display food from local farms and are an important part of French culture. During our field trip to the market, our Group Leader will explain how food is part of French identity and talk about regional specialties.

Lunch: At a local restaurant close to the market, we’ll have a 2-course plated and served meal with wine, coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll take the Metro to continue our exploration of the wealth of Impressionist art exhibited in Paris, with a field trip to the Musée Rodin in the Hôtel Biron and its gardens. Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) is considered one of the most remarkable sculptors of his day. In addition to some of the most important works by Rodin himself — including “The Thinker” — the museum also holds significant paintings by Monet, Renoir, van Gogh he collected. The seven acres of gardens around the 18th century mansion present Rodin’s sculptures in natural settings. We will be provided with personal audio devices for a self-directed visit.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
The Louvre, Montmartre
Paris
B,D
Les Jardins du Marais

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 6 miles, approximately 1 hour. Walking about 3 miles, periods of standing; paved streets, many cobbled areas, gravel paths. This day includes use of the Metro in Paris. This underground public transportation system is accessed by going up and down flights of stairs; elevators or escalators are NOT available in the majority of stations. This can add considerably to the amount of walking done in the day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will take the Metro to the Louvre, one of the largest museums in the world. Formerly the royal residence of the kings of France, the Louvre has been the dominant architectural presence in Paris since 1190, when King Philippe II had it built as a fortress. It expanded as new fortifications developed and was transformed into a royal palace in 1364. King François I began turning the medieval Louvre into a Renaissance palace in 1546. Renovations continued through the reign of Louis XIV, who was born there. After the “Sun King” abandoned Paris for Versailles, the Louvre became a royal art gallery. During the French Revolution, the Louvre was turned into a public museum. The controversial glass Pyramide was inaugurated in 1989. Our expert Group Leader will teach us about the history of this palace and the artwork it displays. The Louvre’s unrivaled collection includes thousands of masterworks including Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and the statue of a goddess known as “Vénus de Milo” for the island where it was discovered in 1820. Note: Crowds may make it difficult to get a good look at some of the most popular works.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: We will go with our Group Leader by Metro to Montmartre where we will gain insights into the lives of artists in Paris. We will see Place du Tertre — place of the hill — the popular center of Montmartre’s artists; Sacré-Cœur Basilica, built as an expression of national penance for France’s 1870 defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and consecrated in 1919; and many little side streets that inspired artists of the past and continue to inspire those of today.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a 3-course plated and served farewell meal with wine, coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll round off our Parisian experience by boarding the motorcoach for a view of the famous city lights before returning to the hotel. Note: Depending on time of year, this drive will take place at dusk or night. It may not be dark enough to see city light vibrantly. The rest of the evening is at leisure.

DAY
10
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on another rewarding program in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Your Well-Being is Our #1 Priority

We’re committed to making your experience as safe and enjoyable as possible.

See Our Safety Roadmap
Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback