Paris by Segway, really? I mean Paris is a beautiful city, a city rich in history, stunning architecture, incredible art and exquisite food. Stating the obvious? … yeah probably, but its 100% true. You know it, and now I know it having just got back from my first ever visit to the French capital.
Owing to Paris being effectively next door to London in terms of worldwide travel, I’d never really given Paris much thought. It wasn’t going anywhere, neither was I, I always assumed I would visit at some point, just not yet. That obviously all changed when the gf dropped a few hints about travels for 2014. I decided that a few nights in La Ville-Lumiére would be perfect for her birthday, and thought that a break would also do us both the world of good after a tough winter period at work in London.
As mentioned above, I had never really ever given too much thought to visiting Paris and what I might do when I got there, and more importantly still, what the girl might like to do (other than drink wine) once we arrived in the city via the Eurostar. I was a little stumped. Naturally I knew the key sites, but I had not real idea of their whereabouts in the city, especially in relation to our accommodation, or to each other come to think of it, or how we would get from one to the other. I settled on the fact that a tour might be the best way to not only see each of the key sites, but also learn a little about each. A walking tour was my first thought, I’ve taken plenty before and really enjoyed them, but as this trip was a birthday present, I wanted it to be that little bit extra special. I racked my brain for some kind of alternative … that alternative was a segway tour.
What is a Segway?
A Segway is a two wheeled, self balancing, battery powered electric vehicle. Said to be one of the greenest ways to travel (obviously using your legs is greener still), this personal mode of transport uses gyroscopes to stay upright, and uses the positioning of the rider to determine the direction and speed at which it should travel. So if you were to lean forward a little bit, the segway would begin to move forwards at minimal speed. Increase the angle of your lean and the segway will start to travel faster. Lean back and you would slow down, before eventually coming to a stop and then starting to travel backwards. In effect, the hardest thing to do on a segway is stay utterly still.
The segway was invited in Dean Kamen in 2001, and went into mass production the following year. In 2014 you can pick up a segway for around £4-5k, and for that money you get a vehicle with a top speed of 12.5 mph, and which can travel for around 16 miles on a single charge – dependent upon driver weight and style of driving.
My thoughts on learning to drive a Segway
One word – FUN!
Whilst I should stress that in driving a Segway you are bound to the laws of the road, and with that you need to be mindful and vigilant of other vehicles, pedestrians and all traffic signals, there is no getting away from the fact that driving a segway bought a ginormous grin to my face, I simply loved it! Luckily the mrs loved it too.
Paris by Segway – The Tour
Paris by Segway started with a mandatory helmet fitting at the Paris City Segway Tours office, and then a 30 minute stint of expert training in a nice quiet, flat, residential square. Our instructor and guide for the day Drew made us try out the basics and helped with anything that needed work on, but truth be told within 10 minutes our group of 8 were or more or less comfortable and could zip around the little square no problem.
So to the Paris by Segway tour itself. In a nutshell the below was it, but don’t think that just by watching the video you’ve seem it all, I implore you to take the tour yourself should you find yourself in Paris one day soon. Anyway, our guide on the day Drew, was incredible, a fountain of knowledge and a damn nice guy to boot. For well over 2.5 hours he expertly guided us around the wet and windy streets of the French capital. Even in the adverse weather conditions, the new found experience of driving a segway in between listening to Drew’s historical gags kept our group in high spirits. Yes people and other tour groups stared as we rode past them, but we all knew who was having the better time. Whilst they walked through puddles on the way to the likes of …
- The Eiffel Tower
- Napoléon’s Tomb
- Louvre Museum
- Les Invalides
… we simply zipped through them on two wheels. It was marvelous.
The tour ended with a long ride alongside the banks of the river Seine, a home straight if you will, before one last look at the Eiffel Tower. It was at this point that my GoPro battery died, so apologies for a bit of an abrupt ending to the below vid, but I hope you enjoy the rest of the video and that there is something still unseen – i.e. to know the ending you’ll need to take the tour for yourself.
I’ve included a few facts about each of the sites we visited, so be sure to watch the entire video, even if it is a little long. Not convinced? Ask yourself which is more fun, watching the below or answering your work emails? … I think we have a winner. Just press play.
Rules, times and costs etc
Fancy a segway experience of you own? Just give the below a quick read to make sure you qualify.
- Each tour costs around 90 Euro per person
- Each tour lasts around 3 hours
- Tours do not always take place on Sundays, check your dates.
- Helmets are mandatory
- Max group size is 8 persons
- The guides segway goes faster than yours, you cannot escape
- There is a minimum age (12)
- Under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult
- There is a min (100 pounds) and max weight (260 pounds)
- If you are sloshed you won’t be able to take the tour (don’t drink and segway)
- If you are with child unfortunately you cannot take the tour either … but congratulations!
- Lastly, insurance wise you will be asked to provide a credit card before your tour starts. A pre-authorize 400€ is required by the tour operator.
This tour of Paris by Segway was partially sponsored by the good people at www.getyourguide.com. I was under no obligation to make the above video, nor post a positive review, however I have done so because I truly believed the Segway tour to be a fun and different way to explore Paris, and because I like making videos with my GoPro. All the opinions above are my own, I would tell you no lies.