Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Segway- a different view of Paris

If you are looking for a different way to see Paris then Segway it!! We had been to Paris a few times before so really didn't need to climb the Eiffel Tower, go inside Notre Dame or the Louvre - what could we do that was different? Segway, of course. We had seen them on travel shows back home and they looked like fun so we decided to book with City Segway Tours. These tours have a maximum of eight people plus a guide and last for 4 hours including training and a coffee break. So they are more intimate and you get to know your fellow tourists.
We met our guide at the Eiffel Tower who took us back to the Segway offices where we were given lessons on how to ride a Segway and safety tips. I was really apprehensive about stepping onto the Segway as I thought I would look totally uncoordinated. I needn't have worried because it felt so natural and before long we were all zooming along as though we had been born on a Segway.
Our guide was a young American  who was studying drama in Paris and who was knowledgeable about the tourist sites and  a mine of information about where we could eat and other activities that we wanted to do during our Paris stay. The sights visited on the tour included Les Invalides and Napoleon's Tomb, Pont Alexandre III, The D'Orsay, The Louvre, The Tuileries (where you stop for coffee and to recharge the Segway batteries) and Place de la Concorde. Obviously because you are on the Segway you can only see the outside of these but our guide made them so interesting that we decided to visit Les Invalides Military Museum and Napoleon's Tomb in the following days.
However, don't be fooled into thinking you are riding around on a platform that requires no effort. You really need the coffee stop to rest tired legs. Whether it is tension because you are on a contraption that is alien or the slight muscle movements that are required to maneuver the machine it is really quite tiring. On top of that you need to be able to maintain your centre of gravity. For two days after our Segway jaunt, my stomach muscles were as sore as if I had been doing multiple sit-ups or had a big Pilates workout.
I didn't realise how exhilarating tearing around Paris on a Segway could be - we were like celebrities - people stopped to look at us and take photos -  riding at 20km/h in bike lanes with the breeze in your face.
I want to buy one!!

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