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France

Zeppelin tour offers bird’s eye view of Paris

© AFP

Text by Rachel HOLMAN

Latest update : 2013-08-05

Forget the double-decker buses and the bike tours around Paris, there’s a new (and far more expensive) way to take in the sites of the French capital. Airship Paris is offering tourists the chance to see Paris from the skies - by Zeppelin.

There are a million different ways to see the sites of Paris – by boat, bike, Segway, double-decker tour bus or even in a classic Citroën 2CV car painted in the colours of the French flag. But now there’s a new mode to add to the list – by Zeppelin.

Travel by Zeppelin hasn’t been a particularly popular form of transport since the Hindenburg burst into flames as it attempted to land outside of New York in 1937, killing 35 of the 97 people on board. Yet Airship Paris, which launched its maiden commercial flight on Sunday, hopes its venture in the skies will soon change that.

“My biggest dream would be to see a fleet of around 15 large Zeppelins, with a capacity of around 200 to 300 people, flying around Paris,” the company’s president Eric Lopez said.

Airship Paris takes off from a small airport 26 kilometres northwest of Paris in the suburb of Pontoise. The Zeppelin, which seats 12 people, flies at 300 metres (around 984 feet, or roughly the same height as the Eiffel Tower) above the ground, offering a bird’s eye view of the city’s tourist attractions.

Unlike commercial flights, where you get the stink-eye if you dare move from your place while the fasten seatbelt sign is lit, passengers are invited to move freely around the Zeppelin’s cabin to take full advantage of the view from above. Windows can also be opened for a bit of fresh air due to the aircraft’s low altitude.

Airship Paris and commercial flights do share one thing in common, though, and that is the cost. While 450 euros might buy you a one-way ticket from the French capital to New York, Airship Paris only gets you an hour-long tour floating above the rooftops of Paris.

Bon voyage!

Date created : 2013-08-05

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