The rumors of the French not liking Americans and the reputation they have for rudeness had always stood in the way of planning a trip here. However, the story required that we spend four nights in the City of Lights.
While the French people may not come across as “warm” as the Italians, I never experienced the “rudeness” that you hear so much about. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at how friendly everyone was. The staff at our hotel (Hotel Bassano) was very friendly and everyone spoke good English. Myth busted.
We had signed up to take a tour of Paris by Segway, a self-balancing personal transportation device. Imagine our amazement when we walked into the office where we would begin our Segway tour, only to find a huge Texas flag draped on one wall and a University of Texas flag and Texas A&M flag, too! City Segway Tours is based in Austin, Texas, and several of the people working there were from Texas, so we felt right at home. This tour was so much fun! After a little "parking lot time" learning to ride the Segways, we cruised along sidewalks and through parks, gliding by historical monuments while receiving a great orientation of the city and lots of great historical information from our guide, Adam, who was from Kansas. He regaled us with facts and stories about the places we saw from our Segways: the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Napoleon's tomb, Musee D'Orsay, Les Invalides, Ecole Militaire, and Place de la Concorde, to name a few. We even parked the Segways at a little cafe where we enjoyed a warm beverage before continuing on our way. The Segways are easy to master and so much fun to ride. Sometimes it gets a little crowded on the sidewalks with all the pedestrians, but nothing we couldn't handle.
Group size is limited. The tour cost 80€ for about three hours of actual riding. We didn't find out until later that, once you have taken the Segway tour, you had the option to rent a Segway to explore Paris on your own for 25 per hour. City Segway Tours was the first Segway tour in the world (Paris) and currently has multiple operations in both North America and Europe, making them one of the largest Segway tour company in the world. Check them out at www.citysegwaytours.com.