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Paris by Vespa (Page 2)

Emma, Annette and the Eiffel Tower © Matt DoyleWith Annette’s admirable trunk stuffed with cheese and wine we zoomed back through the café-culture backstreets of 5th and 6th arrondissements to 7th where Matt switched to ‘Oliver’, his prized Vespa GT 60. Left Bank Scooters owns one of only 999 limited edition Vespa GT60s – guaranteed to have Vespa enthusiasts salivating – and it’s the only one in the world available to hire. After a brief practice run Annette and I were let loose on the streets of Paris.

I couldn’t think of anywhere better to celebrate by first solo scootering than the Eiffel Tower, so we drove along Avenue Gustav Eiffel. It took us so close to the tower I could (almost) reach out and touch it. Nearby Avenue Bouvard was the perfect place for a very cool photo of me, Annette and Paris’s most iconic monument.

The success of my solo debut made me cocky - I decided the time had come to brave Paris’s busiest streets. The Place de la Concorde roundabout is no mean feat for a novice but I did it! I got beeped at, sworn at and I’m sure I somehow ran a red light or two, but the deliciously orderly Champs Élysées eventually unrolled ahead of me and I sailed towards the Arc de Triomphe with plenty of time and confidence to take in the sights.

Annette and Oliver in Montmartre © Emma FieldOur final stop was Montmartre. The quarter’s steep, cobbled streets were child’s play to me by then and I nipped up every street that took my fancy – something that would have taken hours on foot. The Sacre-Coeur provided a lingering final gaze over Paris’s streets before I reluctantly (but, it has to be said, conveniently) turned in my wheels at the Gare du Nord and returned to London as the sun set.

Left Bank Scooters (bookings@leftbankscooters.com; +33 6 82 70 13 82) provide a convenient pick-up and drop-off service and help in planning a route. Hire costs €80 per 24 hours for a Vespa LXV 50cc and €90 per 24 hours for a Vespa LXV 125cc. The price goes down the longer the rental period and there are special rates and conditions for the limited edition GT 60 (check website for details). GPS is available.

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Overland Traveller copyright © Emma Field 2010