A new Vespa rental business in Paris caught my eye this morning. Left Bank Scooters will drop off your brand new LXV Vespa rental, plus helmets, and even wet weather gear at your hotel or apartment. Rates are from €70 a day.
I've spent a lot of time appreciating Paris from the back of a motorcycle, and can vouch that it's a fantastic way to see it. The whole city feels so much more immediate when it's not framed by a car window. And the flood of images you get zooming through the streets on a motorcycle or scooter creates a more dazzling impression of the city than you get on foot.
But drivers in Paris are like drivers in any major city around the world. That is to say, a little bit crazy, and not particularly safe. Defensive driving is often abandoned in favor of something more like offensive driving. On top of that, streets can be narrow or paved with cobblestones, and then there are those pesky roundabouts. If you're not a seasoned two-wheel driver, Paris probably isn't the best place to hone your skills.
However, if you know how to take those corners and can merge with confidence, then this might be just the ride for you. And if you can round up a few friends to join you, you'll have your very own Paris scooter gang.
If you go, take a ride along the Rue de Rivoli past the Louvre and the Jardin des Tuileries, then around the Place de la Concorde, and maybe up the bottom part of the Champs Elysées. But unless you're ready to take on 11 lanes, slippery cobblestones, and are prepared to yield to incoming traffic, turn off before you get to the roundabout in the Place de Charles de Gaulle at the Arc de Triomphe.
AutoEurope also rents scooters in both France and Italy. In France, you'll get a Yamaha YP 125, and in Italy, a Vespa LX 125.