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Paris by Bike with Fat Tire Tours

Eiffel Tower in Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.comThose of you who have followed this blog for a while will know what a huge fan of Paris walking tours I am. I’ve covered a lot of ground with a lot of different companies and I always learn something new, no matter what tour I go on.  Over the years, though, I can’t tell you how many people have recommended that I take a bike tour of Paris, specifically, through Fat Tire Tours.  Up until recently, I just hadn’t got my act together to schedule in a bike tour…. oh, wait…. Did I forget to mention something? That – sssh – I’m a little afraid of riding a bike in a big city…. I KNOW, I KNOW….

Fat tire Bike Tours Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.comI DO know how to ride a bike, having learned when I was little. I used to ride a bike a bit when I was younger. But as I grew up, then got a driver’s licence, I just didn’t need a bike anymore. Then I moved to Paris where I didn’t have space to keep a bike and, well, I walked everywhere. Years later when I moved to Toronto, I found it intimidating riding on the road (I did try!) and realised that it was still a challenge “driving” on the “wrong” side of the road for me. I’ve stuck to public transit for the past decade or so in Toronto. And when I am in Paris, I still have a tendency to walk everywhere.

Fat Tire Bike Tours and Eiffel Tower on eatlivetravelwrite.comBut every now and then, a group of bike tourists catches my eye and I wonder what it would be like, flying through the streets of Paris (which are, admittedly, much more bike-friendly than they used to be and so much more bike accessible than most of Toronto) on a cute bike, wine, cheese and baguette in basket….. but wait, I digress…

On my recent trip to Paris, with my mum, I took the leap and signed us up for the “Paris Day Tour“.

Invalides on eatlivetravelwrite.comLooking at the Eiffel Tower on Fat tire Bike Tour on eatlivetravelwrite.comOperating since 1999, this tour is a different way to see Paris. Described as ” a relaxing and fun pedal” this sounded perfect for two people who haven’t been on bikes in years (60+ years in my mum’s case!). Offering “famous sites, a great orientation, all the educational information, heaps of unique and fascinating stories, fantastic photo opportunities, a comfortable bike and superb personal service from your guide” the Paris Day Tour lasts 3-4 hours and is a great way to get your bearings and get comfortable on a bike while getting some great photos at the same time!

Looking at Grand Palais on eatlivetravelwrite.comI would say that if you are hesitant about riding (as we both were), this tour will put your mind at ease. There is a short safety talk at the beginning of the tour where they explain the different formations you will be riding in (with a group of around 20, that’s important!) and the bikes are super comfortable (they make sure you are comfortable before you ride off – adjusting the seat height etc… so you don’t need to worry about that during the tour).  There are no baskets on the bikes (you can strap a small bag to the back of the bike) , though you can leave your things back in the Fat Tire office and just carry the essentials with you. You’ll want your camera close at hand as some of those photo opportunities go by fast!

Eiffel Tower and 7th Arrondissement on eatlivetravelwrite.comI would recommend staying close to the front of the group if you are nervous about getting left behind (we got stuck at a set of lights and had a few moments of “uh oh” as our group cycled past some construction meaning we couldn’t see which way they turned but our guide, Malcolm, came riding back to rescue us and we were back with the group in no time (apologising profusely for holding people up!).

Boats on the Seine and Pont Alexandre III on eatlivetravelwrite.com Fat Tire Bike tours on Pont Alexandre III on eatlivetravelwrite.comOnce we’d gotten accustomed to being on the bikes (and riding on the road some of the time – a lot of the time you are in designated bike lanes which the Parisians seem to respect), it was a really interesting way to see the city. I’d walked most of the route at some point in my previous time in Paris but it’s a whole new perspective seeing it from the road.

La Grande Roue on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe tour takes in a lot of “must see” monuments and sites and every now and then the group gathers for some information about what you’re seeing/ about to see/ just seen. On the road/ bike path it’s nearly impossible for the guide to pass on any information but the tour is well planned in that there are numerous stops along the way for you to ask questions, learn something (a lot!) about history, architecture, culture etc… Oh, and take photos…

Pyramide du Louvre on eatlivetravelwrite.comThere is a 45-ish minute stop towards the end of the tour where you have a chance to eat some lunch – on nice days, in the Tuileries Gardens, on cold days (like we had), inside a restaurant, just off the Gardens (lunch not included but the options are very reasonably priced).

Tour Eiffel at the end of Fat Tire Bike tour on Champ de Mars on eatlivetravelwrite.comOur guide, Malcolm, was engaging, super-knowledgeable and funny and dealt very well with a group of people with such a wide age (and bike-riding ability) range – from my mum who, at 73, must have been amongst one of the oldest on the tour that day, to a set of twins who must have been 10 or 11, Malcolm made it interesting and accessible for everyone. A wealth of knowledge, he was able to answer everyone’s questions and it seemed there was nothing he didn’t know!

Fat Tire Bike Tours Paris by Mardi Michels on eatlivetravelwrite.comI’d definitely recommend Fat Tire to anyone who wants a new perspective on Paris – it seems many people on our tour were there to experience Paris differently – it certainly offers you the chance to cover a fairly large amount of ground in a relatively short space of time (much quicker than walking) and it’s a wonderful way to get a feel for the city, make notes about places you want to check out in more detail and learn about the city from a local.  My only “negative” (if you could call it that) was that I found I wanted to take WAY more photos and while there are a lot of stops along the way, it’s not always possible to stop when you see something you want to take a photo of (because you’re holding up the group or traffic – or both!). For me, this was a nice way to see some of the sites from a different perspective and mentally map out a (walking) visit of the area for later on which would be at a much slower pace (with more stops for photos). Fat Tire also offer walking tours, so I’d say they have everyone’s interests and pace covered!

Fat Tire Tours does, indeed offer a wide range of options – from segways to bikes, from walking tours to “skip the line” tickets, not to mention trips further afield (Versailles, Monet’s Garden in Giverny), there really is something for everyone!

Disclosure: My mum and I were guests of Fat Tire Paris on this tour.  I was not asked to write about the tour and am not being compensated for doing so. All opinions 100% our own.

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12 Responses to Paris by Bike with Fat Tire Tours

  1. Mr. Neil April 5, 2016 at 08:14 #

    Sounds wonderful – and those bikes look great. (Though admittedly, no basket is a miss on their part…)

    • Mardi Michels April 6, 2016 at 06:31 #

      Yeah but it’s another thing to break/ get ruined so I do understand…

  2. Tami April 5, 2016 at 21:26 #

    After reading about Fat Tire Bike Tours on a double decker bus in London – couldn’t wait to arrive in Paris and jump aboard. Can’t recommend them highly enough. Had so much fun it was our first port of call in Barcelona.

    And yes, those Fat Tire bikes ARE definitely the most comfiest I have ever ridden. I even wrote down the brand name of every part of that bike – you know, just so I could maybe build my own beach cruiser if I had to 😀

    Do you remember my mission searching the bike parts shelf of Canadian Tire and any store visited once I arrived in Toronto? I would have been happy to acquire even just the bike seat to bring back to Oz 🙂

    Arriving home seatless – the hunt was on for me to find my very own beach cruiser bike. Many months later – mission accomplished!!!

    • Mardi Michels April 6, 2016 at 06:31 #

      Right – re: the comfort factor? I’ve never ridden a more comfortable bike!

  3. Diane Zwang April 5, 2016 at 23:02 #

    One day I will get to Paris. Your blog has been very helpful with ideas on touring Paris. We recently got back from Mexico in which we took a bike tour. We had a great time and a guide in the front and back:) This looks like something we would really enjoy.

  4. Geoff April 6, 2016 at 03:05 #

    But I have to ask: if you never ride a bike and then ride around for four hours – do you have a sore behind? Or, is the seat comfortable enough to avoid that?

    • Mardi Michels April 6, 2016 at 06:29 #

      No, we found the bikes to be very comfortable actually. As in, if I rode a bike, I’d want one of these!

  5. Mr. Neil April 6, 2016 at 07:31 #

    Well, can I just say the two vintage bikes in our Nerac house are cumfy….if not quite Fat Tire caliber. 😉

  6. Vickey September 15, 2016 at 17:06 #

    Is it custom to tip the guides?

    • Mardi Michels September 15, 2016 at 19:38 #

      I generally tip guides of this sort of tour but I don’t think it’s mandatory.

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    […] really something for any interest (though the ones I take tend to focus on, surprise, food!). A bike tour can also be a good idea. As can not over-planning one’s […]

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