There are lots of ways to travel around a city, but there's no doubt that none are quite like seeing the sights from a classic 2CV, the minimalist cuatro roues sous un parapluie – 'umbrella on four wheels' – that was first revealed at the Paris Salon in 1948. All too often, the unique experiences available for travellers require extraordinarily deep pockets, but with Paris sightseeing rides in the 'tin snail' starting from as little as 19 € per person (around £15) this retro treat is within reach of most budgets.
The 2CV, also known as the 'Dolly' in the UK, was designed as a utilitarian vehicle, but the Paris trips come complete with chauffeur, so all you have to do is settle back comfortably and let the driver show you the sights of the city. He'll even tell you some of the history.
The company offers a number of different routes, with such tempting names as Eternal Paris, Secret Paris, Paris by Night... One of the Paris Cinema route versions offers Da Vinci Code fans the chance to follow in the footsteps of Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou, while the Shopping Tour (simple or extended version) and the Chic Outlet Shopping Tour are a chance for shopaholics to discover some of the best style bargains in Paris. You can take a trip to the city outskirt and visit the legendary Palace of Versailles or the castle of San Germain en Laye... the possibilities are almost endless.
There are other options, too, including a Lovers' Weekend in the city of love, or a Wine Lovers package which includes a visit to a wine cellar and the chance to taste some well-known French wines, not to mention the Cheesy Tour, which is anything but cheesy and a true gastronome's delight. It's even possible to book a customised itinerary for your own special occasion.
At the lower end of the range of options, one of the most popular drives is the Paris Champs Elysees, which takes in such iconic monuments as the Place de la Concorde, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, the Grand Palais and Petit Palais and the Madeleine. The 30-minute drive departs throughout the day and costs just 19 € per person for three passengers in a vehicle, or 29 € per person for a couple. For 39 € each for a couple, the extended Prestige version also includes the Place Vendome, the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay as well as a commemorative bottle of wine.
4 roues sous 1 parapluie