A Thrilling Time Sightseeing in Paris by Vespa

I’m not going to lie. I’m an unabashed Francophile.

One of my absolute Parisian fantasies includes me riding around Paris on a Vespa. Albeit, the image also had me rocking out French fashion and looking like a chic local. But, I’ve got some ways to go on that last part.

Nevertheless, I had the opportunity to turn the first part of that fantasy into reality and it was everything I had hoped! Incidentally, I’m also now pricing Vespas of my own but I’ll get back to you on that one. 😉

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A Thrilling Time Sightseeing in Paris by Vespa

In all seriousness, when I learned about Ride ‘n’ Smile Vespa tours, I knew it was the right type of experience for me. I’m not one for big bus sightseeing tours. I like to explore, to stop, and go according to my own whims.

I’m curious about my surroundings. When I join a tour, private and small groups are always my preferred choice. They’re personal and customizable. I have more opportunities to geek out and ask the guide all my questions.

Add to that, the opportunity to have a guided tour while cruising along on a Vespa? Well, the experience goes next level. Imagine discovering Paris’ top sights as a first-timer or exploring beyond these sights as a return visitor all while driving your very own Vespa!

I was sold instantly! I decided on the half-day Monuments and Pastries Tour. Tom from Ride ‘n’ Smile emailed me before the tour to confirm the details.

He also asked about the places I was hoping to see to customize the tour to my liking. He explained all his safety recommendations and made it clear he’d stop the tour if at anytime the driver was unsafe.

On the morning of the tour, Tom met me at my hotel, Hotel de Buci. He had my helmet, warm gloves, and a lap cover for added warmth.

Oh, and this shiny red Vespa!


As Tom explained the basics of how to stop, go, signal, and of course, beep (It’s très Parisian to beep!), I worked on keeping my excitement in check. Geek out on asking questions, not while the guide’s talking about left and right turn signals.  

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Now, before you doubt whether or not you could drive a Vespa, consider that it had been some time since I last drove one. I absolutely needed to get the feel for it again. It’s beneficial to have driven a Vespa before. However, you don’t need years of experience either.

Luckily, Rue de Buci and the smaller roads into the 5th arrondissement were just quiet enough for me to get my feel. After a few wobbles and figuring out the balance between the accelerator and the brake, I was comfortably following Tom.

How perfect it was to follow a guide, without worrying about maps or getting lost, and just enjoy feeling like a local seeing Paris from a whole new vantage point!

Before I knew it, we were in front of the Pantheon, exploring the oldest street in Paris, and discovering a hidden Roman arena used for Gladiator battles 2000 years ago.

paris Roman Arena
No gladiators on my visit!

We hopped off our Vespas to go inside the Arènes de Lutèce, which is now a public space where kids play and locals sit in the former amphitheater seats. Tom explained how the arena was actually covered for many years before being rediscovered in the late 1800s.

From there, we zipped over to Notre Dame, which has long been my favorite Paris sight-to-see.

One of the great things about a Vespa is they’re easy to park. We had the flexibility to stop whenever and wherever we wanted. First, we stopped at an excellent vantage point to admire the Cathedral’s gorgeous flying buttresses hidden from the novice visitor who only takes in the landmark head-on.

Make sure to appreciate Notre Dame from the back.

At the front of the Cathedral, Tom gave details about Notre Dame’s architecture and explained how the Cathedral was actually slated for demolition in the early 19th-Century! (Yep, you read that correctly!)

Wondering how Notre Dame lived to see another day? I’m not going to spill all the beans! Go and see Tom for a Ride ‘n’ Smile Vespa tour! He’ll give you all the details.  😉

If you’ve ever had a wildlife guided walk through a forest, then you know how amazing it is when the guide spots the tiniest of creatures despite its best attempts at camouflage. Good city guides have the same keen skills.

While off the Vespa near Notre Dame, Tom stopped to point out a building with a hidden-from-view gash in its side. No one, local or visitor, would ever notice this.

When your guide’s an expert on local history, though, small details like this come alive.

Tom explained how the street was the scene of a WW2 battle between the Germans and the French Resistance. The view of my surroundings changed instantly. I could nearly see the German tank rolling down the tiny street.

BTW, If you’re fascinated with WW2 history, a 2-day trip to Normandy from Paris will most certainly be one of the most memorable trips you can take!

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

Moving forward (thankfully not in reverse!), the tour continued through the morning with stops at the Opera Garnier, Place Vendome, and a secret rooftop for a unique birds-eye view of the city.

Can you figure out where this was taken?

We parked our Vespas to get a closer look at the stunning Palais Royal, the former residence of Louis XIV, just near to the Louvre. Past the palace’s unassuming entrance lies a courtyard full of history, art, and fun facts that touch on everything from Napolean’s virginity (Was that in your history books??) to the uneven Buren columns and their interesting take on perception in space to a cannon formerly used for time-telling.

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The Palais Royal and the public art installation, the Buren Columns

Oh, and did I mention the gardens now used by locals to stroll and enjoy their city’s greenspace?

Paris Gardens
All this French garden needs is an old couple strolling hand in hand… Can’t you just picture it!

Continuing from here, we hopped back on our Vespas and circled through the Place de la Concorde. I was hoping we’d turn right onto the Champs-Élysées. But, when we did, I gasped aloud! As much as I love the 5th and 6th Arrondissements, it was thrilling to be on my Vespa riding up this grand boulevard with the Arc de Triomphe ahead in the distance.

Arc de Triomphe Paris
A wow moment on your Vespa for sure!

“Life is certainly made of precious moments and the best way to pay for them is to enjoy them!”

The last parts of the tour included a stop at Les Invalides, a cruise past the Eiffel Tower, and a stop at a French patisserie to buy a sampling of flavors for a signature French sweet. (Hint: Not macarons!) I loved these long stretches of driving. I focused on the road, of course, but also on savoring the experience and absorbing daily life in Paris.

Finally, we drove with our treats to a vantage spot along the River Seine with the Eiffel Tower in view and spoons in hand.

I smiled the whole tour. How could you not! But, here I was thinking…wait, do I really have to give back this beautiful red Vespa soon!?

It had been such an unforgettable morning and, as much as I wanted to hop back on my Vespa, I knew it meant the tour was coming to an end.

What to Know about Ride ‘n’ Smile Vespa Tours

Ride ‘n’ Smile has 4 offerings on their website, a full day Vespa & Pastries Tour, a half-day Monuments and Pastries Tour, Paris by Night, and an Illuminations Tour. Tours range from 39€-239€ per person.

Cruising past the Eiffel Tower

You can also customize your own Vespa Tour if you’d like to explore Paris from a different angle. Maybe you’d like to see Paris through the eyes of Victor Hugo. Or maybe you want to discover street and public art exhibitions.

How would you like to walk in the footsteps of Hemmingway and Renoir through Montmartre? The guides at Ride ‘n’ Smile are happy to put together a tour based on your interests and curiosities.

Every tour includes:

  • Top-End Vespa Scooter (Recently Serviced)
  • Third-Party & Body Injury Insurance
  • A Private Guide
  • Helmets
  • Included Gas
  • Unlimited Mileage
  • Instant Souvenir Picture
  • Wet Weather Gears
  • Gloves

If your tour is on a cold day, your Vespa will also have a leg covering to keep you warm as mine did. You must be 18 years or older to drive a Vespa and have a valid driver’s license.

Each tour has up to 2 Vespas for a maximum of 4 people (2 on each Vespa). Most importantly, passengers riding along on a Vespa should be at least 10 years old and/or able to reach the footrests on either side of the vehicle.

So, are you ready to zip through the streets of Paris on your very own Vespa? Which Paris Vespa tour would you like to take?

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Disclosure: I was a guest of Ride ‘n’ Smile Vespa Tours and all opinions are my own. 

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42 thoughts on “A Thrilling Time Sightseeing in Paris by Vespa”

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for reading, Marissa! I didn’t need a special license, just a valid one. Loved that is was a red Vespa!

  1. This seems like such a fun way to explore Paris. Having never ridden on a vespa before, if I were to go, I’d probably want to do the same tour as you – seeing all of the sights and learning a little bit of history along the way. Thanks for sharing this unique and fun opportunity! 🙂

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for reading, Mandy. 🙂 Unique and fun are the perfect ways to describe the Paris Vespa tour. Fingers crossed you get to do the tour!

  2. What an adventure! I thought of doing something similar last year in Rome (I mean, a Vespa in Rome…can’t get anymore Italian!) but decided to pass since I’ve never ridden one before and trying it for the first time in the craziness of Rome didn’t seem wise. Paris would be a great place for it though, with so many quieter side streets, and getting a chance to follow someone and not have to worry about directions is ideal. What a great tour!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      You would love it for sure, Drew! Paris is definitely less crazy than Rome. 🙂 Good luck in the giveaway!

  3. I have always wanted to do a vespa tour around Italy and it looks just as cool doing it around Paris I think I will also add this to the list. Your pictures are lovely I cant wait to go to Paris one day

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      It is cool for sure, Jenni! Definitely give this tour a try when you get to Paris. Fingers crossed you can visit soon!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Isn’t that red to die for, Noel! Hope you can make it back to Paris someday and hop on a Vespa of your own. 🙂

  4. Ha, I have the same fantasy. Mine just included holding onto a hot Frenchmen. JK. It’s great that you have a private guide to take you around. In another year my daughter will be old enough to be a passenger and we can give it a go.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      LOL!! Yes, that too Dana, but m husband does read my posts so I thought I’d keep the peace! 😉 When your daughter is old enough, it’ll be a great family experience!

  5. Vespa seems like a great way to explore Paris and I love how it offers leg covering on a cold winter day. I will definitely try a tour on Vespa when I visit Paris.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      I wasn’t expecting the leg covering, Julie, so it was a pleasant surprise. I never felt cold at all. Hope you make it to Paris soon. 🙂

  6. OMG, looks like a fun way to explore Paris. I love riding motorcycles and scooters. And the price point is very reasonable. I can’t tell when you did this tour but from the photos, it doesn’t seem too crowded. Would you do it during the busy season?

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      It was so much fun, Debra! I just did the tour in December the week before Christmas. I would do it any time of year. I’d imagine even though tourism is high in the summer, many Parisians are away possibly negating any possible increased traffic from the high-season. Fingers crossed you can get to Paris and give it a try soon! 🙂

  7. Were you nervous? I’m always nervous riding or driving anything new in a new place? I would feel more confident renting something with four wheel wheels or a horse! Although you make it all look so easy, I’d probably find myself a fun red scooter and try it out. Thanks for the travel inspiration.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      I was only nervous for the first couple minutes because I hadn’t gotten on a Vespa in a while. After that, though Sara, I was pumped and ready to go!

  8. Like you I dislike group tours but this one looks like a lot of fun especially on a vintage-inspired Vespa! It’s great that you could just stop whenever you wanted (and parking was easy). I haven’t been to Paris in over 15 years – I think it’s time to go back!

  9. This looks like a really fun way to explore Paris and you had great weather for your tour! It’s nice that he includes warm gloves and a blanket for extra warmth. My husband has a motorcycle and I know just how cold it can get on a bike or vespa.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      The leg covering made all the difference, Jennifer. I never even felt cold…only happy! 😉

  10. Looks like a really fun tour. I am heading to Paris in the summer so this is definitely on my list. I will not need the blanket then.

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Ha! Definitely won’t need the blanket, Chrysoula. Enjoy Paris and the Vespa tour! They’re both fantastic. 🙂

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