Does it make sense to take your children to Paris? In their teenage years, communication is a barrier—never mind the language—and keeping everyone happy can be a challenge.
On day two of our recent trip for example, after his breakfast of waffles and chocolate croissants, my son Owen asked about our plan for the day.
I told him his Mom and I were going to lunch at Joel Robuchon’s, and he and his sister would be going to Café Bonaparte with Nanna and Grandpa.
“Let’s rent scooters,” he suggested.
I looked up and shook my head no.
“Dad,” he said, in a flat, exasperated “I knew you would say no” voice.
“They’re dangerous,” I said, predictably.
“They’re everywhere,” he said, as if I couldn’t see.
“We didn’t come to Paris to ride scooters,” I said.
Of all my visits to Paris, I don’t recall anything more jarring than these controversial batteries-on-two-wheels. They’re part of the Paris experience today: Rentable with an app for however long you want to ride, or until they run out of juice.
If you haven’t seen them in your city, beware, they’re coming.
And their battery-operated silence makes them stealthy. Imagine a kid trying to scare you from behind and you know what it feels like to be passed by a scooter: Swoosh! And their Tesla-like acceleration comes at you quick. Head-on they put you off-balance, guessing which way they’re going to go.
To me, they’re utterly non-Parisian. A cultural misfit. And I’ll be surprised if they’re still allowed a year from now. I would never use one.
After lunch, standing in front of Joel’s, Becky and I grabbed an Uber. Minutes into the trip, she sent a text, put down her phone and said:
“You and Owen should rent scooters.”
“Wait. Wait a minute!” I thought to myself. “Who are you?”
“Just be careful and stay off the road,” she said.
“I’m going to meet my mom and Izzy to go shopping.”
Dismissed and alone, I slowly Ubered back to Le Bristol.
I hesitantly texted Owen from the lobby: “scooter?”
Owen’s response within seconds: “yes”
(Note to self: remember quick response time the next time I ask him to get off Fortnite)
Me: “meet in lobby”
After locating two scooters and downloading Lime and Bird apps we hit the streets, er, sidewalks like bats out of, well, I must admit I was a little shaky from the post-lunch, champagne haze. But after I got the hang of it, it was on:
We zipped along Quai des Tuileries to the Louvre, went underground through a couple of bike-only tunnels, skimmed along Voie Georges Pompidou parallel with the Seine, over Pont Louis Philippe to Ile Saint-Louis to take pictures of Notre-Dame, and then back covering some serious and sometimes cobblestoned ground that would take hours by foot—and maybe never happen if we were.
And, so, the next day, Saturday, when the streets were closed because of the yellow-vest protests, Saint Honore became one big driveway for one happy scootering teenager. “As for me?” you might ask. “Scootering again?”
I wouldn’t say never.
Read more on my recent trip to Paris in my recent posts: Paris Update: Notre-Dame, Protests and Your Survival Guy and Your Survival Guy in Paris: Peking Duck.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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