Guests on Fat Tire Bike Tours’ Versailles ride will see the Orangerie and snack on local foods. // © 2015 Thinkstock; Fat Tire Bike Tours/Keryn Means
It can be hard to tackle a new city with kids, especially young children. But I’m an active person, and even with two young sons by my side, I want to act like a local and get a real sense of place when I travel. During a recent trip to Paris, Fat Tire Bike Tours made that possible — and I didn’t have to bribe my boys to come along.
The tour operator’s Paris Day Bike Tour gives families a terrific overview of the city’s layout. Note that the group will not be popping into the Louvre or going up the Eiffel Tower during the journey — they will stop near such sights, allowing for photo opportunities and brief lessons on their history and importance, but families will have to return for an in-depth experience of any favorites.
We also opted to go on Fat Tire’s Versailles Bike Tour, which allowed us to explore the massive park around Versailles before visiting the chateau mid-afternoon, when many tourists have already left. The trip includes a picnic in the grass alongside the canal. My husband and I sipped wine, and we all munched on local breads and cheeses while gazing over the chateau and its formal gardens. At a little over eight hours long, the tour makes for a long day, but we found it worthwhile.
Kid trailers, tandem attachments and child bike seats are available, so parents can determine how much or how little work their children need do while touring. Other itineraries are available, including a nighttime ride and walking and Segway tours.
Prices for the Paris day ride (3½ hours) begin at around $33. The Versailles tour starts at about $83.