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Seeing Paris Sights by Pedal Power

May 23, 1999|ACHRENE SICAKYUZ, Special to The Times

PARIS — In the careering traffic of the Place de la Concorde, the new arrivals look like fragile, slow-moving ladybugs with yellow wings. Passersby gawk; bus drivers flash a thumbs-up sign.

For the first time since the late 1940s, pedal-powered velo-taxis have returned to the cobblestoned streets of Paris, thanks to a service that began last month .

For the equivalent of $15.25--$22 per couple--passengers can recline in the back seat and be pedaled along a loop linking seven Parisian wonders: the Place de la Concorde and its Egyptian obelisk, the Madeleine basilica, the Opera, the Place Vendome, the Louvre, the Orsay museum and the National Assembly building.

"It was fun, quite an adventure," Nancy Griffin, a customer from Little Rock, Ark., said afterward. "It was a bit scary on the bank of the Seine because of the traffic, but the cyclist was very cautious."

The rickshaws are available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, April through October. You hail them at the Tuileries gardens off the Place de la Concorde. The excursions last an average of 45 minutes.

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