Survey the scenes of Paris differently by hopping into a Citroën 2CV, the city’s classic way of getting around the narrow, cobbled streets. By Apeksha Bhateja
It was an unusually warm morning in Paris. The convertible 2CV was humming as my driver and guide steered us towards the major attractions in the city. These tours are popular in the city, and yet I saw passersby turning their head to catch a glimpse of the car: the striking white and blue vintage, unmissable on the streets. Drifting through the French boulevards, I slid open the window to look at the signature aesthetic detail of the houses: the wrought iron, cantilevered balconies with intricate designs, dotted with potted plants. Then, the towering sentinel made me crop out of the convertible’s roof and I craned my neck to gaze up. For years, I had a photograph of the Eiffel pinned on my desk, a travel dream that I shared with a colleague.
As the car circled the square to give me a chance to see it from all angles, I wrote my love song to Paris with my phone camera. Later, we traversed to other famous landmarks—Pont Alexandre III, Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, the Paris Opera, and Place Vendôme—with the guide giving me brief explanations of how each was significant to the city. Away from the queues, I was a traveller looking at the city from the eyes of a local experience to Paris, however short (I was there for just a day), made a strong, indelible impression on me. I knew that next time, I would let someone else tell me their story about the city.