Skip to main content

Zeppelin is latest way to see Paris

By CNN Travel staff
August 5, 2013 -- Updated 2153 GMT (0553 HKT)
The first passengers sailed the skies in the Airship Paris zeppelin's inaugural commercial flight on Sunday. The craft is about the size of an A380 superjumbo jet, but flies, 900 meters up, at a stately maximum speed of 90 kilometers per hour. Passengers paid at least €200 ($265) for a half-hour flight. The first passengers sailed the skies in the Airship Paris zeppelin's inaugural commercial flight on Sunday. The craft is about the size of an A380 superjumbo jet, but flies, 900 meters up, at a stately maximum speed of 90 kilometers per hour. Passengers paid at least €200 ($265) for a half-hour flight.
HIDE CAPTION
Virgin passengers
Where's the Eiffel Tower?
'Safest way to fly'
But where to dock it?
New shape in the skies
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Airship takes to skies around Paris for first time in 30 years
  • Latest zeppelin is size of jumbo jet -- but a lot lighter and slower
  • Tickets a little more expensive than most Paris tours ... make that a lot
  • Non-flammable gas makes craft "safest way to fly"

(CNN) -- The sights of Paris are among the most familiar on the planet, but now tourists have a "new" way to see them -- by helium-filled airship.

Airship Paris's zeppelin -- 75 meters long, five stories high and as wide as a four-lane motorway -- made its inaugural commercial flight over a region of villages and woodland northwest of Paris on Sunday.

On clear days, the company says, the Eiffel Tower would be visible in the distance.

The Chateau de Versailles and Seine River are other sights to be seen on the airship's itineraries.

The German-made craft, the first commercial dirigible to fly over the Paris region in 30 years, according to Airship Paris, may have similar dimensions to an A380 superjumbo jet, but it's a little slower at maximum speed: 90 kilometers an hour, at a 900-meter altitude.

Tickets on the dirigible will be somewhat more expensive than other Paris tours, such as a seat on an open-top tour bus: prices start at just more than €200 ($265) for a half-hour flight.

Non-flammable fuel

The shadow of the Hindenburg disaster still hangs over airships, even though the hydrogen-fueled craft -- caught forever on spectacular newsreel footage -- exploded over a New Jersey airfield more than 75 years ago, in 1937.

Airship Paris is quick to emphasize the safety of its new zeppelin.

"This is probably the most safe aircraft [flying] because the gas inside is helium [which is] completely non-flammable," airship pilot Catherine Board, who is half-British and half-Belgian, told the Telegraph.

"If the engines fail, unlike an aircraft, which has to come down, [the airship] can float ... until we find a safe place to land."

Airship Paris hoped its zeppelin would become a familiar sight in the skies above France, not only for carrying downward-peering tourists, but for transporting cargo or for scientific missions.

However, one barrier to realizing those plans is simply the lack of existing infrastructure on the ground to cope with such a large aircraft.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0459 GMT (1259 HKT)
Of course you don't really need that LV trunk that converts into a deluxe shower, but wouldn't it be cool?
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 1843 GMT (0243 HKT)
Get ready to pucker up -- to celebrate National Kissing Day on July 6, travel deals website Travelzoo has released a list of the world's top 10 romantic movie locations.
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
In honor of Canada Day, a look at some of the country's most incredible manmade and natural beauties.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0617 GMT (1417 HKT)
VW ended Kombi production last year, but the spirit of adventure that endowed the vehicles lives on in Uganda.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
CNN wants to know the wonderful, bizarre and indispensable items you pack when getting ready to hit the road. Tell us #howipack
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 2200 GMT (0600 HKT)
This is what happens when you ask a super-car designer to create a super swanky train.
July 6, 2014 -- Updated 2140 GMT (0540 HKT)
A 666-meter-long bridge shaped like a fire-breathing dragon heralds a new era of prosperity in Da Nang, Vietnam.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
There's a chance of being trampled or even gored, but thousands flock annually to the Spanish fiesta immortalized by Ernest Hemingway
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 0854 GMT (1654 HKT)
Alcazar castle in Spain will stand in for Water Gardens of Dorne in the popular HBO series.
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 1638 GMT (0038 HKT)
Before you join the masses in the hopes of snapping a geisha on her way to work, it's worth learning a few unwritten rules.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 0808 GMT (1608 HKT)
Baptiste Dubanchet poses with food he's recovered from a trash can.
To highlight food waste, Frenchman travels across Europe fueled only by food recovered from trash cans.
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 0731 GMT (1531 HKT)
Tour companies are cashing in on demand from timid thrill seekers who want to safely experience Bangkok's infamously raunchy nightlife.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1657 GMT (0057 HKT)
Dreading airport security, lost luggage or that middle seat? These travel headaches could be a thing of the past by 2024, according to a new report on the future of travel.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
Latest model of aircraft affectionately known as the Queen of the Skies gets the red ribbon treatment, but jumbo jets are facing tough times
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
A former soldier plans to trek every country in the world, having been diagnosed with PTSD.
ADVERTISEMENT