Skip to main content

Zeppelin is latest way to see Paris

By CNN Travel staff
updated 5:53 PM EDT, Mon August 5, 2013
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
updated 11:38 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Whether filled with electric blue sulfur flames or hissing lava, these mega mountains offer incredible vistas
updated 8:40 PM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
This once-a-year luxury cruise visits untouched islands and never-snorkeled reefs.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Peter J. Goutiere was just shy of 30 years old when he piloted a Douglas C-47 from Miami to Kolkata, India.
updated 6:47 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Breathtaking scenery, championship design -- many of the courses dropped into the Canadian Rockies are among the most memorable in the world.
updated 9:06 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
A floating hippo in the Thames river designed by artist Florentijn Hofman
Why Florentijn Hofman is sending a giant beast into London's River Thames.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
Scrap all those other bucket lists you've been compiling and start saving -- these memorable-for-a-lifetime trips don't come cheap, or easy.
updated 8:42 PM EDT, Fri September 5, 2014
A squabble over a device that limits how far a seat can recline has brought inflight etiquette into the spotlight again.
updated 6:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Thirst for victory competes with thirst for booze in event where competitors raise their glasses long before they cross the finish line.
updated 5:57 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
At these fun Los Angeles bars, the the drinks come with a chaser of kitsch.
updated 4:41 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
From dining next to massive predators to drinking atop a rock in the middle of the ocean, Africa boasts some of the most interesting places to eat.
updated 5:21 AM EDT, Sun September 7, 2014
Just weeks after Bill HIllman, known as a veteran, expert bull runner, was badly gored in Pamplona, he's back at other smaller bull runnings in Spain, but walking with a cane.
updated 12:54 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Don't like the country you live in? Why not create your own, as many people have done. We uncover the parallel world of "micronationalism."
updated 9:24 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
A CNN producer experiences China's poor on-time flight record firsthand as his plane takes off eight hours late.
updated 2:00 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
New Yorker Kerrin Rousset's exploration of Swiss city aims to lure cocoa fans over to the dark side.
updated 11:47 PM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
Some things are just better after dark. These experiences around the world prove it.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT