April in Paris on a bicycle made for three

RICKSHAW MEETS yellow cab is how one might describe the latest addition to the ranks of Parisian taxis. Velo-Taxi, invented by two French brothers, 39-year-old Patrick and Didier Leonhart, 34, was launched yesterday on the Place de la Concorde.

It offers the Parisian tourist the opportunity to see the sights from the comfort of a bicycle-towed yellow carriage. For 130 francs (about pounds 14) two people can enjoy an hour's ride through the French capital.

At the moment there is just one route, from Concorde, via Opera Garnier, the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay to the National Assembly, but the brothers intend to add a further two or three tours by the summer.

Available until 15 October, seven days a week, from 10am to 6pm, the Velo-Taxis will be driven by students of a sporty disposition.

As well as keeping up a steady pace and providing a commentary, the drivers also have to wear the uniform of figure-hugging, black Lycra trousers and bright yellow jacket.

I embarked on a test-drive, bumping along the cobbles and receiving thumbs- up signs from passing motorists and tourists. Patrick, my driver, explained the advantages of the Velo-Taxi.

"It's economical, environmentally friendly, convivial, and you have the time to really appreciate the sights," he told me.

And, as my male co-passenger added hopefully, "it's very intimate as well".

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