(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 Zeppelin NT, which takes off from the Pontoise Aerodrome, 25 miles north west of Paris, flies at a speed of 40 mph at an altitude of 984 feet, nearly the height of the Eiffel Tower.
Passengers are allowed to walk around in the spacious cabin once the seat belts are off. The cabin crew members even open a small window for passengers so landscapes can be viewed unhindered by glass. A large window at the back offers a spectacular 180-degree view. On a clear day, you can see the Eiffel Tower and the skyline of La Defense business district.
But perhaps the most fascinating experience is that of the Zeppelin tracing a shadow on the ground as it passes over houses, vehicles and land contours. The relatively slow speed makes it seem almost surreal – like an amphibious vehicle floating in water. Except that you are floating in the air enjoying what is often said to be the most beautiful city in the world.