You need to start your year off right and it’s a good thing I did this bike ride or 2011 would have commenced with a 10-hour drinking marathon at the Great Canadian Pub, followed by an equally long hangover on Jan 2nd.
But all was pure and healthy the morning of January 1st. Shoko had to get back to Nîmes to start school, so we hopped on a couple of Velibs (the name Paris gives to its rental bike scheme) and had a very easy and fast ride to the Gare de Lyon (especially when compared to the 3 different subway lines we took when we arrived the week before).
Above is one of 3 bike stations near Gare de Lyon, and there are hundreds of them around the city. Very handy. I’ll get to the nitty gritty of how it all works in another blog. After dropping Shoko off I got back on another bike and proceded to get lost almost immediately. But at least I was lost on a cycling path.
After passing a couple of large, deserted rond-points…
…I found myself somewhere sort of familiar – Canal Saint Martin.
Then I got lost again and, this is really freaky, arrived at Gare du Nord and a restaurant that Shoko and I had eaten at 3 times this week already. And wouldn’t you know it, it was nearly lunchtime.
If you’re in Paris and are in need of an Indian food fix (you’d be surprised how many are), this is the place to go. Crispy dosas, puffy pooris and all the spicy tea you can slurp.
To digest I picked up another bike from the station in front of Gare du Nord and freewheeled down past Montmartre. Um, upper right hand corner…I never really got that close.
More cycling lanes, and proof that locals use the system, too.
Then the sites came fast and furious. You know this one, I think.
And probably this one also, although you might need to imagine to top third or so…
And if you really know your Paris you might recognize this one, too. Hint – a short emperor is buried (in a tall coffin) here.
This next one is not much of a site, I guess, but one of two cafés made famous by Hemingway and his ‘lost generation’. I doubt any writer would have enough elbow room to do any writing at these places today.
And to complete the circle I dropped the bike (number 3 on the day) back at the station right in front of our friends’ apartment. And thus began an evening (and night and morning) of drunkenness that surely erased any benefits I got from my tour of Paris.
For a mini guide on using the Velib’ system, click here.
3 thoughts on “A Velib Tour of Paris”
I really must take the kids to Paris. I’ve been meaning to go for 4 years now! I think you’ve finally inspired me to go for it. 🙂
Thanks for that Indian restaurant tip! South Indian vegetarian. I could go for some rasam right now, but I’d have to make it myself. (I have. It rocks).