4.25.09 Biking Paris

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4.25.09 Biking Paris

This morning we biked straight to the Eiffle Tower! We went on bike paths, down nearly deserted roads, and along cobblestone streets. It was magnificent! Then we rode all over the city, through small street markets, stopping for food at the local grocery store, and ending up in a lovely, large park. We looked up: "Hey! There’s the Eiffle Tower again!" What do you know?

It was less than 4 miles straight in on the Hippodrome Road, just south of the campground, on easy roads. After looking at the map and reading a biking tour brochure which described all the wonderful dedicated bike paths and lanes in Paris, we gave it a try. Terrific! Highly recommended. Thump forehead- why didn’t I think of that before?

The kids have become biking pros and other than riding on the wrong side of a bike path (for which we were immediately admonished in French, I think) and briefly getting in the crosshairs of what appeared to be the Tour de France bikers (without an actual collision though- so no blood, no foul), we are practically pros. Biking to school now seems laughable to the kids, given the streets they’ve biked alongside aggressive car drivers just inches from their high-visibility vests! Whew!

Now our only concern is how to rent a bike for Ned. There seem to be only bikes for rent that require a chip-and-pin (microchip) credit card to release from their stand around town or from the Jardin near the Eiffle Tower for the day, which we need to research. We really want the bike locally for transportation into the city. Hmmm.

We stopped by the "village" just south of us (Suresness), which is quite a city, although it has a delightful walking area. We love how the shops are each small and individual, how they each sell just one thing like breads, pastries, meat, or cheese. It seems so homey, quaint and neighborly. Some of the shops close for hours mid-day, like from 2pm to 6pm and then reopen for a few hours.

We dropped Lia’s bike at Eric’s Cycles in Suresness where he needed about 45 minutes to finish a task before adjusting Lia’s bike brakes. Lia with no brakes- need I say "emergency"? Anyway, the tourist information booth was closed this Saturday afternoon, but a kind woman stopped on the street to ask if she could help. We discussed (en Anglais fortunately) internet access and the only place in town was the Mediteque, which was their biblioteque or library.

No internet luck there because they wouldn’t allow us to use internet without a library card and it was 39E for an annual pass. I offered to pay for the internet, but the kind desk attendant, who said it was a "stupide!" rule, sadly could not allow that either. She checked with another worker- No, no internet café or access anywhere in the town. Zut!

We returned to Eric’s bike shop where he warmed a bit to our French attempts, although his English was better. We appreciated his small 12.5E fee for far better-functioning brakes for Lia now. I don’t know what she did to them to knock them out, but all is well. Eric does not rent bikes because of insurance rates and his nice bikes for sale looked far too nice for our one-week need.

We also bought some more multi-purpose solution from a pharmacie for our contact lens. The 500 ml bottle, the largest we’ve seen yet, was 15E and we bought it. I was simply tired of worrying about it. I also looked for some new razors today for shaving my legs- in France- silly me.

We did manage to call Ned from the town’s payphone today and wake him up. We’re so excited about seeing him!

Then we returned to Sugar to rest (or course I’d gotten us lost on the way back from the Eiffle Tower) and to enjoy more of our pate, brie, olive hummus stuff, fruit, jambon (ham), and you know- baguettes. We’re only up to 4 baguettes today, but it is not over.

I’ve been attempting to relearn French via my iPod and think it is helping. The kids are off playing somewhere in the campground- they’ve made some new friends.

I’m not yet the Paris pro that I’d hoped to become before Ned arrives, but we’ll discover it together. We’re having lovely springtime weather and are settled in nicely to a great place.

Au revoir!


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photo by: Sweetski