Paris… trip 5 of 5

I’ll follow up my teaser of bus photos with a short report from Paris… this is the last night here, we’ll be on a flight back to Toronto in the morning. I’ll circle back to fill in the 3 trips between (Pyrenees, Provence and the Alpes) once I’m back home.

Riding in Paris

Paris; I have lost track of how many times I’ve been here in the past 15+ years… perhaps 10? Enough times that I can find my way around and still get totally lost. The last two trips have included using the Velib bike system to expand our territory quite a bit and I’ve enjoyed that aspect a lot. I’ve walked a lot of Paris streets, enjoying the sights, sounds and scents and have bought new shoes to be able to keep walking. Taking the metro hides the city, although there is a lot of Paris that happens in the metro and train systems. We’ve tried the Batobus (a boat system to get along the main spots on the river) and that was nice. Not as useful as the Velib though. About $2 (1 Euro 70) for access to the bikes for a day, and no extra charges as long as you keep each trip under 30 minutes. Ride a while, park and either walk a little or pick a new bike and keep going. Repeat as desired, when you get to a place you want to spend time at you leave the bike behind and enjoy whatever it is you’re doing. The biggest challenge in the city centre is finding empty spots to park during the day since all the folks from the suburbs ride in and leave the bikes there for the day. The flip side is that places like Montmartre have no bikes at some Velib stations. A short walk will get you to some though.

We arrived in Paris on Sunday,  before the Tour arrived for the final stage. This is the 4th time I’ve been in Paris for this and it’s still a huge thrill. I know how crowded it gets, how you have to work to find a good spot and you need to stake it out early and stay put. This year, Andrea and I opted to wander and sample a few different spots. The crowd up at the Arc de Triomphe. People milling about by the big screens, people watching and race watching. The VIP zone, hermetically sealed. The streets along the river, blocked off and hard to access. The ferris wheel, a fixture near the entrance to the Louvre for as long as I’ve been at the Tour. All great for the experience, not great for race photos. So many of my shots are of the experience of le Tour in Paris rather than the racers.

And of course the Aussies… at the best of times they’re often boisterous and outspoken. The first Aussie Tour win took that up a notch or two! And rightly so… it was an amazing race and a great win for Cadel. He worked hard for it and I’m thrilled to have been here to see it.

After the race, Andrea and I got settled into our hotel near the Pantheon and began our final trip… Paris. We had a few ideas of what we might do, and intentionally didn’t make any firm plans. Cafes, parks, exploring… that was the thinking and we did all of the above. 
One museum, lots of great coffee, pastries and time spent sitting and relaxing.

I’ll end this part of the report with a few more photos, since it’s getting late and I have to be up early… I’ll finish the Paris tour when I’m back in T.O.

(And for those keeping track, no sign of any volcano so we should be good to fly tomorrow!)

One Reply to “Paris… trip 5 of 5”

  1. The free walking tour of Paris was absolutely amazing! We had Onno as our guide by privatetoursinistanbul, he was knowledgeable about the history, answered all our questions and had a real passion for his job. We are a couple in our early 20s and this was probably our best day in Paris. We got a great back story on all the monuments and it just made seeing them in depth the next day so much more interesting. Its a free tour, Onno worked very hard and we were very pleased with how great it was. Well worth our time. He even ended it at a great authentic French restaurant, that was a great deal and so tastey. We loved it so much, that we did the Montmartre the next night. We got Onno again! Go at night!! He will show you an amazing view of the Sacre Coeur that tourist never see! So amazing and a nice glass of wine at the end. Onno even made sure everyone knew where they were headed at the end of the night, and gave us great directions to the airport for early flight the next day Thank you so much that provide this service to us,made our trip really great.

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