Since we’ve been going on about our fall vacation over the last week, here are some scenes from our October trip to the City of Lights. We didn’t bike while we were there—it was just a 48-hour trip—but we walked our feet off. We’d both been to France and Paris before, so our priority this time around was acting like locals. Well, and doing a little photo shoot on the banks of the Seine.
The weather could have been better, but we were just happy to be in Paris. We were also incredibly pleased with our budget hotel, the Hotel Tiquetonne. For just 60 EUR a night, you have this view.
If you look carefully, you might see Sacré Coeur in the background.
And this stairwell.
And you’re incredibly close to this wonderful restaurant. We had to settle for the wine bar, but it was worth the wait. Afterwards, we shut down the café near our hotel—the perfect Paris night out!
More beautiful Paris pictures:
Pretty sure Dottie was taking the photo above when Trisha took this one:
We also made time to stop for an apèro. Or three!
Coffee and crepes on a rainy day.
Shopping at Galeries Lafayette‘s flagship store. We spent our time/money in the food hall, but admired everything else.
Do you ever daydream while riding your bicycle? A benefit of taking side streets to work is the opportunity to let my guard down and allow my mind to wander a bit.
One of my favorite daydreams is of being in Paris. Since visiting last year, I consider Paris my favorite city (okay, Chicago, maybe my second-favorite city). The best way to evoke Paris is by listening to Coeur de Pirate while riding my bike and stopping for lunch at Leonida’s Chocolate Cafe for savory crepes.
I love the little patio with chairs and tables that look just like cafes in Paris.
Trisha sent me the Coeur de Pirate album and it is the sweetest, most magical music you could listen to while riding your bike. It makes me feel like I’m the protagonist in a cute French movie, even though I have no idea what any of the lyrics mean and ignoring the fact that they are from Montreal.
Here is my favorite song to listen to while cycling, Fondu Au Noir, with a handy translation.
When I’m not daydreaming about Paris, I’m very happy to be in Chicago. Yesterday I had a very Chicago evening, meeting up with some of my biking ladies, drinking Goose Island beer, eating pizza, and watching Ferris Bueller (John Hughes’ love letter to Chicago) on a rooftop with a beautiful view of the skyline. The occassion was a special bike-in movie event to benefit West Town Bikes. I don’t have any photos, but it was a lovely evening, despite the light rain.
The scene: Versailles, a city outside of Paris renowned for the Palace of Versailles.
After taking the RER train from Paris to the suburbs and walking a short distance, you are greeted by the imposing statue of King Louis XIV on horseback. The surroundings are a bit ominous, but don’t be scared – continue on and you will be rewarded.
You encounter the palace first.
Then turn around and gawk at the decadent and expansive grounds.
Okay, this is still a little scary. Sorry about that. No, the palace looks more like this in real life.
Alsace is my favorite region in France for a lot of reasons; it’s going to be a bit difficult for me to focus this post on our two-wheeled adventures without first enthusing just a leeeetle bit about this under-explored region. To set the scene: here’s Dottie and me in Strasbourg, along the canal overlooking La Petite France. A bit worse for the wear after our 7-hour plane ride and 2.5-hour train ride, but definitely happy to be there.
The entire city center of Strasbourg is a UNESCO heritage site and is full of beautiful timbered houses. Since it is home to a large university, there is a large number of cyclists.
The next two photos were taken with my camera by Dottie, and I just noticed that I am in the background of the first one.
The countryside looks like this.
Exploring it by bike on a beautiful fall day was an amazing way to spend a lazy afternoon. I had big plans for renting bikes in Colmar and embarking on a 40km ride through several villages. Between the advice of the bike rental guy and the condition of the bikes we were renting, it seemed prudent to change our itinerary, and instead we took an easy, 18km ride to the village of Eguisheim. Less time on the bike, but more time to wander, eat and taste wines like this one.
Remember when Trisha and I were gone to France for two weeks? You may be wondering if and when we’ll write about our adventures. Trust me, we will! I have not yet summoned the time and energy to tackle the task, but eventually we’ll highlight three bicycling adventures: biking the Wine Road in Alsace, renting bikes to tour Versailles, and riding Velib around Paris. Here’s another sneak preview: me and Trisha riding bikes on the grounds of Versailles.
Me and Trisha at the Grand Trianon in Versailles
Trisha will be visiting me in Chicago this weekend (yay!) and we’ll soon have even more bicycling adventures together. And I still need to write about my thoughts on bicycling in NYC. Thanks for standing by.
Lately I’ve been feeling French. Dottie’s and my planned trip there this fall has been on both our minds and I’m afraid I’m somewhat obsessed. These past few days I’ve been listening to French radio, watching French films, reading French websites and even reading French novels (Stendhal and Nothumb, a balance of classic and modern).
So it goes without saying that I have been riding my French bike.
This morning we took a ride to pick up French bread and cheese (sadly, not French) to bring to an Oscar party. Anyone have any tips before I turn in my Oscar ballot?
Note to the blogosphere: when someone sends me a link that is summarized like this
I just read this on yahoo and thought of you. Bikes! France! Technology! Oh my!!!!
it will be clicked on. Immediately. (The only noun that could have been added to make this even this more appropriate for me would have been “books” or perhaps, “cheese.”)
This is what I found.
(click on photo to see more photos)
That is the La Defense. In Paris! And the person on the trike has been paid by Google to ride around the city taking pictures for Google Street View. They plan to do a Street View of all major tourist cities in France. Paris stops include Les Halles, le Jardin du Luxembourg and Versailles. You can read the full article here. Charlotte, did you spot any of these guys? (ETA: Apparently they’re cruising around England, too.)
The other day at the bookstore I treated myself to a French magazine. They can be pricey but always provide a different angle on style and fashion as well as a new vocabulary word or two.
My faves are the Elle family, especially Elle à Table, but today’s selection was Marie Claire Ideés. It had a bicycle on the cover — no contest.
This magazine, which has no American equivalent as far as I know (maybe one of Martha Stewart’s line?), is full of beautiful photos of craft projects, theme parties, fashions, etc., and then contains instructions for doing them yourself at the back.
Unfortunately, the only bike project they had instructions for was a saddle cover — but the inside spread provided a lot of inspiration for customizing your bicycle.