Cycling through the city of lights

Eiffel Tower in SpringOne of my favourite memories of experiencing Paris was by bike. It was spring or summer of 2012 and myself and a couple colleagues rented the velib bikes you see around the city and our method was simple – turn in whatever direction looks most interesting. In theory it’s a great plan… but somehow we still managed to end up in probably the biggest construction zone of Paris. All that bumping up and down on my leather bag, which was housing my very heavy camera in the front basket, didn’t live to tell the tale. I drove a nice big hole right through it. A favourite memory it may be, with my little french scarf blowing in the wind – but I’m pretty sure my colleges and my bag would have rather stayed in the hotel!

So instead of making the same mistake I did, I propose to you a better option, if for no better reason than just to make the most of your visit, because not everyone lives here year round and time is precious!

Just last week I was fortunate to be invited by Fat Tire Tours to enjoy their best of Paris bike tour. You’ll be busy most of the day but you’ll be filling it with some beautiful sights, great guides who will help you to understand some of the stories of former kings, queens and the antics that make this city what it is today. 

You’ll start your day by meeting one of your great English speaking guides and picking out one of their iconic red bikes to comfortably peruse the streets through many different neighbourhoods (called arrondissements) to get a feel for the different types of architecture and lifestyle they have to offer. They’ll accompany you through the Luxemburg gardens, inside Notre Dame, past the hotel de ville, a stop in Tuileries for a picnic lunch, skip the line access into the Louvre, riding along the seine towards the Alexandre III bridge, and past the Eiffel tower all before 5pm.

If you’re able to make them one of your first stops you’ll be able to see what areas interest you most, ask a few questions perhaps and make a really memorable trip beyond just this one day adventure. While it may sound like a long day on a bike, you’ll find that most of the trip is flat and there are many stops so this is very accessible to anyone who’s ridden a bike before. If you’d rather something a little different they have many other options (walking, cycling or by Segway and several skip-the-line options so you don’t spend your entire vacation waiting to get in) on their website! I’m hoping to one day experience their Versailles tour. I’ve heard it’s incredible!

I’d love to know what has made your travels memorable, whether in Paris or beyond. Leave a comment below to tell your story.

*Please note that while I was invited on this tour (thank you!) all opinions shared are my own. 

Louvre Napoleon III apartments

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