I hadn’t been on a bike in probably twenty years, but as they say you never forget . . . “it’s like riding a bike.”
The wind in my face was almost too much to bare; the cold made my eyes water. I hope my eyes don’t freeze. Can that even happen?
I received strange looks when I laughed out loud.
A young woman on a bike passed by; she looked so graceful! How is it possible to look stylish riding a bike in winter, I don’t know, but Parisian women just seem to be elegant no matter what. She had her scarf wrapped lightly around her face and a cute hat covered her ears; she even managed to ride comfortably in a long flowing skirt.
I still had on my boots, a pair of warm pants and my coat, so I didn’t look quite as elegant. I pulled a warm hat out of my bag and wrapped a scarf around my mouth and nose. What a difference that made. I was comfortable and rode freely through the small back streets of Paris. As long as I avoided the Toile (that crazy traffic circle around the Arc de Triomphe), I’d have a nice ride.
Paris en vélo was amazing fun. I soon forgot about the cold and pedaled all over the city. I pedaled across the bridge to the Ile aux Cygnes and paused for a minute to look back over the river at the Eiffel Tower. What a pretty sight!
From the other side, I stayed on the landing by the river and road towards the city center. The river seemed to be the best place to ride. Some of the bridges were so beautiful and many are famous.
I soon arrived near the Jardine de Tuileries, rode up the ramp and crossed the street to the Place de la Concorde; the eastern end of the Champs Elysees. I leisurely rode my bike around the Tuileries Gardens; Très beautiful.
I continued through the gardens until I reached the famous Louvre museum. The pyramids were amazing.
I vowed to come back when I could spend the whole day.
I exited the Louvre through one of the great arch openings and rode back along the river until tout d’un coup; I saw the most beautiful church I had ever seen.
It was the Notre Dame Cathedral. I crossed the river once again to ride in front of the Cathedral. Even in winter, the church buzzed with tourists. I parked my bike and inquired so to when the next mass would begin. Lucky for me there was one scheduled to start in twenty minutes.
I took off my hat and entered the church.
Glorious! I could appreciate its beauty in reverence to God.
On the other side of the island I pedaled into a fun, lively looking little neighborhood and decided to explore. Beautiful old buildings housed cafés, bookstores, lots of cool looking little shops and food stands. Music spilled out onto the streets from some of the rowdier cafés.
I stopped and asked a young man, “Excusez-moi monsieur. Where am I?”
“This is the Latin Quarter, Madame,” he said, “Famous for its student life and excitement.”
This is definitely another place I will have to revisit. I can shop for old books and read at one of the hip cafés.
The sky was turning gray and I was tired. The bike had to be back at the shop before they closed or I would be charged another day, not to mention I would have to carry the bike up to my fourth floor apartment. I made my way back toward my apartment, winding through little side streets. Totally in awe of the cute buildings and window dressings, all the things that made them just so…so French!