Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bike About Paris

CIMG0797, originally uploaded by sarahmroos.

After over 10 hours on a plane, I landed in Paris at the bright hour of 11am (2am according to my body, but they say you'll never get over jetlag if you think that way). Knowing that I would need to stay awake and simutaneously get my bearings in the City of Light, I booked a bike tour for the afternoon I arrived. A friend in Provence had recommended the Bike About Paris tour group as a great way to see the city in just a few hours and to discover some really magical places.

Bike About Paris was founded a few years ago and initially, their tours focused on covering all of the major Paris landmarks during a ride around town -- the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Sacre Couer, etc. Eventually the leaders realized that there were a good number of bike tour companies popping up, all doing the same thing -- leading tourists into deeper tourist traps. So Bike About decided to switch gears a bit (forgive the pun) and they moved their focus to "hidden Paris" in order to give riders a view into the Paris that only locals typically know. Their 3.5 hour tour covers most of the major arrondisements and focuses more on the magic and uniqueness of each neighborhood.

Our guide, Christian, led us to some of our favorite boulangeries, cafes and wine bars in the city. Among other things, he snuck us into secret courtyard gardens, helped us discover the best pain au chocolate in Paris and showed us how to spot the work of one of France's most famous (anonymous) graffiti artists.

Throughout the 16 days I spent in France, this bike tour (and Christian's amazing recommendations) came up multiple times each day. It was the best 30 euro I spent on this trip.

And I have to say - as I pedaled my little bike along the Seine as the sun set behind Notre Dame, I was the most awake I'd been in months.

1 comment:

Lauren McDowell said...

So where is the city's best pain au chocolat??