Thursday, May 15, 2008

Glorious spring

Where did April go to and how is it that May is half over? There were a lot of good post ideas floating around but I suppose I got carried away with the spring. April in Paris really is everything it's touted to be, I highly recommend. But here we are in May and it's still glorious and staying indoors is almost a crime. Which is why getting out and about town to discover the city is more tempting than ever.

Getting around town on a bike is the one thing that I revel in without reservation. Mayor Bertrand Delanoë struck gold with a business arrangement in which JCDecaux, an ad agency, provided financing for a public bike rental system in exchange for a large tranche of on-street advertising. Hence the birth of the endlessly popular Vélib. In addition to a cornucopia of public bikes throughout the city , there are also more and more dedicated and protected bike lanes. In the past number of years the mayor has been reducing car lanes and increasing those for public transportation. Cycling around town has never been so much fun.

Visiting the urban gardens by Palais de Tokyo before grabbing some bikes.

B breaking into the urban gardens.

Example of protected and lushly landscaped bike lane, and one that is more urban.

Crossing the fabulous Pont Bir-Hakeim.

And at the end of the day you can park your Vélib at any Vélib station and take one long look at the sky by the Seine before heading home, or starting up the evening!

As a final note, I would like to add that it is indeed possible to cycle around town in minidresses and high heels, eschewing the standard defensive gear so sadly required in North America. No bike helmets or lycra here! This site gives a pretty good sense of what the bike culture in Paris looks like.

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