Thursday, 6 August 2009

Popping Into Paris

Talk about a shock to the system! From the quiet of Guadeloupe to the peace and tranquility of the Marne Valley to....the hustle and bustle of Paris - ouch! Cars, roads everywhere, people dashing and rushing all over the place. It was all very overwhelming to us small towners!

Still, it was nice to wander around Paris on a summer's evening, with the realms of people sitting on the pavement (well not literally!) outside of cafés and bistros enjoying the beautiful hot weather that we have been blessed with ever since our return. I'm always glad I don't live in Paris but it does have its charms and beauty, especially at this time of year.

Something that caught our eyes was the relatively new bicycle scheme here. You get a card, take a bike for half an hour (free) or longer (a euro or two) and putter around to wherever you happen to be going, then park the bike at the nearest bike point. Simple! And according to the number of empty spaces and all the people we saw on their bike, very popular. Helmets appear not to be so in favour though.

Our actual purpose in town was an evening bowling with the family. Unfortunately an earlier puncture meant the spare wheel was in operation as was an 80 kph speed limit even on the motorway, so a very lengthy journey in. Probably the longest car journey the kids have had in over a year!
Next we struggled with the intricacies of the Parisian parking system. Pay at the machine? Oh no, far too simple! Go and visit all the neighbouring tabacs to try and purchase a ticket only to find they are either closed down or no longer selling any. We gave up in the end - it would seem that the Parisian ticket attendants are not quite as fervent as their Londonian counterparts!
Bowling was great fun. Bertie smashed us all, with a stunning 145 and several strikes. I, ehem, came gloriously last with about the same score as my age and the humilation of several gutter balls (nul points!). The girls had a great time running around, tidying the balls for us and taking the occasional shot. Thier joy was complete with a late-night trip to McDo afterwards and the lengthy journey home saw them all blissfully fast asleep!


Curious said...

What's to stop poeple making off with the bikes if they are free, or do you pay a hefty deposit?

Hevs said...

Just for you Curious I have checked out the Velib site which can be found here:
You need to use a bank card to take the bike and leave a deposit of €150. The first half hour is free and you need to have sufficient funds on your Velib card if you want to keep it longer (a bit like an oyster card I guess). No keeping it beyond 24 hours.