Lonely Planet’s Cycling France guidebook have us a little gem about Paris: every Friday for over a decade, cyclists meet at Hôtel de Ville for an evening ride through the streets. We did a quick search online and found information from Paris Rando Velo, the organization who organizes the rides.
So Adam & I hopped on our bikes and headed down to the meeting space to check it out. And there is no way to truly express how cool, fun, wonderful, exciting this introduction to Paris was – it was just amazing.
It was mostly PRV organizers on hand when we arrived. I botched through some French, they spoke some English and we patiently waited for others to arrive before the ride began at 10 PM. Eli, with PRV, struck up a conversation with us – a transplant from DC to Paris, he gave us some great intel and generously translated a few times.
Here’s how the ride works – PRV creates a route, always starting and ending in the same place. Mileage fluctuates and if it rains, the ride is canceled or ends early. From there, PRV staff lead the ride – leading the route & setting the pace; holding cars & managing traffic; and sweeping the last runners. The team was well organized and made us feel safe & in good hands as we navigated the streets. They don’t have an easy job – over 100 people showed up to ride on bikes of all styles.
So now, we are on a guided bike tour of the city. There is no better way for us to get to know Paris – PRV brought on a figure 8 through small neighborhoods, a port and through the Louvre, along the river Seine to see the Eiffel Tower lit up, and Rue Saint Germain to see some of the most historic and popular attractions in Paris.
Tonight’s route was ~12 miles, took nearly 2 hours and provided Adam & I with some serious delight. Welcome to Paris!