Yesterday we crossed two ‘must do’ things off our Paris list: visit Versailles & bike the streets early, before the traffic and buzz of life starts.
6 AM, Paris: we were out the door and en route toward the Arc de Triopmphe and the park Bois de Boulogne. The traffic was thin the whole way. Interesting fact about BdB: it’s the second largest hub for prostitutes in Paris. We saw several in the wee hours of the morning.
There’s a website, mayq.com, that provides a bike route to Versailles. The description isn’t crystal clear, but is good enough for us to make our way through the park, across the Seine and along a quiet route to Versailles. It took us ~3 hours to navigate ~20 miles, find a boulangerie for pastries & coffee and get to the check-in line at the Palace Versailles.
It’s as decadent and beautiful as described. Like the Louvre, quite full of people so we spent more energy listening to the audio guide and taking in the decor than fighting for a good picture. We toured the Palace and Trianons (essentially vacation homes of kings/queens) and ate our lunch (pre-packed! Save the euro and bring your meal) on the stairs of the main garden.
And then we left Versailles, missed a turn, zig-zagged in the general direction of Paris and eventually hit familiar territory.
Again and again, I am amazed at how bike-friendly Paris is. The bike route merged with three cobblestone roundabouts at various times, each one was a madhouse of cars and buses and motorcycles and other bikes and each time – we made it! With all the other cyclists! Phew.
And then we bike down these narrow streets, between moving cars and parked cars and through intersections and around little squares and the cars give us space, the pedestrians move over and we get spit out near the Parc Vosges and hey! We know where we are again! And there’s our protected bike lane leading us home.
Well… It led us to the Paname Brewing Co for a couple beers and dinner and then it led us home.