Between today's morning and evening rain showers, thousands of people took to the streets of Paris to enjoy another sunny Sunday. With my trusty bike, I happily joined in the fun and spent the entire afternoon crisscrossing the map. Zipping up the Champs-Élysées and navigating crowds in the Marais got me thinking about how great of a biking city Paris really is. Despite some of the obvious inconveniences (the occasional bumpy cobblestone street, enormous and confusing intersections), bikers will find it relatively easy and immensely fun to navigate Paris on two wheels.
For starters, there are countless bike lanes and paths throughout the city so bikers don't have to always be fighting traffic. You can bike along the Seine, up the Boulevard St. Germain, and even along the Rue de Rivoli on specially marked bike or bike/bus lanes. What's more, on Sundays between 9am and 5pm they city closes a large stretch of road that goes underground near the Louvre and comes above ground at the Pont Neuf (looking exceptionally beautiful today). Bikers, rollerbladers and pedestrians alike can enjoy a long, wide path set aside especially for them. Even when you do have to join the traffic, Parisian drivers are extremely cautious and courteous around bikes. They might tear through the streets like madmen the majority of the time, but when you are in street on your bike they will gladly give you the priority, maintain their distance, and patiently drive behind you until they're able to pass. There's also the question of pure enjoyability; biking through Paris is just plain fun! In fact, the only thing more exciting that driving through the Arc de Triomphe roundabout is biking through the Arc de Triomphe roundabout. Just hug the far right edge of the circle and enjoy the view.
If you decide to bike through Paris you won't be alone. Proving that they city is truly made for two-wheel exploration, bikers of all shapes, sizes and ages are everywhere. Next time you're in town, be sure to come up out of the dark metro and take to the glorious, sunny streets with the rest of us...in between downpours at least.