I love the way Parisians live. I love the city… I love the cafes… I love the scooters… I love the bicycles.
Did you know that you can rent a bicycle just about anywhere in the city? Velib. There are these bike kiosks all over the city and once you give the little machine your credit card info (buy a week of biking around… which equates to 5 euros) you are off and running…. or riding. Here’s how it works… you tell the machine your number (on the ticket it gives you at the onset), you tell the machine what bike number you want and then you pull it out of the slot. That bike is yours for free for the first half hour. If you return the bike to another kiosk within 30 minutes it’s free. If you don’t it is 1 euro per hour. So this is one way we are getting around the city. It’s faster than walking and cheaper than a cab.
I do have to say that it’s a bit scary riding on some of the high traffic and narrow streets. I don’t think I care much for the way the French drive. It’s rather aggressive and “honky”… but Paris has made efforts to improve bike-ability here… giving special lanes to bus and bike only (which the cab-drivers seem to ignore) and there are plenty of the bike kiosks around for your biking pleasure. There have only been once or twice that a bike “malfunctioned” on us. Judy’s chain broke on one… Nelson had a wobbly tire, one of my tires was a bit low… but we’ve gotten to checking them over pretty good before selecting a bike now.
Another way to get around the city is by Batobus. It’s a boat that roams around the Seine picking up tourists and depositing them to various touristy type places. It goes from The Louvre all the way around to the Eiffel Tower. We bought a 5 day pass, but we’ve only been on the Batobus once. Our place is right on the edge of The Latin Quarter where it buts up against The Jardin des Plantes… which, by the way, is a lovely garden.