Tuesday, 24 July 2012

July 6 - Paris as it should be seen: by bike.

We arranged a tour through Fat Bike Tours, and they were fabulous!

This is our guide, Costigan. Costi was from New Zealand, and he was a total beach dude, but somehow it worked. He kept us safe, informed, and entertained.
He started us out with some helpful hints. Like if we get honked at, it was the French saying, "Hello, welcome to Paris!" And, if we receive the *finger of frustration*, we only respond with our index finger and wave it, "No, no, no." He taught us to hold up our hand to stop traffic, and finish it off with a thumbs up for a thank-you. We knew when to bike in domination-formation and when to bike in single file. I'm sure everyone at Fat Bike is that good.

We're a family of keeners, it appears, riding at the front.

Really, we all did our best to keep our fellow tourists behind us because we were better bikers than them, and I don't mind saying it. 

I'll make no effort to put these photographs in order, but some of the sights we saw were:

A monument to Louis Pasteur,

Eglise du Dome, built by Louis XIV, which houses the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. The tomb is below the level of the floor, and it is said that even in death everyone bows to Napoleon.
Well, according to Costi, Hitler was a big fan of Napoleon, and when Paris fell to the Nazis Hitler came to visit the tomb. However, he had heard about the position of the tomb, and had mirrors arranged so that when he arrived he would be able to view Napoleon's tomb without bowing. As it turned out, the wind caught his hat and he had to bend and reach his arm across his body to catch the hat, making the most extravagant bow ever given to Napoleon Bonaparte at the Eglise du Dome.

Pont Alexandre III and Grand Palais, looking at this now makes me think I'd do a River Cruise next time. I didn't see all the bridges across the Seine this time around.

A lamp on Pont Alexandre III. 

Arc de Triumph de Carousel

Luxor Obelisk

The Louvre

Louvre Pyramid

I honestly couldn't get enough of the Eiffel Tower.

More of the Louvre, I think.

National Assembley

Steven snapped this sometime.

Another Obelisk shot.

Tuileries Gardens, where we stopped and ate lunch at an outdoor cafe.

Pont de la Concorde

Our group nearing the end of our ride.

Another view of the Tower. I could seriously wake up, walk to the bakery for a pastry, and sit and look at the Eiffel Tower every morning. I don't know when I'd get tired of that routine.

I'm including this one because you can see the tower is painted 3 different shades of bronze, lightest at the bottom. I forgot to mention on my post about July 5th that all of the pieces of the tower were pre-cut and pre-drilled offsite and then assembled where it stands. The precision of the pre-drilling required accuracy to 1/10th of a millimetre. Eiffel himself wasn't sure if it was going to work until the first level was complete. (Oh, and the original design was done by one of his students, which Eiffel then bought fair and square.)  

The monument to peace at the end of the Champs de Mars. The word, 'Peace' is etched in glass in 32 languages. This was where we concluded our bike tour.

Some random photos after the tour:

I take it back, we have more pictures of the Eiffel Tower than we do of Big Ben.

Of all the posing done this way, this was the only shot that didn't come out irrecoverably back-lit.

I should have stopped then and there to have a macaroon, I nearly left Paris without one.

Late in the afternoon we headed out to a landmark that we didn't see on the bike ride. (We had the misfortune of taking a public bus at rush hour. It was an experience to get closer to the locals.)

Sacre-Coeur boasts the panoramic view of Paris, which it has, but not the prettiest view I would say. The church itself is beautiful enough, though.

The girls forced Steven to half-heartedly do the crouching tiger pose from when they were small. Except in the original pose I think they were just crouching, no tiger. Steven really hates it when one of his sisters says, "Crouching tiger pose!"

But he liked going to the light show with Carmen and Ken. (The rest of us couldn't stay up that late.)


Jill said...

This looks like such an amazing trip! It's so wonderful you were able to do this with your whole family.

I know what you mean about not being able to get enough of the Eiffel Tower for sure.

"The finger of frustration" is hilarious.

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

I'm just so glad you're sharing this with the rest of us Barb.

(I still can't get over how tall Steven is.)

Marie said...


I just thought of something. What on earth is Jaclyn supposed to do for a honeymoon now? Camping?

Kelly said...

This really was the perfect way for you guys to see the city, and the biking pictures are so charming, as well. So fun!

I guess I don't understand Marie's comment above, but I think a camping honeymoon sounds hideous. Reminds me of working in the Rec Management department of BYU, and one of the students was getting married and "surprising" his new wife with a honeymoon in a snow cave. I've always wondered what her reaction was to that, knowing what my own would have been had Keith surprised me with a snow cave.