14 February 2010

Paris Cycle Chic

Paris Cycle Chic - Motion
There are three cities in the world that I miss quite often. That I think about quite often and wish that I'd be visiting soon. Nothing to do with bicycles, just the cities.

Paris is one of them.

19 comments:

Elisabeth said...

Paris me manque aussi...
Which are the two other cities that you miss?

lerrnst said...

i am positive one of them is Leiria :-)

lagatta à montréal said...

Paris me manque terriblement aussi. Haven't spent serious time in Paris since 2003, when I was there twice; in the summer for two weeks and for the European Social Forum in November - though the weather was unseasonably nice.

I was in Paris again in 2006, but just between a plane and the train to Amsterdam - I met some Parisian friends at a café near Gare du Nord, but didn't have much more than a few hours there.

Non, not obsessionally because of bicycles, because Paris is also about the best big city for walkers (I suppose one could make a case for London as well, but Paris is much more compact). But the development of modern bicycle culture, and more and better modern public transport (trams, dedicated bus lanes) have made Paris more poetic still, and reversed the nasty "tout-auto" encroachments on the lovely city that culminated under Pompidou.

I happened to be in Paris when the 1995 public service strikes broke out and saw the very birth - or rebirth - of everyday bicycle culture, with commuters hauling out their bicyclettes to get to work and back.

You and Mark of Amsterdamize might be interested in the song by Georges Moustaki and Vincent Delerme, "Une fille à bicyclette" - it is an authentic cycle chic image, as la fille crosses île St-Louis. The song concludes "Merci, monsieur Bertrand", an allusion to mayor Bertrand Delanoë, who has supported better bicycle and public transport access in Paris.

There are various sound files and youtubes available on line,but I haven't found the lyrics printed yet.

sootjeelina said...

You should check out Holland. MAAAAAANY bikers :D

xoxo Sootjeelina

lagatta à montréal said...

Sootjeelina, there has long been a friendly rivalry between Mikael of copenhagencyclechic and copenhagenize and Marc of amsterdamize, and a lot about Netherlands here, and about Denmark there. Marie of CCC has also visited Marc in Amsterdam.

What is nice about Paris (among many other things) is the emergence or rather re-emergence of daily cycling culture. And it can be really a tipping point for the development of cycle chic in the Western world at least.

Now if only the Dutch and the French could gang up on the country in between and convince Brussels to become a cyclable city. Cette ville fait pitié! Sure it has some hills, but so does Paris.

Scott said...

the other one is san francisco. sunny and 70 today. bring your bike. we love europeans.

Dottie said...

Beautiful photo. I will be visiting Paris for the first time in October and I'm counting the days. I'll be all over the Velib.

Sue 'sans' helmet said...

"smug-me-time" maitenant - i was there 3 days ago and it was trés heavenly - revelled in 'vélibing' everywhere particularly up the champs élysees and around the arc de triomphe

now i've returned to australia, i truly feel i have been to 'heaven & back'!!!

m e l i g r o s a said...

oh paris, im eager to meet you

@scott, he was just in our SF, roaming around with the ladiesssss ;D

cheers /xo.m

Mikael said...

the badassé ladies... indeed.

For me, the other cities are Tokyo and Berlin.

Klaus Mohn said...

You know, I really wish I could visit Copenhagen again soon. Can't believe it's almost been a year since I was there. Hell, I'm daydreaming about taking a cycling holiday all through Sjaelland right now.

lagatta à montréal said...

Sue, I'm so glad you got to Paris. Hope you were able to also take in either Copenhagen or Amsterdam (the latter is easier to get to from Paris, on the Thalys train) to take in a "mature" cycling culture.

Anonymous said...

My name is Miguel from México. Pleaseeeee: Which are the other two cities? Tokyo and...? Its my bet.

Kristin Tieche said...

I sleep with a map of Paris next to my head each night. Meli, I would love to show you around one day. A badassé rendez-vous sounds like a fantastic idea!

Bisous à tous, kt

Mikael said...

you're right about Tokyo, Miguel. Berlin is the other one.

Anonymous said...

I knew it! Tokyo is, using your words, one of the cities that "i miss quite often" too! I love that city. And New York too! Saludos de Miguel desde México.

Anonymous said...

PD. Oh, and i've been in Copenhagen too. And i LOVED all those beautiful girls in bikes. Their look so good with those shoes in the pedals... Beautiful! Bye! Miguel.

kfg said...

"Paris is one of them."

Isn't it always?

Prague is one of mine, but I fear the Prague I'm missing doesn't exist (the Prague Spring one; but absent the Soviets). Timing may have been everything on getting back there and I missed it.

With apologies to Lagatta à Montréal Québec is another, but given your post, if you have not already done so, you really need to read Behrman's The Man Who Loved Bicycles:

www.bikereader.com/contributors/behrman/behrman.html

Cities that intrude into my thoughts because I have seen them only in transit leaving tantalizing images I'd like to explore further (by bicycle of course) include Sevilla, Vienna and Amsterdam.

And of course this blog makes me think about the possibilities of visiting Copenhagen someday.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous blog of bikes and bikies. Here in New Zealand biking is still synonymous with lycra and mountain bikes and racing bikes. I cannot for the life of me find a helmet that is funky and functional. Keep up the fabulous blog. Annie (New Zealand)