Time to clear something up. Where am I from, many people have wondered… France? Non. Netherlands? Nee. U.K.? Nope.
I come from beautiful Kansas City, Missouri, USA. I just have trouble staying in one place for long, and I’ve quite liked it that way all these years. And this is my bike. 💚🚲 The bike that my mom bought me at an estate sale a few years ago for $35. It was brown and had been neglected for probably 30 years. For my birthday last year, my parents had it repainted for me to match the #fallingoffbicycles logo. 🎂💚🚲 And here we are together at a real KC gem, the @nelsonatkins Museum of Art. 🏸 Even though where I’m from is considered by some as “flyover country”, there is much to do and see here… like pose with giant shuttlecocks. 😉😂
“Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia.” ~ H.G. Wells
When I wander through Amsterdam, I tend to stick to the canals as my main routes, so when I end up wandering more side streets, I realize there are also plenty of charming scenes to be seen there, too. I spotted this cute bicycle with a fabulously large wicker basket near Amsterdam’s most central park, Vondelpark. I love how the shutters add to the scene, making it unmistakably the Netherlands.
Back to my recent opportunity to cross a very cool thing off my Bucket List… I still think witnessing the final stage of the Tour de France is one of the coolest things I’ve done to date. The energy in Paris that day was so high, and of course I love the attention the French and the Tour give to cycling throughout the year and especially during the month of July. Although I’m not into racing, myself, I do love a good joyride on a bicycle… I mean, who doesn’t?
This year’s winner and final yellow jersey-wearer was Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali. Defending champ, Chris Froome had left the race short of the final stage after three crashes. Not only did Nibali win four stages throughout the 21-stage competition, he also wore the yellow jersey a whopping 19 days.
Again, these photos are from the 2013 Tour, but it’s fun to look back at the photos and see just how into this event the Parisians, the French, and tourists from all over get. The French really put on a great event throughout the month, but the light show on the Arc de Triomphe was one of the coolest touches I have seen and made for a beautiful and creative end to another great Tour de France.
Well, today was the final stage of the 2014 Tour de France. It had been on my Bucket List for some time (that list is not in any order), but I had always seemed to be away from Paris in the last weeks of July, so I was thrilled when my schedule had me wide open for attendance of this exciting event last year.
That day started out as a typical Parisian Sunday for me… a morning walk down near Bastille (where I encountered a Dutch cyclist who asked for directions to Place de la Concorde), reading, relaxing, and enjoying the sunshine. I thought myself a clever spectator by arriving around 40 minutes before the stage, but boy, was I wrong! When I came up from the métro – and not even the nearest one, since Charles de Gaulle Étoile was closed for safety reasons – I was shocked how many people were already ready and waiting. Oops. On top of the massive crowd that I hadn’t anticipated, it was so hot that the pavement was melting beneath our feet and sticking to our shoes. But few seemed to notice as we looked around for a sign that the riders were on their way up the Champs Elysées. The organizers had done quite a good job with setup, providing giant screens as well as speakers blasting the play-by-play of the commentators down at Place de la Concorde. On the screens, we could see what TV viewers could see – them starting at Versailles and making their way through the streets of Paris to rue de Rivoli, past Place de la Concorde, up the Champs Elysées, and around Place de l’Étoile only to do it all again. When they finally made it, it was just as thrilling as I had imagined it would be, and it was also incredibly fast (no kidding, right?)!
That’s all I will share for now. Look for Part II in the next couple of days.
The photos I’m posting today are from last year, as I’m away from Paris again this year and I never posted these in 2013. Last year’s winner was Chris Froome.
Place des Vosges is one of Paris most beautiful squares by far. Last year it was part of my running and walking path, so I was able to see it in the quiet of the morning when few people where there. I’m not sure I ever had those quiet mornings with my proper camera in tow, but I always was drawn to shoot a few here and there with my phone camera.
When I visited Place des Vosges this Spring, I have to say I was a bit disappointed there was so little color when the rest of Paris is bursting with color and fresh blooming flowers. Still, the lush green and the beautiful lines of the façades make for beautiful images that are a good reminder of me to return here for more quiet moments.
Many thanks to the Dutch students who had just parked all these pretty bikes before they paused in the Place for their picnic.
Ahh, Paris. Gorgeous, amazing, one-of-a-kind, and yet.. overdone. Doesn’t everybody have a Top 10 Things to Do in Paris (with Kids) list?
I can’t bring myself to write anything so run-of-the-mill for you. But, even if I could, the entire post would be a big, fat, whopping lie because we likely did not do 8 of the 10 things on our trip.
Instead, let’s focus on a few more relaxed, out of the way, low-key, winter-appropriate Parisian experiences. I’ll still dish on the good, the bad, and the beautiful… I just won’t wrap it all up put a “Top 10” bow on it.
Bouncing Around Paris – on a Bike!
Given our family’s love of the outdoors and the smashing success of our day out in Lucca last summer, I was determined to find a way to incorporate seeing Paris by bicycle.
My obsession with bicycles never really subsides, although when I’m in Paris I see so many fewer bikes that I end up appreciating a perfectly posed one even more. While there are, of course, bicycles all over Paris, the owners don’t seem to go for the really adorable ones that I swoon for. You know, the ones with colors, that are personalized with stickers or a name, or perhaps with a wicker basket that is to die for… Anyway, I happened upon this one in the Marais one Spring day a couple of years ago. Something about this scene is just so perfectly representative of the 3rd arrondissement.