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guest post: cycling in paris

November 12, 2010

I recently stumbled across the most delightful blog. As I write this, I’m sitting in a coffee shop, waiting out the heavy rain, sipping a hot mocha, and languishing over the beautiful images on Hello, It’s Valentine. The author behind this blog is a Parisian graphic designer who calls her blog a ‘surprise blog’. You can expect anything from beautiful fashion, breathtaking Parisian scenery, and – to my delight – lots and lots of bike love.

I wrote Valentine an email in my rusty French and asked her if she would be so kind as to answer a few questions about cycling in Paris. She immediately wrote back and I’m happy to share our mini-interview with you. (Her English is much better than my French, so we stuck with that for the Q&A.)…

1. When did you start riding a bike?
I start riding at the age of 7, I think. My daddy helped me ! I’m with my boyfriend for 2 years now, and he began to be a real fan of beach cruiser/low rider bikes for a year and a half…He’s part of a community, called “La Custom Brigade” : men (and sometimes their wives and girlfirends join) organise huge rides in Paris and elsewhere : Barcelona, Amsterdam…

They all have a personnal custom bike, and when we all ride together : people stop to look at this original team !

2. What do you enjoy about riding a bike?
I consider that riding a bike is a good compromise between walking and driving (or taking the transports).
You go faster than going somewhere by walk, but you enjoy more the lansdcape around you, than by being in a car…

To me, rinding my bicycle is freedom !

3. What are some of the best parts about cycling in Paris?
Living in Paris, is, to me, being sooo lucky. I’m able, with my boyfriend, to ride and see all the wonderful monuments. Some people make tourism just to see those monuments, and they come from the other side of the world, sometimes !

It’s just near our home, so I know we are very lucky.

4. On your recent trip to Vienna, you rented a bike. How was your experience of cycling in Vienna?
Yes indeed. My boyfriend absolutely wanted to rent a bike, to visit the city and being less tired than we would have been by walking. It was a great idea, because their bikes are really simple to rent, you only need a credit card. It’s really cheap (2€ for a day, the first hour is free, then it’s only 1€ by hour…Cheaper than in Paris!)
It was awesome, riding in Vienna : the sun was shining, we rode along the Danube, it was a great day!

5. What would your ideal day on a bike look like? Where would you go and what would you do?
I already had an ideal day on a bike ! We took our bikes to Versailles (the Gardens) with my boyfriend.
It was last July : we took our picnic basket with us, and rode to the Grand Canal in the park…there was nobody, the sun was shining, the wind in the trees made this lovely sound…My boyfriend discovered Versailles for the first time (he comes from South of France). We had a wonderful day !!

6. What are your bikes?
I have 2 bikes. Both vintage.
The first I had is a Jacques Anquetil (he used to be a famous rider in France, long time ago), it only cost me 20€ and my boyfriend put me a ape hanger handlebar : so nice !
The second one is a Peugeot from 1970 : it was doomed to the garbage, let in the street so, after 3 days passing by along it, my boyfriend took it.
I’m glad it’s mine now, because we took care of it : we cleaned it, changed the weels, and repainted it WHITE !
I love both of them, but the Peugeot gots bigger wheels, so I go faster on it ! Yaaaaaaaaaaataaaaaa !

{All images courtesy of Hello, It’s Valentine}

Thank you, Valentine! Now I’m sure you’re all heading to CheapTickets to book your flight to Paris just as I am. But if you’re not quite ready to fly across the ocean, simply fly over to Valentine’s blog and enjoy la belle vie vicariously. Le sigh….

13 Comments leave one →
  1. November 12, 2010 19:42

    I’m in such LOVE with her! Thank you for this cute feature. I can’t wait to subscribe and follow her adventures. I want to go to Paris and ride bicycles. Maybe I can do a NYC apartment and bicycle swap with her?!

    Write me, Valentine!

  2. November 13, 2010 01:38

    i think valentine is my twin. we have almost similar hair styles, a good sense of style, we both love bicycles, Frida Kahlo, dresses, she has a tuxedo cat like me, a boyfriend who loves bikes, we have the same blue cape from Zara… the list goes on. i’m so glad you got to asking her about biking in Paris. i’m planning a trip out their and am trying to get a way to finding a good bike to ride. perhaps valentine has some good tips.

    thanks for opening the gates for communication. i know i’ve asked you a few times about cycling in paris but you brought me a good resource, so, thank you.

    • November 13, 2010 16:04

      Tina – glad to have matched you up with your French twin :) When are you going to Paris? Can’t wait to see pictures of your cycling adventures there!

  3. November 13, 2010 02:21

    I think what I love most about this post is the nostalgic feel of the photos. I’m guessing they were taken using a vintage camera, and not a modern day digital or SLR, but there’s something that brings up the idea of memories in seeing them (for me anyway), and I appreciate that so very much… not to mention I’m in LOVE with those darn shoes in the third photo from the top of the post.

    What a lovely woman, and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to be introduced to her blog.

    • November 15, 2010 21:36

      Dear G.E,
      To make my photos look like they are vintage, I use the “Toy camera Analog color” software :)
      It’s free and simple to use.

      My brown shoes are from Zara (2 years ago). Thank you so much for your nice words!

  4. November 13, 2010 10:33

    woooo so adorable!! :DDDD

  5. November 13, 2010 14:32

    So very sweet! Thanks for sharing the pics, and interview! I wish I was headed there right now.

  6. Harry H permalink
    November 15, 2010 04:53

    What a great post. I wish I could read French. Translation will have to do for now.

  7. November 15, 2010 11:36

    I’ve been following Valentine’s blog for months and it’s one of my favorites.
    Why french are always so chic? She’s adorable.

    Great post and photos ;)

  8. November 16, 2010 03:34

    Very cool!


  1. foto vendredi « Simply Bike
  2. A picture an hour – Saturday in November | Hello it's Valentine

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