Thursday, August 28, 2008

Paris Bike Tour


I found something that will prove useful if you come to Paris and want to discover the city "differently": English speaking organized bike tours. The Fat Tire Bike Tours (that is what they are called) have apparently been going on for 9 years but it's the first time I noticed one of their bikes in the street. I never tried them either, so if anyone had, please give us some feedback. I love the Paris Tips section of their website, it's always fun to see what foreigners are interested in ;)

60 comments:

  1. Well, it would certainly beat "Flat Tire Bike Tours"! The springy seat looks inviting, as does the weather.

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  2. I saw a Segway tour group in Paris a few years ago. The group kept to the sidewalks and everyone gave them plenty of room to maneuver. It looks like Flat Tire also runs those tour.

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  3. There's a beer called Fat Tire. Not that I know much about such things.

    Eric, I have to say your photos are getting more and more artistic!

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  4. Wow...what a great photo! Paris looks nice and sunny!! Le beau soleil?!! Ahhhh!! Funny thing suzy..the first thought that came to my mind was also the Fat Tire Beer..and of course I have never had it either!!...I'm a Wine kinda guyyyy! ;-)

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  5. I had to be talked into it on a layover as I had 3 hrs. sleep, and didn't think I was up for a bike tour. I wound up saying I saw Paris in a completely different way! I couldn't believe how the drivers were respectful of us and the bike lane.
    As a biker in the back, all you do is listen to the leader when he says cross. You don't even have to look to the left or right, they do it all for you.
    I have done ALL the tours they offer in Paris and out, by bike, since I am such a fan ,now. This summer, when we my husband and I did their Versailles ride, people called out to us when they saw the pack of us biking , asking where they could rent a bike. It was a great way to be able to get around the grounds in a fun way. They even have you stop at the market to buy food for a picnic that we had along the water.
    I did their Barcelona ride last month, and am contemplating their London tour. This is from a person who does no exersize, and is of a "certain" age. Oh,I guess I should add they also give a bit of history when you stop to look at things.I am a big big fan.
    It is an American run company with English speaking guides.

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  6. Eric,
    I am sure this is a delightful way for tourist to see Paris, but you can bet your sweet life that you won't see moi on a bike in November. At some point in your life you have to accept the things that still work for you and the things that don't . For me it would have to be a 3 wheeled bike tour called Fat Ass Tours. Enough said.

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  7. Maybe I should find a bike tour in Chicago? No, I'll walk. I have a list of buildings of the "Chicago School" of architecture. And, of course, one cannot ride through the Art Institute. Too bad many of their Impressionists are visiting Dallas, TX, but it's still a great museum. I'll have to see the American wing this time. Out of touch for a few days...A bientot.

    (I'll make sure I think before I speak...)

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  8. Hi you guys, sorry for not commenting on the photo right now, just would like to let you know

    that I have just met Rose!!!!!!!!

    She´s staying at the hotel, so later tonight we´re going out for dinner. I´m so thrilled to have met her!!!

    Thanks to PDP!!!

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  9. PHX I immediately thought of you when I saw this post cause I know how much you like Fat Tire Bike Tours!

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  10. Fat tires are fun to ride on, like big balloons. I noticed in Vancouver recently that these bikes are popular there too. I want one!

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  11. Jeff, I took the Chicago architecture boat tour last year and highly recommend it. Seeing the city's great architecture from the Chicago River provides a different perspective.

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  12. At least we can all translate "fat tire" ;)

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  13. Eric, some more keen insight for getting along in France. Merci. I loved the Paris Tips section that suggests the romantic spot to hit is Pont des Arts. Bring some wine and puckering lips we are told. Really? Do tell! ;-)

    Also, PHX-CDG, thank you for sharing your bike tour experiences. I've been an avid cyclist since the days of Bernard Hinault and would love to see Europe via the bike. Your stories confirm the safety aspect I had wondered about.

    Virginia..."Fat Ass Tours" LOL! In the words of Queen's Brian May, "Fat bottomed girls you make the rockin world go round." You go girl!

    So an avid cyclist arrives at the Pearly Gates and asks St Peter if there are bicycles in heaven. "Certainly," St Peter says, and he shows the cyclist an amazing Velodrome. "Plus," St Peter says,"you'll have the most amazing cycling clothes and personal masseuses anytime you desire." As they speak a gold plated Cinelli streaks by them on the boards. "Wow!" says the cyclist, "That guy was so fast it could only be Eddy Merckx!" St Peter smiles and says, "No, that was God on the bike. He only thinks he's Eddy."

    ...and then there's Lois's story of ditching her bicycle because she had had enough of it. That's too funny! ;-)

    Hey Monica! Have missed seeing you on PDP. I'm sure you'll have a great time with Rose. That is too cool you could meet.

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  14. What a great shot, Eric! The lengths (and depths) you go for us!! It does sound like and intriguing tour though. I'm not one for tours usually. (I hate being told where to go and what to do!!) I usually like to just figure it out on my own and so far this has worked quite well. But this actually sounds like something I might try. Thanks for the tip!

    PS. It seemed a little odd to be called a 'foreigner'. Sometimes I forget I would be just that!

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  15. You know, they have pretty good tips! I didn't know about the "secret" entrance to the Louvre. Good one. :)

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  16. Coltrane, "...enough of it..." You remembered one of my bike stories. That's a good title for it. Here is another. One day I was walking down the street in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco and I noticed that someone had hit a parked bike while they were trying to park their car. It was lying there on it's side -- kinda bent and a few pieces of its light/reflector lying about. The next day I walked by it again -- not on purpose -- it just happened that way. The owner of the bike had painted a white line of paint on the sidewalk around the bike (ya know, like they do with dead people who have been hit by a car or shot or something). Pitiful looking. It was so funny that I took a photo of it. It was just so creative. I have it hanging in my gallery. Cali will see it when she visits me this weekend. Everyone enjoys that photo -- it has a way of putting a smile on your face. The people look at it and say "what?" while they are :))

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  17. Gee Eric, after reading about M et Mme Benaut's visit to London over at Dive's blog here and here, perhaps we'll need these bikes just to keep up with them!

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  18. Katie, I changed my profile photo to one that you took of me in the sunlight. It looks like I am winking -- I do that. Women from the West do that -- I think it is a cowgirl thing.

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  19. Lois said, "I do that. Women from the West do that -- I think it is a cowgirl thing." ROFL!!

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  20. Lois you look stunning in this photo too, even if you're winking like a cowgirl. You'll have to teach me that! And Monica what a hoot that you've met Rose! Coltrane I was humming that Queen song all the way home from work after reading your comment. Classic!

    Uselain, Suzy and Virginia I'm going to combine all your suggestions and offer a tour called the "Fat Ass Flat Fat Tire Bike Tour" which will consist of just sitting on parked bikes with airless tires drinking Fat Tire beer. The bikes can be parked somewhere nice though, so there will be a nice view!

    PHX-CDG I'm so glad you've been on the Versailles bike tour, because now I'm absolutely going to do that during my trip! I haven't been to Versailles for 20+ years and this looks like a great way to see it.

    Thanks for a great photo Eric, plus all these links. My trip will be much enhanced because of all the wonderful work you do on a daily basis. Merci mille fois!

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  21. I think I would end up as a chalk outline if I tried to ride a bike in Paris!

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  22. Katie - I am so there! I'd be drinkin' and winkin' like a cowgirl, especially if Lois came along. 6^}

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  23. from Cali - Well, and then there's that.

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  24. I haven't got time to look at the Tips but is 'Try to Spot Eric PDP with Camera' on it?

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  25. That's fun because I never saw them either... Maybe Vélib' is capturing all our attention!
    I like the way you took the picture, the fact that the bike is cut by the frame and that the buildings seem to fall down.

    About yesterday Eric, I'm not an Encyclopedia, remember, I'm a QUID!! ;)

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  26. What's a quid, Guille? In English, this is slang for a pound.

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  27. Monica! How excitng that you and Rose finally got to meet!! Say hi for me and we miss you both.
    I am meeting Alexa tomorrow in NYC!!!!

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  28. Hey guys...
    You will be really jealous when I tell you I met Monica and she is not just nice! She is wonderful... witty, clever, beautiful and so so so fun. :)
    Thanks PDP (Eric, are you there?)for introducing me to her ;)

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  29. Lois...amazing, beautiful, classy photo...of course, we always knew this about you. :-)

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  30. Lynn, a Quid is a kind of Encyclopedia. No, more than that, it's a book in which you can find anything. Quite famous in France. It's not published anymore, it's now online.
    Eric thinks that you can live without it at home. I don't! ;)

    Rose, I'm totally jealous. All that you said is obvious, Monica is un ange. Even if she woke me up last night by texting, to tell me that she was with you. :p I hope you had a wonderful time together. I'm dying to meet her too.
    Beijos de Paris.

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  31. Rose you are a very lucky person to meet Monica. She is a wonderful person like you, and so many others here. Tell Mlle C. I said "bom dia"!

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  32. So much to say today!

    Eric, you are so wonderful to take a photo of a bike but not just a bike: it has the wonderful city in the background, the great angle, as if to say "Here's the bike, and here's the enticement to the tour." Fat Tire Bike Tours should buy this photo from you!

    Virginia: you crack me up! But I shouldn't get started with the bad puns. I think you and Carrie will be in Paris at the same time, how exciting!

    David is right, Jeff, that boat tour on the Chicago River is wonderful if you're a lover of architecture. Chicago's architecture is very fine.

    Monica, Rose, you are both so terrific that I'm happy for/jealous of both of you! Have a good time together and report back to us!

    Have a good day, everyone!

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  33. Phx you know you´re on my list too, we simply have got to meet.

    Guille.... so sorry to have waken you!! I thought you´d see the message only in the morning. I´m glad you liked the news though. And you know you and I have a meeting next year in Paris!

    Michael, did not have Mme. C´s company this time, just red wine. I´ll have to make it up to her this weekend..!

    Thanks everyone for the kind words, all I can say is that the pleasure of meeting Rose was all mine!!! She is, among many other things, one fun person to be around.

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  34. Monica, it's funny you've turned Mlle C*. into a "Mme"! Why on earth would you think that she is monogamous with her lovers?




    *Caipirinha

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  35. Ok, after re-reading that, I can just imagine what others might conjure up as an explanation. Thank goodness Jeff is traveling or we'd be in trouble!

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  36. Last November in Paris my friends talked me into the Fat Tire Monmarte Walking Tour. We had a wonderful time and the guide was funny and kind and respectful of the variety of people on the tour. We had so much fun we also took the bike tour of Versailles a few days later. I highly recommend them to any english speaking person visiting Paris.

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  37. Mlle C. is absolutely not monogamous, she goes with everyone and doesn't make any distinction, in Paris or Rio, wherever one wants. That's why I like her. She'll never get engaged and if it happens, it will be with me anyway.

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  38. A bike tour might be fun, but I think I'd rather hoof it. I prefer to take certain things in life at a leisurely pace and I've a feeling seeing Paris in one of those things that needs to be savored.

    lois, definitely a beautiful photo. And great bike story! I think you may be right about the winking. Westerners still think of winking as a friendly gesture. Around here it's thought of in one of 2 ways: If a good looking person winks at you it is friendly/flirty. If a not so good looking person winks at you then it's creepy, whether they are just trying to be nice or not. So sad, because winks can be such a wonderful gesture.

    Coltrane! Before I forget, I think you'll like the highlight of that day I wasn't feeling good. I've been wanting to redecorate my apartment for awhile so I decided I'd go out shopping for it while I wasn't feeling good in an attempt to feel a bit better.

    After I had gotten all the things I wanted from one of the stores I chose the cashier I would go to get checked out for the sole reason that she looked rather like Ella Fitzgerald from a distance. Well guess what, up close she looked even more like Ella and her name was Ella! And she completely gushed over the throw pillows I had chosen for my couch, so that added to my temporary increase in good mood. I swear I felt like she was gonna start singing Blues in the Night or something!

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  39. Michael, Katie, USElaine, and Coltrane, Merci for your compliments. Katie always makes me look good. I really felt not pretty at all -- my hair was a mess. She just said, stand there (bossy, isn't she ;-) When I saw the photo, I was amazed that I looked okay -- I was expecting something horrible.

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  40. I Loved the Fat Tire tours. We did two. One in the evening which was amazing!! Plus they take you on the boat tour with wine and the best ice cream ever behind Notre Dame. The other tour was to Versailles. WOW was that amazing. We got up early to catch the train with our bikes, stopped at a wonderful farmers market to pick goodies for our lunch. Road through Versailles and the canals and ate a perfect lunch of bread, cheese & wine with fruit. I would do it everytime.. Well worth it.

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  41. We loved the tour. It was wonderful, we did two, one in the evening and the other at Versailles. The evening was great to see Paris at night, it including stopping for the best ice cream in the world behind Notre Dame and a ride on the boat with wine. Versaille was fantastic. We got up early and road the bikes to the train station and then loaded the bikes on the train. We stopped at a local farmers market to goodies for lunch, cheese, wine, fruit, bread and headed off for the Palace. Lunch on the canals riding on the grounds of one of most beatiful places I've seen. Highly recommend the tours. I would do it again. The bikes are easy and anyone can do it.

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  42. Soosha, We were writing at the same time. Merci for your compliment too.

    I use to know a women, Patsy, a little older than I am (she passed away); she was a rodeo girl. She use to wink a lot when she talked to people. It was so charming. She use to give me all her rodeo costumes when she thought she had worn them too much. Ya know, she didn't like to perform in the same bell bottoms twice. And they had matching tops. They were all hand made for her in Parker, Arizona. They were so cute. I mean it, I felt like a queen in those bell bottom outfits. The fabic and sewmanship [sp?] and design -- a work of art. And they fit like a glove. The shirts were really tapered for a woman's body, with a lot of needle work and pearl buttons. She was so sweet to give them to me.

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  43. Soosha...great story. Thanks for sharing. Ella is indeed everywhere...and that's a good thing. :-) Now, back to my afternoon composition classes (three left)!

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  44. Oh no, not those caipirinhas again! Too much for me, I must say. The half of one I managed to drink sent me around the moon and back. Tasted good, though.

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  45. LOL Suzy, "sent me around the moon and back". I noted it for the next sayings competition!
    Yes, Mlle C. is back.

    Courage Coltrane!

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  46. Hello!
    I usually just look at the photos but today I couldn't help making a comment about the bike tour.

    Last year at this time a friend and I visited Paris and had a wonderful trip. We took the bike tour to Giverney to visit Monet's Gardens and had a picnic along the river bank along. It was, without question, the best part of our trip. The sights were fabulous, as were the people we met in the small towns of Vernon and Giverny. The ride was not too strenous, even for those who have not been on a bike in a long time. Our guide was also great-- she was very knowledgeable and provided us so many details you could not get from a pre-recorded tour. It was the very best way to see the countryside!

    Thanks Eric for reminding me of a wonderful time with this shot.

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  47. Soosha is flirting with Coltrane again ;-) She knows what buttons to push.

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  48. yup, it's named after the beer! i was in paris for the first time in march and joined the fat tire day tour...loved it! it's so fun to ride around the city and get all these little tidbits of info. i suggest doing the tour early in your trip, it helped us get a better idea of the layout of the city. so...give it a shot!!

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  49. Michael and Guille you´re absolutely right. Mlle.C is not faithful at all!!!!!!!

    God only knows in what hands she´s been throughout the 5 continents...

    ;-)

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  50. I definitely think Eric should organize a PDP bike tour. We could visit all the favorite PDP photo spots, except maybe the big toe and the hanging rats.

    Karen your story immediately made me want bread, cheese and grapes. You understand, I'm sure.

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  51. lois!!! Nah, I do believe I've about given up on him!!! We still share some common interests though, so I thought he'd enjoy my little tale. Didn't look like he really did though, looked more like he was just humoring me!!!

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  52. I took a Fat Tire night ride in Paris, and it was a lot of fun.
    I highly recommend it!

    john

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  53. Eric,
    We took the day and night bike tours of Paris in 2004, and I agree with anonymous' suggestion to take a bike tour the first day or two of your stay if it's your first time in Paris, as you cover so much ground it orients you to where many things are in the city which you will go back via Metro or by foot to see. We went in September/October and our night tour guide didn't realize the boat tour schedule had changed to the fall schedule that day and the last boat had departed an hour before we arrived. It was my birthday and I'd strapped a gorgeous chocolate cake (in a box) to the rack on the back of my bike, and the tour guide had paniers full of the wine our group would have drunk on our boat tour, so we rode over to the Parc du Champ de Mars and had a night picnic on the lawn, met a bunch of fun people and had this spontaneous party at ten a night with the Eiffel Tower! Eiffel Tower!! Eiffel Tower!!! (TM Suzy) sparkling above us. Magical! I would recommend all of the tours this company offers, including the Segway tours. They hire enthusiastic guides, the riding was easy even for children and old folks on one of our tours, and the routes they take through Paris are amazingly safe (the group forms its own "critical mass" the few times it has to maneuver through or across traffic. Very fun and memorable. The same company has bike and Segway tours of Barcelona and Berlin, as well. Worth every penny.
    -Kim
    Seattle Daily Photo

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  54. Kim, you have a way of telling the story visually, even without a photo.

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