Press "Enter" to skip to content

Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity on Bikes in Paris

Last updated on 2013.07.13

The Tour de France concludes here in Paris tomorrow morning... after my plane leaves.

I rode a bus yesterday down the Champs Élysées, I returned later and walked by the finish line where the well-to-do will sit in white tents to view the racers.

But I've still seen plenty of bikes around the City of Lights, regular folks zooming along amidst hard-charging city traffic on two wheels and joie de vivre.

Stunt bicyclist in the Trocadéro

No, they aren't all stunt riders like the dude above hopping his two wheels around the Trocadéro across the Seine from La Tour Eiffel.

Cyclist on Pont des Arts, Paris, July 21, 2012

Take, for example, this perfectly sane woman who got off the street to cross the Seine via the Pont des Arts (Bridge of the Arts).

Oh, and all those things on the side of the bridge? Locks:

Locks on Pont des Arts, Paris, July 21, 2012

Amorous Parisiens and visitors have taken up the Venetian custom of writing their names on locks, fixing them to the side of the bridge, and throwing the key in the river as a sign of their eternal love. I saw a bike lock in the mix (alas, that pic is on my other camera!). And for those of you who think Europeans have given up on capitalism, a gentleman has joined the traditional bouquinistes on the Left Bank to sell padlocks at the south entrance to the bridge.

(By the way, see that other bridge through the locks? Pont Neuf.)

Love in Paris means riding together in downtown traffic:

Couple on City Bikes in downtown Paris traffic

The couple shown above is riding right next to our tour bus, in a busy downtown street. They are riding Parisian Vélib', two of over 20,000 public bikes available for rent at 1800 stations around the city.
Cyclist on Boulevard de Rochechouart, Paris, July, 21, 2012

On the Boulevard de Rochechouart, cyclists riding through Montmartre looking for the Moulin Rouge get their own lanes. Crossing the street from north to south you cross car lane, dividing strip, bike lane, wide shady pedestrian median, then bike path, divider and car lane.

Cyclist on Boulevard de Rochechouart

...and the occasional show-off. Riders ring their bells, and they expect you to cede them their lane.

Cyclist at Pont du Carrousel

Speaking of ringing your bell, this young woman was out taking a spin by the Pont du Carrousel tonight. No one will be wearing those shoes in the Tour de France.

But easy, fellas: this belle parisienne already has a boyfriend... who was bicycling with her along the Seine.


  1. G-Man 2012.07.21

    I think it's cool you're in Paris! Enjoy the rest of your vacation out there and soak it up for what it's worth. I've been to Europe several times. I was stationed in Germany and I still have an Aunt and Uncle living in neighboring Brussels, Belgium. Speaking of "bicycles and liberty," I'm currently in a move from Sioux Falls to Eugene-Springfield, Oregon. The bicyclist is highly respected in this city as most streets have a "bicycle lane." Although I moving from South Dakota to Oregon, I will continue to follow your blogsite. I enjoy your insightful posts on prairie politics from a rare progressive perspective. Out here in Oregon, Cory, you would find yourself in the majority. Keep up the hard blogging work and eventually, I think you are going to "crack" some more closed conservative egg!

  2. Donald Pay 2012.07.21

    Two Brits lead le Tour de France for the first time in history. It's been a great tour this year, even if the overall winner was pretty well known early on. With a few breakaways that succeeded in beating the peloton and some really good leadins to sprinits, it was exciting to watch. The young American rider van Gaderen looks to be a future winner.

  3. Stan Gibilisco 2012.07.21

    Two axioms I have learned this past week:

    (1) The more stuff you have, the more stuff you have to fix.

    (2) Liberals have more fun.

  4. Stan Adelstein 2012.07.22

    What great photos!! I can remember a week in Paris in 1971 when I borrowed a bike from my late wife's cousin and biked very day.

    About 20 years ago, at the height of the anti-America, anti-Israel, positions by the France we made our minds never to ever buy anything made, grown, or bottled in that country - even would not change planes at the airport.

    Your great artistic work with the camera makes remember with some nostalgia the time there. The only thing that keeps me steadfast is that the only trouble with Paris is that so many French people live there.

    Stan A

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.07.23

    I had no bad experiences with impolite French shopkeepers or waiters, even when I was out and about on my won outside the insulation of our very large group. The biggest rudeness I experienced was the embarrassing noisy drunkenness of my fellow Americans on a tour boat on the Seine making it hard for the French tour guide to do her job and for other visitors to hear her.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.07.23

    ...and Stan, please tell me someone got a picture of you and your wife pedaling through Paris.

    G-Man, enjoy those Pregonian bike lanes!

  7. Frank James 2012.07.23


    Thank you for sharing your trip and travel pictures with us.

  8. G-Man 2012.07.23

    Thanks Cory. I will take full advantage of the bike lanes once I get this front flat tire fixed on my! Right now, it's off to the beachnear Coos Bay to explore for the day. Oh, and welcome home.

Comments are closed.