A great many years ago, I took a bike trip through the Loire Valley in France. The summer scenery was gorgeous, as were the medieval towns, and the vineyards. Perhaps it is not the wisest course of action to have wine at lunch and then bike afterwards (I was relaxed enough one day to fall on some gravel and get a scar on my knee…) but it was beautiful all the same. Biking allows you to see a place up close, and yet move with reasonable swiftness. Something that is an annoying walk is a lovely ride.
I was remembering this when contemplating a biking add-on to our Versailles excursion during last week’s Paris spring break trip. I have been to Versailles (though it has been a while) and while it is opulent, and on the list of required destinations when in Paris, I suspected the children would only have so much tolerance for rooms of old furniture. I figured biking would perk everyone up.
And it did! We got our bikes and stopped at some of the “extra” castles on the estate (The Petit Trianon, the Grand Trianon, etc.). Then we just circled the pools between Versailles and Grand Trianon — seeing far more of the grounds than we ever would on foot. The little wildflowers had exploded all over the forest carpet, and the green on the trees seemed to be rolling in thick like fog. We pedaled hard and listened to the birds and the air swooping past us and the pleasant spring air made the world feel perfect.
All was not perfect of course, but something about a good pedal on a nice day can make you feel that it might be possible. I stopped worrying about the “ordeals” of the next few days on the trip, at least for a few hours. That will be the subject of a later blog post this week!
In other news: We made it to Holland Ridge Farms over the weekend to see the tulips (thus crossing another item off my Spring Fun List). Five little sets of hands picking tulips meant we left with a lot of tulips, but hey, there could be worse souvenirs. My 12-year-old and I had gone together last year and discovered the Cousins Maine Lobster truck. So he and I were reminiscing about that a lot and how it has been quite a year since. It feels like longer than 365 days! But I guess in life that’s probably a good thing.
6 thoughts on “Springtime in Paris (part 2)”
So glad you got to go! Our kids were dragging by the end so what a great idea with the bikes.
Laura, I really want to go to Versailles but the cycling mad husband isn’t keen … this intel could save the day for both of us! 😍
@Helen – I hope you both get to do what you like!
It’s so nice to hear of your international travels. We haven’t been anywhere in almost three years and it’s time now! Practical question: Did you book tickets ahead of time to avoid lines/crowds?
@Carolyn – yes! You can buy tickets in advance and online for most of the museums and sites (like the Eiffel tower). We were amazed at the hundreds of people in line to buy Eiffel tower tickets AT the Eiffel tower, when there were only about a dozen people in front of us for security in the “avec billets” (with tickets) line. There are still security lines many places but you’re generally better off with tickets than without them.
@Carolyn – it’s also worth investigating if certain places are far more doable with a guide – the line for Versailles with a guided tour was close to nothing. There were hundreds of people waiting to get in as regular visitors.