04 March 2009

Paris, so far

We're here, we moved into the apartment, I started work yesterday. So many new things at once; I'm in overload mode.

I like taking the Metro to work; sure beats SEPTA.

Our apartment is filled with tiny appliances. The dishwasher holds about 2 plates and a glass, the fridge barely holds a half gallon bottle of milk, the oven is the size of a microwave, the washer holds half as many clothes and takes twice as long as the one at home [no dryer], and the stove only has 3 burners.

Eurosport rocks. Biathalon and lots of downhill skiing last weekend. Paris Nice next week.

I'm not ready to try tackling French yet. Survival French, yes. For real, no.

I'm disapointed that Velib [bikeshare] doesn't go to La Defense, although the word is it may soon.

We already have a favorite neighborhood restaurant.

Not sure when the bikes will arrive. I've found one good running route so far.

Tomorrow we get our immigration physical exams (?!)


  1. Eurosport is great, but the real surprise is the soft core porn on the free channels.

    Are you in the 15eme? There's a nice loop ride out through St. Cloud to Versailles and back via La Foret Meudon.

  2. 16e. Will check out that loop, when we get bikes.

  3. Yeah, right after I typed that I thought more about the photo of the Tour Eiffel and decided the 16eme was more like it.

    The piste around Longchamps (on the days when there aren't horse races) can be fun but a tad cutthroat. You'll hear whistling if you impede the peloton.

    There's a book with a title something like "50 balades a velo a Paris." You can find it at most medium-sized bookstores or sporting goods stores. The exact routes are maddeningly difficult to follow using the written instructions (rather like French cookbook recipes, btw), but that's just training for all French driving directions -- it's impossible to navigate using road signs unless you already know the way so they're there more for affirmation than information. The loop to Versailles via the Parc St. Cloud and return via the Foret Meudon link two of those listed rides.

    Watch for the priorite a droit. It takes a while to internalize the subtleties of what that really means.

  4. Whoever you are, merci beaucoup for the tips. It's not been easy to find training-like ride routes or useful links on the net. Any additional suggestions for sources or routes are very welcome. We've been surprised how dense the population is well outside of the city limits, so it seems like it'll take some work.

    As for the priorite a droit, a French friend explained that to us at the driving-a-car level, and it was chilling to think about the implications on the bike. It'll definitely take some getting used to, hopefully without broadsiding incidents.

  5. Ooops, sorry, Mayhew pointed me to your blog thinking I was in Paris -- but we're spending this year in California.

    Most Parisian cyclists who care about training do it in the context of riding clubs (that's why at Longchamps and, to a lesser but still considerable extent, the piste at the Bois de Vincennes, everyone wears coordinated shorts and jersies. I used to be able to spot the Americans by the plain jersies, mismatched shorts, and the wearing of helmets). There are training rides farther out (especially around Chevreuses and west along the Seine toward Giverny) but if you're in the 16eme you're going to be spending a fair amount of time staring at guys' butts at Longchamps. One thing about that is that guys will suck your wheel without ever letting you know they're there and they'll never offer to take a pull.

    Speaking of handling traffic, it took me a while to realize that the position that a car takes as it approaches an intersection provides no information about the driver's intention, e.g., just cuz he's in the left lane doesn't mean he's not going to make a right.