What glorious autumn days we’re enjoying in Sydney this month! Whether you’ve been exploring our city’s beautiful parks and gardens – or merely sitting inside daydreaming about such leisurely pursuits – we invite you to read the following passages by SSOA member Helena Ameisen.
The scene is Paris, and Helena imagined herself there while participating in a ten-minute writing exercise that required her to link the words ‘Paris’ and ‘bicycle’.
Paris by Vélo
A serendipitous choice! What better place to ride a bicycle than Paris, not that I travelled that way last time I was there. It was cold with a biting wind that chilled my bones and both my travel companion and I had the flu, but I will definitely rent one the next time I’m there, weather and health permitting.
The Vélo is a brilliant concept – pick it up in one place (they are dotted about all over the city) and deposit it at your leisure at another spot while you take in the magic of Paris whether your interest be food, photography, art or architecture, history or shopping!
You can visit the Arc de Triomphe, La Tour d’Eiffel, Montmartre, the Cathedral of Notre Dame or the Louvre and make your own discoveries down laneways to find small local parks, quirky cafes and funky shops that can be explored at your leisure.
Traffic in Paris is congested at best, so the humble Vélo provides a quick way to get around, allowing you to stop wherever and whenever something catches your eye. You are less likely to tell a cabbie to stop and jump out … and those opportunities are lost forever!
I have seen bicycles in Paris hung upon walls and dangled from beams in hotels and coffee shops. There seems to be a long-standing love affair with Paris and the two-wheeler. Travelling by bicycle has a slower rhythm, a more introspective pace for exploration and discovery and an opportunity to start up conversation with others travelling the same way, a point of instant connection where tips and experiences can be exchanged.
“On Two Wheels round Paris” could be a good title for just such an adventure, or “Folks and Spokes in the City of Light and Love.”
© Helena Ameisen
Photo credits: Montmarte, Paris, France by John Towner; Bike on Bridge by Clem Onojeghuo; Woman on Bicycle by Blubel