Thursday, April 24, 2008

La Petite Reine

When bikes first appeared in this country, the French affectionately dubbed them les petites reines, the little queens. Now their highnesses are enjoying a new spell of popularity with Paris's communal bike system, Vélib. Like many girls here, I don't hesitate to wear heels as I cycle around.

Here are a few Vélib tips:
before choosing your bike, make sure the tires are not half empty... tie your bag to the basket to avoid having it snatched away at a traffic light... before you start biking, make sure you know how to ring the bell (it's an unusual system)... when riding, remember to respect the same rules as drivers (don't ride on the sidewalks, stop at traffic lights, don't take one-way-streets) as les flics have frantically started fining Vélib-riders...

19 comments:

marie said...

i cant wait to try a velib! although im a bit nervous riding on roads (many of my friends have had horrible accidents!)..maybe on a quiet day and not on main roads :)

chloe van paris said...

I tried one time to use a velib.
I had a terrible time try to get around.
i am to scare of the cars.
i wish velib had mirrors like on vespa.

yoli said...

can i rent a bike from this system when i visit paris? i live in south america.

artycho said...

The idea of velib is such a good ecofriendly idea! We have had them for a while in Lyon now they are so popular that it's hard to find one in good condition! However I am a fan, but never tried with heels!

Laura said...

I should have listened to you! Actually, I bought a bike last month and since my previous two bikes had been stolen, I told myslef I had to take the new one in every time I used it. It's such a hassle in these Paris building to bring a bike in .. that I seldom use it.

pve design said...

ah, only in paris, with heels!

Mary-Laure said...

Hi Yoli,
yes, anyone can rent a Vélib! I have a yearly subscription but as a tourist you can just rent one with a credit card. The first 30 minutes are free, and then it's €1 for the next 30 minutes.
To know more check out Vélib's website in English
http://www.en.velib.paris.fr/
in Spanish
http://www.es.velib.paris.fr/comment_ca_marche
or in French
http://www.velib.paris.fr/

annabelle said...

cars mame me scared too...!

JEAN-LOUIS said...

POUR CEUX QUI ONT PEUR EN VELO A PARIS JE RECOMMANDE EN PRIORITE DE PORTER UN CASQUE QU'ON PEUT TROUVER CHEZ DECATHLON POUR 20E ET ENSUITE DE RESPECTER LE CODE DE LA ROUTE, JE FAIS CHAQUE JOUR DU VELO A PARIS ET A CETTE SAISON C'EST MAGNIFIQUE

karina said...

I love the way you, french girls, dress to bike, the heels,the skirts,very nice.

Mary-Laure said...

Annabelle and Marie - biking in Paris makes me nervous too. I try to bike on weekends and during school holidays when the city is not too crowded, I don't zig zag between cars, and careful when I make turns etc.
It's tough biking. Both pedestrians and cars hate you!

h&b said...

Oh, this is so for me !

I walked up a mountain here in Australia wearing heeled fashion boots ( it was a well-worn track and graded for ease ! ), and boy, the looks and comments I got !

( they weren't even HIGH heels !! - sheesh ! :)

yasu said...

I love bikes but I'm a bit scared of cars..In Japan, there s a special sideways(road) only for the bike riders so it's safe and easy..I want to try that velib though i'm thinking of getting my own bike when I'm settled in paris. Is it uncommon to get your own bike in paris?

Mary-Laure said...

H&B - I'd love to see a picture of your heeled boots! Stylish and fit, isn't that just perfect?

Yasu - on some Parisian avenues, there are special lanes for bikes, too.
Many people do have bikes. You just have to be really careful because lots of bikes get stolen...
Please do contact me when you come to Paris, Yasu, I'd love to meet you!

Anonymous said...

These little queens sound AMAZING! And they are causing the coppers much concern! So they are cute, practical, AND devilish?
Why can't we have this in Chicago?
Well, at least we have The Bean.
I really like this blog.
-Lucy and the Squirrels

August said...

I like your socks in the picture! It's amazing how everyone's posting about bikes right now. I posted about my collection yesterday and I've read several blogs this morning with bike posts. Viva la bicicletas! (But I want a Vespa too!)

Anonymous said...

SHAMEFUL WASTE of a CARTE ORANGE is all I have to say.

Mary-Laure said...

AUGUST - ah, I want a Vespa too!!! But my parents and my partner say they will never talk to me again if I get one...

Little Willow said...

I want one of those!