The weather in Paris has turned from chilly and rainy, to sunny and warm! We are finally shedding our coats and enjoying more activities outside. This includes taking advantage of the public bike rental system, called Velib’, whose name is a combination of the french words for bike (velo) and liberty (liberté). The system is set up to not only benefit short-term visitors like ourselves that use the bikes for a day of sight-seeing, but also Parisians who use these bikes to commute to work or meet friends at a cafe. We enjoyed biking the city and the feeling of libération that ensued.
Marc takes a close look at this rack of Velibs'. It is important to make sure that the bike is in working order before taking it out for a ride, so that you don't end up cassé!
Mel signs in at the rental kiosk. Bike racks like this one are located all over the city. Each rider must sign up for a membership and we got a one-day pass for 1 euro (approximately $1.35). The bike is free to ride for the first 30 minutes and each additional 30 minutes is an additional 1 euro, which is surprisingly affordable for something Parisian.
We decided to make a game out of trying to use each bike for no more than 30 minutes, making the 1 euro day pass the cheapest tour in town!
Mel waits at a stop light alongside a fellow Velib' rider. Yes, she was biking in heeled boots without a helmet… When in France you must cycle as the French do!
Marc poses with his final Velib' of the afternoon. We definitely plan to use these bikes for future city excursions. Vive Velib'!
We had been hoping to take a day trip out of Paris to Lille or Bruxelles, but with all of the travel complications due to Iceland’s volcano eruption, we decided to stay local and check out another of Le Corbusier’s creations in a suburb of Paris.
You may recognize some modernist similarities between Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye and the Maison LaRoche that we visited a few weeks back. This house is surrounded by a nice lawn which many visitors, including ourselves, used to have a picnic while viewing this architectural masterpiece as a backdrop.
Marc was astounded by his first glance of the house! Good thing we had a little vin at lunch to subdue his excitement.
This was our favorite room inside the house. You can see it is surrounded by windows, including a rooftop terrace on one side, making you feel right at home amongst the trees. It didn't hurt that they actually let you lounge on the furniture, so Marc decided to take advantage!
We couldn't resist including a couple of picnic shots from earlier in the week. Here is a popular spot in the Jardin du Luxembourg since, unlike most of the garden, you can actually sit on the grass here.
Mel poses with her petit bouteille de vin. Who wouldn't smile if lunch included one of those?!
Marc relaxes and takes in another gorgeous afternoon in Paris.
We thought it was important to share a photo of one of our study sessions, this one in a café, since we have been working very hard to learn French. Although not all of our time here is relaxing, we do enjoy the challenge that learning French has given us, as well as the inspiration that each milestone of our education brings.
This blog wouldn't be complete without the help that Sammy provides. Here she is falling asleep on the computer as we worked on this blog entry. Hopefully it wasn't because she was bored from what we had written… And hopefully you aren't either!