I think I’ve run out of luck with the sunshine. For the first time since I left Poland – over 3 months ago, it’s rained for 3 days straight. I’ve not had much luck with the roads on the way to Paris either. On Monday I found myself on a busy main road filled with lorries, and following signs for Paris it led me onto a bigger and busier road with no way to go back, and no way off. So I ultimately found myself cycling along the narrow hard-shoulder of a 6-lane motorway in 130km/h traffic in the pissing rain. The only thing I could do to get off, was take the bags off my bike and jump over the wall at the first place possible, climb through some nettles, and up to a bridge going over the motorway. Pretty glad to be back on a quiet road, with no idea where I was, I put my bags back on my bike only for a land-rover to drive through a massive puddle and soak me some more!
I arrived at the outskirts of Paris shortly afterwards, but the city is so big that I still had to cycle another 25km through busy traffic just to reach the centre. I found my way to some old friends who are living and working here, David and Ellen, and I’m staying in their apartment in the city centre for a few days. That night we headed for a ‘Scottish Pub’ (yes they exist!) via the complex metro system and a ride on an automatic subway. They definitely didn’t have Scottish prices but I did manage to get a refreshing can of Irn-Bru!
The following day we all went for a cycle around the city. It’s by far the easiest way to get around, and substantially quicker than driving. Because a lot of the sights are quite far apart too, it makes sense to have a cheap and practical way of travelling around. The buildings here are just beautiful, but you knew that already – I mean c’mon, it’s Paris. Nearly every street in the centre has some sort of iconic structure, be it a statue, pillar, roundabout or church. We visited Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe (apparently you don’t need to wait any longer than an hour to see a car crash here because the roundabout is so mental) and many others, including the Eiffel tower, visible from nearly everywhere in the city.