From a Shoebox to a Bike Tour Through Paris
Our shoebox trip was picking up steam, and Day Three would prove to be the most memorable. Whenever we are in a city together as a family, we like to rent bikes. This time we took a tour with Blue Bike Tours, one of the best trip purveyors with which I have ever dealt.
The bike tour company took a very personal approach, taking the time to get to know us and another family (friends of ours that happened to be in town). Hava, one of the company’s owners, moved from Wisconsin to Paris when she was 23 to be an au pair for a year. That was eight years, a French husband, and two little French boys ago. She and her husband began Blue Bike Tours, and you can tell they have fun with it.
We took the “Amazing Race” tour, which was perfect for kids in their early teens. It’s very interactive; at every stop there was an envelope to open and a challenge to perform. Some of them were individual “roadblocks” and some were family challenges where everyone had to participate. The tour taught us all about Paris, and we also learned some little things often overlooked by regular tourists. We saw Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay, the “love lock” bridge, the Place de la Concorde, Les Invalides, and more. The Louvre was closed the day we rode through it so it was easy to maneuver around and get up close to the architecture. At the end of the tour we received medals for our performance.
We were next scheduled to have a Parisian picnic with a market tour that explained some great French food. It was raining a bit so we did an abbreviated market tour and then ate in a local café on Rue du Cler in the 7th arrondissement, just off of the market. Hava was a great guide, and I am sure the others are good as well.
We had so much fun our five-hour tour spilled over another three hours. We learned and exercised at the same time and didn’t realize it as we were really enjoying ourselves. The kids loved every moment of it and handled the bikes perfectly.
After the tour we walked to the Marais and went to the famous L’As du Fallafel, a very casual Mediterranean restaurant. It was delicious but loud. It seemed like a waste to use up precious mealtime in Paris there, but the food was tasty. Then we headed to Amorino for gelato. We loved it. Amorino is a chain throughout Europe (and now Manhattan), but it was really high quality and delicious. You could pick as many flavors as you wanted, and they used a spatula to put each flavor as a separate flower petal. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.
Read about Day 2 of our trip!