In this week’s Paris Picks…!, ACCENT Paris’ Housing Coordinator Jennifer Talevi describes the advantages of Paris’ bike-sharing system, Vélib. Jennifer shares with us the wonderful journeys Vélib allows her to take as she ride along the banks of the Seine and enjoys the culture and beauty of Paris.
Since its creation in 2007, 286,000 people have joined the urban bike-sharing program Vélib. I recently joined and cannot imagine doing an activity in Paris now without a part of it spent pedaling. With 1,256 Vélib stations located in Paris, renting a bike is convenient and a great way to see the city. Annual membership is not mandatory; one can rent a bike for a day or even obtain a week-long membership!
On a nice day, I’ll often rent a bike at Nation metro station and ride to the Quai Anatole France, just in front of the Musée d’Orsay. After hitching the bike to the station, I enjoy walking along the left bank of the Seine. Classified a UNESCO historical monument in 1991, the riverbank was renovated in the summer of 2012. There are often photo exhibits taking place here and different sport activities organized on the weekend, such as boxing, CrossFit, Zumba, and yoga. Further down the river bank, under the Concorde Bridge, the sound system nicknamed the douche sonore (the sound shower) awaits visitors. Under the bridge, one can either listen to a playlist created in collaboration with the radio stations Radio Nova and TSF Jazz or hook up one’s own iPod over Bluetooth and let the beat flow! The arch of the bridge creates a sound quality beneath it that envelopes you as you enter it.The renovation project created 2.3 kilometers of pedestrian-friendly space shared between cyclists, roller-skaters, and skateboarders, starting in front of the Musée d’Orsay and ending after the Alma Bridge. Near the Alma Bridge are the Niki de Saint Phalle floating gardens. On the way to the gardens, I like to enjoy a refreshing beverage at one of the many cafes located along the bank of the Seine. The gardens are made up of 1,800 square meters, divided amongst five floating islands with different floral themes. I prefer the last garden island because there are six wooden lounge chairs perfectly constructed to facilitate maximum relaxation! The only thing left to do is to sit back under the sun and watch the bateaux mouches (tour boats) go by!
~Jennifer Talevi, ACCENT Paris
Did this post inspire you to study abroad in Paris and experience a walk along the left bank for yourself? Use the ACCENT Program Finder to discover your next great Parisian adventure: http://accentintl.com/find-a-program/.