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  • Jamie Shannon

Parlez vous Anglais? A few days in Paris

It felt good to be in a city again, a little crowded and hurried perhaps and completely different from the countryside, but that’s what gives a city its vibe or at least part of it.

I still had to find my hotel that Rose had booked for me and this also turned out to be a rather difficult affair. All told, it took me another hour of searching the streets around the district where it was located; my hand drawn map being, once again hopelessly inadequate. Maybe I should really stop doing these. Anyway, everyone whom I asked didn’t quite know where it was and the people who did know, sent me in very odd directions. After going into the wrong hotel with an almost identical name I hasten to add, I did finally arrive at around 9 pm. I had made it.

The room was lovely, spacious, clean and warm. Everything I had not had for the previous five nights when camping. I felt like a king and I thought I could get used to this. I don’t think my seven euro per day budget would stretch this far however. After showering and cleaning my things, I walked downstairs, plonked myself on the terrace of the adjoining brasserie and enjoyed a beer before picking up some take away food. I was famished.

I spent another four days in the city trying to fix

my bike and generally seeing the sights and my friend. It wasn’t bad I must say. I found a bicycle shop who could repair the hub on my front wheel, but when returning later the same evening, they told me that my wheel was good for the bin only. I agreed with them knowing in my heart that I bought it with the bike second hand and I had probably cycled 1000 km’s on it already and I exchanged some hard earned cash for a new one. With the bike having done that many kilometres, I thought it best to finally get a full service and was recommended another shop for this very purpose. When they were done with it, the whole bike just felt amazing; both derailleur’s and brakes worked beautifully, the seat was adjusted correctly and the handlebars were fully repaired and greased. It now felt strong, safe and reliable and gave me a great confidence lift for the coming weeks ahead.

I won’t write about what I did each day as I can’t be bothered. It was enjoyable though and great just to explore the city on a bike. I have to say it’s much better than using the metro or walking because you see so much more. By the time I left, I felt I had began to get a good feel for the place. Right, now let’s hope I can get out of here, that being the next challenge.


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