Brive-la-Gaillarde to Paris by train - From Munich to Spain to France - CycleBlaze

June 3, 2024

Brive-la-Gaillarde to Paris by train

And Riding through Paris

Today was fun. It started with our least favorite chore. We had a 5:58 am train from Brive-la-Gaillarde to Paris Austerlitz train station. I heard some mild grousing from David over the time of the train departure but the fact is that it’s easier to find trains with bike capacity early in the morning- plus if things go wrong you have more of the day to fix them.

In any event, the journey went smoothly. We had checked out the lay of the train station the evening before and knew there would be working lifts. The anunciator identified the track early and the train was at the track well before the departure time so we were in good shape. The biggest issue was  having to lift and hang the bikes on the hooks. We wound up removing the batteries to do this and caught a break in that there were no other bikes to contend with in the small space. All in all, a positive experience. 

Prepping for the lift.
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Tight fit! And Only One Bike at a Time.
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At Gare Austerlitz.
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The train was full by the time it reached Paris and we were excited as we left the Gare Austerlitz. We were last in Paris in 2018 but my ankle was really bad then and I was hobbling around in a walking boot so it was a tough trip in some ways. This felt a LOT better.  We couldn’t check in until the afternoon so I had planned a ride from Austerlitz, which is on the east side of Paris, to the west side following the Seine and then out to Versailles. At that point we would ride back to our rented flat in the area of Roland-Garros, where we were due to meet friends and spend a couple of days watching the French Open.

Our day trip through Paris.
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The ride was a blast. Paris had done some major improvements for cycling, accelerated by Covid and the Olympics, and there is a cycling lane all along the river. It was pretty busy and we needed to be very alert, but it’s a really fun way to see some of the major Parisian sites. It was a beautiful day and we were pretty much in gawking mode the whole time. There was construction everywhere, presumably for the Olympics, but we managed just fine. We arrived at Versailles, took a selfie and then found a great little outdoor place to have Thai food where we could keep an eye on our bikes. Both of us have seen Versailles before so we didn’t feel the need to do it again. We really just wanted to ride around Paris. The Thai restaurant was on a charming block with 5 restaurants- in addition to the Thai place  there was Japanese, pizza, Indian and French, and we bemoaned the fact that our local neighborhood in Bend doesn’t have something similar near to us. Europeans have just figured out how to make city living and dining interesting…..

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It's inspiring to see the work progressing on the Notre Dame.
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Scott AndersonThe spire is done!
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1 week ago
Laura ClarkThe scaffolding looks like a piece of art on its own!
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1 day ago
At Versailles.
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We finished our ride at almost 4 pm. As I previously reported, Dave had misplaced his wrist guard so on the way back into Paris after lunch we were on the lookout for a replacement. He found a good pharmacy and was able to purchase a similar guard with the usual amusing interaction with the pharmacist. We had a few minor glitches on the ride back necessitating some unlawful and slightly scary bike maneuvers. In one instance the bike lane petered out, and we were on the wrong ramp up to a bridge and a very busy road, so we had to scoot back down the ramp against the oncoming  traffic. We found the correct route but then we somehow ended up in the car lane. The bike lane we were supposed to be on was barricaded off with a two foot high concrete barrier. This required us to lift our bikes over the barrier with traffic blasting past on a curve with no site distance. It was just a good thing we didn’t overthink it. We just did it. When we arrived at our flat and met up with our friends Eric and Melinda we were glad to be done but pleased that we were able to navigate Paris on our bikes and overcome our adversities.

After heaving Jill's bike over the barricade, we were able to resume our ride in the safety of the bike lane.
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We will be ensconced in a flat in the area of Porte St.Cloud (the neighborhood is Auteuil) in the 16th  arrondisement to watch tennis for the next few days. I will write at the end of the week when we take off for more riding in the Loire Valley.

Today's ride: 34 km (21 miles)
Total: 1,297 km (805 miles)

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