Paris stay, pre-PBP

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joshua

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Jul 18, 2010, 3:14:14 PM7/18/10
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Does anyone know a good website or resource for searching for a
furnished apartment to rent in Paris? Initial plans are to arrive
about 5 days prior to PBP and to stay about 4-5 weeks total. There
might be a total of 5 of us, so a 2 bedroom plus fold-out couch type
situation as well as a furnished kitchen(ette) would be just about
ideal. Budget-friendly accommodations would be greatly preferred
over more luxurious amenities.

Thanks in advance.
Joshua Bryant
Portland, OR
cycles-j-bryant.blogspot.com


Donald Perley

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Jul 18, 2010, 3:27:52 PM7/18/10
to joshua, randon
There was a recent article about a law in Paris that forbids renting
apartments with leases less than a year. It's often ignored, but they
are starting to crack down. The purpose of the law is to keep the
residential housing stock from turning into essentially hotel units
(something like vacation condos in the US)

Anyway, you may make an agreement now with someone who gets busted
between now and PBP.

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Bill Olsen

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Jul 19, 2010, 12:51:58 AM7/19/10
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Don -

That is interesting, as the Sunday NY Times Travel section had an article that basically described how to get a room for "almost nothing,"  but as you implied, for a bike tour such as PBP, it might be better not to chance not having reliable accomodations.

http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/travel/18couch.html

Bill

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Donald Perley

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Jul 19, 2010, 5:14:44 AM7/19/10
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Randon Nerd

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Jul 19, 2010, 1:35:44 PM7/19/10
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Don -

Nothing like a little "balanced" reporting from the NYT, although if one reads the two articles there are some subtle (and some not quite so subtle) differences between the two rental concepts.

Personally I'd prefer having the benefit of the "local" be present in the facility, especially if they were a randonnneur riding with the French contingent :-)

Joshua's plan, in concept, it good although I'm not sure I'd want to spend it in downtown Paris.  The 90 hours of PBP should be experienced "sandwiched between" the pre- and post-event celebrations (bike rides) around the area (that is out into the country, not the City.)  Some manage to do it with a week on each side.  Others find that a little longer works even better.

Bill

Mark Wooldridge

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Jul 19, 2010, 11:23:26 PM7/19/10
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We have stayed in St Quentin twice and in Paris once, and I have to say I enjoyed staying in Paris more.  We were careful about the Paris location and were pretty close to an RER station with a direct connection to St Quentin and it was pretty painless to go out there for the inspection and PBP.  We've stayed in:

1)  the Campanile (nice, very convenient to the start and pre-rides), 
2) the Gril in Plaisir (not as nice, not convenient at all to the train station or the start, being about 6k from the station and 10k from the start and having buses that stop running at around 8 pm), and 
3) a hotel in Paris (comparable to the Campanile, 10 minutes by bike from the RER station on line C).

On the other hand, if you stay in St Quentin but want to tour in Paris much you have to be careful of catching the last train out to the suburbs, and you'll kill a bit of time in the RER stations on both ends--the RER trains aren't quite as frequent as the metro and quit running before the metro.  A day trip to St Quentin prior to PBP for a ride was pretty easy, and I didn't want to ride every day anyway.

Cost comparison for a similar hotel was about half to stay in Paris using recent inflated St Quentin prices for comparison, and it was closer to the museums and sidewalk cafes.

One disadvantage to staying in Paris:  if I had finished at 2 in the morning I was stuck in St Quentin until the first train at 6 or 7 am unless I wanted to hire a cab.  My plan was to sleep in the gym at the finish if that happened, but thanks to the rain I was a bit behind that schedule ;-) and finished in the sunshine in 2007.

FYI, it is fine to take a non rush hour trip on the RER with your bike, but bikes are not allowed on the metro.  Bikes in cases are OK on both RER and metro.

Mark W

--- On Mon, 7/19/10, Randon Nerd <rando...@gmail.com> wrote:

cris.co...@gmail.com

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Jul 26, 2010, 2:48:31 PM7/26/10
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On Jul 19, 11:23 pm, Mark Wooldridge <mdw...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> We have stayed in St Quentin twice and in Paris once, and I have to say I enjoyed staying in Paris more.  

On PBP 2007, I was lucky enough to be able to crash at a friend's flat
in the 7th while they, like many other Parisians, took vacation in
August. Like Mark W, I enjoyed being in the city and having convenient
access to local cafes, boulangeries and museums. It was also nice to
be able to roam the city to shop for bike supplies rather than be
limited to the inventory of the Carrefours in St. Quentin (impressive
though it may be).

A day ride from Paris to SQY for registration and general hanging out
is feasible and pleasant. I used this route for most of it:

http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Paris-to-PBP-start

One other caveat that I will have, which applies to visiting Paris in
general while in France for PBP ... as indicated earlier, summer is a
generally bad time to be in Paris given the number of locals who are
on vacation. Most major cultural attractions are still open and
functioning, but several of the more notable bistros and restaurants
will be shut down. If you're looking to replenish your calories at
the end of the ride with a celebratory meal at a particular
restaurant, it pays to do your research and see if they'll be open
while you're there.

Unfortunately, I can't help with tips on where or how to arrange an
apartment rental. Though, I should point out that a few days after
that New York Times article went to print, there was another article
(in their travel section, not business) that talked about hybrid
social networking/b&b booking agencies -- essentially some cross
between warmshowers and tripadvisor. Currently looking into using it
for a trip this winter to Buenos Aires and Patagonia. Will see how
that works out ...

http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/travel/18couch.html?ref=travel

Tracy Barill

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Jul 26, 2010, 10:33:48 PM7/26/10
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Hi All,

Moving along with Cris's points.

For those who arrive in France for PBP with non-PBP entrants (friends,
family) or have a shorter timetable but still want their cake and eat it too
(I am optimistic that this can be done) or choose to explore one of the most
spectacular cities our world has to offer, I would encourage you to stay in
Paris before and after PBP and take the RER C line train to the start. Of
course you can always bike but the train is a viable option. Hotels in Paris
can be priced very similar to those in St. Quentin area. Many if not most
hotels will also find a place for your bike. If a number of riders chose
similar Paris hotels, a similar social experience as St. Quentin could be
had with the advantage of endless venues. Family and friends can continue
their Paris experience while you're off tackling the Roc.

The RER C line is a newer line that is set up to transport bikes from Paris
to St. Quentin en Yvelines and back. In 2007, I also stayed in Paris with my
spouse and thoroughly enjoyed the city for 5-6 days before boarding the
train at Javel (near the Eiffel Tower) for a relaxing 29 minute train ride
virtually to the start. I walked through the specially designed turnstile
for bike and rider then placed my bike on the train by my seat and enjoyed
about 15 minutes of shut eye (not seen again for another 34 hours). The cost
wasn't a factor.

Schedule on RER C Line (and other lines) is found at
http://www.transilien.com/web/site/lang/en (place 'J' in departure box and
choose Javel and then 'Q' in Arrival box and choose Saint Quentin en
Yvelines or visa versa together with the date and time) The C Line provides
a fairly robust schedule with trains about every 30 minutes from Javel
(Paris) starting at 0444 with last train at 2347 and from St. Quentin
starting at 0508 with last train at 2347. There is 5 hour gap without
service from midnight - I handled this with the post ride meal, a shower and
a beer then boarded the train. You could always ride to Paris if so tempted.
Riding through the Paris streets along the Seine at 7 AM after finishing PBP
and the subsequent train ride felt like a victory lap (of course all in my
own head).

Rail map is available at
http://parisbytrain.com/files/2008/07/rer_c_line_map.pdf .

Staying in Paris does broaden your options.

Cheers,

Tracy

Tracy Barill

3515 Sunset Boulevard,

North Vancouver, BC

Canada V7R3Y1

-----Original Message-----
From: ran...@googlegroups.com [mailto:ran...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of
cris.co...@gmail.com
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2010 11:49 AM
To: randon
Subject: [Randon] Re: Paris stay, pre-PBP

On Jul 19, 11:23 pm, Mark Wooldridge < <mailto:mdw...@yahoo.com>
mdw...@yahoo.com> wrote:

<http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Paris-to-PBP-start>
http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Paris-to-PBP-start

<http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/travel/18couch.html?ref=travel>
http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/travel/18couch.html?ref=travel

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Brian Ogilvie

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Jul 27, 2010, 3:55:43 AM7/27/10
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FYI, every summer for nearly 20 years, the RER C has been closed for a
month, in late July and most of August, between the stations Invalides
and Gare d'Austerlitz. Usually the closing ends in the third week of
August; this year it will end on August 21. The work is projected to
continue through 2018. There is a replacement bus service but it's not
designed to take bikes.

Therefore, if you plan to stay in Paris and take the RER C, the best
places to stay would be in the 15th arrondissement, unless you want to
cycle to Invalides. I like cycling in Paris but it's not everyone's
cup of tea.

If you read French here's a useful summary:
<http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ligne_C_du_RER_d'Île-de-France#La_ligne_C_aujourd.27hui>

Brian

On Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 3:33 AM, Tracy Barill <tra...@nursecom.com> wrote:

> For those who arrive in France for PBP with non-PBP entrants (friends,
> family) or have a shorter timetable but still want their cake and eat it too
> (I am optimistic that this can be done) or choose to explore one of the most
> spectacular cities our world has to offer, I would encourage you to stay in
> Paris before and after PBP and take the RER C line train to the start.

--
Brian W. Ogilvie <bwog...@gmail.com>
Hadley, Massachusetts, USA
http://homepage.mac.com/brianogilvie/

Mark Wooldridge

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Jul 27, 2010, 7:08:27 AM7/27/10
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Here's a map of the RER train routes: http://parisbytrain.com/files/2008/05/rer.pdf

We stayed 5 or 10 minutes away from the station Javel (by bicycle) in 2007; if you're looking at hotels just find them on a map and see how far the closest RER line C station is (considering the gap described in Brian's email below).

Even if you don't stay in Paris, this is the line you'll take if you decide to go into the city.

Just in case you don't realize it, the RER lines are in addition to the Metro lines. If you don't have an assembled bike with you, you can also use the metro lines, giving access to almost everywhere in Paris:
http://www.paris.org/Metro/gifs/metro.pdf.

The RER and Metro trains truly are simple to use after you've used them once or twice, and let you travel independently throughout Paris. One caution, however: there are lots of stairs in almost every station of the metro and RER both.

Mark

--- On Tue, 7/27/10, Brian Ogilvie <bwog...@gmail.com> wrote:

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Bob Riggs

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Jul 27, 2010, 9:04:17 AM7/27/10
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Cycling to Invalides was easy for me in 2007. We stayed in an
apartment a couple of miles away in the 4th and I used the RER to get
out to St. Quentin a few times before. Returning after the finish was
a little tricky because of Friday evening rush hour traffic, but that
shouldn't be a problem next year with the new start day/time.
> Brian W. Ogilvie <bwogil...@gmail.com>
> Hadley, Massachusetts, USAhttp://homepage.mac.com/brianogilvie/

cris.co...@gmail.com

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Jul 27, 2010, 2:23:06 PM7/27/10
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On Jul 27, 7:08 am, Mark Wooldridge <mdw...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> The RER and Metro trains truly are simple to use after you've used them once or twice, and let you travel independently throughout Paris.  One caution, however:
> there are lots of stairs in almost every station of the metro and RER both.  

I remember taking the RER from Invalides to SQY on the start day for
PBP. A young randonneuse from Alaska was walking her bike ahead of
me, loaded as it was for 90 hours of adventure, and reached the
staircase for the platform. As she bent down to lift up her bike, a
trio of young teenagers scampered down the steps, picked up the bike
and carried it for her up to the platform. When I reached the
staircase with my own bike, the teenagers gazed down from the
platform, saw that I was a man, smiled and shrugged their shoulders.

Ah, who says that chivalry is dead?

-- cris

erp4599

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Jul 27, 2010, 3:17:49 PM7/27/10
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In 2007 when we arrived at St Quentin, it was either that day or the
next that almost every business was closed for some holiday. There
were a few restaurants open so we did manage to find somewhere to
eat.
You should also be prepared to find that businesses are not open the
long hours that you might be used to in the USA.

--Eric Peterson

On Jul 26, 1:48 pm, "cris.concepc...@gmail.com"

Amy M. Harman

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Jul 27, 2010, 4:42:56 PM7/27/10
to erp4599, randon
Assumption Day - should be marked on your calendars as not a good day to arrive we stayed in Plaisir and some of our friends ended up lugging bike cases on Ikea Carts several miles to the hotel as cabs were not to be found.

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"Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood."--Susan B. Anthony

erp4599

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Jul 27, 2010, 5:05:14 PM7/27/10
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Yes, August 15th is Assumption Day. That is the day I arrived in 2007
using Des Peres. Since they had a chartered bus, we got to the hotel
OK.
However, since the bus only made one trip, we did wait hours at the
airport for a second flight to arrive with the remaining passengers to
fill up the bus.
It was a strange introduction to the country, jet-lagged, sitting
around in a bus on the bottom level of ground transportation at the
airport, and Claus was not telling us anything about why we were
waiting.
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Roger Peskett

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Jul 27, 2010, 5:57:44 PM7/27/10
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Map purporting to show bike-friendly routes in Paris:

http://www.paris.fr/portail/viewmultimediadocument?multimediadocument-id=18436
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