I'm a frenchman (though of half english ascent) living in Paris, car free (as 50% of Parisians BTW) since I'm 22 (I'm 37). I have been a daily commuter for 2 years in 1993-1995, home to college, then decreasingly.
I took it up again a few months ago, switching from a heavy basic (albeit with slick tyres) MTB to a nice hybrid (MBK Ohio). Well not daily, because I'm recovering from a severe knee tendinitis that I got in October by walking too fast, too steep, too long, without enough water (!) in the Pyrenees mountains. If I recover completely one day, I look forward to building a fixed gear (I hear it is demanding on the knees) !
In Paris public transportation is so efficient, you don't need a bike really (metro stations are 5 minutes walk away from each other, not speaking of buses) ! Cars don't drive fast : speed limit is 50 km/h (about 33 mph) and there are a LOT of stop lights (not so good for cyclists either). But cars are too many (95% of public space is taken by them).
There have been improvements in the transportation system since a few years (thanks to Mr socialist Mayor mostly) : a new tram soon, more bus lanes, more cycling lanes. Well I don't know if 60 cm wide bike lanes are an improvement in fact, pedestrians often ignoring them... But maybe they look more secure to newbie cyclists ?
Still, there are not that many cyclists. At work (300 persons building), in winter, only three people are commuting on bikes, only one on a daily basis ! Twice that number in summer...
Did you know that in Belgium, you can be PAID 0.15 euro/km for commuting on a bike ?
Paris and France are great places to ride
I stay nr Place Republique when I'm in Paris, have ridden around the city and out to Versailles. In 04 I arrived in Paris and rode out to Chartres then on to Normandy and down to the Loire to see the chateaux
A lovely time, met great people and all were very friendly to a lone American on his first tour to France and Europe. Will return one day to do more riding in France
Bienvenue! I used to live in Paris, and one of my mountain bikes is still at a relative's house in Vincennes, just waiting for me to come back. I did not commute on my bike when I lived there because the Metro is so efficient, and walking is so interesting.
I look forward to following the tram development. I have read a few articles about the tramway and Michel Desvignes, who is a landscape architect involved in the project. Interesting stuff, too bad the US does not invest in similar projects.
Klein QP, Fuji touring, Surly Cross Check, BCH City bike
J. Monkey. Couple clues to paying for 4 euros for a Coke. Stay away from the Champ d Elysees when you are thirsty or hungary. Go to like the 20eme arridosment. Don't go to Cafe's across from significant attractions. Go to a nearby Brassarie on a side street. Don't sit near an entrance window or on the street in any cafe. Coke or drink will still taste the same. You pay for people watching.
Know the rules and you should pay less than 2 euros for a soda, even in Paris.