adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

Midnight in Paris

Around midnight on Sunday in Paris, after a long first day of sightseeing and dinner with the parents, Michael and I wanted to buy some bottled water and maybe a beer or two to bring back to our hotel room.  We spoke to the concierge to see if there was a corner store nearby, but he informed us that everything around the hotel was closed for the evening.  Even though he was probably right, we decided to take a walk anyway and find out for ourselves.  And that's when we ran into the Vélibs.

to rent or not to rent

Of course I knew all about the Vélib' system, but I'd always been too nervous to ride a bike through the busy streets of Paris during the day.  So there we were at midnight, not a corner store in sight, and a mode of transportation in front of us.  "Let's rent bikes!" I blurted out.  "Really?" asked Michael.  I'm not exactly a coordinated bike rider so I think he was just really surprised at my suggestion.  The idea was a little crazy, but midnight sounded like the perfect time to ride through Paris and we really wanted to get some cold beverages.  "Alright, let's do it!" he said.   We spent the next 15 minutes arguing with the rental machine and trying to get the bikes to unlock from their stands.  I almost told Michael to just forget it, but then everything fell magically into place and I was standing in the street with my very own bike. I'm not going to lie, no sooner had I swung my leg over the bike and put my foot on the pedal did I fall down.  Yep.  Didn't even make it out of the gate.  Michael was all, "are you serious?  You already fell?"  "Shut up!  We're doing this!" I cried, and we headed down the street for the Louvre.

the Louvre at midnight

There was something really magical about riding through landmarks that, only hours earlier, had been filled with hundreds and hundreds of people.  It was like everyone and everything had been tucked into bed so that Michael and I could experience the city just the two of us.  We rode all through the courtyard of the Louvre, marveling at how different it looked at night.  As we rode in loops, calling to each other and seeing how fast we could go, I thought to myself, "I am riding through a 16th century palace at midnight with my best friend in the world."  How cool.

Louvre courtyard at night

a much better bike rider than me

We saw the Eiffel Tower glittering in the distance and decided to get closer.  We spent the next hour or so riding along the Seine, practically the only people around, letting the wind whip around us as we took in all the lights of the city.  It was so serene and peaceful.  I felt relaxed and happy and so exhilarated.  We wound through the streets, riding right in the middle, getting closer and closer to the tower.  And what do you know, we found a corner store that was still open where we stocked up on bottled water and few tall boys. Finally we felt close enough, so we stopped to have a drink and take in the view of this spur of the moment excursion.

our final destination

There is something so beautiful about the Eiffel Tower at night, and experiencing it this way make it even more special. Our midnight bike ride showed us Paris in a whole new light.

2 Responses to “Midnight in Paris”

  1. Andy says:

    Sounds amazing!

  2. Dawn says:

    This adventure seems delightful! I added it to my list of things to do when Marq and I visit.

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