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14 Jul 2015

Monumental race in Paris on the 14th of July


The Big City Challenge in Paris kicked off on the 14th of July 2015, the French national holiday and it launched at full speed...







I had to discover as many sights as possible on a 3 hour +Vélib'​ bike tour.

I rented myself a Vélib' bike and I posted my mission on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and Instagram to get suggestions for sights to visit.

In just a few minutes I got more suggestions than I could probably handle in 3 hours but I was gonna try my best.

I was close to the Opera building so that would be my Numéro uno.


Opera House in Paris
Because of the national holiday a lot of the streets were closed off for cars. Such a joy to cycle the empty streets of Paris :-)
Cycling the empty streets of Paris

While I was cycling from the Opera to the Louvre the Défilé also started and the airplanes were flying in formation over my head. Awesomeness!
Military jets over Paris
It gave me an energy boost and in no time I 'flew' to the Musée du Louvre the Tuileries Garden, L'institut de France, La Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris and Hôtel de Ville.

Stricking a pose in front of the Louvre
Les Tuilleries #3
L'Institut de France
La Dame
Hôtel de Ville

At every place I got new suggestions for more places and I was posting a picture of every place on the go on Twitter (@social_traveler).








I got a lot of help from +Denise Urbach​ from +Touristen in Paris​ there. She organizes travel tours in Paris and knows the city in and out. We met a few years ago in Berlin at a travel conference and stayed in touch ever since.

Now at Hotel de Ville I saw centre Pompidou from the corner of my eye and decided to add it to the list. From there I kicked up the speed to include place des Vosges and La Bastille. Quite appropriate on #BastilleDay, right?



Place des Vosges


La Bastille


That brought me to the East side of Paris. Denise suggested to cycle back along La Rive gauche (the left bank) of the Seine. A great idea since there was barely any traffic and I could cover some ground quickly. Also it's very beautiful to cycle there.

La Rive Gauche de Paris

I've been a few times to Paris in my life but I've never been to this spot. I just love discovering new places like this!

From there it went to La fontaine de Saint Michel, the entrance to quartier Latin. I took a quick snap and hopped back on my bike direction place de la Concorde.

Place Saint Michel

Just loved pushing those pedals. It brought back cycling memories from my tandem challenge in South East Asia.

At the bridge to get to place de la Concorde the road was blocked because of the festivities so I could only take a picture from afar. I'm not sure if it counts :-)

Place de La Concorde from across the bridge

I had only 30 minutes left so I continued my way to Les Invalides. Did you know btw that you can find the tomb of Napoleon there?

Les Invalides

The roads were empty there as well so I decided to take advantage of this unique moment and asked a passer by to snap a shot from the middle of the street :-)


La Tour Eiffel

Only 15 min left to capture the Queen of Paris, La Tour Eiffel. She had to be part of this of course. I raced over and made it in the nick of time. I asked a lovely Australian girl to take a picture, she accepted with a big smile which resulted in an awesome jump shot in front of the Eiffel Tower. :-)

14 monuments captured on the 14th of July... 

Mission accomplished!