Paris-Brest-Paris is being run August 20-24, 2007 and many of our customers and friends are riding. I case you don't know what PBP is, here is a description from the Randonneurs USA site:
First run in 1891, the 1200-kilometer Paris-Brest-Paris, or "PBP" as it is commonly called, is a grueling test of human endurance and cycling ability. Organized every four years by the host Audax Club Parisien, the Paris-Brest-Paris Randonneurs is the oldest bicycling event still run on a regular basis on the open road. Beginning on the southern side of the French capital, it travels west 600 kilometers to the port city of Brest on the Atlantic Ocean and returns along the same route. Today's randonneur cyclists, while no longer riding the primitive machines used a hundred years ago over dirt roads or cobblestones, still have to face up to rough weather, endless hills, and pedaling around the clock. A 90-hour time limit ensures that only the hardiest randonneurs earn the prestigious PBP finisher's medal and have their name entered into the event's "Great Book" along with every other finisher going back to the very first PBP. To become a PBP ancien (or ancienne for the ladies) is to join a very elite group of cyclists who have successfully endured this mighty challenge. No longer a contest for professional racing cyclists (whose entry is now forbidden), PBP evolved into a timed randonnée or brevet for hard-riding amateurs during the middle part of the 20th century. The event is held in August every four years.You can track riders through the official PBP site. Yes, we'll be watching you.
Many folks have e-mailed me asking what bike related things to do while in Paris. My advice is not to do anything bike related! You'll be riding 1200 bloody kilometers; forget about bikes for a few days and enjoy the city of light. Eat, drink, walk, go to museums, sit in cafes. That's what Paris is about.
First, to get into the mood, go see Ratatouille (the film) and count the 2CVs. Even the French love this film. I took my 7-year old to see it and it was great.
One of my favorite restaurants in Paris is Aux Charpentiers, 10 Rue Mabillon, 6e, where, if you look confused enough, the chef/owner, clad in jeans and a tweed jacket, will graciously help you with your meal.
Eat the bread from Poilâne bakery or one of the other great Parisian bakeries. You will be astounded. If you ask nicely they'll let you go down into the basement bakery.
Not all great food in Paris is French. Try Bouillon Racine for superb Belgian cuisine and the best Creme brulee in the world (according to Annette).
If you enjoy art, take the short trip to Giverny and visit Monet's house and gardens, a truly magic place, as well as the The American Art Museum and the Vernon Museum. Giverny is one of my favorite towns in the entire world.
If you must do something bike related, ride around on one of the new rental bikes that are everywhere. Check out this article from today's Guardian. By the way, the Alex Singer shop is closed for vacation during August and I've never bothered to visit any other bike shops in Paris. But you can get quite an education in city bikes by just noticing what's parked on the street. I've seen plenty of neat constructuer frames by just wandering around, but expect them to look well used; they are.
Finally, good luck to Ralph (and/or Joel), Jan, Ed, Chris, Mike, David, and everyone else who's riding PBP.
Does anyone else have favorite spots in or around Paris?