Two weeks without my beloved Aura-lie, (my Aura x Ridley), and I must admit, it is driving me insane. I miss how it feels to be on my bike, either alone or surrounded by people. The freedom I feel, the way I am able to express my thoughts and emotions through the simple action of a pedal stroke. Since being on the road, I’ve had my running shoes, my yoga, and the city bikes. This has been key to “staying” sane for me. Hiring city bikes in Paris and Barcelona has been some of the most fun I’ve had exploring these two cities, and I’ve been to both cities more than a few times. First, let’s start with Paris, and a little bit of a foodie guide to some of the favourite spots I picked out a long the way.
Traveling to Paris for 2-3 days I highly recommend investing in city bikes, and possibly the metro passes for on rainy days. I find that using city bikes is efficient, feels good, and works up an appetite so you can indulge just that little bit more. My partner Hannes and I stayed right near the Paris Gare de Lyon station in an air bnb. It was quite conveniently placed, and we had access to city bikes every few blocks. I find that being an athlete and a foodie comes hand in hand, as we are constantly trying to fuel our bodies, and need to enjoy the enormous quantities of food we must consume. As a retired pro, food is still a priority. There is nothing I love more than discovering new cafes, coffee shops tucked away, off the beaten track. In Paris, Hannes and I found a few goodies that I would like to share.
Holy Belly 5- THE place called the Holy Belly 5. An Aussie inspired cafe near the 10th arrondissement , was just what I needed post La Course travel. They served everything that I love in an Aussie cafe. Great coffee, friendly, causal vibe, and eggs… and amazing way.
Matamata coffee – Cool, chic, trendy, those were the words I thought when we arrived. The small, cosy cafe served basic foods, and delicious coffee. For the coffee lovers, this is a nice place to stop for the post breakfast coffee.
Les Optimistes – This restaurant was a little/ big surprise, also located in the 10th arrondissement. One of my friends Jess randomly picked it out, the food was delicious, not over priced, and staff very friendly.
Jah Jah by le tricycle – This one is for the vegans. Hannes and I randomly stumbled across this Vegan Jamaican place in the pouring rain when we were trying to take shelter. We had just had lunch, so settled in for a couple of hot drinks and raw desserts. I went for the chocolate cake option and a matcha latte. Deliciousness… however, I have a sweet tooth, so the matcha could have done with a bit of maple syrup or agave.
So how to burn off all these delicious calories? I recommend hiring city bikes and going exploring. Paris is quite easy and safe to get around. I’m a bit of a dare devil on my bike, so I have no fear riding on the road… however, if you are less sure, there are plenty of bikes paths. For me, this was the most relaxing and joyful way to experience the city. Hannes and I would stop at leisure to take photos, eat something, and just enjoy the pure fact we were riding bikes. A whole totally new experience for me to kitting up and going out and smashing 4 hours! My favourite part to ride was actually along the Seine river, all the way up towards the Champs Elysees .
Flax and Kale – My all time favourite vegetarian place in the whole of Europe… even though I am yet to see all of Europe. I’ve had so many tasty meals at this place, I always head back there for more. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, Flax and Kale has you covered. Breaky, go the scrambled eggs with feta, spinach and tomato or the acai bowl. Coffee is ok, but not amazing.
Dalston coffee – Nomad roasters – Fresh milk. This place is a must stop on your way to Flax and Kale, or after. Get behind the small local business that uses beens from Costa Rica, however roasted locally in Barcelona. As a coffee with milk drinker, I loved this place.
Sugar bar – For a great mojito, dirt cheap, in a chilled, off the beaten track, hip, spot, try the sugar bar. Between 6-9pm mojitos (and other drinks) are a mere 2.80 euro. This is the Spain I love!
La Flauta – Possibly the best tapas bar I have been to… and it could be because I was somewhat drunk from hunger and the sangria, however, I did return several times, so much be something to the place. Plus, if you want to go here, either go early, or settle in for the wait at one of the many cute bars around the area. It is worth the wait, and you can’t go wrong with what you order to be honest. Go the sangria, you won’t regret the decision.
Unless you are local, you can’t hire the city bikes. Never mind though, there are plenty of great bike hiring companies around, some including tours. For me, the best bike hiring store I have come across would have to be “Turbo bike shop – Cruising Barcelona bike tours”. The staff are super friendly and helpful, the bikes are in excellent condition and the prices are very reasonable (9 euro for half a day).
So there you have it. Some of my hot tips to seeing the sites, and enjoying some of the yummy food these two cities have to offer. Next time you are in Paris or Barcelona, try some of these places out!
Also read: Back to lake Garda