10 Things We Love About Our Yellow Flat.

It’s rather amazing but it has been ten years since we finished renovating our Yellow Flat Paris and began sharing it with our guests.  Along they way we have gotten to know a wonderful community of people who enjoyed our pied a terre as much as we did.  So to celebrate the 10th anniversary Florence and I took a moment to think about what makes this place so special and why we enjoy it so much every time we visit Paris.

Number 1. Something new! Our comfortable queen sized bed. We sleep well after a day of enjoying a day in the city.  Good reading lights too.

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2.  Our living room couch.  We love the wonderful late afternoon light on the corner seat of the couch reading or just relaxing and taking it in.   It makes a great second bed for our extra guests.

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3.  The third thing that the we love about the Yellow Flat is our remodeled kitchen, efficient as hell and fully stocked. And our new espresso machine.

New Kitchen

4.  Our shower. It has so much hot water and great pressure. Perfect for relaxing after  a day of touring or walking.

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5.  The two-minute walk to the Champ De Mars park to look at the Eiffel Tower. We never get tired of looking at.  It is spectacular at any time of the day.

eif deserted in august

Or night.

eiffel tower night lights 2

6.  Walking to Poilane bakery for their amazing breads and morning pastries. Yes those are some amazing apple ‘chansons’ that make a perfect breakfast.

poilane 2

7.   Two glasses of rose’ on the terrace enjoying the afternoon sun.  No comment needed.

balcony w

8.   The views of the Parisian skyline from our floor to ceiling sliding glass windows in the living room and bedroom.

view

9.   Buying a salad at the Grenelle Marche bringing it home and enjoying it with a plate of artisan cheeses and a fresh baguette. And perhaps a lightly chilled Chinon or Bourgogne Aligote to go with it?

salad

10. The 10th reason to love the Yellow Flat is that we are celebrating our 10th anniversary. So please take 10% off of any booking of a week’s stay during July or August 2016. Just mention our 10th anniversary celebration when you book. And enjoy this shot from 2006 when we were finishing construction.

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As well as that wood paneling from the old kitchen.  It seems so dated in style.

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As a further thank you to everyone who has stayed with us over the years I am happy to send you an 8 by 10 print of any photo that has appeared in this blog  Just tell us your story on our Facebook page and mention the photo you have in mind.  Or ask me to pick one.  Like this one for example.  I think its pretty cool.

eif troc tourist

All the best.

Jules and Florence

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www.yellowflat.com

News And Views From The Yellow Flat. And A Deal Too.

The Eiffel Tower Shines On

Change is in the air at the Yellow Flat Paris.

For the past 10 years we have enjoyed the friendship and camaraderie of Thierry, the manager of the Yellow Flat.  He is a large part of what makes it so special.  But he is ready to spend more time with his family, his wife and his 4 grandchildren and will be leaving us at the end of the year.  We wish Thierry the best and thank him for the professional and graceful way he worked with our guests.  We will miss his humor and most of all his laugh.  To his health!

thierry 2

Sante!

Change is part of life and we take this opportunity to offer new services and options to improve your vacation in Paris.  Let us introduce you to Lisa Elias and Sasha Romary of Savoir Faire Paris (SFP).  Their boutique agency will manage the Yellow Flat starting in January of 2016. Both are fully bi-lingual.  They are also charming, attentive and professional.

sasha profile-lisa

Every guest at the Yellow Flat will receive a welcome basket including tea or coffee, sparkling water and a snack such as a croissant in the morning or baguette and cheese in the afternoon. The apartment will be set with fresh flowers.   The apartment will always be stocked with the things you need to enjoy your stay, dish soap, hand soap, toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo etc.  You will still have the package of services we offered in the past including airport pick up and return by a reliable driver for the same price as a taxi or lower as well as the option to stock the refrigerator full of groceries when you arrive. And as always, if you are missing something, just ask.

We have a new espresso machine (Nespresso) and flat screen TV waiting for you.  We are updating our wi-fi to a fast fiber optic system for easy communication.  Free calls home will continue as well.

Do you need help planning your trip, making dinner reservations or travel plans?  Would a personal concierge in Paris be of help to you?  You can purchase 2 hours of planning services through SFP, just let us know and we will send you more information.

The events of November 13 rocked Paris and frankly our family as well.  We want to show support for everyone who works and lives in Paris and to thank those of you who stayed at our Yellow Flat.   We offer a 10% discount on any rental during 2016 to previous guests.  That offer extends to any referral that you make to your friends and family.  Just make the reservation by March 31, 2016 and be sure to let us know when you stayed with us.  Drop us a line and let us know when you want to come.

Our very comfy couch is waiting for you and so is that view from the terrace. Come visit Paris and enjoy the Yellow Flat in 2016.

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My favorite spot to relax.

All the best,

Jules and Flo.

DSC_0003An early morning view from the terrace

Find A Good French Red Wine Under 5 Euro ($7.50)? Yes, You Can.

 

One of the greatest pleasures of staying at the Yellow Flat vacation apartment in Paris is taking the time to enjoy a good glass of wine out on the balcony.  This post will help you to find a good bottle of French red wine to enjoy with your cheese, baguette and pate while you soak up the afternoon sun no matter where you are on your trip to France.

Damn that looks good, doesn’t it?

And to help out your budget, we looked for good wines that will cost you less than 5 euro per bottle, about 6.50 USD at current exchange rates (1.3$ to the Euro).

I first wrote about this subject in a Yellow Flat blogpost in 2010.  At the time I found lots of reds to drink and many of my recommendations did not change.  Prices remained steady and with the now weaker euro, an already good value is even better.

One of the benefits of travel to France is the wonderful opportunity to learn about reasonably priced French wines that we don’t know about or just aren’t willing to try. Whether enjoying them with a dinner you cooked or by the glass, it is a lot easier buy a bunch when those bottles don’t cost very much. You can try several, just like we did, and have your own wine tasting. When some don’t work out, it’s OK to pour the sucker down the sink.

There are  many choices of where to buy wine in Paris, varying from good chain stores (Nicolas) to local wine shops to the grocery store on the corner. I chose the latter. French grocery stores are almost always well-stocked with wines in our target price range.

I was ready. I went to buy 10 bottles of red wine at the Simply grocery store around the corner and find out. And look at this group,  these bottles cost under 40 euro (50 dollars).  I do wonder what the cashier must have thought as I checked out with these bottles and 2 baguette.

As the photo shows, my efforts focused on red wines.  I plan to cover whites next trip.

To cover all of this ground, I organized two wine tastings, one with several Americans who were visiting Paris and one with some French friends to see how each group reacted differently.

It was pretty easy to pick out the wines despite the crowded shelves. I wanted to try wines that often appear in the US at prices between 10 and 25 dollars that I don’t usually drink. Examples were Minervois, Cahors and Bourgueil along with some more well-known regions.  Many of my personal choices didn’t make the cut this time. There were no Pinot Noirs, no Chinons and no Gigondas. All were well above the 5 euro threshold.

The shopping cart finally shook out like this:

3 bordeaux

2 Cote Du Rhone.

An assortment of 5 bottles mostly from the South with one from the Loire.

Tasting number one was held with 6 American visitors to Paris and our manager, Thierry, captured here in deep rapturous analysis.

Five bottles that evening, 2 Bordeaux at low and high price points and three from the south. Served the wines with baguette and olive tappenade.  We had a great time tasting them.

Here  is a summary of the wines we tasted and the comments:

Moncade Bordeaux (no vintage). Cost: 1.72 euro, about 2 U.S. Appellation Bordeaux controlle. No pedigree hat all. 12.5 alcohol. It was pretty obvious from the label that this was the low price leader. Comments were:

It’s red
Not offensive but no character
Would cook with it
Nothing wrong but nothing right

All in all a lot like the wine you often find in French resatsruants in small pitchers called “pichets”.  As the label says, it is ready to drink. Strangely, it wa the only label among the ten that was translated, albeit poorly into English.

Chateau Haut Florin 2009. Gironde. Cost: 4.48 euro, about 5.50 U.S. Grand Vin De Bordeaux from a good year 2009. Made and bottled at the Chateau. 75 Cabernet 25 merlot. Grown in Blasimon, 12% alc.

Comments were:

This is classic Bordeaux light
Wow, it has some tannins
Tastes ok very dry, almost off-putting on the tongue
No nose
Would be good with a burger

All in all a nice wine, it won the least left in the bottle st the end of the evening award. A wine that would go well with many foods but nothing serious.

From there we headed south to three relatively well-known sub-regions.

Minervois Pierre Charnau. 2009. Cost: 2.99 euro, about 3.70 U.S.  Made by Vins Du Littoral 13.5. Carignane, Grenache and Syrah. Comments were:

Reminds me of a Spanish wine, a Temperanilo
Soft and fruity
Nice on the palate
Fun, ready for the picnic
Could be served lightly chilled

This was a crowd pleaser, one you would happily bring to party to drink before eating or to enjoy with the cheese or grilled chicken.

4. Corbiers Le Grand Portal 2008. Cost: 2.95 euro about 3.65 U.S. Appellation Corbiers. Made and bottled for Cellars Dionosys. 13.5 No grapes disclosed although wines from this region are typically made with Carignane grapes. From the Languedoc R0ussillon region.

Comments were:

Nasty nose
I would dump that one
Has a nasty bite
Licorice finish
Drinkable only with reservations

This was a wine which seven out of eight of us found to be ok but far from something you would seek out, one of us would dump immediately.

Number 5. Cahors Carte Noir 2009. 2.60 euro or 3.25 U.S.Made and bottled by Cellier Du Sud-Ouest. 13.5%.  Made Closer to the spanish border in the south of France

Cahors is known for its dark black purple inky Malbec wines. They are true to the character of the grape, and often way out of control,

Comments

Odd nose, called reminiscent of a wet dog
Cheesy notes
Might taste better with food
Good body, viscous
Made wtih the smallest cork in history

A confusing wine, for those who love this grape only.  Be warned, combining Malbec and low prices may be dangerous to your sanity.

In sum, the American group found that these wines were surprisingly good for the price. We agreed that a similar tasting of California wines, i.e. at the same price, would not come close, both in terms of quality and variety. There was only one wine that one of us would have thrown away and two were very good values. A good result.

On to the second round a few nights later. I wondered, just how would our French friends feel about them? It would turn out that not much thought was required that evening.  3 out of 5 wines were pretty pretty bad.

Before starting our tasting and having the ear of several native French red wine drinkers, I asked them if they would buy French wines in this price range. Their answer was a resounding no. The minimum they would pay for a wine they could rely on was 8 euro and more likely over 10.  This made sense to me, after all, even though there were some deals in the group, there plenty of duds too.

Tasting two.

Bourgueil Selection Pierre Chanau 2010. Cost: 4.28 euro or $5.35. Cabernet Franc. 12.5%. This wine is grown in the Loire. Often lightly chilled, this recommended temperature for service was 15 degrees celsius or 59. That is cool.

Comments were:

Light and pleasant
Very agreeable
Easy to finish the bottle

A nice balanced dry wine it went very well with the pate that night.

Les Davier Cote Du Rhone. No vintage. Cost: 1.78 euro or $2.25. 13.5%.

Comments were:

Grape juice with alcohol added
Undrinkable at any price
This is a bottle for construction workers to drink at lunch

Eclat du Rhone. AOC Cote Du Rhone 2011. Cost: 3.67 Euro or $4.60.13%.

Comments were:

How could this be awarded a gold medal

As sweet as a Kosher passover wine like Mogen David

Beautiful bottle but lousy wine

It seems that Cote Du Rhone wines have caught the maladie of fruit forward, high sugar, high alcohol painfully hot wines that dominate the world winemaking palate from Santa Barbara to Perth. At one point one of my friends called these wines ‘parkerize’ or in Enlgish ‘parkerized’ using the name of the famous American wine critic in French to describe this style of winemaking.

Fagieres. Domaine De Haute Serre. 2009.  Cost: 4.39 euro or $5.50. A blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mouvedre. From the Languedoc, Southern France.

Comments were:

A small wine
Nothing special
No nose
Not a wine we would have again.

To finish the evening we had one more Bordeaux.

2010. Grand Vin De Bordeaux. Gironde. 4.06 Euro or $5.05. Selection Paul Chanau (him again). Aged in oak, blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Comments were:

Very approachable
Soft and fruity
True Merlot character
Not a bottle to age
Have had worse at twice the price

All in all these were not as good of a lot, 3 of 5 were not drinkable.

While we did not come to any conclusions that evening we left quite a bit of wine on the table even though we had a complete dinner and a cheese course, i.e. plenty of chances to drink lots which we did not.  The next day I asked our host Marc what he did with the left over wine.  With a shrug of nonchalance he replied that he poured them all down the sink the next morning.  Guess that said it all.

To try to sum this up, if you want to try wines under 5 euro when visiting France, you will do fine by buying Bordeaux wines in the 4 to 5 euro range.  You can even go up a bit, there is lots of choice.  There is a lot of history here in turning out reasonably priced well- structured OK to drink now wines.  The Southern wines vary quite a bit.  They are hit and miss. There is no reason to believe that the next Minervois we drink will as good as the one we enjoyed that night.  And  I recommend that for the time being you stay away from Cote Du Rhone at low price points unless you have a reference or you are looking for a bit of that fruit forward style during your Parisian stay. Oh, and as you can well imagine, you proceed below 2 euro at your own risk.

It was really surprising to see that corks were still used in 100% of these red wines even at low price points.  Just how do they afford this?

There is plenty of good value to be enjoyed during your vacation stay at the Yellow Flat in Paris.  If you take up the gauntlet, please comment on any wines in this category that you enjoyed.

Cheers from the Yellow Flat from one of our guests.

Traveling From CDG Airport To The Yellow Flat Paris. Plenty of Options.

Getting from Charles De Gaulle Roissy airport to the Yellow Flat in Paris is relatively easy, in fact surprisingly so. There are several choices for you to consider as part of your travel plans. The most important factor in making the choice is your budget.  As with most travel decisions, there is a direct convenience to price relationship, the cheapest option being the least comforting/most work and the most expensive the fastest and most luxurious (with the exception of often horrible Parisian traffic which is often an issue).

Let’s explore the available options, in order of price from least expensive to most.

The suburban train or RER.

The suburban train system in Paris is the RER.

You look for the line RER B (Blue). The RER B train line runs north-south to the center of Paris, stopping at Gare Du Nord, Châtelet Les Halles with 4 metro lines and 3 RER lines available, then Saint Michel/Nôtre Dame, Luxembourg, Port Royal, Denfert-Rochereau, Cité Universitaire, and continues south towards Orly Airport. To reach Orly you must transfer onto the OrlyVal metro at station Antony.

To reach central Paris you take the train to Paris (Robinson, Antony, St-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse).

You will exit the train at the stop called Denefert Rocherau.  You can then either leave the station and take a taxi to the Yellow Flat or take the Metro line 6 direction Charles De Gaulle/Etoile, exiting at Station La Motte Piquet Grenelle.

Where do you find the train?

The Paris-Charles de Gaulle SNCF/RER station is located between terminals 2C-2D and 2E-2F. Once there look for a dark glass paned room on the bottom floor, off to one side that will be selling RER tickets and SNCF/TGV tickets. You will see a sign that you guides you to this station or ask one of the information kiosks.

If you’re facing this glass room, the door on the left will be for RER tickets to Paris. Look for a ticket seller that speaks English, they have a little British flag in their window.  Most vendors know enough to get buy.

You want to be a one way ticket, Paris Aller Simple in French.

The cost is now 9.25€ for an adult, 7.10€ for children 4 – 9) and free for children under 4).

Have euros to pay cash, US credit cards to not operate unless they have a computer chip, not typical.

Duration.  Allow 50 minutes from the airport to the center of Paris.

Pros.  No traffic. Reasonably fast.

Cons.  Very crowded when returning to the airport as your RER train is likely to cross the city and they are almost always busy during the day.  No place to put your luggage returning to the airport.

More info?

http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr/ADP/en-GB/Passagers/Home/.  Look for the button getting to the airport by public transit.

Bus.

There are two bus systems, one public the run by Air France.

Public.

The Roissy bus is operated by the RATP, the Parisian metropolitan transit authority. It stops at all terminals.  You look for the sign “Roissy Bus”.

The cost is 10 euro per person.  You can buy your ticket directly from the conductor.  Have cash ready.

Stops. There is one route, CDG to Opera.

They run about every 15 minutes from 6am to 11pm.

Duration:  Allow 50 to 60 minutes without heavy traffic.

Pros.  A seat, sometimes, and a place to put your luggage.  Reasonable cost.

Cons.  You are often stuck in traffic.

Owing to the location of the Yellow Flat, we recommend you take the Air France bus instead as Opera is not a good drop point.

Les Cars Air France

The Air France bus leaves from most terminal 2 stops and drops you at a number of locations in Paris.  If you don’t see a sign after clearing customs ask an information desk.

Route:  Airport to the following destinations:

Line 1:  Invalides and Gare Montparnasse

Line 2:  Port Maillot and Etoille/Champs Elysees

Line 3:  Orly airport.

Line 4:  Gare De Lyon.
Cost:  11 to 18 euro depending upon route.  Youth and kid fares available.  You can pay your driver in cash or US credit card.

You can also buy your Air France bus tickets in advance on the Internet.  Go to:

https://one.secutix.com/tnsa7/live/shop/cars/INTERNET/ts/event/index.php?CNSACTION=ChangeLanguage&lang=en

Frequency.  Every 20 to 30 minutes.

Duration. Figure on 45 minutes to an hour.

Pros and Cons are basically the same as Roissy bus.  You pay a little more but you have more flexibility in where you exit.

Recommendation:

Take line 2 Port Maillot or or Line 1 to Invalides or Gare Montparnasse and take a taxi from there to the Yellow Flat.

If traveling on by metro:

From Invalides; take the line 8 direction Balard, exiting at Station La Motte Piquet Grenelle.

From Gare Montparnasse; take the Metro line 6 direction Charles De Gaulle/Etoile, exiting at Station La Motte Piquet Grenelle.

If exiting at Port Maillot; look for the metro station Charles De Gaulle/Etoile.  Then take the Metro line 6 direction Nation, exiting at Station La Motte Piquet Grenelle.

It is a bit of a walk from Port Maillot to the metro, so we prefer the Gare Montaparnasse or Invalides route.

If going by taxi, look for a stand and ask them to take you to 9 Rue Alasseur at the Village Suisse.

More info?

http://www.lescarsairfrance.com/en.html

Taxi.

Taxis are plentiful and will cost about 55 to 80 euro depending upon traffic and your eventual destination in Paris.  Just walk outside your terminal.

Pros:  They take you to your destination.  Cost effective with parties of 3 or more.

Cons:  When you sit in traffic your meter runs.

Driver.

Driver services are the most expensive and the most reliable way to get to Paris.  It is a luxury, but one that we believe is well worth it.

Pros: Your driver meets you at the terminal and takes you directly to your destination.   Fixed price. Again, more cost-effective for larger parties.  We are happy to arrange transportation with our driver, Patrick.  Just email us at:  jkragen@prodigy.net

Cons:  Expensive.

For more information about driver services email us at: jkragen@prodigy.net.

All in all a variety of services existing for you to choose from in planning your trip from CDG to Paris.  Always keep in mind the number of passengers and the amount of luggage you are carrying.

And think about yourself at the moment you arrive in Paris, just how will you be feeling and how much hassle will you are willing to put up with.

You can always email us your questions at jkragen@prodigy.net.  Safe journeys.

Paris Velib Bicycle Rentals. Not Just For Parisians.


You see them here.  You see them there. Those heavy grey/brown bicycles. Have you seen them too?  The Velib bikes seem to be everywhere in Paris with people of all ages and demographics riding them.

Velib.  Even the name sounds so cool and so foreign.  And this is a foreign concept  for many of us to consider, a real efficient functioning public bike rental system, reasonably priced but complicated to understand.

I had been looking at them for years now and I have often wondered, are they suitable for visitors too?   As an avid cyclist and lover of all things Paris, I was determined to learn how this system works, determination that I would need to actually use it and to try to explain this system to others.

Some history first.  The city of Paris started the Velib program in 2007 and it has been growing since.  There are now over 20,000 Velib bikes and 1800 stations located every 300 meters throughout the city although I find this hard to believe.

The Velib system is designed for short-term bicycle rentals.  Included in your subscription is the first 1/2 hour of use.  A subscription for 1 day is 1.70 and and 7 days are 8 euros.  You can sign up for an annual subscription alternative at 29 euros.   After that the next ½ hour is 1 euro, the second ½ hour 2 euros and the third 1/2 hour is 4 euros.  The idea is to do short rides not to rent one for they day although even that amount is comparable than a traditional rental.

These bikes are serious cruisers.  They are heavy.  They have three speeds.

And there are font and rear brakes, a bell and a basket.

There is a lock but I never had the opportunity to use it.

Here is a key.  Check your bike out before you take off.  First, and this is important, if you see a seat that is turned around backwards the bike is broken.  If turned around a 1/4 way it has a minor problem.  Take your time, make sure the tires aren’t flat and that seat stays up (they are adjustable).  These bikes take a beating and many are not in good shape.

Before getting further, some general thoughts about cycling in Paris to consider.  Paris is a very crowded urban environment full of aggressive drivers of trucks, cars, taxis, busses, scooters etc. many of whom don’t care for these bikes. I don’t recommend riding in Paris to people that aren’t comfortable cycling in urban settings.  I don’t recommend it during bad weather and I suggest strongly that you use the system on Sundays and to a lesser extent Saturdays when some roads are closed and traffic is lighter.  If you are visit in August, then hey, bonanza! Use it during the week.  If not,  cycling in Paris is very challenging especially in the more crowded areas you are likely to visit like Concorde. Pay particular attention to intersections as many have multiple entry points from unexpected directions.

That being said the city has gone out its way to try to make it more cycling friendly. There are well-marked bike lanes.

But you share them with taxis and busses.  Think about that before you relax.

There are lots of streets that are one way except for bicycles, so you bike facing traffic.  Look for these signs:

OR

But on to the story at hand.  The time had come and I was ready to ride that Sunday morning. So I hit the web to get started. Renting the bike seemed ridiculously easy at first.  A well designed multilingual website, http://en.velib.paris.fr/. A simple registration process. After registering it stated that I would received a prompt email with my subscription number. That is where the good vibes stopped.

No email came. but wait, there was customer service number, and an english option.  So  I called.  I was first in line great.  So I waited.  First in line right?  After 10 minutes of jarring jazz/funk, a friendly woman came on the line. She said it sometimes takes up to 10 minutes to the email and to check my spam filter. The email never came.  Checked the spam and bulk mail filers.  So I learned lesson number 1.  Do not bother with their website if possible, go right to the closest Velib station armed with your credit card and a lot of patience.

A note here.  There are varying opinions on whether you can use a US credit card without a chip.  I used one that had one (available through Chase).  I looked on the Velib site, they say Visa accepted.  Any direct experiences out there with a US credit card without a chip?  Please comment and I will update the blog.   There is also a smart phone option, but we did not try it.

The first attempt to rent a Velib bike is a challenge.  Nothing in the process that you can’t overcome, but based on my experience, allow yourself a good 10 minutes to work through the complex screen that will confront and often confuse you even in English.  But once you do, you will find yourself free to enjoy the city in a way you never have before.

When you arrive at the station go to the large post with the a screen.

Before going any further acquaint yourself with two other panels that will be important to this process.  The keyboard:

Pay close to the V in the lower right corner, you will be using it a lot.

And finally, a small read out where you get credit card approval located just above the keyboard.

The screen is hard to read in bright sun.  Tap number 3 (remember on the key board not the screen this is not an Ipad).  There will be an option for the English language option and several others or stay in French like we did.

I wish I could report that what happens next is easy and logical.  It isn’t.

The opening screen allows for two options:

Use option 1 after you are registered.  Number 2 is for getting started.   Push number 2 on the keypad to begin the registration process.  The process is straightforward to an extent.  You use a credit card, my American Visa did work and you create a pin. You will be charged a deposit.

This is also important. Each and every time you take a step in this system you have to push the V to validate or valider or C to correct.  This is a pain but you cant’ get around it.

Eventually you reach a screen of terms and conditions.  You have to accept them to by pushing the 5 on the keyboard and you guessed it, then hit the V.

If you have done this ride the machine will issue you a paper card with a code.  This code and your pin will allow you access bikes.  You do so by returning to the same screen.  You push 1 (and V, just assume that ).  Then enter your code.  A message will come up showing you which bikes are at the station by number.  The numbers are on each post.

The lesson here is to choose your bike before you start the process.  After you choose the bike there will be a beeping sound.  Do not forget to push down the large silver button at the bottom of the post.  It releases the bike.  Now pull it out.  You are done!

Ride around and be careful. Soon you look like a local.  Sort of.



Eventually your time runs out.  Maybe you let another 1/2 hour go by, but this is starting to get expensive.  What to do?  One of my major criticisms of the system is that there are no maps of the stations, at least none that I could find.  If you do find a station and it is full you can enter your id and pin and the system will give you 15 minutes more free time.  It does not tell you where the next station is.

If you have a data plan use their app:    http://itunes.apple.com/fr/app/velib/id373342683?mt=8

It works well, telling you where the nearest station is and how many bikes are there.

If not look for stations near major sites, they are usually close but not at all of the tourist attractions.

Returning your bike.  So you have found an empty post at a station like this one:

The post will be lit red as you make your return.  Don’t leave the bike until the light turns green again.  If it doesn’t pull the bike out and try again.  The angle is often tricky.  Once the light turns green you can go.

Getting a bike again.  This time you tap 1.  Enter your card number and pin.  You then see a screen to get a bike and the process begins again.  If something isn’t working it is likely you forget to tap V.

So how was it?  Our ride that day was great.  We toured the left bank basically following Blvd Ste Germaine, crossing over at  Pont Sully to Bastille and then via Rue St Antoine to Rue De Rivoli.  We returned to the left bank by crossing over through the Isle St Louis bypassing all of the crowds at Notre Dame.  We used the Quai D’Orsay for the majority of the ride back enjoying the broad easy thoroughfare. That evening after dinner, we returned and took a slow ride around the quieter parts of the 15th.  Cycling through those empty street we saw Paris with new eyes and new freedom.  All this for 1 euro 70 (we timed our rides well).  That comes to about $2.10.  I can’t imagine any other way to have so much fun for that price.  We sure did although I can’t recommend taking a call on your cell like our friend Paule did.

 

Up next?  Maybe the new pubic electric automobile rental system, autolib.

Velib Stations close to the Yellow Flat:

Dupleix.  1 block away.  On exiting the flat turn right and take your next right.  You can’t miss them, just on your right.

Champ De Mars.  2 blocks away.  Walk down La Motte Piquet, located just past Blvd. Suffren on your left.

Suffren.  Reaching Suffren and La Motte Piquet, turn right on Suffren.  1 1/2 blocks away.

There is also a station next to the metro stop at La Motte Piquet Grenelle.  4 options less than 5 minutes away.

Here is a map:  http://en.velib.paris.fr/Stations-in-Paris/Find-a-station?recherche=dupleix&rechercher=Find+a+station+in+Paris

You can learn more about Velib at their blog: http://blog.velib.paris.fr/en/

Hello world from the Yellow Flat Paris!

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This blog will feature links to articles and news about Yellow Flat Paris.  For those of you traveling in November, we are running a special.

The flat is on sale for $175 a night, $15 off, through March 26.  Please use code: yf15offer when inquiring.

Let us know if you are interested  in visiting as the flat is pretty well booked until October except for August and a number of short term gaps including June 27 to July 3.

All the best.

Jules and Flo

All text and images c2009, Jules Kragen