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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Here’s what we were up to on this beautiful and hot holiday weekend here in the nation’s capital.

1) Afternoon strolls around town

After wrapping up a few work items Saturday morning at the Studio (for both The Girl and I) we headed out for a simple late lunch stroll around town with the dog and the bebe.  First it was up the hill behind our home to the Rue Mouffetard area (one of very few hills in Paris- four?).

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Then down the backside of said hill to a small Mexican place that ended up being quite good.

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There is also a great market area there as well, although by the time we got there they were starting to wrap-up.  Realistically we wouldn’t go that far for markets, since there’s a much larger market directly behind our house. But still, it’s fun to explore other markets in case there are unique things you find that might make it worthwhile for the occasional trek.

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After a few more stops we eventually worked our way back to the Jardin des Plantes for a stroll through the flowers.

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I often run around this area, but rarely take the time to stop and smell the flowers.  Literally in this case.  So it was a nice change of pace.

2) A Saturday Night Dinner

Saturday night our friend Hitchen came over to cook up some dinner.  He was responsible for a Bolognese sauce that was made earlier in the afternoon at his place, and then the girl and I would match that with other items to complete a 3 course meal.

For an appetizer we did some fried zucchini blossoms (here’s the detailed picture-packed post on how we made them).

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Then it was onto a gazpacho that The Girl whipped up:

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And from there I worked on some simple fresh pasta.  As usual, using my trusty pasta attachment.

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I officially made way too much fresh pasta for three people.  But really, how can you go wrong with too much fresh pasta?

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For better or worse, there was no dessert this night.  Not quite sure how that oversight occurred. We’ll have to have a team meeting and ensure it never occurs again.

3) Riding to the chateau and beyond

Sunday morning I met up with Jonathan for an 80-90km ride out in the forest.  While I could have ridden out there, I ended up taking the train about 15 minutes away to meet up with him.  That time of the morning on a Sunday, it was nice and empty.

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The Chevreuse forest is well known to Parisians as a bit of an escape from the city.  It’s got a nice mix of rolling fields…

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…Small picturesque towns…

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…and even the occasional chateau.  Actually, there are a lot of chateaux out there if you know where to look.

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And of course, the forest itself.  Plenty of forest riding with some fun climbs and descents.

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Best of all there are tons of cyclists.  Hundreds upon hundreds of cyclists out on the weekends riding around.

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Though, as I noted during the ride to Jonathan, very few French riders were using GPS devices.  Sure, French riders who are readers of this blog will.  But beyond that, only a handful out of those hundreds of people had any sort of GPS device on their handlebars.  Instead, interestingly enough, most had cheap and simple wired bike computers that wouldn’t cost any more than 20-30EUR.

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In any case, the ride was great and we made very solid time and kept a strong pace throughout – especially for not being a closed course.  In the above photo, I didn’t stop the watch during our café break.  I don’t do that because it makes lining up multiple device GPS tracks more difficult later on.

4) A quick and sunny zip via Velib

After my ride in the forest, The Girl and I got a bit of a late lunch in another part of town.  After which she was having coffee with a friend.

So I grabbed a Velib for the couple mile jaunt home.  In the below picture you can see the secret signal that a Velib is broken: The backwards seat.  If a Velib needs service, you simply turn the seat around like that (2nd bike).

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Of course, any frequent Veliber knows how to quickly run through the operational checklist before grabbing a bike to validate for broken parts.

The weather was nice and toasty, and there were plenty of people out sun tanning on the river banks.

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I had crossed over the river to check out a bunch of white tents that were setup in this area, wondering if there was some sort of market going on.  But they were all empty, so not sure if we missed something or if it’s still coming up.

Either way, the stroll in the sun was nice.

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Of course, while most of the people sun tanning are locals, a large portion of the local population is out of town right now. Many (probably the majority) of non-chain restaurants are closed for another few weeks, as are many smaller shops.  Bigger stores like Starbucks and The Gap are of course still open.  But most of our favorite places to eat are all closed.  Thus, we’re basically just eating ice cream every day (they stay open).

5) Assumption Day

Last on the list of things was the annual procession from Notre Dame around our neighborhood celebrating Assumption Day.  Typically this occurs on Assumption Day itself (Monday), but this year there was also a procession on Sunday evening.  I don’t believe that was the case in years past, as I’ve only ever noticed one procession each year (such as this one).

In any case, it’s more just something for us to watch scroll by.  However, the neighborhood was heavily guarded by police this year (as compared to almost none in years past).  They closed the river down, as well as the bridges to traffic and parks about 3 hours early to sweep them clean.  Then every 50-75m were well armed police guarding.

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In any case, this year the procession went along the river’s edge itself.  Starting from the church, and then upstream along the Seine.

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It leads off with kids holding banners, followed by members of the clergy, and then members of the church.

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Plenty of onlookers from above on the bridges.

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The only challenge with this river-route is that it narrows under each bridge, resulting in a bit of a traffic jam.

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From my understanding, they’ll be doing another procession this evening (Monday) – which is also a public holiday here in France.

With that – time to get back to enjoying that public holiday.  Though aside from sleeping in a little bit longer this morning, The Girl and I just treat it as any other day.  Too much stuff to do!

Thanks for reading!

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33 Comments

  1. Joël

    Ray, you are mixing two “fêtes religieuses” : l’Ascension, which took place sooner in the year, on a Thursday in May (on the 5th this year), and l’Assomption, which takes place every year on 15th of August. The procession you saw was associated to l’Assomption.

    Not a big deal, and subtle (the two names are similar) :-)

  2. You guys should try the “porra antequerana”. Very similar to gazpacho, but if done correctly it’s much more tasty.

    link to cookipedia.co.uk

    • Susan Ariel Aaronson

      Ray: Thanks for making me jealous. Paris in the summer!
      Can I ask you–have you seen the ticwatch–and if so what do you think of it. You can’t swim with it, but for someone who travels and runs/bikes…it might be helpful. You don’t have to bring your phone–it has wifi
      link to kickstarter.com

    • Interesting, haven’t poked at it much.

      I guess the challenge with so many wearables these days, is for smaller companies the 3rd party app piece becomes difficult when they aren’t on major platforms (i.e. Android Wear, etc…).

  3. Ian Marchant

    Hoping to take the kids (9 & 5) to Paris next summer and I am building a list of places we want to take them.

    At at this rate we wont have enough time even if we take the whole of August off!

  4. Herve C.

    Hi Ray,
    As you noticed it yourself, french riders are not very good customers for expensive bike computers or running watches.
    Good opportunity to ask if and when you plan to write a review about some Decathlon products (the Geonaute line).
    Thank you.

    • I did one review of a Geonaute product a long while ago (a swimming MP3 player), but I’ve kinda transitioned to the point where I’m focused on products that are globally available (or at least available in the US with near/immediate plans for Euro/AUS/NZ expansion).

      That said, I do love going to Decathalon (nearest one is about 8 mins away by bike). So much fun stuff there and so cheap!

  5. Hori G

    Hi Ray, I see you are using a Garmin 820 and it is mounted on your stem. Big (bug) question for you: Why on the stem and not out-front?
    I recently got the same Garmin and it is not working properly out-front for me. I have carbon everything and if I mount the 820 out-front, the reception from almost all ANT+ sensors is very very bad. The only working sensors are Garmin’s (Speed). Have you seen this issue in your testing/using ?

    • Ken

      That CAN’T be Ray’s bike as there’s only one head unit; I believe he’s required by law to have a minimum of three on any bike he rides (including the Velib).

    • I typically use the K-Edge out-front mount. But I was shooting the GoPro mount stuff last week, and usually when I do photo/video shoots I take off unrelated products. So in this case, I took everything off and just have been lazy in putting it back on.

      Since I’m not testing any specific power meter right now, I didn’t have the usual 3-4 Garmin head unit lineup on there right now. else I would have put it all back together again.

  6. B

    First, congratulations on the new baby! I’m curious to know if you’ll be doing a “training and life with bebe” post in the future. I’d be interested to hear how you and the Girl eventually manage training, your businesses, and parenting, including your heavy travel schedule. However, if that’s a personal aspect of your life that you’ll be keeping off the website, I totally understand!

  7. P

    I turned up in Paris today for a quick stopover visit today and all the restraunt I had been recommended were closed for the holiday which I had of course forgotten about.
    Unfortunately as I was arriving there my new Spartan ultra was being delivered and I won’t be back to open it until September

  8. Roger

    Re gps devices:
    You do not need a gps device if you are a recreational rider. I have one simple on each of my bikes. And carry along the gps unit if I feel for it. And I have quit uploading to Strava…got tired of it…why should I…I just ride and thats enough for me.

  9. Kate

    Are you running a 110 Kitchenaid through a transformer or did you pick up a 220 model? If it’s a 220, did you get it in the States or in France? I’m moving to a 220 country next year (I spend a couple years at a time overseas) and I lovelovelove my Kitchenaid but am concerned about ruining the motor running it through a transformer. 220 models seem super expensive but might be worth it.

    • John Doucette

      We brought our 110 kitchenaid to New Zealand. Too damn expensive to buy 220 unit in NZ. A transformer is affordable and we use it for a number of 110 volt devices.

    • We use US editions, with transformers (even for the bakery). The transformers cost about $35 on Amazon, and we’ve had no issues with them or the mixers in heavy/daily use at the bakery*. It’s just a heck of a lot cheaper than buying the 220 KitchenAid’s. It’s nuts!

      *We use large industrial mixers for doing batch work, but then use the smaller KitchenAid’s for doing specialty flavor work.

  10. Remco Verdoold

    Hi Ray,

    Which buggy did you get in the end (or how many do you have)?
    Remco

    • We have two now.

      One is the day to day one – it’s a Britax ‘B-Agile’. And then we have the Bob Running stroller.

      We love the Britax – it’s awesome. We haven’t tried the running stroller yet.

    • Kate

      Well, that settles it. I used my 110 Kitchenaid on a transformer for two years in a 220 country on a very fancy step-down transformer without a noticeable issue. I just wondered if I should bite the bullet and invest in a 220 to avoid any issues related to long-term use. If you’re using them on the daily in a commercial operation, I think I’m okay :).

    • Yeah, they’re a beast and working great (4 years later). The only issues we’ve had with commercial usage (we have a small fleet of them) is the little speed slider slowly becomes loose over time, so every 4-6 months I have to open it up and tighten the screw. YouTube tutorials for the win.

  11. Emilien

    hey Ray,

    an idea for you if you don’t know it yet, you should run the ‘circuit des 25 bosses’ in the forest ‘3 pignons’ near Fontainebleau. Love this place.

  12. Jackson Cheng

    My wife and I had Zucchini blossoms for the first time this year during a trip to Italy. We’ve wanted to prepare them since, so I was thrilled to see your post. Unfortunately, finding the blossoms in a store/market may pose an issue.

    Also, did I win the Kickr?

  13. Rupert

    Ray,
    Have you tried the parkrun in Bois de Boulogne park (link to parkrun.fr ) nice 5km run to start your Saturday, ran it a few weeks back when we were in France

  14. Lars

    Ray, you wrote: “Though, as I noted during the ride to Jonathan, very few French riders were using GPS devices.”
    My experience is that most of the cyclists I know just use their smartphone which is carried in the jersey pocket. Only very few of my friends would use a dedicated GPS device. However, in addition they often have a simple bike computer that shows the current speed. Maybe, this explains your obervation…

  15. Robert

    I hate to admit it, but I’m behind the power curve and still use a wired computer on my bikes. Although I’d like to upgrade to a garmin 1000 or maybe just an edge 25.

    Thanks for sharing

  16. Bart Coddens

    Hmmm you are using the Xert connectiq apps :)
    Cool thing no ?

  17. Hitchen in the Kitchen. Sorry, couldn’t resist.