We know people write songs about April in Paris – the sun, the warmth, the blossoming trees and flower beds. It’s one of our favorite times of the year. But even the most patient Parisian needs a break from time to time.
This week we took the chance to take a break from Paris and reconvene with nature. We decided to meet up with our completely chill friend Bruce at French Mystique Tours to go cycling outside of Paris. It was the best decision we could have made all month.
We met Bruce at a bike shop to pick up our vehicles and rode them to the Gare du Nord. We boarded a train northward to the town of Chantilly, known for its horse racing and castle. After picking up some sandwiches and pastries (there are no bakeries in nature, we learned) we hit the road.
Bruce took us through streets and trails that we would have never found ourselves. From country roads lined with pretty French houses to paths cutting through the forests, we explored little nooks of the countryside that we didn’t know existed – and all of it was a 20 minute train ride from Paris!
We reached the town of Senlis, a little medieval oasis with cobblestone streets and one serious cathedral. Bruce told us a bit about the town and then we took a break in the garden for lunch. Then the moment of sadness hit, sitting there bathing in the sun, breathing in the fresh country air – we couldn't stay. We had to go back to Paris, but this day-cation was ending all too quickly.
Bruce took us on a little detour to visit the golden rapeseed fields and a little private chateau that is well off the beaten path (it was a special addition for us). Then we started pedaling back to Chantilly as the late day sun waned, just three dudes, three bikes, and one road.
Back at Chantilly, we checked out the chateau (one we like to take visitors, too, FYI!) and bee-lined for the train station to catch our train home. Once we arrived back in Paris, the crowds and the traffic welcomed us as only the Gare du Nord could. But we had our moment of zen out in the countryside and can’t wait to do it again.
Check out Bruce’s site for his bike excursions outside of Paris – we’d be more than happy to join you on a ride out to the countryside with him!