Although life in a big city has many advantages, the opportunity for practising physical activity in a natural and verdant setting has a special charm that is sometimes difficult to find in a capital. Cycling is one of the favourite sports of Parisians, which is why the city has put in place easily accessible circuits for its inhabitants. The banks of the Seine, for example, offer a pleasant ride, during which one can enjoy a view of the charming buildings of Paris, as well as some entertainment. In the Bois de Boulogne, there are calm paths that are ideal for a walk under the trees. The same goes for the Bois de Vincennes, whose invigorating air attracts many amateur cyclists.
City dwellers or passing travellers who wish to enjoy a more demanding walk can head towards the Coulée Verte in the south of Paris. Starting from Malakoff, a dozen kilometres of managed tracks meander between the natural green spaces and the Parisian agglomeration. On the side of the valley of the Juine, not far from Etampes, the road is flat and easy to reach. It is the ideal place to stroll on a sunny afternoon. The more adventurous might prefer to go to Milly-la-Forêt, where there is no less than 60 km of circuit intended for two-wheeled vehicles.
In Paris, the bicycle has gradually developed to become a means of transport in its own right, offering a real alternative to the metro or the bus, which can sometimes be expensive and laborious. The Vélib' service makes it easy for Parisians to hire a two-wheeler to get to their destination. Established in 2007, the Vélib' has continued to attract more and more followers and the scheme has quickly proved to be a great success.
With over 1200 stations scattered at the most strategic locations in Paris, it is now possible to cross the city at any time of day by Vélib', by means of a daily, weekly or annual subscription. Parisians who wish to free themselves from the daily grind of using the other types of public transport love the service. Moreover, the bike has ecological qualities necessary for the good development of a city like Paris.
The most athletic cyclists can practice in certain areas of the capital, such as the Montmartre hill, which has beautiful climbs, perfect for leg muscles, or Belleville and Menilmontant, although one has to pedal among traffic. Those who want to leave the conurbation can take the paths of the Meudon forest to Versailles, a few kilometres from Paris.
The forest of Fontainebleau, although a little further away, also offers nice slopes and perfect terrain for mountain biking. In this respect, there are several open-air bases in the Paris region which have specialised circuits, such as the Boucles, with its three different courses, Étampes or Cergy-Pontoise.
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