Biking the Bois de Vincennes

It’s that time of year again, when 10-o’clock sunsets transform the capital into a peddler’s playground and cyclists from all around town make the pilgrimage to the Bois de Vincennes. Slightly larger than its counterpart to the west, it has all the trappings of a Parisian park – manufactured lakes, glitzy restaurants, racetracks, etc., minus the highbrow attitude that so unpleasantly reigns in Boulogne. In addition, there’s a 14th-century château, France’s largest zoo (also, alas, the most poorly maintained), a velodrome, stables, a floral park and much more. The single greatest drawback for a dirt rider is the topography. Although there are scores of intertwining dirt trails, the entire 2,300-acre park is flat – not a single steep descent.

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