It’s hot (well warm really, but for this time of year, it might as well be 30-odd degrees). Aaand, sadly that means that Paris is currently crazily polluted. That ‘summer haze’, making you feel good? No, that’s not a cosy warm spring weather blanket, that’s pure, French smog. Ah.
Now pollution is a pretty difficult one to solve, but the city authorities have come up with a splendidly green idea. It would be a super idea to get one of those motocrotte things (the big hoover street cleaning contraptions that inhale all of the dog mess – that seem to be making a comeback after their glory days in the 80s and 90s) and point it towards the sky to suck up the offending cloud. But, hey, they’ve got enough work to do as it is.
Instead, the wheezing citizens of Paris, torn between filling their lungs with city goo or foregoing the lovely sunshine, can do their bit for the planet by pootling around on a Velib for a day, with the powers that be picking up the tab. From today (Thursday 13th March) and into Friday, for 24 hours the Velib is free. Free, for a whole day! I simply don’t Velib-it. Ok, so it’s only close to 2 euros you’ll be saving (the price of a day ticket), but it’s usually the authorities taking money from YOU, so appreciate the gesture while it’s here.
The normal Velib rules apply; you get your free day ticket, and the first half an hour is free. But you can plug in and reload as many times as you want, meaning that you can scoot about all day if you so desire. Though you’ll need to be within close distance to a Velib station approaching the end of your free half an hour, so don’t be thinking this is a cheap option for a day trip to Lille or anything like that.
If you’re a brave old soul, then the Autolib is also free (restrictions apply, check their website http://www.autolib.eu), but whizzing round the city in something that looks like one of those old disposable cameras on wheels, simple scares the bejesus out of me. If you do fancy taking up the city’s generous offer and doing your bit to make Paris a greener place in the process, then check out this link http://blog.velib.paris.fr/blog/2014/03/12/pollution-velib-sante/ for more details. They’ll even furnish you with tips on how to stay safe in these polluted times. And remember kids, be safe. The Tour de France isn’t until June.