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Hey Philippe Crist !!!(12 posts)

Hey Philippe Crist !!!Poulidor
May 22, 2003 6:49 AM
I will be traveling to Paris in July and I am planning to go out to St. Dizier to watch the Tour team time trial.

Do you live in Paris? If so, are you familiar with Cycles Laurent? I was hoping to buy a bike while in Paris and was wondering if you had any recommendations.

Thank you for your help.

re: Hey Philippe Crist !!!MJ
May 22, 2003 7:17 AM
if you buy anything in the EU make sure you get the documents to claim back the VAT (17-20%) tax - and be ready to pay US customs when you return

the cycle store should have the papers - but it may be worth a prompting phone call or email a few weeks before
re: Hey Philippe Crist !!!Poulidor
May 22, 2003 7:20 AM

Thank you for the info.

Thoughts on buying a bike in Parisms
May 22, 2003 8:12 AM
If you can get the same bike in the US, I would buy it now and not try to buy it in Paris. Given the drop in the value of the dollar versus the euro, you probably will spend less if you can buy something in stock in the US (which the distributor and shop owner probably purchased several months ago when the dollar was worth 15-20% more) than you can in France in July. Of course, if you want something not available in the US, you just will have to absorb the currency fluctuation (and don't depend on John Snow to make things better for US travelers to France in the near term).

I have pasted below a link to a post I did several months ago about my experience with the VAT (TVA in French) refund. It is a must if you are spending a lot of money.

ms "Where to buy a frame in Paris?" 12/11/02 7:29am
Thoughts on buying a bike in ParisPoulidor
May 22, 2003 8:20 AM

Thank you for the information. I realize that now is not a great time to buy a bike due to the exchange rate, but there is nothing I can do about that (other than not buying the bike).


re: I've been to Cycles Laurent twice....teoteoteo
May 22, 2003 8:22 AM
If that counts for anything. I work in a shop so I just had to visit. The store is by no means large--I visited larger shops with nicer inventory in many towns outside of Paris.

The shop itself has a rich history and they had a few nice units but you may need to start corresponding with them ahead of time if you needed a particular size/model.

Are you going to any other cities? There was a great shop in Lourdes--lots of eye candy, Pinerello's, Look's etc. The owner was great.....
Perhaps I need to clarify....Poulidor
May 22, 2003 10:37 AM
Teoteoteo -

Thanks for the input. I will certainly visit Cyles Laurent but I am not sure that they will necessarily have what I want, as I understand they do a lot of custom built bikes, by Cyfac.

I didn't want to get into this initially because it gets long. But anyway, I was actually planning on getting a relatively inexpensive bike (1000-1500 Euro) and leaving it in France. My aunt lives in Paris and she said she would store it for me. I plan to make it back to France every year or so and the idea of hassling with taking a bike, packing it, worrying about it arriving in one piece, etc is more hassle than I was willing to deal with. So I don't have to worry about getting a refund on the VAT and I am not looking for a dream bike (I can always get it here in the US).

A second question for you all. Have you been to stores such as Decathlon and Go Sport? I understand they have inexpensive bikes but I am wondering if they are just the French equivalent of "K-Mart bikes". Any first-hand experience/comments would be welcome.

Again, thanks to you all for the information.

Decathalon bikesms
May 22, 2003 10:48 AM
Last summer when I rode in the Etape I saw several people riding Decathalon bikes. I know nothing about them and never have ridden one, but I assume that they are better than Kmart/Wal-Mart bikes -- the riders I saw were doing fine over four alpine passes.
You won't get any tax back if you leave it there.shamelessgearwhore
May 22, 2003 10:50 AM
If you do bring other expensive goods back, you have to make ABSOLUTELY sure you take care of the stamps and the paperwork BEFORE you check any of the stuff onto the plane! Make sure you tell the ticketing agent this and they will assist you.
Exchange rate is TERRIBLE right now, stay away. Prices in general went up about 10% with the transition to the Euro last year. Add the current state of the Dollar (-15% or so) and you'll feel like you're spending Pesos and not Dollars.
Perhaps I need to clarify....teoteoteo
May 22, 2003 10:59 AM
Ok that helps some. Based on your clarification they did have bikes that would work well from what I remember. I have been to a few Decathlon chain stores and though they have more quality than say K-Mart I don't remember any of the stores having much more than say a Shimano Sora/Tiagra level bike. The reason I paid attention is that I remember Frankie Andreu say on OLN that you could buy the Team Knock-Off bikes at Decathlon.

You could indeed buy bikes that LOOKED liked the team bikes but it was only because they shared the same paint scheme.

I would compare Decathalon to say an Oshmans Sporting goods chain store with a bike department--but short of even a lower level IBD.

I have never been to Go Sport....

Hope this helps.
salut Raymond...philippec
May 22, 2003 11:46 AM
I'm home and sick so this is going to be short --

Cycles Laurent: the last passable bike shop Paris intra-muros. Like Teo said, there just aren't any good shops in the city anymore. There are some excellent ones outside of Paris but you need to travel a bit.

Decathlon: You can buy the same bike/frame as Cofidis/AG2R but most shops don't have it on display. Decathlon is more like a multi-sport REI than K-Mart. Go Sport is more downscale and certainly isn't worth your time in the bike department. The Decathlon Ultegra-equipped bikes are good value for money and are made by the same factories in Taiwan that make most other good generic bikes out there (Giant or Kinesis makes them).

If you are looking for a good second-hand bike, try the classifieds on, rubrique "pratique" et ensuite "petites annonces". They have some pretty good deals.

Also, the magazine "Cyclo Passion" usually has pages and pages of classifieds.

Hope that helps, must go back to sleep...


salut Philippe...Poulidor
May 22, 2003 12:51 PM
Thank you for the information. I think I will limit my shopping to Cycles Laurent and Decathlon, based on what you say. I will e-mail Cycles Laurent and see what they might have in my price range and size.

Thanks to all of you who responded. I appreciate the help.

Get well soon Philippe.