This question turned up elsewhere, but it was so buried in other correspondence that I hope you don't mind if I start a thread here about just this.
"La Petite Reine" for a bicycle...
It comes from a book written by Pierre Giffard, one of France's leading journalists in the 19th century, called "La Reine Bicyclette". The cover showed a woman with her hair as a stylised bicycle. She became the epitome of "the little queen" and the name by extension was applied to bicycles. The book was published in 1891.
Pierre Giffard founded Bordeaux-Paris, Paris-Brest-Paris and the Paris marathon. As editor of France's largest sports paper, it was his row with prominent advertisers over the Dreyfus Scandal that led to their clearing off and founding "L'Auto", a rival paper. It was L'Auto which launched the Tour de France, so indirectly Giffard was responsible for that as well.
General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Also the name of cycle courier/hire business based in Paris... http://springwise.com/eco_sustainabilit ... er_busine/