We are always giving travellers tips about public transportation in Paris, but cycling often isn’t top of the list as a mode of transport in and around Paris. However, there are some great advantages in choosing to hop on a bike; you can discover a lot more of the city, avoid crowded metros… and get a little bit of exercise to work off those croissants! Read on to discover our cycling in Paris tips, including how to use a ‘Velib’, our favourite cycle routes in Paris and some other tips from our travellers! If you need useful tips on using public transport in Paris, don’t forget to get our 2019 INSIDR Paris Transportation Free Travel Guide!
Veilb bike rentals
WHAT IS A VELIB’?
Throughout Paris, there is a bike rental program run by the city council. These bikes are called ‘Velib’s’, there are hundreds located around the city parked in stations. Anyone can use them… read on to find out how!
HOW DO VELIB’S WORK?
For short term users:
- Head straight to a Velib station and follow the on screen instructions on the machine. You can easily switch the language to English, or your desired language. It will ask you to use your credit card to pay for the ticket. Select a bike and enter the bike number.
- You can buy your ticket online
For long term users:
You can buy a long term- subscriber card online, then you simply select a bike at a station, swipe your card over the card reader and wait for the green light and signal to release your bike. The first 30 minutes of each trip are always free of charge.
You’ll pay €1,70 for a day ticket or €8 for a seven-day ticket, which lets you take an unlimited number of 30-minute journeys. Trips longer than 30 minutes incur small additional “usage charges.”
When you register to buy a one or seven day ticket, Velib’ requires a €150 deposit. This amount is frozen in your account and returned to you once you return the bike.
Check their website for more information
INSIDR TIPS FOR RENTING A VELIB
We asked our travellers who used Velib’s during their stay in Paris for their top tips for tourists wanting to use a Velib’
- Download the Velib app. This will help you locate stations near to you.
- If the Velib seat is facing backwards when you find it at the station, that’s a sign that it’s broken, so you should choose another bike!
- When you return the Velib bike, make sure the little light turns green! Otherwise you could be charged for not returning the bike.
- Ride responsibly! The roads are busy in Paris and cycle lanes are not very wide, so pay attention and cycle sensibly!
- If you have a foreign credit card without an embedded microchip, it probably won’t work in the Vélib’ rental machines. Book on their website instead!
- Vélib’ bikes are popular, sometimes you will struggle to park/ or pick one up in very busy areas, but there are stations not more than 300 meters apart- so just keep going until the next one!
BIKE TOURS IN PARIS
We recommend the Bike About tours. Bike about stick to the charming back streets & local neighbourhoods most tourists miss so you can discover Paris by cycling with an expert!
Rent a bike in Saint Cloud
This picturesque park, located near Paris is perfect spot to escape the crowds and busy Parisian streets and go for a relaxing bike ride.
You can rent a bike, or even better, a tandem bike to pedal around the gardens with your family or friends! Check this website for more information.
BEST CYCLING IN PARIS TIPS AND ROUTES
All our suggested cycle routes will start and end at a Velib’ station, so you can collect a bike and enjoy cycling around some of these pre-planned cycle routes! Enjoy!
DISCOVER PARIS’ MONUMENTS BY BIKE
This leisurely cycle ride will take you past some of the most beautiful monuments in central Paris including the Eiffel Tower, Invalides, Concorde, Le Louvre, the Pantheon and much more! It will last around an hour, but you should take your time to soak up the charm of Paris’ major monuments as you peddle past!
Start: 2 Avenue des Portuguais, 75016
End: 174 Rue Saint Jacques, 75005
BOIS DE BOULOGNE
Bois de Boulogne is one of Paris’ largest public parks. It’s perfect if you fancy escaping the busy Parisian streets and visiting some non-touristy gems, whilst being surrounded by luscious greenery!
Start: 99 Avenue Charles de Gaulle, Neuilly 92200
End: 3 Rue Traktir, 75016
A CYCLE AROUND THE CANAL
The canal is a popular hang out destination for Parisians and has a distinct cool, edgy vibe. Follow this route to discover this funky neighbourhood and it’s surrounding sights, including Buttes-Chaumont Park and Père-Lachaise!
Start: 1 Avenue de la Porte de la Villette, 75019
End: 41 rue du Repos, 75020
EXPLORE THE RIVER SEINE
The River Seine runs right through Paris, and passes by and under some beautiful bridges, sights and monuments. Follow this route to see, not only some major tourist points, but also some less well known areas of the city that can be found beside the Seine.
Start: 1 rue Pau Casals, 75013
End: 6 Boulevard de Grenelle