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Table of Contents
- 2020: Biking in Paris, the World’s Cycling Capital
- Paris by Bike Map
- Paris Bike Tours, a Great Way to Explore Paris
- Self-Guided Paris Bike Tours: Itinerary + Map
- Bike Rental in Paris
- Light & Handy: Use your Folding Bike in Paris
- Recommended Bike Accessories for Biking in Paris
- Tips to Fully Enjoy Cycling in Paris
- Cycle Route Planner and Other Apps for Biking in Paris
- When Things Go Wrong
- Bike Festivals in Paris
- Paris by Bike Guide – Final Note
2020: Biking in Paris, the World’s Cycling Capital
Environmentally friendly, cheap, healthy, and surprisingly convenient for navigating perilously congested city streets, biking in Paris is becoming the preferred mode of transport for more and more locals.
Paris wants to become the World Cycling Capital in 2020! Thanks to the policy of the City Council, bikes in Paris are gaining ground also on the streets with more than 200 km of bike routes and an additional 70 km of bus lanes also accessible to cyclists. The City’s ambitious goal by the year 2020 is to double these digits and reach 15% of trips in Paris by bike (vs 5% in 2016).
Paris by Bike Map
Where to go cycling in Paris? The Paris by Bike map here below shows the existing lanes for bikes in Paris and also the planned lanes (dotted red lines).
Paris Bike Tours, a Great Way to Explore Paris
Bike tours in Paris are a great way to discover the city’s highlights or its hidden gems whilst biking in Paris. Stop at important or curious sites and enjoy your guide’s commentary on Parisian history and city life.
We’ve rounded up some of the best Paris bike tours to experience Paris culture or just have some organized fun for a few hours. Tour operators are proposing great Paris bike tours with standard bikes and also some e-bike tours in Paris so there’s no excuse to enjoy cycling in Paris!
Check out the best Paris Bike Tours
Self-Guided Paris Bike Tours: Itinerary + Map
If you prefer biking Paris at your own pace, we can help too. Below, our favorite self-guided bike tours in Paris to explore the French capital alone or with your tribe.
Paris by Bike Itinerary #1 – Left Bank From East to West
- Start: Museum of Natural History
- End: Eiffel Tower
- Distance: 9km
This self-guided bike tour covers Paris’ Left Bank from East to West. On your way, see some interesting Paris sights like the Museum of Natural History, the Jardin des Plantes, the Arabic World Institute, the Panthéon, Saint-Sulpice Church, Orsay Museum, the Invalides, Quai Branly Museum, and the Eiffel Tower.
At the end of this Paris bike tour, you can climb up the Eiffel Tower to see what you have been biking in Paris from above! Click here to buy your Eiffel Tower skip-the-line tickets so you don’t waste time waiting in line.
Paris by Bike Itinerary #2 – Right Bank Five Stars
- Start: Opera Garnier
- Finish: Arc de Triomphe
- Distance: 6km
Start cycling in Paris from Opéra de Garnier, home of luxury evenings of ballet, and bike around some of the most beautiful historic hotels in Paris and other chic addresses. On your way, Hotel Park Hyatt, Hôtel Ritz Paris, Hôtel Costes, Le Meurice, Hotel Plaza Athénée, Shangri-La Hotel, Hotel Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris, and Arc de Triomphe.
At the end of this Paris bike tour, you can climb up to Arc de Triomphe for one of the best views of Paris.
Paris by Bike Itinerary #3 Paris Along the Canals
- Start: Marina Arsenal
- End: Paris Philarmonic
- Distance: 7km
This relaxing bike itinerary (head here for the full description) follows the meanders of Canal Saint-Martin, from Port de l’Arsenal where it flows into the Seine River to Bassin de la Villette, where it becomes the Canal de l’Ourcq.
On your way, see interesting sights like Port de l’Arsenal, Place de la Bastille, Place de la République, Square Frédérick-Lemaître, the picturesque banks of Canal Saint-Martin, Bassin de la Villette, Parc de la Villette, and the Paris Philharmonic.
Bike Rental in Paris
Looking for an alternative to the crowded Parisian metro to explore Paris? Rent a bike in Paris and discover Paris by bike.
There are many ways to get a bike in Paris for a few hours, you just need to choose the one that fits you best.
Vélib Paris is the public bike-share system in the city, available 24h/7d and with more than 1,800 Velib Stations spaced every 300 meters across the capital.
After a period of crisis and decadence, Vélib is back with two new kinds of bikes in Paris: e-bikes (blue), and standard bikes (green).
Biking in Paris with Vélib is very easy. There are different Vélib bike hiring options – for occasional users and for regular users – and Vélib passes.
The V-Découverte Pass, for example, is valid 24 hours and allows users to take up to 5 Vélibs at one time. Return the Vélib bike to any Vélib Station (click here for the Paris Velib Map) before 30 minutes are up, wait a few minutes, and then check out a new Vélib bike to avoid expensive excess time charges.
You can find all the Vélib passes and prices here. To plan your bike tours in Paris, use the Vélib Map with all the Vélib docking points. This Vélib Map also tells you live how many Vélib bikes are left on a specific Vélib docking point.
Other Options to Rent a Bike in Paris
If you prefer a bicycle that is more adapted to your needs, or you are planning longer rides, there are other options to rent a bicycle in Paris.
The cost of renting Paris city bikes for a whole day is around 20€/day. This option is also convenient if you decide to do a bike tour outside Paris, where there are not Vélib Stations.
Rent your standard bike or e-bike online with BikesBooking.com. Bikesbooking is a key player in the online booking market for moto and bicycle transport. Just like its big brother Booking.com, Bikesbooking compares prices of 950 rental companies from more than 40 countries to give you the best price guaranteed.
Light & Handy: Use your Folding Bike in Paris
A folding bike makes a great travel companion for people on extended stays in Paris. This kind of bicycle rides and shifts as smoothly as a fancy full-size touring bike. Only 15 kgs, it packs into a wheeled suitcase and does not take up much space in the hotel room.
Brompton and Dahon brands make the best folding bikes on the market. Dahon folding bikes are available in Amazon shops.
Recommended Bike Accessories for Biking in Paris
Here’s the list of recommended bike accessories for biking Paris. Some of these accessories are a must for your safety while others make your Paris bike tours more comfortable and easier.
- Good and Robust Padlock
- Bike Repair Tool Kit
- Yellow Vest
- Bike Light Set
- Bike Bag (for foldable bikes)
- Luggage Rear Bike Rack
Tips to Fully Enjoy Cycling in Paris
The Paris City Council is doing a big effort to promote the use of bikes in Paris but there is still a long way to overtake other bike-friendly cities like Berlin or Amsterdam. In our opinion, more “bicycle pedagogy” is necessary for Paris, especially amongst the car drivers who tend to open their car doors without checking if there is a biker coming behind!
Even if you have been biking all your life, please take a couple of minutes to read our tips & advice for biking in Paris:
CHECK regularly the condition and pressure of your tires to avoid any incident. Also, check your brakes regularly and your bike light set, especially if you want to ride at night.
RESPECT the highway code, like any other vehicle. Advertise your maneuvers and changes of direction in advance and do not take unnecessary risks.
Unlike American cities, where cyclists obey the same rules as vehicles, Parisian cyclists observe separate rules of the road. The general rule is to stick to marked bike paths, which variously and confusingly go with or against traffic, move from sidewalks to streets and back. These bike paths are dedicated to bicycles only or may be shared with taxis and buses so stay vigilant.
LEARN the Paris signaling. For clarity and security, the City of Paris has created specific signaling. Thus, cyclists can easily identify bus lanes where they cannot move. These corridors are explicitly signaled by signs located under the signs.
These new signs below are located under the traffic lights. The yellow arrow shows the biker the direction to take after the crossing (to the right or straight ahead).
Example: the traffic light is red for cars but the panel authorizes bikes in Paris to turn on the right.
This authorization does not give any rights to bikes in Paris: they are not the priority. To cross the red light, cyclists should exercise caution and respect in all circumstances the priority given to other road users, particularly pedestrians that they must always give way. If the panel does not exist, bikers must stop at the red traffic light
Parisians are famous for breaking the rules so watch out for scooters (they like to use bicycle lanes from time to time) and pedestrians (sometimes they just don’t respect red traffic lights). You are warned.
REMEMBER that in Paris city buses have priority. Be very careful when approaching a bus stop riding after a bus, the bus can brake suddenly. A bus parked at a stop can also get back on track at any time. To avoid danger, keep a good safety distance and never overtake a bus on the right.
FINES FOR BIKES IN PARIS:
- riding on the sidewalk (except cycle paths): 135€ fine
- use of the mobile phone or headphones while cycling in Paris: 135€ fine
- excessive speed: 35€ fine
- ride in the wrong direction: 135€ fine
- lack of lighting and breaks fault: 11€ fine
- parking causing an obstruction: 35€ fine
- drive more than 2, side by side: 35€ fine
- turning without signaling it with your arm: 35€ fine
- have a passenger on your bike: 35€ fine
- towing: 35€ fine
- riding under the effects of the alcohol: 135€ fine
- overtaking on the right: 135€ fine
- non-respect of red traffic lights or stop signs (except if specific sign for bikes): 135€ fine
And last but not least, avoid drinking alcohol before biking in Paris, you will need all your neurons “on”!
Cycle Route Planner and Other Apps for Biking in Paris
GeoVelo, is a cool tool to plan your bike tours in Paris or France. Use this tool to calculate the time to go from A to B (recommended itinerary or safest itinerary).
For our everyday bike rides, we like to use the (free) mobile application, maps.me. This app works offline but you need to download the maps (e.g. Paris and Ile de France) previously. The application shows the best itinerary and calculates the time to reach your target, even if the times are a little bit sporty!
When Things Go Wrong
Even if rental bicycles are checked periodically or you are biking in Paris with your brand new bike, s*!XX!it happens and you can get stuck in the middle of the city with a flat tire or a broken bike. What to do?
Cyclofix comes to repair your bike
If your bike has problems and you are far from your favorite shop you can call Cyclofix, a new business model born in Paris a couple of years ago but very successful already.
The concept is very simple: the Cyclofix guys ride to your location (at home or wherever you got stuck) to repair your bike on site. With Cyclofix there’s no need to carry your bike to the next bike shop and leave it there for 24-48 hours to be repaired. How cool is that?
Cafe + Bike Fixing @ La Chouette
Another cool service that just opened some time ago is the café-vélo La Chouette Cafe Velo (20 rue du Château d’Eau, Paris 75010).
La Chouette is a café – bike store & workshop where you can have your bike repaired while enjoying your cafe & croissant in a very nice atmosphere. Very Parisian!
Bike Festivals in Paris
January – Traversée de Paris en Anciennes. Originally this is a vintage cars’ festival but there are also vintage bikes and motorbikes with its vintage riders of course!
January – Festival du Voyage à Vélo. This festival is all about your two-wheel friend: talks, short travel movies, photo exhibitions, meeting points, equipment, and more.
March – Salon Vélo. Don’t miss this bike fair for professionals and amateurs at Parc Floral de Paris.
May – Paris Bike Festival. This bike fair for professionals and amateurs at Hippodrome Longchamps is the perfect occasion to see the novelties for all kinds of bicycles and its equipment.
Paris by Bike Guide – Final Note
If you need more information about biking in Paris (courses, guided rides, reparation workshops . .), you can visit LA MAISON DU VÉLO, located just in front of Opéra de la Bastille (37 Bd Bourdon, Paris 4). La Maison du Vélo opens from Tuesday to Friday from 1:30 pm to 5 pm.
In the beginning, Paris on bike may look a little bit scary but after a couple of days cycling in Paris you will get used to it and you will have a great time. We truly believe that biking in Paris is a great way to discover Paris and we hope this post will encourage you to take a bike in Paris.
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