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Table of Contents
- 2020: Paris, the World’s Cycling Capital
- Paris by Bike Map
- Bike Rental in Paris
- Light and Handy: Get your Folding Bike in Paris
- Recommended Bike Accessories for Biking in Paris
- Best Bike Tours in Paris
- Self-Guided Paris Bike Tours: Itinerary+ Map
- Cycle Route Planner and Other Applications for Cycling in Paris
- Where to Park your Bike: Veligo
- When Things Go Wrong
- Tips to Fully Enjoy Bikes in Paris
- Bike Festivals in Paris
- Paris by Bike Guide – Final Note
2020: 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 on bike (vs 5% today).
Paris by Bike Map
Where to go cycling in Paris? The Paris by Bike map below (you can download it here for free) shows the existing bike lanes in Paris. Red lines are lanes for bikes only while blue lines are shared lanes.
Bike Rental in Paris
Looking for an alternative to the crowded Parisian metro to explore Paris? Rent a bike and discover the City of Light on your wheels. There are many Paris bike rental proposals, you just need to choose the one that fits you best.
Velib 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, the Velib is rising again like a phoenix from the ashes with two new Paris city bikes: the blue Vélib’ bike is electric, while the green Vélib’ bike is mechanical.
There are different Velib bikes hiring options – for occasional users and for regular users – and passes. The V-Découverte Pass, for example, is valid 24 hours and allows users to take up to 5 Vélib’ at one time. Return the Velib bike to any Velib Station (click here for the Paris Velib Map) before 30 minutes are up, wait a few minutes and then check out a new Velib bike to avoid expensive excess time charges.
You can find all the Velib passes and prices here. To plan your Paris bicycle tours better, use the Velib Map with all the Velib docking points. This Velib Map also tells you live how many Velib bikes are left on a specific Velib docking point.
Other Paris Bike Rental Options
If you prefer a bicycle that is more adapted to your needs, a vintage bike, or you are planning longer rides, look for other options for bike rental in Paris. The price of renting a bike for a whole day is around 20€/day. This option is also convenient if you decide to do long bike rides outside Paris, where there are not Velib Stations.
Rent your 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 and Handy: Get 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 in the market. Dahon folding bikes are available on 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 bicycle 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
Best Bike Tours in Paris
Discover the highlights of Paris or the city’s hidden gems on a guided bike tour. Stop at important sites and enjoy your guide’s commentary on Parisian history and city life.
We’ve rounded up some of the best bike tours in Paris and Paris electric bike tours with excellent reviews. with which to experience Paris culture or just have some organized fun for a few hours.
- Discover the heart of Paris by bike on a 3-hour guided tour
- Explore Paris’ hidden gems by electric bike on a 4-hour guided tour
- Paris By Night: 3-Hour Guided Bike Tour
Self-Guided Paris Bike Tours: Itinerary+ Map
If you prefer to bike around Paris alone and at your own pace, World in Paris can help you too. We have selected for you three ideas for seasonal self-guided bike tours in and around the capital. Let’s go!
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, some interesting Paris sights like the Museum of Natural History, Jardin de Plantes, Arènes de Lutèce, the Arabic World Institute, the Panthéon, Marie De Medicis Fountain, le Sénat, Saint-Sulpice Church, Orsay Museum, Les Invalides, Monument of the Human Rights, Quai Branly Museum and the Eiffel Tower.
Bike Itinerary #2 Right Bank Five Stars
- Start: Opera Garnier
- Finish: Arc de Triomphe
- Distance: 6km
Starting from Opéra de Garnier, home of luxury evenings of ballet, 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, Les Ambassadeurs, Fontaine de la Grille du Coq, Hotel Plaza Athénée, Shangri-La Hotel, Fouquet’s, Hôtel Champs-Elysées Friedland, Hotel Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris, and Arc de Triomphe.
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 Marina Arsenal, Port de l’Arsenal, Place de la Bastille, Bastille Design Center, Place de la République, Square Frédérick-Lemaître, Jardin Villemin, the picturesque banks of Canal Saint-Martin, Bassin de la Villette, Parc de la Villette, and the Paris Philharmonic.
Cycle Route Planner and Other Applications for Cycling in Paris
If you have decided where to go already, you can use GeoVelo, a cool cycle route planner that allows bikers to prepare their bike routes in advance (recommended itinerary, safest itinerary . .). Geovelo is free and it calculates the time to go from A to B. To be used without moderation 😉
For our everyday bike rides, we like to use this (free) mobile application, maps.me. It 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 “very sporty”.
Where to Park your Bike: Veligo
During the day you can park your bicycle almost everywhere as long as you have a good and robust padlock. During the night, leaving a good bike outside can be risky in Paris, especially if it is a good and expensive bike.
To solve this issue, the City Council in partnership with SNCF and RATP (the national trains and RER trains companies) are implementing the service Veligo. Veligo is a kind of secured deposit for bikes opened 24h/24h and always close to the Parisian train stations. The idea is to equip Paris with more bike-parks and to favor the combination of bike + RER for longer journeys.
These Veligo deposits are available after paying an annual subscription of 20€ and having a valid Navigo card. More information about Veligo (only in French) here
When Things Go Wrong
Even if rental bicycles are checked periodically or you are biking 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 the biker’s location (at home or wherever he got stuck) to repair his 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
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 and workshop where you can have your bike repaired while enjoying your cafe & croissant in a very nice atmosphere. Very Parisian!
Tips to Fully Enjoy Bikes in Paris
The Paris City Council is doing a big effort to promote the use of bicycles 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 bikers to turn on the right.
This authorization does not give any rights to cyclists: 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.
And last but not least, avoid drinking alcohol before biking in Paris, you will need all your neurons “on”!
Bike Festivals in Paris
TRAVERSÉE DE PARIS EN ANCIENNES: the beginning of January. Originally this is a vintage cars’ festival but there are also vintage bikes and motorbikes with its vintage riders of course!
FESTIVAL DU VOYAGE À VELO: mid-January at Vincennes. This festival is all about your two-wheel friend: talks, short travel movies, photo exhibitions, meeting points, equipment and more.
SALON VÉLO: the beginning of March at Parc Floral de Paris, for professionals and amateurs.
PARIS BIKE FESTIVAL: second half of May at Hippodrome Longchamps. This is a bike fair for professionals and amateurs, 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 (courses, guided rides, reparation workshops . .) about Paris Cycling, 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 Tuesday to Friday from 1 pm to 5 pm.
At the beginning cycling, Paris may look a little bit scary but after a couple of days you will get used to it and you will have a great time. We truly believe that biking is the best way to discover Paris and we hope this post will encourage you to take a bike in Paris. Now that you have read this quick guide you are ready to bike Paris : -)
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