The Active Traveller’s Guide To Cycling Around Paris
Exploring the City of Light on a bike is quite a thrill, and it will help you shed any additional pounds you picked up at the patisserie.
Whether peddling your way towards the iconic structure of the Eiffel tower, alongside the frantic Champs-Élysées (the most beautiful avenue in the world is now bike friendly), or towards welcome respite at your chic Paris hotel, the city’s’ network of 440km of bike lanes offer the perfect platform to explore the French capital.
Planning to ride your way around the city? Here’s our handy guide to cycling around Paris.
UTILISE PARIS’ BIKE SHARE SCHEME: VELIB
Like many European and some American cities, Paris boasts a bike share facility with docking stations dotted around the city. Download the handy Velib APP to find Vélib ‘stations around you and check their current availability.
PRE-PURCHASE A PASS FOR EASY BIKE RENTAL IN PARIS
If you’re planning to be in Paris for a short visit, negate the hassle of swiping your credit or debit card every time you want to cycle and buy a one or seven day pass online and simply type in a code to access a bike.
If you’ll be staying in Paris for a few weeks or more, invest in a Velib pass which offers an allocation of free minutes every time you ride.
COME PREPARED FOR YOUR TWO WHEELED TRIP
Flat shoes are a prerequisite if you plan to spend any length of time cycling, and if you usually cycle in the USA or UK a helmet would be too. Having said that the French take a more relaxed approach to cycle safety; helmets are shunned in favour of chic style.
Having a map is also advisable. Paris’ bike routes are well marked but if you’re not familiar with the city a map can help you make the most of your time in the saddle.
CHECK YOUR CYCLE BEFORE YOU RIDE
Before you select your bike do a basic check of the pedals, brakes, lights, and tyres to make sure there are no major faults that will impact your ride. You may notice some bikes with the seat facing backwards, this is the Parisian code for “this bike is not working”.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO USE YOUR BELL
Paris is a hustling and bustling metropolis and at times pedestrians, cyclists, and cars all converge. Get into the habit of sounding your bell as you approach a potentially hazardous situation, ride slowly as you approach pedestrians, and come to a standstill before attempting to use a mobile device or map.
IT’S OK TO GET LOST
Consider shunning your map in favour of a freestyle Parisian adventure, you never know what cultural highlights, culinary delights, or curious attractions you might discover!
Looking for more inspiration for your two wheeled exploration of Paris? Check out this guide to six of the best routes to peddle through the city. Featured image via CC Flickr by Fabrizio Sciami.
INSPIRED? PIN THESE TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓
✈ ✈ ✈
Have you peddled around Paris? Share your trip report with us below!