Photo by Amsterdam via Trover.com
When traveling to a city or town, exploring neighborhoods and discovering attractions is best accomplished by riding a bike. It’s a great way to become familiar with local landmarks and stumble upon those hidden gems. Despite being one of the most popular and busiest cities in the world, Paris is an exceptional place to ride a bicycle. Here is a handy guide to get the most out of cycling around Paris.
Renting a Bicycle
The Velib public bicycle renting system makes it incredibly easy to borrow a bike. There are 1,500 stands spaced every 300 meters across the entire city. That’s over 20,000 bicycles available for rent in total! A day or week pass can be purchased for a nominal fee (1.70 Euros per day, or 8 Euros per week), and the first 30 minutes of your trip are free. Cyclists are able to pick up and drop off a bike from any of these stands city-wide. In addition, there are numerous bicycle rental agencies throughout Paris where bikes can be rented by the hour.
Best Cycling Routes
Even though there are bike lanes on most city streets, sometimes it’s best to ride the scenic route. There is a path that runs parallel to the Canal St. Martin with scenic water views throughout the ride. Tourists would enjoy the bike route along the Seine between the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower as there are ample opportunities to revel in these famous sights. The largest parks in the city, Bois de Vincennes and Bois de Bologne offer plenty of serene spaces without cars. Be sure to bring a picnic basket for a lunch break on your cycling journey!
Book a Cycling Tour
Booking a cycling tour with a local tour company is the easiest and quite possibly the best way to ride a bicycle around Paris. Locals know the greatest spots to ride, including those lesser known routes away from the crowds. Paris à vélo, c’est sympa! (Paris on a bike, it’s fun!) offers several themed tours in many languages, including French, English, Dutch, German, Italian, and Spanish. Paris Rando Velo is a free cycling meet-up every Friday evening that would be a great opportunity to meet some locals and fellow travelers alike!
Biking is not only a great way of getting from point A to point B, it’s also fantastic exercise! With all of that extra physical activity, cyclists have a great excuse to indulge in more baguettes and wine. Traveling to Paris doesn’t mean that it has to be an expensive vacation; there are many cheap hotels in Paris near many popular cycling routes and local attractions.