Why Is Visiting Paris by Bicycle an Excellent Idea?

Bikes almost disappeared from the Parisian streets during the 1980s because they were seen as a mode of transportation for poor people only. Luckily they made a comeback 10 years later thanks to their environmental advantages and are now part of the Parisian landscape and in constant growth. Here are a few answers as to why you should visit Paris with a bike.

bicycle in Paris


Why visit Paris with a bike?

1) For your health

According to a Scottish study, bicycling five times a week for half an hour would reduce the risk of developing cancer by 45% and heart disease by 46%.It also helps with weight loss and increases your respiratory capacity. So really, there is no downside. Because you are held on the bike, your hips, knees and ankles are not traumatised by brutal shocks compared to other sports.

Furthermore Parisian streets are pretty flat. Not to the point of comparing the French capital to its neighbour the Flat Country – especially when it comes to the Montmartre district – but enough so to ensure moderate efforts only.


2) To save money

bicycle in a Parisian street

The 1-day Paris Visite Pass (zone 1 to 3) costs €13.90, whereas renting a Vélib’ is €1 for half an hour.

It goes without saying that the cost of renting a car is even higher and you still have to add the price of fuel and parking. Because you can find Vélib’ stations all over the city and the distance from one monument to another is pretty short, returning the bike at the end of your trip is really easy and it helps you save even more money.


3) For the infrastructure

bike path
Credits: Jean-Louis Zimmermann under Creative Commons 2.0

By 2020 Paris should count no less than 1.400km of bike paths. With the REVe (bicycle freeway) plan, Paris wants to become the world capital of bicycles*. A few numbers: REVe invested 63 million euros to create new bike paths, 7 million to create 10.000 new parking spaces and 40 million to create a new bicycle freeway and redesign the old ones.

That is why it is so pleasant to ride in Paris: the biking network is in good shape, it is sufficiently developed to have access to most parts of Paris with a bike, more and more 30km/h areas are being created inside the city to ensure the safety of riders, etc.

Finally it is worth mentioning that for short distances (<5kms) biking is the quickest option available inside Paris. The bicycle path allows the riders to avoid traffic during rush hours. You will save a lot of time! *the website is not yet available in English


4) There is a bike for everyone

electric bike
Credits: Jean-Louis Zimmermann under Creative Commons 2.0

If you are still unsure about your biking option, we still have a trick up our sleeve: electric bicycles!

If you are hesitant about your capacities, if you would like a bit more speed and if you are willing to pay a bit more, the electric bicycle may be a good option for you.They are more and more common on French soil, you can even rent one at a Vélib’ station. Thanks to the electric motor assistance you will still have to pedal but not to make any effort. It is a good compromise.

If there is a child in your group you can also rent a tandem adult+child to ensure her or his safety.

You have no reason left to say no!


How to visit Paris with a bicycle?

1) Where to find a bicycle in Paris?

Free floating

Credits: Nissangeniss / Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons 4.0

The concept arrived in Paris in 2017 and it is fairly simple: download an app on your smartphone, locate the nearest bike, unlock it with a QR code and put it back in any public place of your choice when you are done. Several companies are available in Paris:

  • MoBike: 3.000 bikes, an average weight of 23kg, a deposit of €1 and a price of €0.50 for half an hour.
  • OBike: 2.000 bikes, an average weight of 17kg, a deposit of €5 and a price of €0.50 for half an hour.

Be careful when you ride an Obike though; they use a points system. You win points when you have a positive behaviour such as reporting a damaged bike, but you lose points when you have negative ones such as parking in a private space.

Other companies regularly emerge – especially during summer. We would advise you to do your research before choosing which company you will rent the bike from.


Renting a Vélib’

Credits: Rog01 under Creative Commons 2.0

Vélib’ is the Parisian leader when it comes to renting a bike. 30% of its fleet is now equipped with electric bicycles. Its strength? The number of stations you can find in Paris. Wherever you are there is a Vélib’ nearby.

There are two passes to visit Paris:

  • the V-Découverte pass, which is valid for 24 hours and allows you to take up to 5 Vélib’ at once. With regular bikes, the first half-hour is free and you then pay €1 per 30 minutes. With electric bikes, you pay €1 for the first half-hour and then 2€ per 30 minutes. The deposit is €5 per bike but is capped at €15 (5 Vélib’ = €15)
  • the V-Séjour pass, which is valid for 7 days and allows you to take up to 5 Vélib’ at once. With regular bikes, the first half-hour is free and you then pay €1 per 30 minutes. With electric bikes, you pay €1 for the first half-hour and then €2 per 30 minutes. The deposit is €15 per bike and is not capped (5 Vélib’ = €75).


Bicycle rental shops

Credits: Michel Curi under Creative Commons 2.0

The strength of this kind of renting is the quality of the service you get: the equipment is in good shape and is not too heavy, different types of bicycles are available, you can rent your bike for half a day or for several days depending on your needs.


2) The bike rides available in Paris

Even though it is very pleasant to ride through the streets of Paris without an itinerary, many of you would prefer to follow an already existing one or have a guide.

The Parisian bike tours

Credits: JPC24M under Creative Commons 2.0

The costs of the rental (sometimes electric) and the insurance are almost always included in the price. The guides have extra tips about biking and you don’t miss any information about the places you get to see.

Depending on the agency you book from, the tour can be in French, English or even German. Be careful though, a lot of these tours are only available during spring and summer.

There are 3 typical types of tour:


Existing itineraries

bike path in Paris

For those of you who would prefer to be independent but still follow an existing path, a few free itineraries are available online all year long.

The paths they follow are mostly the same as the guided ones: the heart of Paris and the Parisian banks and canals. Fully detailed itineraries are available on the website of the Paris tourist office and you can find our favourite rides on our website.