Getting around Paris by Bicycle
Cycling around Paris needs care but when you get off the main thoroughfares it can be surprisingly relaxing - not the least because you're not struggling to find somewhere to park!
Seriously, when you've got an experienced guide taking you round it's easier finding your way about, you see things you might have missed by yourself, and all in all your excursion is a lot more relaxing - which is what it's all about, right?
Is it safe? Paris has put a lot of emphasis on pedestrianised streets and has laid out paths reserved for cyclists and rollerbladers: bus lanes and cycle tracks are appearing nearly everywhere, especially on the major roads. On Sundays the roads by the side of the Seine are completely reserved for pedestrians, cyclists, rollerbladers.
Combining bicycle and public transportation is possible to a limited extent. You may get on all RER trains with a bicycle at all times except during peak hours (6.30 am till 9 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. till 7 p.m. every week days). For the Métro, getting on a train with a bicycle is only allowed for Line 1 on week-ends and public holidays. You CANNOT get on buses with a bicycle, but you are allowed to ride your bicycle on bus-only lanes when they exist.
One of our readers, Chris from Florida in the US, comments "I was amazed how easy it is to cycle in Paris. There are so many new bike lanes & paths to make it easy. I guess they've done this for all the new "public bikes" (Velib) that the city has put in. Although I discovered that credit cards from N America do not work in the machines, so Americans/Canadians can't rent them."
New! Velib - the new Paris self-service "bicycle transit system"
You've heard about it, the new bike transit system provided by the City of Paris! Now read about it on our special page here
Renting bicycles: There are plenty of people who'll rent you bicycles, but a couple of companies, "Paris a Vélo c'est Sympa" and "FatTireBikeToursParis" have been running tours for a while and are reckoned to be pretty reliable. Our affiliate Viator offers some of their tours online, so you can book them ahead on our site if you want. Otherwise give them a ring when you're in Paris and check them out (addresses below).
To give you an idea, here are the tours currently offered by Viator (note that many cycle tours in Paris are seasonal):
Take a long ride through the ancient districts and narrow streets of the Marais. Then across the Halles and the Palais Royal, heading for the Louvre and the river, ending with the Islands and a glance at Notre-Dame. The tour visits the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th districts and is just as exciting at night with the illuminations as in daytime. This tour is seasonal: Feb through to November.
Paris Bike Tour ©1822628
Paris Cycling Tours
4 hours Starting from USD $40.93 per person
These bike tours have been designed with the English-speaking traveller in mind. Stop every few hundred yards for information and photo opportunities. There are two options available - morning (all year) and afternoon (April-October) tours. Check the link for complete details.
Paris, like London, is really made up of a collection of former villages, and this tour emphasises this aspect. Quiet places, floral sites, artists workshops, and beautiful monuments.
Combines two best-selling tours of Paris, including a Seine River cruise, and save 20%. Take a day bike tour and see top Paris attractions including the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and Les Invalides. As night falls, explore more of Paris by bike and boat.
After picking up the bikes you ride to the RER station for a 20 min trip to Versailles. First visit Versailles' village market to buy baguettes, cheese, ham, wine and whatever else you desire for your delicious picnic lunch in Versailles' gardens (picnic provisions are purchased at your own expense). The highlight of the day is your bicycle ride through the gardens behind the Château. The average Versailles tourist doesn't realize that they can only visit a small fraction of the gardens on foot, but on bicycle you can visit everything worth seeing including Marie Antoinette's Petit Trianon, the Grand Trianon and the quiet Hameau. Picnic in the gardens! You also get to visit the inside of the main buildings as well.
Meet at Gare St. Lazare and travel by rail to the village of Vernon. There you visit the farmers' market to buy picnic supplies, then hop on your bike and pedal across the river to a park along the banks of the Seine for lunch when you can also sample the local's favourite drink: cidre. You then take a relaxing 5 kilometre (3 miles) ride down the bike path to the village of Giverny where you visit the world-famous gardens and lily pond of Claude Monet.
Paris a Vélo c'est Sympa!
Rent a bicycle for your own explorations, or book a multilingual guided tour.
22 rue Alphonse Baudin 75011 PARIS
Metro St Richard Lenoir Line 5
Tel : +33 1 48 87 60 01
Fax : +33 1 48 87 61 01
Open Mon-Fri. 9.30-13.00/14.00-17.30 Sat. and Sun. 9.30-13.00/14.00-18.00 Closed on Tuesdays
Their bike tours were designed with the English-speaking traveller in mind (they're American owned and operated)
Fat Tire Bike Tours - Paris
24, rue Edgar Faure,
01-56-58-10-54 (calling from within France)
Stop Press: here's a recommendation from a US visitor from Florida, Chris, who gave us some feed back (always welcome!) about Bike About Tours in Paris.
Chris says: "Bike About was great because they are a smaller bike company in Paris, with local guides (one of the owners did my tour) & they really showed a lot of areas I had not seen. The owners are expats who have been in Paris for several years. They also recommended some great restaurants and cool areas to see after the tour."
Next page: Paris Velib', Paris Segway tours or go to Paris Sightseeing Index