Exploring Paris by Bike (Why, How & Tips!)

It can be very fun to explore Paris by bike.

If you’re traveling to Paris, you’re probably planning on getting around by metro as that’s a very fast way to get from one place in the city to another. The bus is also a great option, as it allows you to see more of the city. Walking can be great too, but it takes a lot of time. Another option is to explore the city by bike, which is a fun way to get around and see a lot of the city.

If you’re planning on riding a bike in Paris, this guide will help you out. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know, including information about bike sharing providers, cycling routes, some tips, and more!

Why Travel by Bike Instead of Public Transportation?

Bikes in front of a brasserie and an art gallery
Bikes in Paris

Traveling by bike is a great way to get around Paris. It is a very bikeable city and you can get everywhere on a bike.

However, you could also get around Paris by public transportation. The metro in Paris is a fast way to get around. And you can also ride the bus in Paris. Both networks of the city are very good and there are many metro stations and bus stops.

One advantage to exploring the city by bike is that you can see the city’s architecture and landmarks while cycling through the city, which makes for a much more fun experience. You can also stop wherever you want, such as at a viewpoint.

Also, riding a bike makes getting around the city a more ‘flexible’ experience, as when you see a place that you want to explore, you can change your route and just drive there.

Sometimes traveling by bike can take you to your destination in a faster way. That’s because you don’t get stuck in traffic and you don’t have to transfer from one metro or bus line to another, you can directly ride to your destination.

Another advantage to riding a bike is that you get some exercise at the same time!

In addition to that, riding a bike can be much cheaper than traveling by bus or metro. This is especially the case when you get around on your own bike, but also when you make use of the Vélib’ bike sharing system.

For 20 euros, you can ride the bikes as many times as you want for 3 days (for a maximum of 60 minutes on regular bikes, and 45 minutes on an electric bike). Moreover, when you live in Paris, you can get a very cheap monthly subscription with an annual commitment that allows you to ride the bikes as many times as you want.

How To Explore Paris by Bike

Bike sharing providers

Velib display in Paris
Velib display

You can decide to explore Paris on your own bike, but that’s not doable for tourists and it can be more convenient to make use of a bike-sharing program.

There are several bike-sharing providers in Paris.

The largest is the Vélib’ bike sharing system, which is a system that consists of about 20,000 bicycles and about 1,500 stations. It is the largest bike-sharing system in Europe.

The system is operated by the city of Paris and the company Smovengo, and there are both mechanical and electric bikes.

There are different types of subscriptions if you want to ride the bicycles of the Vélib bike sharing system. There’s a free subscription with which you pay for the bikes per minute.

The V-Plus subscription costs 3.10 euros per month (annual commitment), and lets you ride as many classic bikes as you want for 30 minutes at a time (if you want to make a longer trip, you’ll pay per minute). The V-Max subscription, which costs 9.30 euros per month, lets you use both classic and electric bikes. You can ride a classic bike for 60 minutes and electric bikes for 45 minutes.

When you have a subscription, you can get free bonus minutes when you drop of a bike at an empty station or when you bring a mechanical bike from a low-altitude station to a high-altitude station (such as in Montmartre)

In addition to that, you can pay for a single ride, get a day pass, or get a 3-day pass.

Another provider of bikes is Lime. This is a company that has electric bikes throughout the city that you can ride.

Dott, like Lime, is also a commercial organization that provides electric bikes in the city.

The bikes of Lime and Dott do not have fixed bike stations, but there are parking places where you have to park your bike.

How To Ride a Vélib’ Bike

Row of Vélib' Bike
Vélib’ Bike

If you want to rent a Vélib bike, you have to go to one of the bike stations of the system. You can find these stations using the Vélib’ app, using the website of Vélib’, or by walking in the city and looking around as there are so many stations (you can find a docking station every 300 meters).

Using the app and the website, you can also see how many mechanical and electric bikes are available. The blue bikes are electric bikes, and the green bikes are mechanical.

You can buy a single ride, day pass, or 3-day pass at many of the docking stations. At these docking stations, there’s a display through which you can do that with your debit card. You can buy these tickets through the app and website of Vélib’ as well.

If you want to buy a subscription, you can do that by going to the website of Vélib’ or by using the app. You can use a subscription with your Navigo card, with a Vélib’ card, or with your phone.

If you have bought a single ticket or a day pass, you can get the bike by entering the code that you received on the screen of the bike.

When you have a subscription, you can tap your card or your phone against the bike to activate it.

You can get bikes from Lime and Dott using the apps of these companies and these apps are very easy to use.

Bike Lanes

Row of bikes
Row of bikes in Paris

You can find dedicated bike lanes in Paris. There are many bike lanes that are separated from other traffic. These are designed such that people can bike around the city in a safe and convenient way. Besides that, there are also bicycle lanes that are painted on a regular road, so when you ride your bike here, cars might ride next to you.

The availability of bike lanes has also grown in recent years, so the city is continually becoming a better place to ride a bike.

Great Cycling Routes

There are many great cycling routes and paths in the city, some of which go along famous landmarks in the city.

One of the best places to ride your bike in Paris is along Quoi des Tuileries. There is a dedicated bicycle lane along the Seine. You can start your journey at the Louvre Museum, and then bike to the Champs-Élysées while staying on a dedicated bike line. Along the way, you enjoy great views of the Seine River.

Another bike path that you can ride is the one on Pont de Bir-Hakeim. In the center of the bridge, there’s a covered bicycle path. From the bridge, you can enjoy an incredible view of the Eiffel Tower.

There are many areas next to the Seine River, along the right bank of the river, where you can bike. For example, you can ride your bike along the Seine between Pont de l’Alma and Pont de la Concorde. This route is on the banks of the river, so you can see the river from up close, instead of seeing it from above when you ride your bike on Quai des Tuileries.

Some Tips For Riding a Bike in Paris

Velib bikes in Paris
Velib bikes

Want to explore the city by bike, but don’t want to do it by yourself? You can decide to do a guided bike tour.

There are many companies that offer different types of tours. During such a tour, a guide can give you interesting information about the city while you ride with a group from one spot in the city to another spot in the city.

There are different types of tours to choose from that have different themes.

Besides being a fun way to see and learn about the sights of Paris, a guided bicycle group tour is also a great way to meet new people when you are visiting the city, especially when you are visit Paris alone.

During some days of the day, some of the streets in Paris are car-free. These days are great for when you want to explore Paris by bike, as you’ll be able to ride your bike on roads where usually bikes ride.

There’s one car-free day during which there are no cars throughout the city. On this day, you could, for example, ride your bike on the Champs-Élysées towards the Arc de Triomphe.

When riding your bike in the city, you should make sure you know all the rules as well. For example, children under 12 years old need to wear a helmet when riding a bike in the city.

More Paris Travel Guides

Shopping streets in Paris

Things to do near the Louvre

Bridges in Paris

I hope this guide helped you understand how to get around Paris by bike. Have fun exploring the city!