Hopping on a bike can be one of the best ways to get around the City of Lights. In fact, the City of Paris has made it easier than ever to have access to a bike during your stay.
Instead of hunting down a week or two-week long bike rental, you can now rent bikes for an hour at a time, thanks to the Vélib’ bike stations located throughout the city. The initiative started in 2007, and now there are over 20,000 bikes available at 1,800 bike stations throughout the city.
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year-round, Vélib’ is a self-service bike system. To use bikes throughout the city, visitors can purchase a 1-day or 7-day at any Vélib’ station in the city or online.
Three things to keep in mind when biking in Paris:
Mind the lanes. On large boulevards and some side streets, you’ll find a series of bike lanes (that you may have to share with buses and taxis, so be careful!). These lanes are typically located on the right side of the street near the sidewalk. In busier areas, the bike lanes are divided off from traffic by low bumps or foot-high barriers.
Share and share alike. On streets where there is no bike line, bikers ride with traffic (to the right side). Since biking around the city is more common in Europe than in the U.S., drivers are used to sharing the road with cyclists. For this reason, accidents are actually quite rare. However, it’s still important to remain alert to one’s surroundings. Parisian scooter drivers are notorious for ignoring the rules of the road and tend to weave in and out of the car lane and the bike lane.
When in doubt, avoid! If biking on a certain street seems too dangerous, don’t do it. You’ll see plenty of Parisians walking their bikes along the sidewalk in certain areas, so why not follow suit? It’s also best to avoid biking during rush hours (approximately 7:30 to 9:30 am and 5:00 to 7:00 pm).
While biking may be the easiest way to get around once you’re there, these cheap flights are still the easiest way to get to Paris.