Over the past two decades Paris has been growing into an accommodating and welcoming city for cyclists. Widened bus lanes to share with the odd bus and even being allowed to ride through red traffic lights in some areas when it’s safe to do so, makes Paris a playground for bike enthusiasts. Let’s take a look at how to go about touring Paris on two wheels.
Before you get started it’s a good idea to get covered with cycling holiday insurance as there are dangers of cycling within a busy city like Paris. You are covered against injury and your own or hired equipment against damage and theft.
Vélib is a popular and affordable bike hire service with the aim of encouraging people to cycle on short trips rather than drive around the city. There are multiple Vélib stations across Paris, making it a convenient option. You pay for a bike with your bank card. You will first need to purchase a subscription online; short ones are available for tourists. Once you get your magnetic card, you can hire the bike of your choice and your first half an hour is free. This means you can return one and get another bike every half hour at the nearest station and ride free for the day as well as giving others the chance at a bike by keeping them in circulation throughout the day. Alternatively, bike hire shops are available but usually cost more than Vélib.
There are numerous cycle routes in and around Paris - more than 240 miles of cycle path in fact. A favourite among cyclists is The Marne River Cycle Route. It follows through 18 miles of picturesque scenery. The Marne River Bike Path to the Marne Meander is within the suburbs of Paris and provides 24 miles of breathtaking beauty. There are also designated bike paths to Charles de Gaulle and Orly Airports.
The ‘Avenue Verte’ is a direct route between London and Paris. It is 250 miles long, passing through stunning countryside, towns and riversides between both capital cities. The cycle path follows from Paris all the way to Dieppe, from Dieppe to Newhaven via ferry and from Newhaven to London. It has been described as simple and enjoyable to complete.
Parisians have their own car-free scheme called ‘Paris Respire’, a campaign that runs every Sunday and on holidays. It literally means “Paris breathe” and seeks to encourage car-free spaces in selected areas where certain roads are closed off. Some of these places include along the River Seine, the Marais, Canal St Martin and Montmartre. The main mode of transport when getting around these places is walking and cycling. It is quite popular with families spending the day out. If you’re visiting the city, join in for an authentic Parisian experience.
The easy access to cheap bikes, various scenic routes and the accommodating nature toward cycle enthusiasts make the City of Lights an ideal cycling destination.