Everything You Need to Know Before Renting Bikes in Paris

Renting bikes in Paris is a great option if you want to see the city while getting from place to place. Of course, there are things you should take into consideration before choosing to do so over all the other public transportation alternatives in Paris.

If you want to make the most out of your trip, we suggest that you skip the metro and hop on a bike. You’ll discover amazing streets and buildings, often off the beaten path. For avid cyclists, it might be second nature, and it’s no wonder why.

Having the option of combining passing sights of the city’s stunning architecture and a quick zip from A to B, renting bikes in Paris might be the perfect solution if you’re not keen to head underground. Some journeys might even be faster if you hop on a bike.

Many options for renting bikes in Paris in an image
There are many public transport alternatives in Paris. Photo credit: Vlad Bejenaru

Expanded bike paths to move around the city

Since the pandemic, cycling in Paris has taken off. It’s flourishing with the help of expanded bike paths, as part of Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s plan to make the French capital greener.

According to France24, Paris transformation adds 180 kilometers of the so-called “Corona Lanes”, instituted during the pandemic. This includes a further expansion of bike parking in the year 2026.

These initiatives haven’t landed with universal acclaim, however, with bike paths overcrowded with new cyclists who haven’t learned how to adapt towards cycling in a city. 

Man riding a bike with Eiffel Tower in background
If you choose to ride a bike, you will find extraordinary everywhere you go. Photo credit: Masood Aslami

Navigation apps to avoid getting lost

With Paris’s myriad of one-way and narrow streets, as well as its lack of a gridded street system, it’s a good idea to have a navigation app ready to go. This way, you can focus on navigating the busy streets rather than trying to figure out if you can hang a left.

Apps like CityMapper and GéoVélo can help plan the best bike-friendly route. GéoVélo is arguably the best option, as it allows users to choose from three route options. Users can select whether they’d prefer fewer hills, increased safety, or the most direct path to their destination, letting you decide what works best for your needs. 

Person riding a bike in front of a restaurant in Paris
Apps can help you navigate the city more seamlessly. Photo credit: Eddie Junior

Street etiquette to deal with cars and pedestrians

Visitors from more bike-dominant cities might be overwhelmed with sharing the road with cars and pedestrians. It’s wise to remember that pedestrians still retain the right of way. It’s necessary to let them have priority—even if it’s annoying to continually pump the brakes.

While bike lanes should take care of the problem, some bike lanes (like those that run up and down the busy Boulevard de Magenta in the 10th arrondissement) run through pedestrian crosswalks. You should be careful and pay attention to what other cyclists are doing. Responsible tourism can make all the difference in massively popular cities like Paris.

Similarly, it’s a good idea to pay attention to street signs and lights. While it’s perfectly acceptable to turn right on a red light (if there’s no one coming), this could land you with a ticket while biking in France.

Paris Arc de Triomphe
Some streets can be daunting for those not used to cycling in big cities. Photo credit: Eloi Motte

Top options for renting bikes in Paris

There are many places where you can rent a bike in Paris, both before your trip and once you’re there.

We suggest that you look for a place in advance, to make sure they will have bikes available. Also, check that they have a pickup point near your hotel, or near the locations you’re planning to visit.

If you’re planning to visit places like La Conciergerie, or the Louvre Museum, it might be worth considering dropping off your bike before entering a place for a long visit, or tour.

Renting bikes in Paris near the Eiffel Tower
Renting bikes can be a fun shared experience. Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik

Vélib bikes to cycle like a Parisian

Parisians on the go sometimes opt to rent a Vélib instead of investing in their own bikes. Called Vélib, as a portmanteau of X and Y, this city-run bicycle rental system includes 19,000 bicycles spread out over 1,464 docking stations around the Paris metropolitan area.

Download their app to locate your closest docking stations. Make sure to check if there are spaces or bikes available there beforehand. One downside of Vélib rentals is that sometimes bikes can need maintenance, so the few remaining bikes at a station might be there for a reason.

Nonetheless, the ability to ride and then dock bikes at any station is extremely helpful. You can continue on with your day without worrying about theft, or about going back to collect your bike if your route home changes. This makes Vélibs incredibly practical for people on the go. 

Velib renting bikes in Paris
You won’t have any trouble finding these bikes all around the city. Photo credit: Sharon Hahn Darlin

Fat Tire Paris Rentals to get exactly what you need

Did you know that Fat Tire offers more than just city tours? Known for its range of bicycle tours, this company also focuses on renting bikes in Paris by the hour, day, or 24 hour period.

Prices vary depending on the season, but their site allows you to input your rental dates, number of bikes, and how long you’d like to rent your bike to get a feeling for whether this would be a realistic option for your Parisian bike adventures.

What’s included? Fat Tire provides helmets, bike locks, and lights for their rental bikes so you’re ready to ride. Baskets, helmets, and other accessories are available to rent for a supplemental fee per day. 

Bike parked in Paris
Do you want to rent a bike for 24 hours or just for a little while? Don’t forget your accessories. Photo credit: Ben Krb

Paris Bike Rental to get the full experience

Located in the heart of the Marais, Paris Bike Rental is another option for private rentals. Offering both traditional and electric bikes, Paris Bike Rental breaks down their rental prices by half day, full day, 24 hours, and even an extra day option to extend your rental after you place your initial order.

They’ll even deliver your bike to you for an augmented fee. Choosing an electric bike might be a good choice if you’re staying in a hilly area like Montmartre or Belleville, and need your bike to go the distance.

While Paris Bike Rental doesn’t automatically include the extras, you can add on locks, helmets, and even baby seats for a small fee. 

Renting bikes in Paris for 24 hours
Why not rent a bike and plan a full day with the freedom it gives you? Photo credit: Ulamm

Paris à Velo to enjoy options for everyone

Interested in options? Paris à Velo has pretty much all of them covered. Normal bike? Check. Tandem? Double check. Electric bike? Obviously. Cargo bikes? You bet. Family cargo bikes to bring along your small kids? Yep!

Similar to the other purveyors, Paris à Velo separates its renting bikes in Paris rates by half day, full day, 24 hour rental, and includes a fee for a supplemental day should you change your mind about your original rental period.

A lot of bikes in Paris
Whatever bike you’re looking for, you can find in Paris à Velo. Photo credit: Jakub Zerdzicki

​​Cafés to share your passion for bicycles

Bicycle mania doesn’t stop at renting your bike. Cycling enthusiasts interested in making new friends and connecting with the Paris scene are counseled to check out some of the city’s cute cafés catering to the cycling crowd.

Do you want to enjoy a coffee before, during, or after your ride? Le Peloton Café, Stolen Garage, and Steel Coffee Shop can be great spots to meet fellow cyclists, stock up on supplies and accessories, and get caffeinated for your ride.

They might also be great places to hear about group rides, and connect with other locals or travelers who share your passion for bicycles. 

Le Peloton Café in Paris
Peloton Café is a friendly place for everyone to share their love for bicycles. Photo credit: Charos Pix
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About the author

Lauren Sarazen is a writer who lives in Paris, France. She graduated from Chapman University and received her MA in Literature from Université Sorbonne Nouvelle. Her words have appeared in Hobart, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The London Magazine, The Washington Post, Vice, Elle, Air Mail, and more.

More by Lauren Sarazen

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