The French have their Tour de France, and many other bicycle racing spectacles as well. There are even major bicycle races in Paris such as the Paris-Nice in March, but what about the visitor cyclist? How do you get around and tour Paris with a bicycle? These and other questions you may have will be answered in full in this article.
Renting a bicycle in Paris is easy and affordable. Bicycling is commonplace in Paris, so they have lanes built into most of the roadways for just that purpose. It is recommended that you go to the Paris Tourism Bureau at rue de Pyramides in Paris and get your information after arriving, or check out their website online. They have specific maps of the city and where the most common bike paths are. This is for your comfort and safety, and the safety of pedestrians, so familiarize yourself with local laws regarding bicycle riding in the City of Lights.
There are several places to rent your bicycle. Over 1,450 rental stations are available just for the plain but sturdy bicycle called the Vélib’. These special kiosks accept cash or credit card, and you don’t have to have the special “chip” for the European market. These bikes are gray and heavy, but modish and common…which results in a cheaper rental. The bikes can be returned to any of the other rental stations, which is convenient and cheap; you get off, walk around the area visiting the local museums, monuments, etc., then rent the bike again and go elsewhere. At the bicycle kiosk you can get maps and other information for the area you’re in.
If you brought your bicycle with you, you are in luck. Most air travel services allow you to bring your bicycle unassembled, at least with the front wheel off. When you get off the plane at the airport near Paris, you have the option of packing it into a taxi for the ride in, a bus, or the train that goes to Paris from the airport. Most serious cyclists ride to Paris and their hotel or hostel, or wherever they may be staying.
The roads in and around Paris are smooth and easy. There are special areas for bicycles alone, so makes for unencumbered travel. Bring a backpack for a picnic in one of the beautiful parks or near a fountain. You can get around much quicker by bicycle, and you have the option of dropping it off so you can take one of the many day tours available. One of the most popular bicycle travel tours is available at rue Edgar Faure, Fat Tire Bike Tours. These people know their bicycles, and have a good variety to choose from. Their sightseeing tours are a wonderful opportunity for photographs, and lunch is available during the day.
For the adventuresome, rent a bicycle and take your own tour using maps of the areas you are interested in. A word of caution: This is a large and busy city during the day. Keep you eyes open and stay only on designated bicycle paths. Drivers in Paris must give right of way to any pedestrians, including cyclists, but they cannot stop on a dime! Two wheels may be the best way to enjoy your visit to Paris.