Exploring Paris by Bike

By: Tom Malone - Summer 2017

Paris is a massive city. With 2.2 million people living within 40.7 square miles, exploring Paris takes time and distance. Paris’ metro system is incredible; like many major European cities, it’s public transportation is easy and can take you anywhere within the city that you want to explore.

The downside of Paris’ metro, however, is that it’s all underground. If you really want to explore Paris, and not just pop up at the tourist attractions, you need to be above ground to do so. But walking four three hours just to reach the Eiffel Tower will take precious time away from other sights. A taxi will cost too much, and renting a car is a little nerve-wracking in a foreign metropolis.

That’s where the rental bike comes in.

Paris is extremely bike-friendly. With hundreds of bike paths throughout the major car-traffic areas, and dozens of bike-only pathways (especially along the river), Paris is an easy city to cycle through.

All around the city, you’ll find stations with dozens of bicycles ready to be rented. The process is simple: slide your credit card, get your secret password card, and take a bike. Ride for as long as you want. And then, when you’re done, find the nearest rental station and lock your bike.

To buy a pass for the day, you’ll pay 1.50 Euros. Then, you’ll pay about the same price per hour to use a bike. You can deposit your bike at any rental station throughout the city, and then take another bike later if you want. You only pay for the time that you have a bike unlocked.

For example, let’s say you wanted to ride your bike from Bastille to the Eiffel Tower. You ride for 60 minutes and deposit your bike at a station near the monument. After a nice two-hour picnic and some selfies at the Eiffel Tower, you decide that you want to ride your bike to the Louvre. You can find the nearest bike rental station, type in your secret passcode (which is printed on your ticket), take a bike, and ride your bike there over a one-hour journey, where you’ll deposit it at another station.

Though your adventure took four hours, you only rented a bike for two hours, so your cost will be three Euros (plus the 1.50 general rental fee for 4.50 Euros total). You only pay for the time your bike was unlocked, not for the two hours you spent at the Eiffel Tower.

The company does place a 150-Euro charge on your credit card as collateral. Once your day pass is complete, that charge will whittle down to however much time you actually spent on a bike. (It takes a few days, so don’t freak out).

We found renting bikes to be the most fun way to explore Paris. If you have a specific time you need to be somewhere, take the metro. But if you have some spare time and no place to be, grab a bike and cycle through the city. It’s a phenomenal way to explore places you normally wouldn’t see, and it adds the potential for spontaneous stops along the way.