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Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Paris by Bike ⋆ Secrets and techniques of Paris


I really like the truth that in Paris everybody cycles: previous males smoking Gauloises, stylish ladies in pearls and heels, and individuals who handle to search out sufficient room for his or her market basket on the again and a poodle balanced on the handlebars. It’s thought of a means of getting round reasonably than a sports activities exercise. And once you’ve bought a motorcycle, there are not any worries about Métro strikes, parking, pandemics (!!), or carrying out the soles of your footwear.

Getting Round

Devoted bike lanes, widened bus corridors, and Vélib municipal bikes have made biking in Paris loads simpler and accessible previously few years. A lot of the metropolis is comparatively flat and might be crossed in about half-hour on a motorcycle in regular visitors, though in case you’re heading to Montmartre, Belleville, or the Butte-aux-Cailles, chances are you’ll need to try the brand new electrical bike choices beneath.

Bike Lane Maps

The Metropolis of Paris‘ grand growth plan for a city-wide community of motorcycle lanes was lastly accomplished in 2020, simply in time for all the Parisians who took to bikes throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to keep away from public transport. The most important change was the transformation of Rue de Rivoli and the quays alongside the Canal St-Martin, now reserved completely for bikes, metropolis busses, and taxis. Nearly each main road now has bike lanes, and with all the new cyclists, Paris is beginning to seem like Amsterdam or Copenhagen (with the bike lane bottlenecks at every intersection to go together with it). The pink lanes are “protected” from visitors with concrete limitations, whereas the blue lanes are shared with the vehicles (you’ll see bike symbols painted onto the road, however no dividers).

Paris Bike lane map
Click on to see the zoomable PDF

The map above is from the most recent official brochure from the Mairie de Paris (Metropolis Corridor), “Paris à Vélo – Le Bon Plan”, which you’ll be able to decide up on the Paris Tourism Workplace on the Hôtel de Ville (29 rue de Rivoli, 4th). It’s already outdated since nearly all the deliberate lanes “en projet” (underneath building) at the moment are completed, however a superb place to begin. There are many biking apps for Paris equivalent to GéoVélo (search for the “Aménagements cyclables” toggle for the bike lanes), however you may as well use Citymapper and even Google maps to search out the very best path to the place you need to go.

Extra Bike Lanes Each 12 months

To make it simpler for Franciliens (these residing in Paris and the Ile-de-France département) to bike to work as an alternative of taking public transport throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the regional transport authority created a collection of momentary bike lanes, particularly connecting town middle to the instant suburbs (they did this by blocking one lane of visitors with bodily limitations to maintain cyclists secure from vehicles and busses). That is what they regarded like:

temporary bike lane
Short term bike lane in Paris alongside the Rue St Jacques Latin Quarter

Since then, many of those have turn out to be everlasting (and look loads prettier now), and town has an formidable schedule for much more new lanes between now and 2026 (the tip of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s second time period).

Bike lane
New everlasting bike lanes on Boulevard St Michel

Right here’s a map of the everlasting bike lanes pre-2021 (solely the key streets with protected lanes are represented):

Pre 2021 bike lanes in Paris

Listed below are the present bike lanes with the everlasting addition of Coronapistes and different new bike lanes:

Current bike lanes

And here’s what Metropolis Corridor says Paris’ bike lanes will seem like by the tip of 2026 (they’re not fairly midway there but):

City Hall's 2026 bike lane plan

Secure Biking in Paris

With the loopy drivers, metropolis busses, tour busses, and daredevil scooters weaving by way of visitors, it was once scary to experience a motorcycle in Paris as a result of there weren’t many bike lanes and so they had been so hardly ever used that vehicles and supply vehicles took full benefit to dam them. Now that devoted bike lanes are everywhere in the metropolis, it may well really feel loads safer from vehicles, however there are extra cyclists — particularly first-time cyclists — than ever. As of penning this in January 2024, all of it nonetheless feels a bit chaotic as we get used to one another. Automobiles and busses and scooters nonetheless have to get used to in search of bikes earlier than they make proper turns. Cyclists nonetheless have to study to sign when turning, passing or stopping lifeless in entrance of a line of different cyclists. There are the electrical scooters which typically drive within the automobile lanes, typically within the bike lanes, and typically on the sidewalks. Maybe in a number of years we’ll all have fallen right into a routine that — like the way in which Parisians drive — seems to be scary from the surface however is sensible once you’re within the move (though my associates in Amsterdam say it’s extra possible everybody will simply get used to the chaos).

Cyclists at the Place de la Bastille
Cyclists on the Place de la Bastille

If You’re a New Bike owner or New to Paris

To compete with the Indy-racing vehicles and pedestrians chattering away obliviously on their cell telephones, fast reflexes and a little bit of angle go a good distance. Sunday morning is often the very best time to cycle across the capital when the few vehicles on the highway aren’t prone to be in a rush.

Know upfront the place you’re going or pull over to take a look at your telephone or map, don’t block the folks behind you by going sluggish and your telephone or squinting up at road indicators. At all times level to the place you’re going, look out for parked vehicles pulling out or opening doorways, and use the bike’s bell (together with a loud shout of “consideration!”) as a lot as doable. Assume each single different rider is not going to do any of these items and be able to hit the brakes at any second.

You don’t must put on a helmet and a fluorescent vest, however you most likely ought to. By no means, ever attempt to move busses or giant vehicles on the proper, since most threatening bike accidents in Paris occur when a bus or giant truck turns proper with out seeing the bicycle owner. In the event that they move you and begin to decelerate (particularly busses making a cease), move on the left or wait behind them. For those who’re in a motorcycle lane that’s shared with busses and get nervous when one is barreling down on you and unable to move (some drivers are jerks and tailgate cyclists), level to the curb and pull over till it passes so that you don’t get trapped within the gutters.

As a lot as you need to take a look at the beautiful Parisian surroundings, please solely do that at cease indicators otherwise you threat being simply distracted sufficient to experience right into a pothole. And for goodness’ sake, don’t you dare attempt doing an Instagram selfie whereas biking; Parisians would possibly run you over on function out of spite!

Two way bike lanes
The additional wide two way bike lanes that blue bike signal in your proper assures youre going the proper means

Paris Biking Guidelines

As talked about above, helmets truly aren’t required (except you’re underneath 12 years previous), however there are a number of stable guidelines you do must observe otherwise you threat getting fined:

bike signs
  • You could observe the principles of the highway, equivalent to stopping at pink lights and for pedestrians in crosswalks. There are particular triangle-shaped bike indicators at sure pink lights that permit cyclists — as soon as they’ve stopped and confirmed there are not any vehicles or pedestrians — to proceed straight or flip proper, relying on the arrow on the signal.
  • You’re not allowed to experience on the sidewalks (that is mildly tolerated on the actually huge sidewalks in areas with out too many pedestrians, however technically you could possibly be fined).
  • Earbuds and headphones of any sort should not allowed, even when they’re not “turned on”. The police can’t inform if the music is on or not, so any bicycle owner with one thing of their ears might be fined (it’s additionally only a actually dumb concept…you want 110% of your listening expertise to remain alive when biking in Paris). Use a mounted smartphone holder and activate the GPS voice instructions if wanted, however not with earbuds.
  • Lights on the back and front are required at evening, in addition to orange reflectors in your wheel spokes and pedals.
  • A regular bike bell is required, however horns and whistles should not allowed (and don’t overlook you’ll be able to at all times use your voice to shout if needed).

Bikes on Public Transportation

Bikes might be taken on Transilien trains and the RER, however not throughout rush hours (weekdays 6:30am-9:00am and 4:30pm-7:00pm). Usually you’re solely supposed to make use of solely the carriages marked with a bicycle image, however some RER trains don’t have the designated bike brand, so that you’ll simply must discover a house. Be aware: don’t depart your bike leaning in opposition to the other door, as a result of typically the opposite aspect opens at sure stations

Metro line 1 is open to cyclists on Sundays solely till 4:30pm (though you’ll be able to’t get your bike previous the turnstiles at La Défense or Louvre-Rivoli). Busses are fully off-limits to bicycles.

Automobile-Free Zones

For those who’re nonetheless afraid of the vehicles, head to the quays of the Seine, that are at all times car-free now. For scenic trails within the nice outside attempt the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes, the latter which might be reached by way of one of many nicest bike trails on the town know because the Promenade Plantée, on the finish of the Viaduc des Arts.

Automobile-Free Days

Or wait till Sunday for the car-free days referred to as the Paris Respire (Paris Breathes) mission. Sure sectors of Paris are closed off to vehicles each Sunday from roughly 10am-6pm, such because the Butte de Montmartre, Rue Mouffetard, the Marais district, the Sentier district, round Rue de la Roquette, La Villette, Rue des Martyrs, Place d’Aligre, Rue Daguerre, and sections of Bois de Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne. Then some sectors are solely closed to visitors on the primary Sunday of the month, such because the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and the whole 1st-4th arrondissements. Lastly, there are sectors closed off to automobile visitors simply in “summer season” (which appears to be completely different for every space) such because the Butte-aux-Cailles and round Luxembourg Gardens. There are additionally streets designated as “Zones de Rencontre” the place pedestrians at all times have the proper of means and the velocity restrict is 20kph, such because the maze of small streets between the Seine and Boulevard St-Germain. Try the Paris Réspire web site and map to get the total particulars.

PAris Respire map
Click on for Zoomable Map

The place to Park Your Bike

Paris is slowly catching up with the demand for bike parking areas the place you’ll be able to safely lock up and depart your bike, however there are nonetheless instances once you’ll see nothing for blocks. Parisians lock their bikes to something that gained’t transfer, from timber and road indicators to wrought iron fences and pedestrian limitations. This isn’t an ideal long-term technique, so in case you’re going to be gone for quite a lot of hours and don’t need to threat municipal road cleaners eradicating your bike, then make an effort to discover a spot out of the way in which (ie not blocking pedestrians or vehicles or road cleaners or market stalls).

Free Road Parking

For normal road parking areas for bikes, you should use this interactive “Stationnement Deux Roues” map (gentle blue for bike parking, darkish blue for scooter parking, some have each). Cargo bikes can park in common road automobile parking spots at no cost. That is superb for short-term parking, however is at all times dangerous as a long-term resolution, particularly since vandals and thieves at all times goal bikes parked on the road.

Road parking free however crowded

Secured Bike Parking Choices

  • In underground parking garages run by Indigo or Saemes (often €10/month or €60-€75/12 months). Test this map for the stations closest to you (be affected person, it masses sluggish). The web site 12p5.com additionally lists non-public and safe parking areas for bikes and scooters in underground parking garages by the month or 12 months.
  • The “abris vélo” seem like massive aluminum containers taking on two road parking locations that previous six bikes (€75/12 months). They’re nearly at all times full, however areas constantly open, so signal as much as get on the waitlist on the official Abris Sécurisés web site.
  • Vélostations are open-air, fenced-in bike parking close to practice stations with 198 spots (together with 5 spots for cargo bikes), accessible with a badge (€75/12 months). They’ve shops to cost electrical bikes and even lockers to retailer your battery. Thus far solely the one on the Gare de Lyon is open, you’ll be able to join one month, three months, or one 12 months by way of the Saemes web site (or immediately at their Méditerannée parking storage).

Bike Theft Precautions

Bikes have a means of disappearing shortly in Paris, even in case you assume it isn’t “price something”. At all times, at all times, at all times lock your bike with the very best lock (or locks) out there. For those who’re leaving it on the road in a single day take away any equipment that may be simply stolen. Safe the entrance wheel and body, and take your battery with you if it’s an electrical bike. Think about getting a Bicycode engraved in your bike body on the Maison du Vélo (37 boulevard Bourdon, 4th). This registers your bike on the (non-public) nationwide database so authorities can assist return stolen bikes to their rightful house owners. It’s additionally helpful in case your bike will get faraway from an unlawful parking house by municipal authorities to allow them to inform you.

Bike Leases & Excursions

There are a number of choices for renting bikes in Paris, relying on whether or not you’re a resident or a customer. For those who’re staying in a lodge, do verify to see if they’ve their very own bikes out there for rental (or if they will prepare it for you). In any other case there are three rental choices: bike share subscription, short-term rental, or long-term rental.

Bike Share Methods

Vélib
Vélib is Paris’ municipal bike-share system. There are millions of common bikes and electrical bikes out there in docking stations everywhere in the metropolis and instant suburbs. Residents can get cheap month-to-month and annual subscriptions (together with pay as you go from €1 per use). Guests can use a bank card to subscribe on-line for a single experience, a 24-hour move, or a 3-day move from €3-€20 masking limitless use of the bikes in 30-minute increments (or 45 minutes for the e-bikes). Make sure to return the bike and decide up one other if you wish to proceed using. It’s not apparent the way it works, so here’s a detailed article I wrote with suggestions for getting your Vélib. Be aware that in case you’re a US financial institution cardholder it’ll possible block a €300 deposit which you’ll get again after your subscription ends (assuming you returned all the bikes you used).

velib bikes
Velib bikes on the Gare dAusterlitz

Free-Floating Bike Share
There have been a number of free-floating bike-share corporations which have come and gone over the previous few years. A number of the present ones are the inexperienced Lime bikes, the pink/blue Dott bikes, and the turquoise Tier bikes. They have an inclination to “disappear” as a result of they are often parked and picked up wherever. They often are pay-as-you-go from an app you might want to obtain in your smartphone, so there’s no dedication.

Lime bikes
Lime bikes squatting a motorcycle rack in Paris

Quick Time period Bike Leases & Excursions

Guests can lease bikes by the hour, half-day, full-day and typically even every week. Leases often require a photograph ID and safety deposit. Make certain you additionally lease a lock in case you need to cease someplace. Bikes “get lost” in a short time in massive cities!

Peloton Cafe
Le Peloton Café

Bike About Excursions
Le Peloton Café
17, Rue du Pont Louis Philippe
, 4th
M° Pont Marie
Tel 0618 80 84 92 

That is one in every of my favourite bike tour corporations in Paris
. Expats Christian (from the US) and Paul (from New Zealand) began the corporate in 2005. You’ll be able to take one in every of their non-public or small group bike excursions of Paris, Versailles, or the Champagne area. You too can lease a motorcycle to zoom round by yourself by the day or half-day. Their headquarters (and assembly place for the bike excursions) is on the Peloton Café, an ideal place to cease for a espresso and do-it-yourself cake even in case you’re not taking a tour (learn my article about it right here).

Fats Tire Excursions
24 Rue Edgar Faure, fifteenth
M° Dupleix
Tel 01 56 58 10 54

Run by a younger household of native Texans, this pleasant bike tour firm conducts evening and day bike excursions of Paris. Additionally they lease out bikes for all ages, well-equipped with baby seats, helmets, trailers and rain gear. Open every day.

Gepetto & Vélos
59 rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 5th
M° Cardinal Lemoine
Tel 01 43 37 16 17

Rents, sells and repairs all sorts of bicycles and equipment, together with helmets (I bought mine right here). Closed Sunday and Monday.

Heather in bike helmet
My new bike helmet from Gepettos

Atélier Vélo Solidaire – AICV
38 Quai Marne nineteenth
M° Ourcq
Tel 01 43 43 40 74

This non-profit neighborhood affiliation recovers and repairs bicycles, then rents them out at a really cheap fee (“location”). Additionally they promote reconditioned bikes for teenagers and adults each Sunday morning from 9:30am (or Saturday afternoon in winter). Metropolis cruisers, mountain bikes, and tandems out there for all ages, and consists of lock and bungees. No eBikes as of January 2024, however presumably subsequent season. Proper by the Parc de la Villette on the Canal St-Martin. Open Tues-Sat in winter (Nov-March), and Wed-Solar April-October: 9:30am-12:30pm and 1:30pm-5pm. Additionally try their FB web page.

SoliCycle Rives de Seine
Voie Georges Pompidou (Underneath the Pont d’Arcole, 4th)
M° Hôtel de Ville or Cité

Tel 06 66 52 76 55 (Olivier)
A non-profit bike recyclerie proper on the Berges du Seine that repairs, sells, and rents bikes. Additionally they have workshops the place you’ll be able to discover ways to restore your individual bike. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10:30am-1pm and 2pm-6:30pm (verify for vacation hours on their web site). There are two different places in Paris within the 14th and 18th arrondissements (and a number of other extra within the suburbs).

SoliCycle
SoliCycle Rives de Seine

French Mystique Bike Excursions
That is by far the easiest way to expertise the Parisian countryside with none problem. Simply contact Bruce and he’ll handle every thing. Bruce moved to France from Boston in 2008 and spent his free time exploring the little cities, villages, and countryside exterior Paris with nothing however a Michelin map and his bike. He began French Mystique Bike excursions to share his favourite routes with guests (and Parisians) trying to escape town. Learn my article about my very own expertise on his excursions “Bike Excursions of the Parisian Countryside”. You’ll be able to see the most recent information on their FB web page.

Biking in French village
French Mystique Bike Excursions

Paris Rando Vélo [suspended until further notice]
Be a part of the free Friday evening bike excursions of town (separate from the well-known Friday Night time Fever Skate). Meet at 9:30pm (the experience begins at 10pm sharp) on the Hôtel de Ville (4th). It goes in a round scenic route round Paris, returning to the beginning at about 1am. Additionally they meet the third Sunday of the month in the identical place at 10:30am. Be aware that children underneath 12 are required to put on helmets. The experience is canceled in case of rain. The final official experience was in December 2022, with some riders nonetheless assembly informally all through 2023; verify again for any updates on their web site: http://www.parisrandovelo.fr/

Lengthy-Time period Bike Rental

Sick of at all times in search of a Vélib that isn’t damaged? For those who’d prefer to lease a motorcycle of your individual for at the least one month, there are a number of choices:

Swapfiets
The Dutch bike rental firm well-known for his or her blue entrance wheel opened their Paris store in September 2020. They provide single-speed or 7-speed Dutch bikes from €14/month, and eBikes from €55/month. There’s no minimal subscription (though there’s a €30 sign-up charge for any leases lower than 6-months, and the long-term leases are cheaper). The good factor is that the subscription consists of repairs or alternative in case your bike is stolen inside 48 hours (the bike comes with a double-locking system). I’ve been utilizing their Deluxe-7 bike, and discover it actually gentle and enjoyable to experience round Paris.

Swapfiets bike shop
Swapfiets store in Paris

Décathlon
“DRent” is the brand new month-to-month rental service from the huge sporting items chain retailer Décathlon out there in Paris and Lyon (three month minimal). They’ve 4 bike choices: single velocity Dutch bike (€15/month), 7-speed Dutch bike (€35/month), folding electrical bike (€65/month) and common electrical bike (€95/month). The bikes include a basket, bike rack, locks, and lights. Like Swapfiets, they embrace insurance coverage for repairs or alternative in case of theft. You want proof of tackle (like an electrical invoice) to lease, and there’s a €15 sign-up charge. NOTE: you’ll want to enroll by way of the native store, so search for the one in Paris closest to you and go in particular person.

Véligo
Véligo are electrical bikes that you could lease for a most of 9 months at €40/month (bigger cargo bikes for households from €80/month). That features upkeep and locks. They’re run by the Ile-de-France Regional Transport Authority to encourage Franciliens to attempt electrical bikes earlier than shopping for one. You’ll be able to pay somewhat additional for a helmet, baby seat or bike rack. To lease, you’ll want proof of residency within the Ile de France (and often your employer will cowl 50% of the rental value).

Different Lengthy-Time period Bike Rental Corporations
A number of the most up-to-date newcomers are Crimson Will, who supply deluxe electrical bikes from €75/month (household bikes for €135), and Motto, which affords 4 completely different electrical bike fashions beginning at €69/month. They’ll each be canceled anytime, so it might be price testing each and preserving the one you want finest.

Extra Biking in Paris Sources

The Paris Tourism Workplace (29 rue de Rivoli, 4th) has free maps of the bike lanes. Their web site affords some recommended scenic routes for guests and biking suggestions: https://en.parisinfo.com/what-to-see-in-paris/data/guides/paris-cycling-exploring

La Maison du Vélo (37 Boulevard Bourdon, 4th) is a good place for details about biking in Paris, the place to get your bike mounted, get the electrical bike subsidy grant, and so they additionally will engrave your body with an offical Bicycode monitoring quantity. Additionally they host workshops on bike restore, classes for newbies, used bike gross sales, and bike excursions (they run the free Saturday morning bike by way of the Bois de Vincennes from 9:30am in entrance of the boutique (however the Maison is just open Tues-Fri 1:30-5pm).

The Fédération française des Usagers de la Bicyclette (FUB), is the French Federation of Bicycle Customers, a non-profit affiliation that lobbies for the every day issues of cyclists and promote the usage of the bicycle as a every day mode of journey, by way of the networking of native associations, session with public authorities, and common public communication campaigns. All in French, however price following in case you’re a daily bicycle owner in France.

For multi-day bike journeys to or from Paris, try Vélo & Territoires, which has free step-by-step itineraries for La Seine à Vélo (aka “Le V33”) following the Seine by bike from Paris to Le Havre or Honfleur by way of Rouen, and La Véloscénie (“Le V40”) from Paris to the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel by way of Chartres and Normandy.

Biking Vocabulary

Vélo bicycle

Vélo tout-terrain (VTT) mountain bike

Vélo tout-chemin (VTC) hybrid bike

Vélo de ville metropolis cruiser bicycle

Casque helmet

Anti-vol anti-theft lock

Panier basket

Piste cyclable bike lane

Location/louer rental/to lease

Movies for Resident Riders in Paris

For those who stay in Paris and cycle commonly (or need to begin), don’t miss the wonderful movies by the native biking crusader, Altis Play. He’s turn out to be an skilled on correct city planning to advertise biking in Paris (in addition to on foot and public transport), specializing in security, by educating everybody — together with drivers and cyclists and metropolis officers who design the streets and bike lanes — on the place we will do higher. A few of his movies present him difficult drivers (coming at him down the bike lane!), declaring harmful intersections, and usually advocating for everybody to be thoughtful of one another so we will all get to the place we’re going in a single piece. Right here’s an instance (this one is primarily “instructional”):

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