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Bike Tours in Paris: Info and Logistics

Updated on August 6, 2014

Touring Paris by bike is one of the best ways to see the city. You can explore the city while having the freedom to stop to investigate more. Find out more about Paris bike tour logistics and precautions.

Touring the City

Bike tour group at the Eiffel Tower
Bike tour group at the Eiffel Tower

My Bike Tour Experience

My husband and I took a bike tour with about twenty other people that started about 7pm. There were two guides who took us through the heart of the city. We saw most of the major monuments and landmarks.

Along the way we stopped for ice cream and sat overlooking the river eating it while listening as a saxophone player serenaded us with cool jazz. We parked our bikes for about an hour and took a ride on a boat down the Seine. At the end of the ride, we reclaimed our bikes and concluded the four hour tour back at the tour company’s office.

During the summer, it stays light outside until about 10 or 11pm. So our tour started off in daylight. It grew dusky as we ate our ice cream. And it turned dark as we were on the boat. It was quite a romantic way to watch the sun begin its rest for the night.

The Logistics of Biking in Paris

The whole city of Paris is only about six miles across, an easy distance to travel by bike if you are in fair health. Conveniently, most of the hot spots for sightseeing are located close to each other. It is not difficult to ride to Notre Dame, pass by the Louvre, flit over to the Arc de Triomphe, and then swing by the Eiffel Tower.

If you are visiting the city, there are many ways to arrange a tour by bike.

  • There are companies that offer guided bicycle tours for either groups or individuals at very reasonable prices. These tours vary in length from a couple of hours to all day. Some even include package deals such as a bike tour and a boat trip down the Seine.
  • If you are more adventurous and want to explore on your own, bicycles can be rented by the hour or by the day.
  • The city has self-service kiosks to rent bikes. These stations are called Vélib’ (the French word for bicycle is vélo) and are open 24 hours a day. There are terminals where you can purchase 1-day or 7-day tickets to rent the bike. Vélib’ also offers annual subscriptions if you plan to be in the city for an extended period. Unfortunately, this can get costly if you plan to be out for more than a few hours. The city also requires a 150 euros deposit by credit card preauthorization to rent the bike which is deducted if the bike is not returned.
  • There are also many private companies that rent bicycles by the day. These usually go for 10€ to 15€ per day. See the links below to find bike rental shops in Paris.

Bike Tour

My husband posing with his bike
My husband posing with his bike

Touring the City

Bridge over the Seine
Bridge over the Seine

Sightsee without Hindrance with a Bike Tour of the City

Spinning down the streets with the wind whipping in my hair as I soaked in a new perspective of the city, I realized that I had never experienced Paris in a less inhibited way than when on a bicycle.

Riding on the Metro affords only brief glimpses of anything other than the darkened tunnels. In buses and cars, while all is visible, the glass acts as a barrier distancing the passengers from the feel of the city. Walking you see all but miss the exhilaration of flying along with building after ornate building floating past with a single breath.

Pedaling a bike down the street, though, the rhythm of Paris pulsing beneath the tires is almost palpable. The sounds swirl around and fill the ears in a way that would otherwise be muted by the whir of the motor. Heavenly smells waft from the bakeries and cafés and meet your nostrils as your bike rustles the air around them.

On a bicycle, all the senses are awakened to feel Paris and its timeless enchantment. As the blood begins flowing faster through the veins from the exercise of working the pedals, it is easy to imagine that some of the city’s magic is coursing through the veins as well. Seeing Paris by bike is like discovering the city for the very first time.

Video about Bike Tours of Paris

Notre Dame
Notre Dame

Precautions for Biking in Paris

  • If you go exploring on your own, make sure to have a map of the city with you. These can be purchased or picked up at most hotels, some Metro stations, and at tourist information centers. There are parts of the city that can be dangerous. Make sure you know where those spots are and avoid them or be cautious if you are nearby.
  • Obey the traffic laws and watch out for other bikers, vehicles, and pedestrians.
  • Make sure your bike is sturdy, the tires are properly inflated, and that the chain, brakes, and gears are in good working condition.
  • If you are prone to losing your way, you might want to go with a guided tour rather than branching out and exploring on your own. Being lost in a strange and immense city can be a frightening experience.
  • If you do a tour later in the evening, make sure you have a way back to your hotel. My husband and I went on a tour that ended about 11 pm. By the time we dropped off the bike and made it back to the nearest Metro station, the trains had already stopped running. Avoid having to scramble to get a taxi like we did.
  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can happen quicker than you think.
  • Don’t get too caught up in the thrill and forget to control your bike. Remember – you can always stop and take pictures!

Moving along through the traffic with freedom and ease, experiencing the best that Paris has to offer, you’ll be glad to be perched atop a bicycle spinning along the city streets…

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The Most Famous Landmark in Paris

The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower

Map of Paris


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