Want to explore Paris without having to deal with crowded buses and metros? Walking and public transit isn’t your only option these days. The “City of Romance” offers a pick up, drop off bike venture that is sure to please. It’s easy to use and so much fun!
Look for the large bicycle racks bursting with shiny brown street bikes every few blocks. Once you find one put your credit card into the attached machine. The card will unlock the bike of your choosing then take the bike out of the rack and you are good to go. When you’re finished, drop it off at any of the 1,800 locations found throughout the city. It’s as easy as that.
Pick up a Velib’
The Velib’ Bike System turned out to be a saving grace for us one night when the metro shut down earlier than expected. We were stranded a few miles away from our hotel. Taxis were hard to find that late at night and we were dreading the trek back. After walking all day our feet were rebelling against all the abuse too! Just outside the metro station where we were abandoned, we noticed the Velib’ bike rack. Curious, we walked up to the large machine at the far end of the rack. Reading the information, we were happily surprised to find that these bikes were free to use for the first half hour!
Not only did we get back to the hotel in record time, we actually had a good time pedaling the near-empty streets of Paris at midnight. It was peaceful and beautiful with the lights shining along the currents of the Seine River.
We also found that there is life after midnight, as a fun-loving group of over 100 roller skaters came racing up from behind us. Young and old alike were enjoying the refreshingly quiet streets of the city.
As overcrowding was becoming a serious problem, the city took matters into their own hands and created the Velib’ bike system. This project helped Parisians get around quicker without having to tackle the Metro and city buses. It was also found to help ease the heavy congestion problem with cars on the street.
Attractive as well as useful, these bikes come complete with locks, lights, an adjustable seat, and even a front basket for your groceries. The plan is to have a stand approximately every 900 feet throughout Paris with a grand total of 20,600 bikes.
How do you pay for the bike?
You will need a credit card to take a bike and will be charged 200 Euro if the bike is not returned within 24 hours. Insert your card into the large vending machine and pick your language. You will be prompted how to process the machine, then when finished, you have 60 seconds to release your bike.
After the first half hour which is generally enough time to get to your destination, then one Euro for each additional half hour. If use is longer the price could go up as high as four Euros per half hour. The higher rate is to ensure there will always be an ample supply of bikes to keep in rotation. A better idea for those who want to use the bike for longer periods of time is to get a day pass for 1,70 €. You can also get a seven-day pass for 8,00 €. Locals can get a yearly pass as low as 19€. All passes can be purchased on Velib’s website.