Cycling in Paris?

We’re off to France in a few days and before the serious cycling portion of trip starts we have a few days in Paris. I’ve read mixed reviews of cycling in Paris, and was wondering if anybody had any input? We’d be using the velib bikes.

Cycling in Paris has improved quite a bit, especially in the last couple of years, and Paris is very bikeable. Cars and pedestrians are much more aware of cyclists than they were a few years ago, but it helps to remember that in France, priority goes to the driver/rider on the right.

I keep my own bike in Paris but my wife uses Velib every day. The Velib are handy but heavy, and often there are little annoying things about them, so check them before renting one. In order to sign up for one, you might need a credit card with a chip.

You ever see the Claude Lelouch short film “C’etait un rendezvous” about a highspeed drive from the Porte Dauphine, past the Arc de Triomphe, down the Champs Elysees, through the Louvre, past the Opera, then up Montmatre to Sacre Coeur? I used to replicate that ride on my bike.


I rode from Gare du Nord to a place called Trappes, west of Paris. It was a pretty great experience. Traffic wasn’t terrible, though it was August so a lot of people were on holiday. I basically went south from Gare du Nord and followed the Seine, then went through Parc de Saint-Cloud, then through Versailles. There was a fair amount of bike lanes as well as shared bike/pedestrian paths. Traffic seemed light and polite compared to urban riding I’ve done in Chicago and Toronto.