Paris - Home Main Index Hotels Transportation Top 11 Tourist Mistakes

Vélib' Bike Rentals

Paris isn't usually known as a city of bicycles--or bicyclists--but Mayor Bertrand Delanoe is trying to change that perception. The Paris Mairie (City Hall) operates a Vélib' bike-rental program with thousands of three-speed unisex bikes at hundreds of stations or "service points" around the city. You'll pay €1,70 for a day ticket or €8 for a seven-day ticket, which lets you take an unlimited number of 30-minute journeys. Trips longer than 30 minutes incur small additional "usage charges."

Velib bicycles for hire

ABOVE: Vélib' bicycles for hire.

You can pick up a bike at any Vélib' station and return it at any other. Just to make sure you that don't keep it, you'll be required to supply credit-card information before taking a bike, and the bike will sound an alarm if you try to haul it back to Huddersfield or Hackensack.

photoAre you staying in Paris for a couple of months or longer? You can buy an annual Vélib' pass for €29 (30 free minutes per trip) or €39 (45 free minutes per trip).

Non-francophones needn't worry: In addition to a multilingual Web site (see link below), Vélib' has instructions in eight languages at the bike stations.


  • If you have a foreign credit card without an embedded microchip, it probably won't work in the Vélib' rental machines. Fortunately, there's an easy workaround: You can buy a 1- or 7-day Vélib' ticket on the Web.

  • Vélib' bikes are popular, and occasionally you'll find that all bicycles are rented. Less commonly, you may go to return a bike and find that all the available slots are occupied. (If this happens, try another station; they're scattered across the city and are usually no more than 300 meters apart.)

For more information about the Vélib' program in English, visit en.velib.paris.fr.

Also see the MP4 video excerpt from e˛, an environmental series from PBS.org, which shows Vélib' bikes in action and describes the program's planning and success. And finally, read this New York Times article about problems with vandalism that are threatening the system's viability.

"Best of the Web"
- Forbes and The Washington Post

Booking.com button

Guaranteed lowest rates from
Europe's No. 1 booking service:

arrow  Romantic/honeymoon hotels

arrow  Design hotels

arrow  CDG airport hotels

arrow  All Paris hotels


Staying a few days or longer?
Live like a local and save:

arrow  Paris vacation apartments


Arriving and getting around:

(c) iStockphoto/Imre Cicajlo

Airport transfers and sightseeing:

arrow  Paris airport shuttles

arrow  Paris Pass

arrow  All Paris tours and activities

Viator logo

Photo (c) iStockphoto.com/Arosoft

Need a car in Europe?

If you live outside the EU, a tax-free tourist car lease can be much cheaper than renting for visits of 21+ days--especially if you start or end your trip in France.

Minimum driver age is 18, there' s no upper age limit, and rates include insurance. To compare vehicles and rates, see:

arrow  Renault Eurodrive

For smartphone users: