Vélib' Métropole Bike Rentals
The city's reminted Vélib' Métropole bike-sharing program offers nearly 15,000 "hop on, drop off" mechanical bicycles and e-bikes at rockbottom rates.
Paris was one of the first major cities to jump aboard the bike-sharing bandwagon, and its Vélib' program (now called Vélib' Metropole) has become a part of everyday life for many Parisians since it was introduced in 2007.
Today, Vélib' Métropole has approximately 15,000 bicycles at more than 1,800 stations, none more than 300 meters apart.
The program has had its glitches and growing pains over the years. However, it has almost 200,000 subscribers, and new technologies such as e-bikes and phone apps continue to make Vélib' attractive to locals and visitors alike.
How it works:
For short visits, you have two options: A one-day "V-Découverte" pass or a seven-day "V-Séjour" pass. You can use the card to borrow up to five bikes at one time, which means you'll need only one pass for a family or small group.
Every Vélib' Métropole station has a pedestal with a multilingual screen and keyboard for transactions, but you can use a free phone app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store if you prefer. (Among other things, the app makes it easy to find the nearest Vélib' station.)
You can pick up a green mechanical bike or a blue e-bike at any Vélib' station and return it at any other.
The first 30 minutes of use are free for mechanical bikes, with a tiny fee for electric bikes. You'll also pay a small amount for longer rides.
Once you've purchased your card, borrowing a bike at a Vélib' station is easy:
For subsequent trips, you can skip the validation process and simply do this:
For more information about the Vélib' program in English, visit the multilingual Vélib' Métropole Web site.
is a professional travel writer, book author, and editor who focuses on European cities and transportation.
After 4-1/2 years of covering European travel topics for About.com, Durant and Cheryl Imboden co-founded Europe for Visitors (including Paris for Visitors) in 2001. The site has earned "Best of the Web" honors from Forbes and The Washington Post.