Rent a Bike in Paris: How Does it Work?

Ezgi P aktualisiert am February 6, 2022
velib bike in Paris in France

The  Municipality of Paris created a genious system for bicycle sharing (The Vélib). Using a bike is among the most entertaining and environmentalist way of discovering Paris. 

You will get to know about how this system works, what kind of bicycles you can find and many other usefull information about the Vélib.

What is Vélib?

Vélib is derived from two words as Vélo (bike) and Libérté (freedom). 

Vélibs are the bikes that anyone can rent for an hour or a day. There are over 18 thousand bicycles and around 1200 registered stations in the system.

It is up to you for how long you'll rent the bike. There are about 1000 "vélib' stations" in Paris. The system is extemely easy as you don't even have to leave your bike back to the station you rented it from. You can just go and leave it at any station you would like. There is a docking point every 300 meters in Paris.

It is one of the most ideal means of transportation for a city with an environmental planning like Paris. Almost all roads in Paris have a separate bicycle paths. It is often more economical and time saving way to get somewhere when compared to subways or buses in a city like Paris. Of course this is valid assuming that you're not heading difficult hills such as Sacré Coéur... 

Rather than taking Vélib as a daily bike rental service, better to consider it as a means of transportation as an alternative to subway, RER, bus and tram. If you want to cycle around the city all day, the Vélib might not be what you're looking for exactly.

With a subscription, bike rental is free for the first half hour of each individual ride; an unlimited number of these free rides can be made per day. If you use the bikes for less than 30 minutes, you will not be charged above the flat rate, but if you cycle for longer journeys, you will be charged an additional fee. Your payment will be automatically credited back to your account.

You can find the current rates from the official website of Vélib.

Vélib Electric Bikes

The blue color electric bikes make up 35% of the Vélib. It runs slowest at level 1 when first started. Then you can increase the speed with 2 and 3 on the keypad.

What  Should I Know About Vélib?

  • On the road: Always use the bikes on the designated roads. Cycling on the pavement is prohibited. You can only use the bus route when there is no bicycle path.
  • Parking: When you seat the bike properly, the green light should turn on. It means that you have parked correctly. After leaving your bike, it is recommended to enter the code on your card at the kiosk and see the text "the bike has been left in place"to make sure.
  • Docking Points: Click here to find the nearest docking point!

How to rent Vélib

You should use a credit card from any velib station. A provision is taken from your card as a deposit. This is not the fee though. Deposit ensures the guarantee if anyone does not return the bike, or if there is a damage, etc... Then you will set a password for the system. Keep your password in mind! You can code the number on this plug at any station and get one of the available bikes with your password. To get the bike, you first press the button where it is locked, then you pull it back.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

When is the best time to use Vélib?

You might want to avoid using Velib during the morning hours and late afternoon hours (roughly 7-10 and 5-7:30 p.m.) on weekdays as most of the bikes will likely be picked up. Weekends are better for sightseeing in the early morning and later in the evening. It can be difficult to find a bike during peak daylight hours.

Can ı register Vélib online?

It is possible to make your payment online and get your password before you come to Paris. This way, all you have to do is to enter your password directly and you get your bike without dealing with the registration process at the vending machine.

Can ı rent Vélib for a day or a week?

It is possible to rent a bike  with 1&7 day passes for occassional users.

How can ı find the nearest available bike or dock station?

You can download the application from the Apple Store or Play Store for Vélib to find out the nearest available bike or docking place.

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