How to Use the Vélib’ Bike System in Paris

How to Use the Vélib’ Bike System in Paris

So, you’ve arrived in Paris, but you still haven’t decided which mode of transportation is the best to enjoy the French capital. We’re here to help! Have you ever wondered how to use the Vélib’ bike system in Paris?

In Paris, you’ll have three options for getting around the city. However, for us, the choice is easy:

  • Do you want to pile into a smelly and overcrowded metro car and admire dark tunnels and station corridors? 
  • Do you want to sit in the back of a taxi and deal with a moody and chatty driver? 
  • Or, do you want to enjoy Paris’ sites while riding a bike, save the planet and do a bit of exercise? 

Wait…that last one actually sounds like a good idea! Biking is our favorite way to get around Paris, and if you stick with us we’re sure you’ll agree. While we love the metro system here, it’s so easy to go underground and blindly follow routes that you probably don’t even know you’re taking. On a bike, you’ll be above ground and able to soak in all of the beauty that is Paris! You’ll also save some cash if you choose biking over taxis or Ubers. 

Over the past few years Paris has put a lot of effort into making the city more bike-friendly. New cycling lanes, paths and routes have been put in to make things easier and safer for those who want to see the city by bike. There are some especially beautiful routes that follow the Seine River, which is the body of water that splits Paris in half. Landmarks and monuments such as the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame and more line the river, making it an excellent area to see all of the important sites. 

Vélib’ has been around since 2007 and has since joined the ranks amongst several other cities around the world that also have bike sharing systems. Today, Paris boasts 1 bike for every 97 Parisian. Cities like New York, London and Amsterdam also have similar systems for people who want to get around in an efficient, enjoyable and eco-friendly way. 

To choose Vélib is to choose France… sound weird? Not really, and here’s why: Vélib’ is the perfect example of our national motto: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. Let us explain:

  1. Liberté: (Liberty) You’re free to choose which station you want to pick up and drop off your bike, meaning that you can change your route at any point in time and be as spontaneous as you’d like!
  2. Égalité: (Equality) The price is the same for everyone, whether it’s the first time you’ve been to Paris, or you know the city like the palm of your hand.
  3. Fraternité: (Brotherhood) If your bike is damaged in transit, turn the seat so that others know that it’s broken and the mechanics can fix it when they stop by. Look out for your fellow bike-riders!

So, how to use the Vélib bike system in Paris? You can buy your Vélib pass on the website, where you can choose how many passes you are interested in and how many days you want to use them for. Once purchased, you will receive an 8-digit code and a 4-digit password; these are necessary for every bike pick up.

Here are some details and helpful tips to make your Parisian biking experience easy and fun:

  • The one day pass costs 5€, the seven days pass costs 15€.
  • The first half hour of every rental period is free, then you will be charged 1€ per every extra half hour if you decide to keep the bike longer.
  • You can choose between electric bikes (blue) and mechanic ones (green). If you choose the electric bikes, the first half hour is also free but the extra half hours will cost 2€ each.
  • When you want to rent a bike just enter the code and password, wait for the message ”GO” on the screen and pull out your bike.
  • To drop off your bike, put your bike wheel straight on the track, then smoothly push the bike in the station and wait for the message “STOP” to appear on the screen. (if you see any other message, just move the bike’s handlebar for a few seconds and wait, keep doing it until the STOP message appears).

Now that you have all of this valuable information, the choice is yours! But, trust us on this one: Vélib’ is the best way to see Paris. You’ll see the city’s secret spots, reach the iconic landmarks faster, and have more flexibility in case of public transportation strikes (like the infamous yellow vests). Do yourselves a favor and hop on a vélo, you’ll be glad you did.

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