What we love…
- Seeing Paris by bike is an awesome and cost efficient way to see the city—plus it's pretty fun.
- Tourists can rent the bikes either daily or weekly for a small fee—€1.70 for a day and €8 for the week. Don't get confused though, this is the user fee that allows you to use the service, the hourly rate is something completely separate that we've explained below.
- The first 30 minutes of each ride is free so you can, in theory, exchange your bike at a station every 30 minutes and never pay the hourly rate. Stations are placed every few hundred meters so it is possible. If you happen to keep your bike longer than the first 30 minutes the rate goes up quite a bit for each half hour you keep it. €1 for the second 30 minutes, €2 for the third, €4 for each half hour after that, so obviously, it's better to use these for short trips, returning the bikes within the first 30 minutes.
- The best thing about the service is that it runs 24/7 and a late night or (early morning) bike ride through the city is an amazing way to see the sights before the streets get crowded.
- Check your bike before you leave thoroughly to ensure there is no damage (no flat tires, gears that work, frame isn't bent, etc…), this will reduce frustration later—trust us.
- Make sure you dock your bike properly when you return it, which means you dock it back inside the rack, wait for the orange light to turn green and you hear it beep twice. If you don't dock it properly you run the risk of someone else using that bike on your dime. You can print a receipt as well to ensure you have locked it right.
- If you're a tourist you'll need to sign up with a credit card, which must have a chip in order to work in the Vélib machines. If you don't return the bike your card will be charged €150, so just make sure you return it properly.