I’ve been biking Paris for a few years now, but this year I made the decision to pack up the Falling Off Bicycles bike (#fob_bicycle💚🚲) and bring it to Paris with me. I have big ideas for it here in France, and I wanted to have it here to change the way I, myself, get around the city. For my health, for the environment, and for my business, I knew I wanted it here to experience this city in a deeper way. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll be seeing a lot of it coming up now that it’s put back together and back on the road in its new home. 🇫🇷
Below, I’m sharing 14 reasons to cycle in Paris next time you visit. I promise it will be worth it.
1. See Paris differently
Paris is the most enchanting city in the world. It’s a feast for the eyes and every corner of it solicits your full attention. I would never suggest that wandering Paris isn’t one of the most thrilling and even therapeutic things to do in all of travel, but cycling will take you down side streets that you would never otherwise take. It will open your eyes to the people you dodge who cross in front of you. It will help you engage with real Parisians. Cycling through Paris is more than just sightseeing; it’s an experience. You will gain an understanding of how the city grew outward and how it is laid out. Cycling in Paris is the promise of seeing the city anew.
2. Fastest mode of transportation in Paris (walking, car, métro)
Did you know that the fastest way to get around Paris is by bike? It’s a fact. Cars and buses are subject to traffic jams and other delays and the métro can have a coupure de courant (loss of power), too many people per train necessitating further waits, and a variety of other delays. Biking will get you to your destination the fastest. 🚲
True, now you can take an electric scooter, but biking is so much cooler and better for you. 🛴
3. Learn street names
If you have a bit of knowledge of the French language, you may have noticed there are some funny street names in Paris: rue du Chat-qui-Pêche, Passage d’Enfer, rue des Mauvais-Garçons, and rue des Boulets to name a few. Because Parisian streets aren’t very long, that means there must be hundreds of street names in Paris alone. Familiarizing yourself with them as you navigate the city is a fun pastime and a peek into history.
4. No waiting for cars or metros
Oh la la, how much time have we lost over the years waiting for a lost Uber driver or a delayed metro train? Avoid all those inconveniences – and potential delays – by sticking to two wheels.
5. There are Vélib’ stations everywhere
Since 2007 with the introduction of Paris’s bike sharing service known as Vélib’, cycling in Paris is super easy. There are Vélib’ stations every few blocks in Paris now and that is great news for those who want to cycle from time to time but not for every outing during their time here. And the first 30 minutes are free! Read all about Vélib’ here.
6. Save yourself from getting stuck by grèves
It’s a well-known fact that the French love a good protest. If you travel here often, you have most likely been affected by one at some point. They can be a massive headache for tourists who depend on the public transportation system to get around the city. You lose money and time when you have to take taxis everywhere during a strike. With a bike, you’re free as a bird.
7. Tire out the kids
For those traveling with kids, biking is a great way to entertain and tire them out. 😉 You’ll evoke curiosity from them as you navigate the city together while keeping the persistent question of “what are we doing next?” from coming up each time a brief moment of boredom hits.
8. Embracing the unknown
This is a big one with biking in general, but it’s particularly enchanting in Paris. Even if you plug your destination into your phone and follow the GPS exactly, you will almost certainly encounter something along the way that you wouldn’t have seen or encountered otherwise… a beautiful door, a secret square with children playing happily, a café that you add to your must-try list. It’s a great lesson in not knowing but going for it anyway.
9. Avoid traffic jams
If you’ve ever been in a car or a bus in Paris, you know what it’s like to get stuck in a traffic jam here. When you’re à vélo, you can weave through all those cars that are at a stand still (carefully, please!), and still arrive at your destination with far fewer speed bumps along the way.
10. Work off all of that food you’ve been eating on holiday
It’s Paris, so naturally you’re enjoying the gamut of goodies in French cuisine, but if you’re not careful you can return home with some extra pounds around your waist. Cycling the city is a great way to counter all those decadent meals.
11. It’s easy to start and stop
This is so simple but it’s one of my favorite things about biking. Not only do you see so much more when you’re present and riding, naturally looking all around you, but you can also stop quickly to check out a shop you see, a pastry that’s calling your name, or a photo opp. And when you’re done, hop back on, and off you go.
12. Some relaxation in the midst of it all
Travel can be stressful, especially in foreign countries where you don’t speak the language. That joyful feeling from riding that I talk about so often is a natural de-stressor. It’s a great way to settle in to your trip. And if the big roundabouts are too intimidating for you, just take the side streets. It’ll take you a bit longer but you’ll feel safer and therefore more relaxed.
13. Cleaner air
I can’t guarantee that the air in Paris is “fresh” per se, but I can promise you that being outside and breathing in outside air far outweighs the awful stench one can encounter in métro stations.
14. Spend the money you save on pastries
This is a given, right? When you aren’t taking taxis or the métro, you suddenly have freed up a lot of your travel budget. The obvious thing to spend that money on in France is all the yummy pastries available on every corner.