Guide to Exploring Paris by Bicycle
August 1, 2013
Paris is quickly becoming a bike-friendly world capital, after decades of being considered much less accommodating to cycle aficionados than, say, Amsterdam. There are countless places to explore in this city; even locals who think they know it find surprising new niches and quiet paths to amble along. Once you’ve dominated the streets of Paris on our bike tours, here’s a few ideas for those itching for more ways to explore on two-wheels…
A great urban bike route takes you along the charming Canal Saint Martin in the east of the city, a hotspot for Paris’s trendy community. Start at Metro Jaures and follow the canal until you reach the sprawling Parc de la Villette, an artsy, industrial but relaxing zone that is perfect for a picnic break or a walk along the water. Once back on the bike, continue along the canal into Pantin and Bobigny, where you’ll get a sneak peek into the impressive artistic and architectural developments taking place in these up-and-coming suburbs.
Getting out of the city on a bike can provide a much-needed respite from the Paris hustle and bustle. From Paris’s center, head west to the giant Bois de Boulogne park, along the edge of the city. Once inside, you’ll find bike-friendly trails and many attractions, like lakes, waterfalls, botanical and landscape gardens, and even a zoo. The park is twice as big as New York’s Central Park, so plan for plenty of time to explore. Or, starting from the center of the city, head east towards the Chateau de Vincennes before arriving at the massive Bois de Vincennes park. Here, you can enjoy a plethora of trails through lush wooded areas, along the lake Daumesnil, and past the horseracing track. The Parc Floral nearby, offering gorgeous flower gardens, is a great stopover during your excursion.
Near the Bois de Vincennes is the Promenade Plantée, an elevated greenway that follows the former Vincennes railway line and crosses through the entire 12th arrondissement. Take off from the Opera at Bastille and head east, biking over suspended footbridges and past viaducts, which have now been transformed into chic shops. Stop to shop at the modern Bercy Village, before heading towards the Bois de Vincennes. This excursion is a unique way to see one of the most charming and under-celebrated neighborhoods of the city.
However you decide to ride, you’ll find clearly marked bike lanes and special traffic lights for bikers on most streets. Still, it’s a good idea to be extra alert while riding, as Paris streets have a tendency to be clogged with traffic. Also, keep in mind that the 18th, 19th and 20th arrondissements are perched up on the top of the city with some mean inclines, so unless you’re working towards thighs of steel, steer clear of biking in these neighborhoods.
Unsure whether you want to take on the Parisian streets on your own but looking for something beyond our Day & Night Tours? Inquire about a Customized Private Tour where you pick the places and we utilize our expert knowledge of Paris to give you a completely unique experience!