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Tips and tricks for getting around Paris: Vélib'

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Vélib' (a portmanteau of the French words 'vélo' and 'liberté', meaning 'bicycle' and 'freedom') is the name given to the very cheap bicycle sharing system offered by the city of Paris to encourage users to leave their cars at home. The system was launched on 15th July 2007, and the city now has 17,000 bicycles distributed across 1,800 stations, and has developed a network of cycle paths over 700km in length.

Vélib is very popular in Paris, and it really is the best way to get around the capital whether you're alone, in a group or with family aged at least 14, in all seasons.

This article will answer the main questions:

  • What are the rates?
  • Where can I pay for it?
  • How do I find a station?
  • Some tips

What are the rates?

This is the cheapest form of transport there is...after walking! There is a special rate for short-term rentals, suitable for travelers staying in Paris for short periods.

The short-term ticket provides access to Vélib' for a day or a week and allows you an unlimited number of rentals, with the first 30 minutes of each trip free.

  • Day ticket: €1.70
  • Weekly ticket: €8.00

After the first 30 minutes, the additional fees are as follows:

  • 1st additional half-hour: +€1.00
  • 2nd additional half-hour: +€2.00
  • Each subsequent half-hour: +€4.00

In this case, the amount is automatically withdrawn from your bank account when you return the bike. The pricing structure encourages you to return your bike to a station at the end of your journey.

A safety deposit of €150 is required when buying a ticket, and money will be deducted under the following conditions:

Theft of the bike with damage to the lock or violence against the user: €35. You must provide proof that you have filed a complaint at the police station

  • Loss of a bike reported less than 48 hours after the start of the rental: €75
  • Loss of a bike reported less than 7 days after the start of the rental: €100
  • Loss of a bike reported later than 7 days after the start of the rental: €150

Warning: when returning the bike, ensure that you place it back into its docking station firmly. Check that the green indicator light is on. You should then hear two beeps. This precaution could save you from potential problems...

Where can I pay for it?

You can buy a short-term ticket using your credit card:

  • On the website www.velib.paris
  • From the Vélib' terminals located at each station

Each time you rent a bike from a station, you will be asked for a ticket number. You will be told this number at the termi

Where can I find a station?

To come and go as you please, your best bet is to download an app for your smartphone. There are several that will answer your two main questions:

  • Where is the nearest station to me?
  • How many bikes are available at that station?

We recommend downloading the app BikePredict which is very well-made.

Some tips

You should know that Vélib' bikes are widely used by Parisians for commuting. It's therefore a bit trickier to use the service at the start and end of the working day.

Also, some areas of Paris are less reliable than others in terms of the risk that your bike will be damaged:  

Any other questions? Read our FAQ: www.velib.paris/Comment-ca-marche/FAQ

 

Have a good ride! And be careful.