Ah, Paris. Home of the Eiffel Tower, Serge Gainsbourg and haute couture. In a city brimming with extravagant cliches, it’s nice every once in awhile to step outside the well worn tourist trails and feel the pulse that’s beating just below the Haussmannian facade. Because even though it tries its best to remain timeless, the City of Light moves to a modern rhythm all its own.
If you want to experience Parisian life at its most authentic, you’ll first need to pick up a bike and take to the streets. This is no shameless plug the city has committed itself to becoming the world's cycling capital by 2020, and is making all the right moves to do so. With well over 700 km (435 miles) of bike lanes at your disposal, the French capital is yours to explore, from its monuments and cafes to its woods and cemeteries. All it takes is a little guidance, and of course some basic phrases like _Je suis complètement perdu, est-ce que vous pourriez m’aider?_
As for the climate, well, let’s just say you’d be hard pressed to find a Parisian who’d call their city’s weather ideal. Still, consider cycling a 4-season possibility. The locals certainly do. You’ll just want to make sure you dress appropriately if you’re planning on hitting the bike lanes November through January. Other than that, see to it that your helmet’s strapped, your routes are planned, then get ready to pedal some of the most historic and celebrated streets on planet Earth.
Areas in Paris
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Paris Featured City Bike Trails
Night Out in Paris Left Bank Bike Tour
Ditch the bustle of Paris’ Right Bank and instead opt for a night spent biking to some of the most entertaining and often-missed corners south of the Seine.
Because of its significantly smaller size, the Left Bank and its neighborhoods tend to stay a little more mellow when compared to, say, Rue de Lappe or Pigalle. That said, we’ve planned out a route that should show you a fantastic night out, complete with some neighborhoods you’d likely never discover on your own.
Be warned that some of the streets can be a little narrow, and pay special attention to one-way bike lanes that go against traffic (which are fairly common in Paris). Also, you’ll be tackling some hills, so be prepared to work off some of those calories you’ve just taken in.
Just by way of suggestion, here’s a weekend schedule you might want to work around in order to hit all of your stops with plenty of time to enjoy them.
- 7 pm happy hour on Rue de la Huchette (before all the students arrive)
- Arrive at Rue du Montparnasse by 8:30 pm to get situated for an authentic crêpe dinner
- 10:30 pm arrival at Rue Mouffetard to kick off the night
- Midnight arrival at Rue de la Butte aux Cailles to end off the night in true 13th arrondissement style
- Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
- Trail length: 8 km (5 miles)
- Duration: 60 - 75 minutes (not including eating/drinking)
- Notre Dame de Paris
- Rue de la Huchette
- Rue du Montparnasse
- Rue Mouffetard
- Rue de la Butte aux Cailles
- Cool Things You’ll See Along the Way:
- Jardin du Luxembourg
- Tour Montparnasse
- Le Panthéon
- Start Notre Dame de Paris, 4th Arrondissement
- End Rue de la Butte aux Cailles, 13th Arrondissement
- Speed Moderate
- Traffic Reasonable
- Bike Lanes Many
- Separated Bike Lanes < 1 km
La Coulee Verte du Sud Parisien Bike Trail
Leave the city and breathe in the fresh air of the southern Parisian suburbs as you pedal your way through parks, over bridges, and along the length of this fun, well marked bike trail.
For a refreshing day biking through parks and open green spaces, you’ll be hard pressed to do better than La Coulée Verte. It’s a very easy trail to follow, and the only two considerable turns have been well marked in our directions. Consider giving yourself ample time for a stop over at the Parc de Sceaux, as it’s a truly incredible setting for a water/picnic break.
Be on the lookout for plenty of staggered barriers when you come to a crossroads. These can be a bit of a nuisance, as they slow you down considerably, however they help to make sure only bikes take to the trails. You’ll have to keep you eye out for pedestrians for almost the entire length of the trail, however the going gets much easier the farther from the city you get.
Once you arrive in Massy, it’s possible to loop back to the city either by following the Coulée Verte or by several other less well-marked routes. If you’re not feeling that ambitious, however, simply load your bike onto the RER C headed towards Paris for around 5 euros.
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trail length: 13.5 km (8.4 miles)
- Duration: 45 - 60 minutes (not including breaks/side trips)
- La Coulée Verte
- Cool Things You’ll See Along the Way:
- Parc de Sceaux
- Start Place de Catalogne, 14th Arrondissement
- End Massy-Verrières RER Station, 91300
- Speed Moderate - Cruise
- Traffic Very Little
- Bike Lanes All
- Separated Bike Lanes All