Left Bank

Once the city’s haven for writers and philosophers, Paris’ Left Bank remains a unique hub of artistic, academic, and multicultural activity.

About Left Bank

While rent prices may have caught up to their neighbors in the north, the six arrondissements that make up Paris’ Left Bank (Rive Gauche) are still considered to be among the most bohemian in the city. Retrace the footsteps of figures like Hemingway, Picasso, and Sartre as you explore all that Paris has to offer south of the Seine.

For starters, even though the Right Bank takes most of the credit when it comes to tourist attractions, a bike ride along the southern borders of the river will take you past landmarks such as the Place des Invalides, the Musée d'Orsay and, ah yes, a little thing called the Eiffel Tower. Just further inland you can pedal your way through the magnificent Jardin du Luxembourg, or take a quick ride uphill to marvel at the architectural triumph of Le Panthéon. Then it’s on to the more studious attractions like the Sorbonne or the Rodin Museum.

But what makes the Left Bank so intriguing isn’t necessarily its traditional attractions. For example, if you want to taste the most authentic crepes in Paris, bike over to the neighborhood immediately surrounding La Tour Montparnasse in the 14th and take your pick. If Asian cuisine is more your thing, pedal south of Rue Tolbiac in the 13th and explore one of the largest Chinatowns in Europe. You can even pedal through a Tolkien-esque hamlet called La Cité Florale, or stroll along a subterranean corridor lined with 6 million human skeletons. And we’re just scratching the surface. So while you may end up understandably spending most of your time on the more popular side of the Seine, don’t forget that there’s much more to discover on La Rive Gauche than you’d probably expect.

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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.

Paris, Bars, Restaurants, Cafes, Monuments

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)
  • Highlights:
  • 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.

Paris, Unique, Nature

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)
  • Highlights:
  • 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

Hidden Gems of the Left Bank Bike Tour

This great little ride will introduce you to a surprisingly residential slice of Paris, exploring some of the truly unique sights and neighborhoods that make this side of the Seine so easy to love.

Paris, Unique, Parks, Neighborhoods, Monuments

Nothing fancy here, but be prepared to ask yourself more than a few times along this ride “am I really in Paris?”

We’d highly recommend stopping in Chinatown for a bite to eat mid-ride. It’s a great neighborhood to explore. Consider the Tang Frères supermarket, as prices are cheap and the selection of Asian food is almost unlimited. Also, you’ll really want to bring a camera for the tiny streets and country homes of the Cité Florale.

Don’t be afraid to pack some snacks and possibly a bottle of wine to enjoy at Parc Montsouris close to the end of the ride. It’s a beautiful park that could easily eat up an hour of relaxation time.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail length: 9 km (5.6 miles)
  • Duration: 45 - 60 minutes (not including stops)
  • Highlights:
  • Place Monge
  • Grande Mosquée de Paris
  • Chinatown
  • Cité Florale
  • Cool Things You’ll See Along the Way:
  • Square des Chamaillards
  • Parc Kellermann
  • Parc Montsouris
  • Place Victor-et-Hélène-Basch
  • Start Place Monge, 5th Arrondissement
  • End Place Victor-et-Hélène-Basch, 14th Arrondissement
  • Speed Moderate
  • Traffic Reasonable
  • Bike Lanes Many
  • Separated Bike Lanes < 2 km

Vincennes to Boulogne Bike Tour

Break from the tourist mould and cruise across the south of Paris by bike from east to west, exploring the castle and massive green spaces that exist on either end of the City of Light.

Paris, Unique, Nature, Monuments

Brace yourself, because this as a long ride. Thankfully, it’s charted along a path almost entirely lined with separated bike lanes so you’ll be able to cruise for miles at a time. This also means that we’ve intentionally avoided a lot of tourist stops, so be forewarned. Think of it as a route designed for cyclists who are more interested in exercise than sightseeing…but also happens to pass directly in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Both the starting and ending points of this journey are perfect for enjoying some R&R, so we’d highly recommend packing snacks and/or a picnic lunch in your backpack and giving yourself plenty of time to soak up all that natural goodness. The Château de Vincennes at the beginning is particularly impressive, considering the relatively small amount of visitors it gets each year.

As always, if you’d like a little more information on the beautiful woods surrounding Paris, check out our article here.

  • Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
  • Trail length: 18 km (11.2 miles)
  • Duration: 90 - 120 minutes (not including sightseeing)
  • Highlights:
  • Château de Vincennes
  • Bois de Vincennes
  • Bois de Boulogne
  • Cool Things You’ll See Along the Way:
  • Place d’Italie
  • Cimetière Montparnasse
  • Tour Montparnasse
  • Tour Eiffel
  • Jardins du Trocadéro
  • Start Château de Vincennes, 94300
  • End Porte d’Auteuil, 16th Arrondissement
  • Speed Moderate - Cruise
  • Traffic Reasonable
  • Bike Lanes Many
  • Separated Bike Lanes > 5 km