It is counterintuitive that Paris, the host city of the Tour de France finish line, was ever not a bicycling capital, but until it got a bike-share program — and an expanded network of bike lanes — cycling was not a mainstream mode of transportation there. Now it’s de rigueur, thanks to the Vélib’ system’s more than 20,000 bikes at 1,800 stations. The Vélib’ app, available on iTunes, tells you where to find the nearest station and the number of bikes there. A couple of cool ones below.
A charming, 1980s-inspired store in the 18th Arrondissement,Vélo Vintage refurbishes yesteryear’s beauties plucked from the French countryside. And there is no shortage of high-end shops: the museumlike biCyCle Store Paris stocks everything from California cruisers to lowriders; Cyclope is for the fixie-obsessed; and Bicloune is packed with bikes of all shapes.
If you have only one day to do Paris by bike, make it a Sunday, when a city program called Paris Respire (“Paris Breathes”) closes some of the loveliest areas to cars, including Montmartre, the Marais and some roads along the Seine. For spectacle, time your trip to coincide with a Béret Baguette ride, in which Parisians put a very French twist on London’s Tweed Run: bérets, Breton stripes, vintage Peugeots and a picnic of baguettes, brie and wine in the Bois de Vincennes.