Paris by Bike
Years before the elaborate bike-sharing program hit Paris in 2007, I was living on the northwest shoulder of Montmartre, the city’s tallest hill. My faded green bike led me down the winding cobblestones to work in the morning, and I led it back up the hill at the end of evenings spent with friends. Famous for its breathtaking views of the city, its meringue-domed Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, its windmills and its painters, the neighborhood is not exactly ideal for bike-riding. But the memory of those vicarious rides and the perspective I gained – from watching the city come into view as I glided down the slope, from the unforgiving bumps in the pavement beneath me – will remain with me always.
Today Paris hosts one of the largest bicycle-sharing programs in the world, and on your next visit to the City of Light, I highly recommend taking a spin. Named Velib, the bike rental system offers a great mode of transportation and a fresh vantage point from which to see the sites. For €1.70/day you can pick up your bike and drop it off at any destination throughout the city. There are also multi-day passes you can purchase online, which I would recommend since not all Velib kiosks accept U.S. credit cards. With more than 1,800 stations covering the capital, the system ensures there’s always a bike readily available. If you’re headed to Montmartre, however, leave the bike behind (trust me) and opt for the electric funicular.