By Ella Brown
Reading Time: 7 minutes
If you've ever ridden a bike in Paris, you are familiar with the weaving, zooming, breaking, honking, and random pedestrians who cross the street as if they think they are invincible. Maybe instead of "look both ways before you cross the street," in Paris, it should be "look both ways 3 times before you cross the street."
Aside from the bits of chaos here and there, riding a bike around Paris is one of the best ways to get around and see the city and get some exercise.
TOMO Clothing co-founder and bicycle-riding enthusiast Céline Jeandel shared some of her favorite routes around Paris. Learn more about these popular bike routes here
From Bastille to Pantin along the canal (6.8km, about 25min)
The bike route along the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris is a wonderful ride that takes you through several stunning local neighborhoods and must-see monuments of the French capital.
Starting at Port de l'Arsenal, located at the base of the canal between the 4th and 12th arrondissements, you can ride your bike North up along the canal for 6.8km, ending at Philharmonic de Paris.
On this route, you will get to see a few classic Parisian monuments and lively squares such as Place de la Bastille, Place de la République, La Rotonde Stalingrad, and Parc de la Villette as you ride North following the canal. You will also get a taste of local Parisian culture as you pass by outdoor markets, parks filled with people taking the sun and walking their dogs, and open-aired restaurants and cafés.
Take advantage of the protected bike paths along the canal because much of this ride is on bike paths where cars and non-motorized vehicles cannot go.
The left bank from Bercy to Beaugrenelle along the Seine river (10.8km, about 50 minutes)
For a bit of a longer ride that takes you directly through the center of Paris, take a ride from Bercy to Beaugrenelle along the left bank of the Seine river. Starting at Bercy Park, head Southwest to cross the Seine, then head West and follow the water until you reach the Statue de la Liberté Paris.
On this ride, you will get to see some of the most famous monuments of Paris, including the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Sainte Chapelle, the Louvre Museum, the Eiffel Tour, and Île aux Cygnes.
You will also get a lovely ride along the infamous Seine river and a stunning architectural experience, as the river is lined with beautiful bridges, parks, and white buildings.
Keep close attention to where you are going on this ride, as this area is generally crawling with tourists and locals, which can also be a very exciting people-watching experience.
Northern Paris from Nation to Arc de Triomphe (11km, about 45 minutes)
For a leg-burner bike ride, take the hilly path from Nation to the Arc de Triomphe. Pass through Monmarte and Pigalle, known for the stunning views of the city, and end at the Arc de Triomphe.
Start at the Nation metro station in the 11th arrondissement and head Northwest, passing the Père Lachaise Cemetery along Boulevard de Belleville for about 5.2 km, until you take a right onto Boulevard de la Chapelle.
On Boulevard de la Chapelle, you will pass through Montmartre and by the Sacré-Coeur, where you can see one of the best views of the city.
After you pass through Pigalle, take a slight right turn onto Boulevard de Courcelles, which you can follow for about 3km until you reach the Arc de Triomphe. You will also pass through Parc Monceaus, which is a great place to take a break and a drink, even though you are almost finished. For a fun addition to your ride, try to time the end of your ride with the sunset to see a gorgeous view of the Arc de Triomphe.
Coulée verte René Dumont (4.8km, 18 mins)
If you are looking for a more scenic and family-friendly ride in a natural area, look no further. The Coulée Verte René-Dumont is a long, protected Highline that follows along a retired railway line. A bike path dedicated to non-motorized bicycles has been built at Coulée Verte from the Reuilly Tunnel to the Bois de Vincennes.
The area is filled with greenery such as rose bushes and other aromatic plants nestled between the old, industrial buildings of the 12th. arrondissement. After you are done with your ride, enjoy the greenery of the Bois de Vincennes by relaxing in the park.
To access the Coulée Verte bike path to Bois de Vincennes, start at the base of the tunnel located on the corners of Avenue Damesnil and Rue Moreau in the 11th arrondissement. The entrance to the Coulée Verte tunnel is just a short 8-minute walk or a 5-minute bike ride from Place de La Bastille.
Learn more about accessing this path here.
How to read a bike path map
Here is a downloadable version of a map to all the bike paths in Paris. Knowing and understanding how to use all the bike paths in Paris is very important because it helps to keep you safe and obey traffic laws.
It's safest to ride in "protected" bike paths (red lines) versus "shared" bike paths (blue lines) because it helps to keep bikes and cars separate on the street. Protected bike lanes will have curbs or planters marking a distict area that is only meant for bikes. Protected bike lanes are becoming more and more essential for building bike-friendly routes.
Shared bike lanes are those that have a dedicated area on the road for bikes and 2-wheeled vehicles by using painted markings on the cement. It is especiallly important to always watch your surroundings and be aware of auto traffic when using shared bike lanes.
The thin, light grey lines on the map represent one-way bike traffic and the thin, dark grey lines represent two-way bike traffic. The shaded grey areas represent the zones where traffic is not to exceed 30 km/h.
If you are using a digital map for your bike route, Google Maps usually works very well in terms of finding the fastest and safest route to your destination.