Vélib' Bicycle Rental in Paris 

Paris offers an extensive system of rental bikes, more-or-less on every third street corner, called Vélib'.  You pay a fixed cost (per day), and then as little as zero additional for each bike you use. 

Vélib' is designed for city rental:  bikes are ubiquitous, solid-state & robust.  (If you are contemplating long-distance rides, consider renting from our fleet.)

The system is designed for one-way trips:  grab a bike, go somewhere, and turn in your steed for someone else to use.  When you are ready to move on, pick up a new one.  There is no better way to move around town on a nice day, not even our justly vaunted métro

But using Vélib' is complex for visitors.  Most foreign credit cards are not accepted, a large deposit is required to start using the system, no one tells you how to handle things like a full station when you try to return the bike, how to find the bikes, how to adjust them for your use....  You have to keep track of a subscription code:  which pocket did you put that in, again? 

The sight of a cranky Australian kicking the Vélib' ticket machine in front of our local pub is a common one, indeed.  Thus it is that we have stepped in to simplify.

Our Service
We offer Vélib' credit card-sized electronic swipe cards, available for any number of sequential days.  They present several advantages.

  • They give you access to extra bicycles.
    Some stations offer bikes reserved only for holders of swipe cards. 
  • Automated pick-up and return of cycles, using the card.  No need to use the ticket / information bornes, no need to pay rental costs as you go...  a considerable time savings.
    You pay for all your rentals at once, when you return the swipe card to us. And you may track your rentals on line, if you wish to do so.
  • Hassle-free subscription:  no forms to fill out.  Just tell us your dates, and claim your card when you get to Paris.  Then swipe it over an electronic reader whenever you want a bike.
    It is necessary to both pick up and return your card in our office in central Paris.  Our service is thus really intended as an add-on for those who are staying with us, or travelling on our trips.  However, it is open to all travellers.
  • No or reduced deposit required.
    You are nonetheless responsible for the cycles while you have them, to a sum of 150€ above and beyond the cost of the rentals.  But they are equipped with locks, and theft is rare:  they are so distinctive that resale is impossible in the usual bike thief markets.
    We do require a (much smaller) deposit for the subscription card, returned to you when you return the card:  details below.
  • Our advice and counsel.
    We offer our hints on how to best find and use the bikes, and how to avoid pitfalls that incur unnecessary rental charges, via a little English-language instruction manual.  Priceless  :-)

Prices, per card (each card can only be used for one bike at a time).

  • 5€ for the first two days, 3€ / each additional 2 (indivisable) days.
    Bike Rental costs, per rental, are then as follows:
    - Free for the first 30 minutes,
    - 1€ for the next 30 minutes,
    - 2€ for the next 30 minutes (after the first hour),
    - 4€ per additional 30-minute increment (after 90 minutes).
    This rate structure encourages you to swap bikes, rather than to hold on to a single bike all day long.  You may have as many rentals as you please in a day, and each rental starts with the 30-minute free period.
  • Card deposit:  50€ in cash, or the rough equivalent in $US, $C, $A, GB£, DkK, or CHF.
    This is the cost of the card if lost or stolen.
    There is a 2€ charge if you wish to leave your deposit by credit card. 
    We reserve the right to return all or part of any cash deposit made in a currency other than euros, in euros, converted without any exchange commission, using this exchange calculator on the date of the deposit return.
    No deposit is required of renters of our guest apartments, nor of passengers on our overnight trips.

Reservation, Cancellation Charges for Vélib' Swipe Cards

We have 4 Vélib' swipe cards available.  Reservations allow you to guarantee that one (or more) will be available to you on your desired dates. 

To reserve a Vélib' card, please write our Paris office, paris@bluemarble.org.  Tell us...

  1. ... for what dates you would like your card.
  2. If you are coming to claim or return your card in our off season (November - April), we advise that you make an appointment.  Criteria for doing so are here:  making (and guaranteeing) an appointment.
    Appointments can be made without charge during our regular opening hours.   They are also available outside of these hours, but carry an extra cost in this case.
  3. No advance payment is necessary if you are renting one of our Paris studios, or travelling on one of our organized trips.  Otherwise, please pay for your card rental on our secure, on-line payment page (prices above).  You do not need an invoice number:  your payment will automatically be associated with the account you create on our site.
    For amounts under 50€, you may also communicate your credit card information by phone.

We will promptly acknowledge receipt, and confirm the card’s availability to you.

If the amount of your authorization is either more or less than the cost of the card you have requested, we will write to you to verify the exact dates for which you desire your card(s), and your acceptance of the price.  If you have paid a lesser amount, you may settle the balance when you collect the card.  If you have paid more, we will, of course, credit your card for the full overpayment.

If you wish to pay by check / cheque, you may do so.  The reservation is confirmed when you inform us that the check / cheque has actually been posted.  Provided the post-mark on the envelope is that day or the following day, the reservation is honored.  Checks are accepted in $US, cheques in $C and €.  To calculate dollar prices for your Vélib' card(s), please refer to our currency converter page.

Should you cancel a reserved card at least the business day prior to pick-up, all but 3€ is refunded.  If you do not claim your card on pick-up date, the reservation is canceled at the end of the day, and all but 5€ is refunded.

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