Cycling in France

All you need to know about cycling in France

Cycling in France

While France may not be the first European country you would describe as “cycle friendly”, the Tour de France has helped to make bicycles a popular choice of transportation. Bike renting is becoming more accessible, with rental shops found in most cities around France.

The high season for cycling in France is in July and August, so early spring through to late autumn is the recommended time to enjoy cycling. Keep an eye on the Tour de France road resurfacing from October onward to avoid any obstacles.

French cycling laws

  • Front and rear lights must be used and a reflective vest should be worn at poor visibility.
  • Make sure you completely stop your bike at a stop sign or red light to avoid possible fines.
  • At an intersection with a ‘Cedez le passage’ sign, you must give way to other vehicles.
  • Always let traffic coming from your left at a roundabout go ahead first.
  • Make sure you cycle on either a cycling lane or the right side of the road.
  • Cyclers older than 8 years should never ride on the pavement.
  • Always ride in a single file when in a group and never more than two abreast.
  • Never cycle on motorways.
  • France currently has no laws on wearing a helmet, however, it is advisable to wear one to stay safe.

Choosing a route

You can choose from many cycling tours available or create your own route to explore France. The cycle lanes in France are generally well marked. The "D" (departmental) roads tend to be smaller and well suited to cyclists but make sure you look at your map to avoid any heavy traffic.

Bike handling

Bicycles can be taken free of charge on most trains in France, in some cases, when purchasing your ticket, you can indicate that you wish to bring you bike onboard. If this option is not available, make sure you let a member of staff know that you have a bicycle before boarding the train. Another solution is to buy a bike bag, take off the wheels and carry your bike as hand luggage.

Bike security

Bike theft in France is much less common than in other countries, however, you should always do your best to make sure your bike is safely secured. You might also want to look into cycle insurance.

To ensure your bike is secured, you should never attach it to something that can be easily broken or removed and try to avoid isolated areas. A good bike lock could be your bike-saver so don’t be afraid to spend more money on securing your bike. Always make sure you lock the frame, as well as front and back wheel to the object you have attached your bike to. Registering your bike and getting the appropriate registration sticker could also lower the risk of theft.

Cycling in Paris

Paris is equipped with the Velib  system, the largest bike sharing system in the world and has been around since 2007. With over 20,000 bikes around the city available 24/7, it offers a unique alternative to exploring the city. For more inspiration, check out the best cycling routes in Paris .

Rent a bike

For more information on bike rentals in France, visit the bike hire listing .

And don’t forget - put your gear on and stay safe!

Further reading

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