Hiring a bike in France – All you need to know

If you are planning a cycling holiday to France and don’t want to bring your own bike with you, then you will need to look at organising one to hire. Thankfully, due to the popularity of cycling as a holiday activity, hiring a bike in France is very easy. You will also find that rental bikes are readily available in most areas. This is especially the case in popular cycling regions such as the French Alps and Pyrenees. This post goes over topics such as the types of bike hire available, average costs of rentals as well as some handy tips to keep in mind when organising your rental.

several bikes hanging from hooks at a cycling lodge garage

Renting a bike in France -what sort of bikes are available?

The type of bikes available to hire in France will often depend on the region you are travelling to and the store you visit. Generally speaking, road bikes, mountain bikes (which are referred to as VTT bikes in France) and hybrid touring bikes are normally available for rent. As the popularity of gravel riding has increased there are now some options appearing for gravel bikes as well. If you plan to be riding in any mountainous areas we would highly recommend you check what gearing is available on the hire bike – especially in relation to road bikes. It is now common for what is known as ‘compact gearing’ to be fitted to most bikes and this will allow you to have the right amount of gears to get you to the top of the climb.

Can I hire a premium model road bikes in France?

Many bike stores now also offer premium road bikes as options for hire. These bikes are top of the range, have a lighter/more aerodynamic frame and also high end components. This means they will typically be equipped with top of the line groupsets such as Shimano Dura-Ace, Sram eTap or Campagnolo Super Record.  It isn’t just the groupsets which are high end but also the wheelsets too. In addition to this the frame material will also be the highest quality carbon fibre.

Top end road bikes are more readily available to hire in the bigger cycling regions and in stores located close to the famous mountain climbs of France such as the Alps, Pyrenees, Mont Ventoux etc. This will give you an opportunity to see what it is like to ride a high quality road bike such as a Specialized S Works SL7, Pinarello Dogma F12 or Cervelo S5 to name a few. Of course the exact makes and models of the premium road bikes will differ depending on the rental hire store you are hiring from. Hiring bikes of this quality will also come at a more expensive hire rate and you can expect to pay around twice as much in hire fees as you would for a mid range or beginner model bike.

Can you hire e-Bikes in France?

e-Bikes are a great way for people who perhaps don’t share a high level of fitness to explore the surrounding area by bike. The popularity of e-Bikes is now reflected in the bike hire market, and they are now available for hire in most areas. Generally speaking they are more readily available in the hybrid or eMTB variant, although some bike hire outlets will also offer e-road bikes for hire to. In France there is a speed limiting restriction on e-bikes where the motor will cut out at speeds over 25km/hr. This is generally not going to pose any issues when cycling uphill but it is something to keep in mind – especially if you are riding an e-bike in a group of people who perhaps are on road bikes.

The other thing to be aware of when hiring an e-bike is the range of the motor. This will vary depending on the battery, size of the rider and other factors such as which mode the rider chooses to engage the motor. As batteries improve the distances which e-Bikes can travel between each recharge is also growing. To give a rough indication on a trip we recently undertook, we had two riders in our group on e-Bikes. With careful management of the battery they were able to get to the top of the Col du Tourmalet and back without the motor running out – a round trip of 90kms with over 1500metres of elevation gain. We would recommend you ask the bike hire store what the battery range is so you can plan your rides accordingly.

How much does it cost to hire a bike in France?

The answer to this question really depends on the type of bike you hire and the length of the hire period. We have done some research on this topic and summarised this in the table below. It gives you a good indication of what you can expect to budget for in relation to bike hire costs. Typically speaking you may also be able to take advantages of discounts if you are looking at a longer hire period, however this will vary from store to store. We have also outlined the costs in multiple currencies.

  •  Euro €
  •  US $
  •  GBP  £
  •  CAD $
  •  AUD $ 
  •  NZ $
  •  ZAR R
 Euro €

High-end road bike

1 day €90 – €125

3 days €240 – €325

7 days €540 – €705

Mid – range road bike

1 day €40 – €80

3 days €110 – €185

7 days €220 – €385

Entry-level road bike

1 day €35 – €45

3 days €95 – €105

7 days €180 – €195

e-Bike (hybrid bike)

1 day €55 – €65

3 days €155 – €160

7 days €310 – €345

Leisure bike

1 day €17 – €19

Child bike

1 day €10 – €17

 US $

High end road bike

1 day $99 – $138

3 days $264 – $358

7 days $594 – $776

Mid -range road bike

1 day $44 – $88

3 days $121 – $204

7 days $242 – $424

Entry-level road bike

1 day $39 – $50

3 days $105 – $116

7 days $198 – $215

e-Bike (Hybrid bike)

1 day $61 – $72

3 days $171 – $176

7 days $341 – $380

Leisure bike

1 day $19 – $21

Child bike

1 day $11 – $19

 GBP  £

High-end road bike

1 day £80 – £111

3 days £214 – £289

7 days £481 – £627

Mid-range road bike

1 day £36 – £71

3 days £98 – £165

7 days £196 – £643

Entry-level road bike

1 day £31 – £40

3 days £85 – £93

7 days £160 – £174

e-Bike (hybrid bike)

1 day £49 – £58

3 days £138 – £142

7 days £276 – £307

Leisure bike

1 day £15 – £17

Child bike

1 day £9 – £15

 CAD $

High end road bike (e.g. Cervelo S5 with Shimano Dura-Ace DI2 groupset, carbon frame)

1 day $127 – $176

3 days $338 – $458

7 days $761 – $994

Mid-range road bike (e.g. Specialized Roubaix with Shimano Ultegra groupset, carbon frame)

1 day $56 – $113

3 days $155 – $261

7 days $310 – $543

Entry-level road bike (e.g.Giant Contend SL2, with Shimano 105 Groupset, alloy frame)

1 day $49 – $63

3 days $134 – $148

7 days $254 – $275

e-Bike (hybrid bike)

1 day $78 – $92

3 days $219 – $226

7 days $437 – $486

Leisure bike

1 day $24 – $27

Child bike

1 day $14 – $24

 AUD $ 

High end road bike

1 day $145 – $201

3 days $386 – $523

7 days $869 – $1,135

Mid-range road bike

1 day $64 – $129

3 days $177 – $298

7 days $354 – $620

Entry-level road bike

1 day $56 – $72

3 days $153 – $169

7 days $290 – $314

e-Bike (hybrid bike)

1 day $89 – $105

3 day $250 – $258

7 days $499 – $555

Leisure bike

1 day $27 – $31

Child bike

1 day $16 – $27

 NZ $

High-end road bike

1 day $157 – $218

3 days $418 – $566

7 days $940 – $1,227

Mid-range road bike

1 day $70 – $139

3 days $191 – $322

7 days $383 – $670

Entry-level road bike

1 day $61 – $78

3 days $165 – $183

7 days $313 – $339

e-Bike (hybrid bike)

1 day $96 – $113

3 days $270 – $278

7 days $539 – $600

Leisure bike

1 day $30 – $33

Child bike

1 day $17 – $30


High-end road bike

1 day R1,634 – R2,269

3 days R4,356 – R5,899

7 days R9,801 – R12,796

Mid-range road bike

1 day R726 – R1,452

3 days R1,997 – R3,358

7 days R3,993 – R6,988

Entry-level road bike

1 day R635 – R817

3 days R1,724 – R1,906

7 days R3,267 – R3,539

e-Bike (hybrid bike)

1 day R998 – R1,180

3 days R2,813 – R2,904

7 days R5,627 – R6,262

Leisure bike

1 day R309 – R345

Child bike

1 day R182 – R309

How easy is it to hire a bike in France?

Whilst it may be possible to walk into a bike store and organise a bike hire for the same day, we really recommend pre-booking your hire well in advance. This is especially the case if you are planning to cycle during busy holiday periods. France is the second most popular destination for cycling holidays so you should not take it as a given that there will be a bike in your size readily available if you haven’t booked beforehand. Typically bike stores will stock hire bikes in the most common sizes, so if you require a very small or conversely very large frame it is another reason to pre-book in advance.

bicycle on wall

Can I organise to hire a bike online?

Many bike stores now offer options to organise your bike rental exclusively online. Depending on the online setup of the store this is either facilitated by an online booking form or via email. We have compiled a list of bike hire locations which you can find in the popular cycling regions of France. This is included in the table below. To make the table as user friendly as possible we have also outlined the type of bike hire available from each store and included links to their websites.

NameStore LocationBike sales and servicingBike hireBike typesOnline booking available
http://www.cycles-aix-perts.business.siteCycle Aix PertsAix-les-BainsYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeNoFrenchAix-les-BainsFrench Alps
https://www.dvelos.comDvelosAix-les-BainsYesNo NoFrenchAix-les-BainsFrench Alps
https://www.giant-aix-les-bains.frGiant bikesAix-les-BainsYesNo NoFrenchAix-les-BainsFrench Alps
https://www.base-camp.bike/en/ride-the-best/baseCAMPTailloresNoYesRoad, MTB, e-Bike, Gravel, TandemYesEnglish, FrenchAnnecyFrench Alps
http://www.crancycles.comCran CyclesAnnecyYesNo NoFrenchAnnecyFrench Alps
https://www.bike-annecy.comCyclable AnnecyAnnecyNoYesRoad, MTB, e-Bike, Leisure, ChildNoFrench, EnglishAnnecyFrench Alps
https://www.dvelos.com/contactez-nousDvelosAnnecyYesNo NoFrenchAnnecyFrench Alps
https://www.dvelos.com/contactez-nousDvelosAix Les BainsYesNo NoFrenchAnnecyFrench Alps
https://www.dvelos.com/contactez-nousDvelosChamberyYesNo NoFrenchAnnecyFrench Alps
https://www.dvelos.com/contactez-nousDvelosSaint Jean de MaurienneYesNo NoFrenchAnnecyFrench Alps
https://www.eridershop.frE RiderAnnecyYesYese-BikeNoFrenchAnnecyFrench Alps
http://www.lappartelier.frL'appartelierAnnecyYesNo NoFrenchAnnecyFrench Alps
https://www.littlebigshop.bizLittle Big ShopAnnecyYesNo NoFrenchAnnecyFrench Alps
https://www.pedaldouce.comPedal 'DouceAnnecyNoYese-Bike, Leisure, ChildNoFrench, EnglishAnnecyFrench Alps
https://www.annecy-location-velo.comRoul' ma puleAnnecyNoYesLeisure, e-BikeNoFrench, EnglishAnnecyFrench Alps
https://www.annecy-velo.comSassa Velo MinuteAnnecyYesYesRoad, Leisure, ChildNoFrenchAnnecyFrench Alps
https://www.location-velo-annecy.frTakamaka AnnecyAnnecyNoYesRoad, MTB, Leisure ,ChildNoFrench, EnglishAnnecyFrench Alps
https://www.facebook.com/pg/wheeliesAnnecy/about/Wheelies MTBAnnecyYesNo NoN/AAnnecyFrench Alps
https://bcyclet.com/bike-rental/alps-bike-rental/BcycletOnlineNoYesRoad, MTB, e-Bike, Leisure, ChildYesFrench, EnglishAnnecy - OnlineFrench Alps
https://www.culturevelo.com/Pau-70Culture Velo PauPauYesNo NoFrenchBearn PyreneesPyrenees
http://cycles-igouassel.fr/Cycles IgouasselOlorons Sainte-MarieYesNo NoFrenchBearn PyreneesPyrenees
https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Sports---Recreation/Loc-e-Bike-1618793088188914/Loc-e-BikeLarunsYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeEmailFrenchBearn PyreneesPyrenees
https://www.locaski-laruns.com/Locaski LarunsLarunsYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeYesFrenchBearn PyreneesPyrenees
http://cycles-igouassel.fr/magasins/arudyVelo d'OssauArudyYesYesRoadEmailFrenchBearn PyreneesPyrenees
http://argentiere.intersport-chamonix.com/location-veloIntersport ArgentiereArgentiereNoYesMTB, e-MTBYesEnglish, FrenchChamonix ValleyFrench Alps
http://nord.intersport-chamonix.com/vttIntersport ChamonixChamonixNoYesRoad, MTB, e-Bike, LeisureNoEnglish, FrenchChamonix ValleyFrench Alps
http://legend-chamonix.com/bike-rentals/LEGEND'CHXChamonixNoYesRoad, MTB, e-Bike, Fat BikeYesEnglish, FrenchChamonix ValleyFrench Alps
https://www.namastesport.com/summerNamaste SportChamonixNoyesMTB, e-MTBYesEnglish, FrenchChamonix ValleyFrench Alps
https://location-vtt-les-contamines-montjoie.notresphere.com/NotrosphereContamines MontjoieYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeNoEnglish, FrenchChamonix ValleyFrench Alps
https://rent-e-Bike-online.com/enRent e-Bike OnlineChamonixNoYese-MTBYesEnglish, FrenchChamonix ValleyFrench Alps
https://www.sanglard-electric.com/Sanglard ElectricChamonicNoYese-MTBYesEnglish, FrenchChamonix ValleyFrench Alps
http://www.slashchamonix.com/fr/bikerentalSlash ChamonixChamonixYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeNoEnglish, FrenchChamonix ValleyFrench Alps
https://www.sportspirit74.com/location/Sport Spirit 74Les HouchesYesYesMTB, e-MTBNoFrenchChamonix ValleyFrench Alps
https://www.zerogchamonix.com/gb/Zero G ChamonixChamonixYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeNoEnglish, FrenchChamonix ValleyFrench Alps
https://bcyclet.com/bike-rental/alps-bike-rental/saint-jean-de-maurienne/BcycletOnlineYesYesRoad, MTB, Gravel, e-BikeYesFrench and EnglishFrench Alps - OnlineFrench Alps
https://www.cctbikerentals.comClassic Cycle ToursOnlineNoYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeYesFrench, EnglishFrench Alps - OnlineFrench Alps
http://www.velominute.bike/Velo MinuteSaint Michel de MaurienneYesYesRoad, e-BikeYesFrench, EnglishFrench Alps - Saint Michel de MaurienneFrench Alps
https://www.cyclehuez.comCycle HuezL'Alpe d'HuezServicingYesRoadYesEnglishFrench Alps -L'OisansFrench Alps
https://www.huezbikehire.comHuez Bike HireLe Borg d'OisansServicingYesRoad, MTB, e-Bike, Leisure, ChildYesFrench, EnglishFrench Alps -L'OisansFrench Alps
https://www.prompt.ccPrompt Cycle CultureLe Borg d'OisansServicingYesRoadYesEnglishFrench Alps -L'OisansFrench Alps
https://www.richard3sports.frRichard 3 SportsL'Alpe d'HuezNoYese-MTBYesFrench, EnglishFrench Alps -L'OisansFrench Alps
http://www.rocky-sports.com/Rocky SportsL'Alpe d'HuezServiceYesMTBNoFrench, EnglishFrench Alps -L'OisansFrench Alps
http://www.cycles73.com/location.htmlCycles 73Aix-les-BainsYesYesRoad, MTB, e-Bike, LeisureNoFrenchJuraFrench Jura
https://cycles-aix-perts.business.site/Cycles Aix PertsAix-les-BainsYesYesRoad, MTB, e-Bike, LeisureNoEnglish, FrenchJuraFrench Jura
http://www.giant-aix-les-bains.fr/fr/routeGiant Aix-les-BainsAix-les-BainsYesNo NoFrenchJuraFrench Jura
https://www.madeinvelo.fr/savoir-faire/mondovelo-chambery/8Mondovelo ChamberyChamberyYesNo NoFrenchJuraFrench Jura
https://sportaixtrem.com/#Sport AixtremAix-les-BainsYesNo NoEnglish, FrenchJuraFrench Jura
https://www.velostation-chambery.fr/Louer/Velos-bleusSynchro VelostationChamberyNoYesLeisureNoFrenchJuraFrench Jura
https://aixlesbains.takamaka.fr/en/p/bike-rental-aix-les-bainsTakamakaAix-les-BainsNoYesMTB, e-Bike, LeisureYesEnglish, FrenchJuraFrench Jura
https://www.rent-bike.fr/en/bicycle-rental-nice.htmlBike TripNiceNoYesRoad, e-Bike, LeisureYesEnglish, FrenchNiceNice - Alpes Maritimes
https://www.rent-bike.fr/en/bicycle-rental-menton.htmlBike TripMentonNoYesRoad, e-Bike, LeisureYesEnglish, FrenchNiceNice - Alpes Maritimes
https://www.loca-bike.fr/nos-agencesBooking BikesNiceNoYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeYesFrenchNiceNice - Alpes Maritimes
https://www.cafeducycliste.com/en_roe/la-gazette/our-bikes/Cafe du CyclisteNiceNoYesRoad, GravelYesEnglish, FrenchNiceNice - Alpes Maritimes
https://www.larouelibre.fr/blog/location/La Roue LibreNiceYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeYesFrenchNiceNice - Alpes Maritimes
https://www.larouelibre.fr/blog/location/nos-modeles/La Roue LibreCagnes-sur-MerYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeYesFrenchNiceNice - Alpes Maritimes
https://www.rbikementon.com/en/booking-of-bike-rental/R Bike MentonMentonYesYesRoad, e-Bike, LeisureYesEnglish, French, ItalianNiceNice - Alpes Maritimes
http://rentarace-Bike.com/nos-velos/Renta Race BikeSaint-Laurent-Du-VarNoYesRoadYesEnglish, FrenchNiceNice - Alpes Maritimes
https://www.starsnbikes.fr/Stars N BIkesCagnes-sur-MerYesYesRoad, LeisureNoFrenchNiceNice - Alpes Maritimes
https://www.albioncycles.com/en/Albion CyclesSaultYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeYesEnglish, FrenchProvence & LuberonProvence & Luberon
https://bcyclet.com/bike-rental/provence-Bike-rental/BCYCLETBeaumes de VeniseYesYesRoad, MTB, e-Bike, GravelYesEnglish, FrenchProvence & LuberonProvence & Luberon
http://www.igoulen-location-velo.fr/index.htmlBenoit IgoulenBeaumes de VeniseYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeYesFrenchProvence & LuberonProvence & Luberon
WWW.BIKEHIREBEDOIN.COMCycle Classic ToursBedoinNoYesRoad, e-BikeYesEnglish, FrenchProvence & LuberonProvence & Luberon
https://www.cycleone.fr/Cycle OnePernes les FontainesYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeYesFrenchProvence & LuberonProvence & Luberon
http://www.letapeduventoux.fr/en/home/L'Etape du VentouxBedoinYesYesRoad, e-BikeYesEnglish, FrenchProvence & LuberonProvence & Luberon
http://www.letapeduventoux.fr/en/home/L'Etape du VentouxMalauceneYesYesRoad, e-BikeYesEnglish, FrenchProvence & LuberonProvence & Luberon
http://www.larouteduventoux.com/enLa Route du VentouxBedoinYesYesRoad, e-Bike, TouringYesEnglish, FrenchProvence & LuberonProvence & Luberon
https://www.luberon-biking.fr/en/home-2-2-2Luberon BikingRoussillonYesYesRoad, MTB, e-Bike,YesEnglish, FrenchProvence & LuberonProvence & Luberon
https://www.luberon-biking.fr/en/home-2-2-3Luberon BikingVelleronYesYesRoad, MTB, e-Bike,YesEnglish, FrenchProvence & LuberonProvence & Luberon
https://www.provence-cycles.com/Provence CyclesMalauceneYesYesRoad, MTB, e-Bike,TouringYesEnglish, FrenchProvence & LuberonProvence & Luberon
https://www.ventoux-bikes.fr/Ventoux BikesMalauceneYesYesRoad, e-BikeYesEnglish, FrenchProvence & LuberonProvence & Luberon
https://www.alex-sports.com/veloAlex SportsSaint Lary SoulanYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeYesFrenchSaint LaryPyrenees
https://www.ardidenvelos.comArdiden VelosLuz Saint SauveurNoYesRoad,MTB, e-BikeYesFrench, Spanish & EnglishLourdesPyrenees
https://www.bikeandpy.comBike and PyLourdesYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeYesFrench, EnglishLourdesPyrenees
https://www.caminovelo.com/Camino VeloFoixNoYese-BikeYesFrenchAriegePyrenees
https://www.cyclinpyrenees.frCycl'in PyreneesArgeles GazostYesYese-BikeEmailFrenchLourdesPyrenees
https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Bicycle-Shop/CYCLE-ET-VOUS-944494358958395/Cycle et VousSaint GironsYesYesRoad, e-Bike, MTBNoFrenchAriegePyrenees
https://www.cycles-arbes.frCycles ArbesLourdesYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeYesFrenchLourdesPyrenees
https://www.saintlary-ski.comEvolution 2Saint Lary SoulanYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeYesFrenchSaint LaryPyrenees
https://www.gtbt.frGran Tourmalet Bike ToursLuz Saint SauveurYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeEmailFrench, Spanish & EnglishLourdesPyrenees
http://luchon-cycling.com/en/home/Luchon CyclingBagneres-de-LuchonYesYesRoad, , e-BikeYesEnglish, French,LuchonPyrenees
https://www.luchon-mountain-bike.frLuchon Mountain BikeBagneres de LuchonYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeYesFrenchLuchonPyrenees
https://www.luz-bikes-pyrenees.comLuz BikesLuz Saint SauveurNoYesMTB, e-BikeYesFrenchLourdesPyrenees
https://www.pyrenees-bike.comPyrenees BikeArgeles GazostYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeYesFrench, Spanish & EnglishLourdesPyrenees
http://www.pyrenees-velo.com/en/Pyrenees Velo EvolutionBagneres de BigorreYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeYesFrenchLourdesPyrenees
https://www.tourmalet-bikes.comTourmalet BikesLuz Saint SauveurYesYesRoad, MTB, e-BikeYesFrench, Spanish & EnglishLourdesPyrenees
https://zeroneufcycling.cc/bike-rental/Zero NeufGaudies NoYesRoad, GravelYesEnglishAriegePyrenees

How to work out the right size of bike to hire?

One of the most important considerations when hiring a bike is making sure you get the right size. This is because it will impact the overall fit of the bike and the way it subsequently handles. You definitely want to make sure you hire a bike that is the right fit for you. If you already ride a bike then you can get a good indication of the size you will need to hire. You will also be able to quote the brand and model to the bike store so they can then ascertain how this stacks up against bikes they offer for hire. Of course there is no one universal measurement for bikes when it comes to sizing, and the way it is determined is often dependant on the type of bike you ride. Generally speaking, most brands will show the size of the bike frame either in Small, Medium or Large or conversely by the size of the top tube so for example anywhere from 48cm – 60cms in general. Because of all the differences in bike sizes we recommend discussing frame sizes with the hire store. They will be able to best guide you as to which of the bikes they stock will be most suited to your size.

Person trying to get on a large oversized bike

What to pack with you if you plan to go on a cycling holiday

If you ride regularly we would recommend you pack your bike saddle as well as pedals (if you use a clipless system) and bike shoes with you. The bike hire store can then easily swap these onto your hire bike, so you can enjoy a comfortable ride with equipment that you are used to. Most bike hire rentals will come with a simple repair kit that includes a spare tube, tyre levers and a small mini pump. You can also consider packing a bike multi tool as well in case you need to make any adjustments to bike seat height etc during your ride. If you ride with your own cycling gps computer don’t forget to bring it with you as well as the mounts to attach it to your hire bike.

The type of clothing you wear riding is a matter of personal preference and style. We would also recommend packing a lightweight rain jacket with you if you plan to be riding in any of the high mountains. Regardless of any wet weather, the temperatures at the summit can vary quite greatly and a jacket will help to cut out the wind chill on the long descents. A pair of padded bike shorts can go a long way in making sure you don’t get too sore during your rides. Lastly don’t forget to pack a water bottle – cycling is thirsty work after all!

Are bike helmets compulsory in France?

No, It is not mandatory for adults to wear a helmet when riding a bike in France. Our observations have been that in cities and on cycle paths many people do ride without them. However when riding in the mountains you will find nearly everybody wears a helmet. We have always taken our helmets with us and used them when on our cycling holiday. Ultimately whether you choose to wear a helmet will be a personal preference. You will find that most stores will offer bike helmets for hire as well with their bike rentals.

French cycling terms

Navigating bike hire in a foreign country can be tricky and especially in a foreign language too. To help out we have listed below the English translations for some French cycling terms which you will come across.

French Term
English Translation

Location, location de vélo

Rental, bike rental

Un vélo, une bicyclette


Un vélo de route

Road bike

Un vélo tout-terrain, un VTT

Mountain bike

Un vélo tout chemin, un VTC

Hybrid bike

Une piste cyclable

Cycle path

Un magasin de cycles

Bike store

Casque de vélo

Bike helmet

Un vélo electrique


Un vélo enfant

Child bike

Un vélo gravel

Gravel bike

Atelier de vélo

Bike workshop

Point to point bike hire in France

There are some operators in France who provide point to point bike hire. This is beneficial if you are not planning on returning to the destination where you initially rented the bike from. It is an ideal option for cycle tourists as well as those who plan on travelling to various areas within France.

French city bike share rentals

Since the City of Paris introduced the Velib bike hire scheme in 2007, their popularity has expanded. This means most major French cities and towns have similar hire schemes available. Hiring from these setups is relatively straightforward. There are hub locations dotted around the city from which you can hire and drop off the bike once you are done. For example in a large city like Paris there are literally hundreds of these bike stations, and you will always find them in key locations such as near markets, train stations and popular tourist sites. 

The self-service pay stations are set up similar to a pay parking system and in addition to this many of the schemes now also have online apps which you can access from your smartphone. City bike share schemes can be a great way to explore a city and are popular not just with tourists but also locals as well. We have personal experience of using them on multiple occasions in several French cities and it provides a great alternative to public transport as well. As cities continue expanding their car free cycle network, the popularity of these city bike hire schemes will only continue to grow.

A man cycling in Bordeaux on a hire bike
A women cycling the Bordeaux greenway on a Bordeaux hire bike

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