Has anyone used the Paris Velib bicycles? Are they a good option for free-time sight-seeing?
They looked awesome, but would not take any of our Canadian credit cards. Not sure if a US card would have more luck.
I was in Paris a few weeks ago, while I didn't use the bikes, they were plentiful in lots of different locations. They only accept cards with smart chips embedded in them. The only US cards that have them are Amex cards. Someone posted a few months ago that surprisingly the terminals accepted Amex. Otherwise you can purchase a prepaid debit card once you arrive in Paris, which should work.
Didn't know about the pre-paid cards. That would have been awesome.
However, we would have likely killed ourselves trying to navigate some of the hairier Parisian intersections.
That's why I didn't try out the bikes:) Cycling in a busy city terrifies me!
Here's a link to a previous discussion from last year:
Alas, Paris has excluded most American tourists from being able to use the wonderful Velib system. The machines will only take the kind of credit cards with a "puce" - the little gold chip on most European credit cards. So if you have one of those, you're good to go, but if not, well :(
Abby, it is not PARIS that has excluded Americans from using the Velib bicycles, but the North American credit card companies. In Canada, the credit card companies have begun issuing cards with the necessary "chip". You should begin asking your Visa & Mastercard
people to do the same.
Norma, It is the Velib folks that are locking out non-European cards. If they wanted to they could modify their machines to accept magnetic strip cards. Lots of other merchants in Paris are able to accept our card non-chip cards.
Ah, yes. I forgot, it is all a grand conspiracy against non -Europeans (read:Americans) on the part of the the French government. How foolish of me to have forgotten this.
Conspiracy?? By non-Europeans I'm talking about people who live in: North America, South America, Australia, Asia, and Africa....most of the world's population. They also can't use their cards at Velib machines.
It's in retaliation for the US conspiracy to stop non-Americans using our cards to pay-at-the-pump at US gas stations. Swap you a chip for a US zip code...