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Paris Velib Bike Rentals

I have read that it is necessary to have the "chip and pin" cards to rent these bikes. Is this true, and if so are there other options besides using the machines at the stations? Any help would be apprecited. Thanks!
Steve

Posted by
689 posts

It's true, and it keeps most Americans from using the bikes.

Posted by
22158 posts

It is my understanding that only chip and pin along with the Am Express card We have a similar bike share program in Denver and you either use a credit card or a membership card. Wonder if a membership card would be available in Paris. I am sure there is a web site somewhere.

Posted by
9024 posts

The only magnetic strip card Velib accepts is American Express; they're a sponsor of it. The only alternative is to purchase a pre-paid debit card when you arrive in Paris; they're chip & pin caompatible. But you will have to have at least 200 euros loaded on the card to cover the deposit.

Posted by
104 posts

I have read that if you have a Navigo card that it will allow you to use the Velib bikes. By the way, I have the latest ...Michelin Paris by Arrondissements mapguide and it shows the Velib stands on the maps.

Posted by
8648 posts

We had a Navigo card for our month in Paris last summer and it didn't work for the Velib bikes. We tried.

Posted by
2151 posts

I have been able to rent them using my Amex card if that helps.

Posted by
7205 posts

We're in Paris right now and the bikes are everywhere. Looks like easy rental locations everywhere.

Posted by
17 posts

Thanks for all of the information! We'll have Amex cards, so it should work out for us. Thanks again for replying, the people on this site are incredibly helpful!

Posted by
8648 posts

Steve, there are places in Paris, other than Velib, to rent bikes for the day if that's what you'd like to do. There's a bike rental shop on Quai de Montebello, another by the Hotel de Ville, Fat Tire bikes (in addition to tours, they rent out bikes) and there's one on Saturdays and Sundays in the Bois de Boulogne across from the entrance to the Jardin D'Acclimatation. You can Google for more. On Sundays the road along the Seine, from (I believe) the Grand Palais and going east past Ile Saint Louis is closed to cars for bike riding, roller blading, walkers, etc.

Posted by
259 posts

I was wondering if anyone tried using a chip and PIN MasterCard Cash Passport from Travelex to use Velib bikes. We have several Travelex offices in the L.A. area. The chip and PIN MasterCard is a prepaid card, but we could load it up with enough to cover the Velib 150 Euros so that we could use the bikes. Obviously, the exchange cost would be necessary, but we're avid bike riders and would love to use Velib bikes while in Paris this summer.

Posted by
340 posts

We rented these bikes last week in Paris - absolutely a great way to see the city! Use the website mentioned above (velib.paris.fr then click on the english flag) to set up an account. They give you a pin # and you can use that to rent your bikes each time. We had no problems. Very inexpensive and lots of fun! Best was in the mornings before the traffic picks up - you feel like you have the city all to yourself. Then stop a a cafe for breakfast - perfect!

Posted by
56 posts

Debra and Lise, Did you set up your account online in advance? I have tried the website using the date next month we will be in Paris but it rejects my date. If I select todays date it works so I am a bit confused. I would like to get the account set up in advance as I am concerned about the ease of setting up once in Paris.
Merci!

Posted by
340 posts

We set-up our account while in Paris, using the computer in the hotel's lobby. This took less than 5 minutes once I adjusted to the European keyboard. Try putting random dates close to when you are traveling into the website. It may only allow you a 1 week, 1 month, etc. prior-to-use window. Then you can try again within that window of time.

Posted by
22158 posts

Are you using the correct date pattern -- in Europe it is day/month/year and not the US pattern of month.day.year

Posted by
56 posts

I got on the web site and played around with the dates and got it to work, it appears that you can't make your activation date much more than 2-3 weeks in advance.

Posted by
123 posts

We rented velib several times in paris - we just used our delta AMEX cards! :-) Very fun and convenient!

Posted by
9024 posts

The only magnetic strip credit card accepted at the Kiosks is American Express; they're a sponsor of Velib. You can only use MC/Visa at the Kiosks if they have the "chip".

Posted by
142 posts

So, I don't have to register in advance on the website? When I looked through the site it prompted login info only if I was a long term customer. Can I just walk up and rent one? I see they put a 150 euro hold on your card. Anyone had a bad experience with them not lifting the hold for an extended amount of time?

Posted by
10 posts

A couple of things to note:
1. The American Express Blue Card has a chip in it that can be used to rent bikes on the Velib. There is no annual fee. I have another Amex card and got the Amex Blue card in a couple of weeks's time. 2. One of the tricky things about the Velib system is finding a station in busy locations that have space to accommodate the bike you are returning. If you encounter a full Velib station, sign on to the system anyway which will give you additional free minutes. If you don't do this, don't burn a hole in your stomach, the charge for using the bikes for more than 30 minutes at a time is something like 1 Euro so no big deal. 3. There is an App that shows the number of bikes available and the number of spaces available that is worth getting. The App has a map that shows the station locations and also has a feature so that you can save your favorite locations for quick access. 4. It took us a couple times using the Velib system to get on to the system which we enjoyed using. Have fun!

Posted by
9024 posts

The American Express Blue Card has a chip in it that can be used to rent bikes on the Velib. There is no annual fee. I have another Amex card and got the Amex Blue card in a couple of weeks's time. The Velib kiosks accept all American Express cards; magnetic strip and chip&pin. AE is a sponsor of the program and they have rigged the machines to only accept AE cards with magnetic strips.