It all started in Paris with the Velib’ Scheme – an amalgam of Velo (cycle) and Liberte (free), which has been a tremendous success.
The latest we’ve come across is the Velomagg in Montepellier (34 Herault, Languedoc-Roussillon).
Vélib’ is a Self Service “bike hire” system available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Multi pick up and drop off location allows you to pick up your bike from one service point and drop off to another.
. You need to subscribe, but for visitors there are 1-day and 7-day subscriptions and after the first 30 minutes you pay by the half-hour – e.g. a 90-minute hire will cost just €3 and you can pick up and drop off your bike at any of the hundreds of self-service stations across the city.
The Velib’ scheme has been based on a similar scheme VeloV in Lyon (69 Rhone, Rhone-Alpes) France’s second city. The combination of these eco-friendly and fitness focussed schemes is now spreading throughout France:-
VeloCite in Mulhouse (68 Haut-Rhin, Alsace) and Besancon (25 Doubs, Franche-Comté)
Vhello in Aix-en-Provence (13 Bouches-du-Rhone, Provence)
Le Velo in Marseille (13 Bouches-du-Rhone, Provence)
Velo in Toulouse (34 Haut Garonne, Midi-Pyrenees)
Nantes (44 Loire-Atlantique, Val de Loire)
Rouen (76 Seine Maritime, Normandy)
Bordeaux (33 Gironde, Aquitaine)
Velostan in Nancy (54 Meurthe et Moselle, Lorraine)
Velo+ in Orleans (45 Loiret, Centre)
This is clearly a popular scheme, mainly aimed at local residents but may also offer a different way of seeing some of France’s major cities from a different perspective. However, I would recommend choosing a city with good cycle lanes and paths – you do get the impression that traffic in many of France’s cities is not very forgiving with errant cyclists – so do not try cycling around the rond-point of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris!!