Renting Bikes In France

Great resources make trip planning so much easier!  To help with your trip planning, I’m developing a list of my favorites.  I’m on the lookout for new rental agencies to add, but they must have high quality bikes and great customer service.  If you have any recommendations for me, please send me a note and let me know. Likewise if you have any less than satisfactory experiences with any of the resources listed, let me know!  It’s a good idea to confirm whether the rental agency accepts credit cards or just cash.  And beware that most rental agencies will require a deposit on rented bikes, most often with a credit card hold.  Once the bikes are returned, the credit card hold slip should be shredded and thrown away.

Where to Rent Bikes

Aquitaine Bike Hire Dordogne:  If you are planning a cycling trip in the Dordogne or Le Vezere River Valleys, this is one of the first places you should stop.  Located in the Perigord Norir Region in the small town of Coux et Bigaroque, Aquitaine Bike Hire Dordogne rents bikes, and develops affordable, self-guided tours.  Owners Amy and Robert Owensmith have extensive cycling and tour planning experience and can help you plan a cycling trip that works with your budget.

Bike rentals are either 21 and 24 speed Trek hybrids or 30 speed Lapierre road bikes.  They also rent Lapierre 6 and 18 speed kids’ bikes. The one week rental fee for a Trek hybrid is 130€, Lapierre Road Bike is 185€ and the kids’ bike is 80€.  Bike delivery is free of charge to your hotel, B&B or campsite within 20 km of Coux et Bigaroque.  This includes popular towns such as Les Eyzies, Le Bugue, Tremolat, Cadouin, St Cyprian and La Roque Gageac.  Since Les Eyzies is easily accessible from Paris by train, traveling to this region and renting from Aquitaine Bike Hire Dordogne is as easy as can be!  Bikes are equipped with helmet (unless you have your own), water bottle, lock, bike multitool, spare tube, pump and tire levers. Hybrids come with a handlebar bag which is perfect for storing things you need to have quick access to, like your camera, as well as for lunch supplies.  Waterproof panniers are available if needed.

If you are looking for a bit more help with your trip planning, Amy and Robert can help you without breaking the bank.  In addition to bike rental, they specialize in self-guided, custom cycling tours.  They take care of the routes, bikes and equipment and they provide you with a list of suggested places to stay.  You choose where you want to stay from this list, or any choices you want to make on your own. I love this, since I am an absolute nut about choosing where I stay each night!  Amy and Robert will help plan itineraries according to your cycling ability and what you are interested in seeing:  the prehistory caves, castles, vineyards, market towns or just quiet riding along peaceful country roads.

For more information on trip planning services or bike rental in the Dordogne, contact Amy and Robert at aquitainebike@gmail.com.

Bike Hire Direct:  This growing bicycle rental network services the Charente, Charente Maritime and Vienne regions, as well as the Dordogne. This company prides itself on customer service and, judging from their customer reviews, they do a very effective job of it! If you’re planning a family bicycle trip in any of these regions, this is definitely the company that you want to rent your bikes from.  They’ll deliver and pick up bikes from where you’re staying, and they’ll make sure you know the best bicycle routes in your area.  Hybrid tandems are available as well as children’s bike trailers, tag-along bikes and cargo trailers.  The company offers family rental packages that include 2 adult and 2 kids bikes and they also have couples packages.  If you’re not sure which region you want to travel to, just contact Natasha at info@bikehiredirect.  Here are the contacts for each specific region:

  • For Bike Hire in the Charente region, contact Philip Tuffin at:  charente@bikehiredirect.com
    http://www.bikehiredirect.com/cyclingincharente
  • For Bike Hire in the Charente Maritime, contact Christopher and Beth wright at:  charentemaritime@bikehiredirect.com
    http://www.bikehiredirect.com/cyclingincharentemaritime
  • For Bike Hire in the Dordogne, contact Cedric Bonnemaison at:  dordogne@bikehiredirect.com
    http://www.bikehiredirect.com/cyclingindordogne
  • For Bike Hire in the Deux Sevres, contact deuxsevres@bikehiredirect.com, http://www.bikehiredirect.com/cyclingindeuxsevres
  • For Bike Hire in the Gironde, contact Gareth Ott at: gironde@bikehiredirect.com, http://bikehiredirect.com/cyclingingironde
  • For Bike Hire in the Haute Vienne, contact:  hautevienne@bikehiredirect.com
    http://bikehiredirect.com/cyclinginhautevienne
  • For Bike Hire in the Vienne, contact: vienne@bikehiredirect.com
    http://www.bikehiredirect.com/cyclinginvienne
  • For Bike Hire in the Vendee, contact: Steve and Julie Foster at:  vendee@bikehiredirect.com, http://www.bikehiredirect.com/cyclinginvendee

Bike Rental France:  Great resources for carbon fiber road bikes in addition to hybrids. Bikes are available in Beaune, Burgundy, Toulouse, Mid-Pyrenees, Dordogne, Provence and the Alps.  Minimum road bike rental is 3 days, in July 5 days.  Contact Philippe or Arnaud at:  info@bikerentalfrance.com.

Bike Atlantic Services the Basque and Landes areas, delivering anywhere within a 20 km area of Anglet, just outside of Bayonne. They will also pick up and deliver for a fee throughout Acquitaine and Northern Spain. The company rents 24 speed Trek bikes, one of my favorites. The company also offers a self guided tour of Southwest France, beginning in Bayonne and ending in Les Eyzies in the Dordogne.  This company knows the region and can help insure that you choose an itinerary that is suited to your experience level.  Contact Marc Fenies at:  mfenies@hotmail.com.

Bikever Specializes in bike rentals in Western France is a new offshoot of my favorite rental company, O2cycles in Bordeaux.  If you are planning a bicycling trip to Western France, your first stop for bike rentals should be Bikever.  This new company is the brainchild of Norbert Audoin, owner of O2Cycles.  I have known Norbert for several years and during this time we have become good friends.  The service and reliability of O2Cycle rentals has become the standard that I look for in all of my European bike rentals.  The German Cube hybrid that Norbert rents is my favorite bike to rent for touring in France and I’m excited that this bike will now be available to rent in Western France through Bikever.

While O2cycles specializes in rentals in and around Bordeaux, Bikever can supply rental bikes anywhere in Western France from Brittany to the Pyrenees.  If you have a specific location in mind, contact the company to confirm delivery and rates.

For further information on rentals and delivery, you can read my full report on Bikever, or you can contact Norbert in Bordeaux, contact@O2cycles.com or Jonathan, jonathan@bikever.com.

Bourgogne Randonnees:  Rents great Gitane hybrids in Beaune in the heart of Burgundy.  If you are planning a trip to explore the vineyards in and around Beaune, there is no place better to rent high quality bikes than Bourgogne Randonnees.  Located within a short walk of the Beaune train station, Bourgogne Randonnees rents the French Gitane hybrids that are one of my favorite bikes to rent in France.  The company is owned and managed by two partners with plenty of experience in bike maintenance and the travel industry.  Florian was formerly head mechanic of a luxury touring company, overseeing a fleet of 1,000 bikes and Cedric was the CFO.  All bikes are serviced and cleaned before each rental, insuring that bikes are in perfect condition.  For longer rentals, extra repair items are provided, and brakes pads are changed to insure that customers will not have any problems.  The emphasis at Bourgogne Randonnees is service and support, so you can feel secure you are in safe hands with Cedric and Florian.  You can contact them at helloinfobr@aol.com.

Brittany Borders Bicycling Specializes in bike rental in Brittany and Normandy.  John and Veronica Hall rent touring/hybrid bikes, kids bikes and tandems.  They go out of their way to help make sure your bikes are where you need them to be, when you need them there.  Delivery is free within a 20 km radius of St. George de Reintembault.  Over this distance, the charge is 1€/km up to a maximum distance of 80km. Brittany Borders Bicycling also offers a delivery and collection service to the local rail stations, the Dinard and Rennes airports and the Saint Malo ferry terminal. They’ll hold your extra luggage if needed, and they can arrange daily luggage transfer (for an additional fee) if desired.  For additional information, contact either John or Veronica at info@brittanybordersbicycling.com.

Detours de Loire Services the Loire from St. Nazaire to Nevers.  I have rented from this company numerous times and it is one of my favorites along the Loire.  The main office is located within steps of the Tours train station.  The company has divided the Loire into 20 zones, and you can pick up and drop off your bike in any zone.  This makes it very easy to plan your trip as you don’t need to double back to return your bike.  It saves time, giving you more time to explore by bike.  I highly recommend the Trek hybrid bikes.  They are a bit more money to rent than the basic models, but are well worth it if you’re going to be renting for a week or longer. Inquiries are handled by Candice who is a great resource for questions about the region, and she speaks great English.  For further information contact her at contact-detours@orange.fr. It’s possible to use a credit card to pay for bike rental services.  Note that after September 30, rentals are only available from Tours and Blois, and drop off services are only available at these 2 locations.  Fall hours are:

Tours:  Monday to Saturday 9:00 to 1:00 and 2:00 to 7:00

Blois:  Monday to Saturday 9:30 to 12:30 and 2:30 to 7:00

Esprit Cycles:  Located in the gorgeous city of Strasbourg in Alsace Lorraine, Esprit Cycles is the place to rent bikes if you are cycling anywhere in the region.  Now with 4  locations in Strasbourg, this agency rents everything from city bikes to 4 levels of e-bikes, kids’ bikes, hybrids and tandems.  I rented bikes from Esprit for three weeks in 2015 for my travels around Alsace and the Mosel and Rhine Rivers.

Their rental bikes are high quality and well-maintained, the two most important factors to me for touring on varying surfaces.  I was completely satisfied with my experience with the company and I hope you will be also.  This is a company that prides itself on quality service, repairs and customer relations.  This is why they should be a top choice if you are looking to rent a bike for touring Strasbourg or the Alsace region.  Esprit Cycles is a local expert on e-bikes, so if you’re interested in renting (or buying) an e-bike, this is the place to go!  When I was in Strasbourg this summer, I saw an electric tandem in the store;  what an amazing cycling machine!

Click here for information on bike rental options and prices. There are generous discounts for long-term rentals and examples of these are detailed on the rental page. Deposits are required on all rentals.  Details on the rental conditions can be reviewed by clicking here.

Click here for the address and phone number of each location, as well as a map showing where each is located.  The Halles-Tribunal shop at 27-29 Rue du Faubourg-de-Pierre and the Neudorf-Meinau shop at 138 Avenue de Colmar are the primary bike rental locations.

The company has recently expanded its website, including a English version that makes it  easy to access trip planning information, as well as to make reservations. For further information or to make a reservation, contact Esprit Cycles at loc@espritcycles.com.

Luberon Biking:  Where I rented bikes in 2013 for my travels in the Luberon region of Provence. While I rented a very good quality hybrid bike, Luberon Biking is a great resource if you are looking to do some serious cycling, Tour de France style!  Road bike rentals are the Specialized Roubaix.

Owned by Hubert Flechais, this company has adult and kids bikes throughout the region.  They’ll deliver your bikes to your hotel or will meet you at one of a number of local train stations, including Avignon, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and Cavaillon, as well as others. Other services offered include guide services and custom itinerary planning. Luberon Biking will hold the luggage that you don’t need while biking and will deliver it at your last hotel….at no charge!  This is a wonderful service which will simplify your organization efforts a lot.  Hubert really knows cycling in the Luberon and is a great resource for suggestions for your trip.

The company website has been recently updated and is now available in English.  There is a contact page online should you have specific questions or need additional information or you can contact Hubert at:  contact@luberon-biking.fr.

O2Cycles:  Located in Bordeaux, servicing the Aquitaine region is owned by Norbert Audouin who has been in the bicycle business over 10 years.  Norbert rents German hybrid bikes called the Cube that are perfectly suited for the varied road surfaces in Aquitaine. We rented these bikes last summer and found them to be some of the best we’d ever ridden.  For serious cyclists, O2cycles rents carbon racing bikes perfectly suited to the challenging cycling of SW France.  Bikes are delivered to your choice of destination in and around the Bordeaux area and support services are offered in the immediate Bordeaux area. All bikes are diligently maintained to insure your safety on the road.  Norbert and his partner Jonathan are two of the most professional people I have ever met, and they’re dedicated to making sure that each and every customer has a great cycling experience.  That’s the reason I would travel way out of my way to rent a bike from this company!

New for 2017, O2Cycles can provide luggage transfer from Sete to Bordeaux along the Canal Des Deux Mers. The company can also coordinate delivery and pickup of bikes for large cycling clubs or corporate groups, a service that is very rare in France and/or Europe. O2Cycles has begun to to offer customized itinerary planning, a service that will not only save you a lot of research and planning time, but also a lot of money by recommending small, local B&B’s and local restaurants.  This new fee-based service is certain to be very popular. As part of this service, O2Cycles will also provide you with detailed maps as well as a GPS with your personal itinerary.

For further information contact Norbert directly with your specific details at:  contact@o2cycles.com.

Paris Bike Company If you’re looking for the perfect place to rent a high performance road bike for your French cycling adventures in Paris, look no further than Paris Bike Company.  It’s located at 29 Rue Victor Hugo in Malakoff just next to the 15th arrondissement. Paris Bike Company is a quick metro ride on line 13 to Porte de Vanves or Malakoff Plateau de Vanves and is easily reached by car off the Southern part of the Périphérique.  Owned by American Sam Weaver, Paris Bike Company specializes in making sure that each bike rented is set up according to the measurements of your own bike at home, giving you the comfort of your own bike, without the hassle of transporting it to France.

With over 25 years of experience in the bike business, Sam has a huge following among serious cyclists from his days working at Helen’s Cycles in Santa Monica, and his following in France is not far behind.  His in-depth knowledge of cycling in France, his customer service orientation and his commitment to quality all help insure that your bike rental experience here will be perfect.  For more information on the services available at Paris Bike Company, check the website or contact Sam at sam@parisbikeco.com.

Relax Rentals Ideally located just a few steps from the train station and tourism office in the town of Beziers in the south of France. The company is run by Timo, born and raised in the land of bicycling, the Netherlands, and has also lived in the US.  His wife, Isabella is from Philadelphia.  They moved to the south of France and after they got married.  If you are planning a trip along the Canal du Midi or the Languedoc region, Relax Rentals is the perfect place to rent a bike.  All adult bikes are made by Giant, and they are regularly maintained and serviced. Each comes with a bike repair and patching kit (important for the rough surfaces along the canal), helmets, locks, pumps, maps and lights.  Bikes are fitted with puncture resistent tires.  Children’s bikes are also available, as well as bike trailers and kid’s seats and third wheels.  Timo and Isabella will make whatever additional arrangements you need done, including helping with your accommodations. For further information, contact them at relaxbeziers@gmail.com.

Sun-e-Bike: A unique cycling network that makes it possible for recreational cyclists to explore the hilly terrain of Provence effortlessly. The company’s state of the art e-bikes make it possible for people like you and I to cycle roads formerly the domain of expert cyclists. My experience on a Sun-e-Bike was one of the most fun cycling experiences I ever had and I can’t wait to go back, especially now that the company has opened up 2 new locations in Provence. Beginning in 2017, you can choose from four towns for your Sun-e-Bike adventure:  Bonnieux, St-Remy de Provence, Chateauneuf du Pape and Vaison-la-Romaine.

If you’re planning a trip to Provence and want a fun and exciting way to explore the region, look no further than the Sun-e-Bike. If you have never toured on an electric bike, you’re really in for a treat.  There is nothing like the exhilaration of bicycling with a Sun-e-Bike. This company has done everything to insure ease of use by the customer, from custom-designed itineraries, to self-guided itineraries, to well-designed e-bikes with long lasting batteries.  The two days I spent this summer cycling with a Sun-e-Bike wasn’t nearly long enough. I can’t wait to go back and explore more of the Luberon, St-Remy and Vaison-la-Romaine.  If you fall in love with your e-bike, the good news is that Sun-e-Bike now sells their custom designed e-bikes.  You can read more about Sun-e-Bike, its cycling network and its all-inclusive tours on the website.

VeliBourgogne:  A bike rental network along the Burgundy Canal and the Canal du Nivernais similar to the one along the Loire.  You can pick up your bicycles at one of 15 locations along either canal, and drop the bike off any one of the following 15 locations: Ancy le Franc, Auxerre, Briare, Chablis, Clamecy, Corbigny, Decize, Dijon, Migennes, Montbard, Nevers, Pouilly-en-Auxois, Meaning, Thunder and Vincelles.  Agents in each location also offer local support should you encounter any technical difficulty along the way. Having the ability to drop rental bikes off at your destination saves time and money and is a feature available only on the Loire and the VeliBourgogne network, to the best of my knowledge.

Recent enhancements to the website include an English version, thanks to the addition of Google Translate in the upper left hand corner of the page. This makes it much easier for English-speaking cyclists to make a reservation or inquire about rental services.

VeliBourgogne is a partner of Escapade Gourmande which has been providing cycling and walking tours in Burgundy for more than 15 years.  Through Escapade Gourmande, you can purchase custom cycling tours which include as little or as much trip planning support as you want, whether purchasing a self-guided package tour or simply arranging for luggage transfer and drop off services.

Luggage transfer services are offered through BagTransfert so that you can seemlessly arrange to have your luggage transferred also.  I have not used this new service yet, but I am looking forward to in the near future. For additional information contact Laurent Richoux at infos@escapadegourmande.com.

VeloRoo:  Located in the small town of Saint Genies de Fontedit about 20 minutes north of Beziers on the Canal du Midi. If you’re traveling to this area, and you’re an experienced cyclist looking to explore this region by road bike, take a few moments to look at this website.

The company is owned by Australian cyclists Steve Prokop and Julia Petts who are easily recognized on the road by their distinctive VeloRoo cycling jerseys!  Steve and Julia specialize in guided and self-guided tours of the Languedoc, in addition to road bike rentals.  There is a 3 day minimum rental requirement for road bikes year-round, and a 5 day minimum in July and August.  Needless to say, reservations are required year-round also.  Pedals are not included, so you’ll need to bring your own.

One of my favorite services at VeloRoo is the guided day rides for those who don’t have the time for a longer cycling adventure.  True to the company motto “Live, Laugh, Ride”, the guided day rides are totally turn key, all the planning and logistics are taken care of by VeloRoo, all you need to do is show up!  Cyclists can choose either a day tour (approximately 6 hours of riding) or half-day (approximately 4 hours of riding), with performance road bike and helmet included.

The company can arrange for transfers from the Bezier Airport for a fee.  Otherwise you will need to have transportation from Bezier to Saint Genies de Fontedit.

 

  1. kearns.barbara@gmail.com May 13, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Dear Maggie,
    Your blog is really fun to read and has inspired us to this time travel to Bordeaux with using a company to plan our trip for us.
    We are a family of 4 and we are traveling to Bordeaux on the 3.6.2013 until the 10.3.2013
    I would like your advise regarding whether you think the trip would be more interesting and enjoyable if we took the train from Bordeaux to La rochelle and cycle out to Ile de Re and then onto Royan and over to Soulac and along the river or is this too much cycling for a 6 day trip.
    I notice that both you and others comment that the trip along the Atlantic coast form Soulac towards Hourtin is along pine forests and somewhat monotinous?
    many thanks for all you advise on the blog
    Regards
    barbara

    1. Hi Barbara! Thanks so much for your note and I am so excited to hear about your upcoming trip. One question: how old are you kids and will they be riding with you(via third wheel or kiddie kart)or will they be riding their own bikes? the ride over the bridge to the Ile de Re is a bit demanding. If your kids will be bicycling it on their own, try to plan to stop along the route to allow them time to catch their breath. The path is just a sidewalk width, so it can get tight if people are passing you in the opposite direction. Once you are on the island it is really lovely, one of my favorites. If you go, Inwould recommend staying 2 days. Anything less and you will not have time to explore the island. From there I would recommend possibly Rochefort, there is much to see there of interest to kids. Moving down the coast, The bike paths from Tremblade to Royan are lovely. You can easily spend a night in Royan. It’s a lovely town to explore and the beaches are wonderful. The ferry is really fun and the town of Soulac is very nice to explore. There is a great market there and a lovely town.Once again, the main attraction is the beach. After Soulac, there is a succession of small beach/surfing towns along the coast, and, as you said, lots of pine forests. Not much to see/do until you get to Arcachon. I love the area around the Bay of Arcachon, lots to see and do and great bike paths. You can actually bike around the entire bay and there are great little towns all the way. There are lots of attractions,and of course the Dune du Pilat, the largest dunes in all of Europe. This is a really terrific area and one that I would highly recommend, but you would definitely want to spend at least 2-4 nights there,possibly longer. There is a dedicated bike path there from Bordeaux or you can take the train and then just hop on your bikes when you get there, or rent bikes when you get there.

      Which trip you do really depends on what you want to see, and how old your kids are. the big attraction on the Atlantic Coast route is the ocean, SO the ocean and the beach are the big attraction. If you have some specific questions, send them to me and I will try to answer. Either way, I am sure you’ll have a great trip.

      Maggie LaCoste

  2. Dear Maggie,
    Thank you so much for the great, easy-to-follow advice. My friend and I will be staying in Beaune for a few days this August and we won’t have a car. We would very much like to do the wine route hopefully by bike. Is it easy to follow and ride? We are not serious cyclists, but are in good overall shape. Also, can you stop at vineyards for tastings or are reservations needed? Apologies in advance if this info is already posted on this site.
    -Jennifer

    1. Dear Jennifer,
      Thanks so much for your note and I am so excited that you are planning to bicycle through the vineyards in the summer. This is one of my favorite routes, and I had such a fun time just reviewing old posts to send to you! Makes me want to plan to also go back in the fall! In response to several of your questions: you do not need a car. The best way in my mind to explore the vineyards, especially south of Beaune is by bike. I have many friends who have done this route several times by car, and they have not had even close to the experience that I have by bike!

      I would recommend that you spend 2-3 days along the route, especially if you plan on tasting. There is so much to explore, so much to taste, eat, photos to take etc, that 2-3 days will barely be enough. Most people traveling by car do the trip in several hours, but then they have a very different trip…..different experience. This is definitely an area to be savored! This is not a difficult route for casual cyclists. There are some deviations that you can take to go into the hills, but that would be only if you wanted to. Other than that, most of the route is flat, some very mild rolling hills.

      If possible, plan to be in Beaune for the Saturday market, one of my favorite in Burgundy. I am checking into bike rentals for you. The company that I used to use is now just in the tour business, so I will confirm the details for the new company and will send on to you. As far as tasting is concerned, you will be swimming in places to taste. If there are specific places you want to stop, I would suggest that you look into them before you go. I rarely do this, we generally just stop at places we think are interesting, and we always have a great time. So that you don’t get overwhelmed, you might want to take a couple hour introduction to wine class in Beaune. There is so many vineyards and so much wine that otherwise it can be very overwhelming. I find that the most fun is really just the slow exploration of the vineyards, looking for local wines that never make it to the US, speaking with the local shop owners about wine, and tasting as many different wines at dinner as possible. I am including links to several posts that I have written about this area, as well as the link to the Burgundy wine organization. Also included is a link to the Beaune Office of Tourism, specifically their downloads page. On the download page there is a brochure called “Veloroute Beaune-Santenay”. This is a map for the route that you want to take. It is very easy to follow and very easy to get to. Hope this information will get you started. I will follow up with the bike rental information as soon as I hear back from my friends. Good luck and have fun planning. This is a really great trip and a great time of year to do it!

      http://experiencefrancebybike.com/bicycling-in-burgundy-a-dream-ride-along-the-canal-du-centre/
      http://experiencefrancebybike.com/bicycling-the-burgundy-vineyards/
      http://experiencefrancebybike.com/bicycling-in-burgundy-wine-tasting-in-the-cote-de-beaune/
      http://www.beaune-tourism.com/Burgundy-stays/download-brochures.asp
      http://www.bourgogne-wines.com

      Maggie LaCoste
      Experience France by Bike