Renting Bikes In France

Great resources make trip planning so much easier!  To help with your trip planning, I am developing a list of my favorites.  I will be adding to this list all the time, so if you don’t find what you are looking for, send me a note.  If you have any less than satisfactory experiences with any of the resources listed, let me know!  Also, always be sure to confirm whether the rental agency accepts credit cards or just cash.

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, servicing 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 are planning a family bicycle trip in any of these regions, this is definitely the company that you want to rent your bikes from.  They will deliver and pick up bikes from where you are staying, and they will make sure that you know about the best bicycle routes in your area.  Hybrid tandems are available as well as children’s bike trailers, tag-along bikes and cargo trailers.  They offer family rental packages that include 2 adult and 2 kids bikes and they also have couples packages.  If you are not sure which region you will be traveling to, just contact Natasha at charante@bikehiredirect.  Here are the contacts for each specific region:

  • For Bike Hire in the Charente region, contact Natasha and Neville Wright 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 Henrietta Short at:  dordogne@bikehiredirect.com
    http://www.bikehiredirect.com/cyclingindordogne
  • For Bike Hire in the Deux Sevres, contact deuxsevres@bikehiredirect.com
  • For Bike Hire in the Gironde, contact gironde@bikehiredirect.com
  • For Bike Hire in the Haute Vienne, contact Phil and Rosie Hawes at:  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

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, specializing 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.  Road bikes are the lighweight GT GTR Series 1, mountain bikes are the GT Karakoram 2.0, and hybrids are the Cube Town.  Bikever also rents the popular Lapierre Prorace kid’s bike.  Luggage carriers, infant trailers, and Ortleib and Vaude panniers are also available for rent.  Note, road bikes are provided without pedals, so be sure to bring your own for road bike rentals.

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, renting 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, specializing in bike rental in Brittany and Normandy.  John and Veronica Hall rent mountain bikes, touring/hybrid bikes, kids bikes and tandems.  They go out of their way to help make sure that your bikes are where you need them to be, when you need them there.  Delivery is free within a 25 km radius of St. George de Reintembault.  Over this distance, the charge is 1 Euro/km.  They also offer a delivery and collection service to the local rail stations, the Dinard and Rennes airports and the Saint Malo ferry terminal.  They will hold your extra luggage if needed, and they will arrange luggage transfer 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 that the basic models, but are well worth it if you are going to be renting for a week or longer. Inquiries are handled by Candice who speak English and is a great resource for questions about the region.  For further information contact her at contact-detours@orange.fr.  It is possible to use a credit card to pay for bike rental services.

Luberon Biking is where I rented bikes in 2013 for my travels in the Luberon region of Provence.  Owned by Hubert Flechais, this company has 220 adult and kids bikes that are available throughout the region.  They will deliver your bikes to your hotel or will meet you at one of a number of local train stations.  Bikes are either Specialized or Van Nicholas brand and they also rent Trek tandems.  Other services offered include guide services and custom itinerary planning.  Hubert really knows bicycling in this area and is a great resource for suggestions for your trip.  Contact Hubert at contact@luberon-biking.fr.  Hubert does not speak fluent English, so you may want to use Google Translate for long e-mails!

O2Cycles in Bordeaux, servicing the Aquitaine region is owned by Norbert Audouin who has been in the bicycle business for almost 10 years.  Norbert rents German bikes called the Cube that are perfectly suited for the varied road surfaces in Aquitaine.  We rented the Cube Town model last summer and found them to be some of the best we had ever ridden.  For more serious cyclists, O2cycles also rents GT brand road bikes.  Bikes are delivered to your choice of destination in and around the Bordeaux area.  Support services are offered for 100 km area around Bordeaux. For further information contact Norbert directly with your specific details at:  contact@o2cycles.com

Paris Bike Company, if you are 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 .  Located in the 15th arrondissement, Paris Bike Company is a quick metro ride on line 13 to Porte de Vanves or Malakoff Plateau de Vanves.  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 13 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 is 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 with locations in Bonnieux and St-Remy-de-Provence has a unique cycling network that makes it possible for recreational cyclists to explore the hill towns of Provence.  So if you are planning a trip to Provence and want a fun and exciting way to explore the best hill towns of the region, look no further than the Sun-e-Bike. With two locations, one in the lovely town of Bonnieux, the other in the equally charming town of St-Remy de Provence, you can literally cover most towns in the Luberon and Alpilles areas easily. If you have never toured on an electric bike, you are 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 a very unique battery exchange program to self-guided tour options. 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 and perhaps even the Alpilles!

Veli-bourgogne is the major bicycle rental agency for anywhere along the Burgundy Canal and the Canal du Nivernais.  Detours in France, one of my favorite bike rental companies is now out of the rental business, focusing only on tours. Luckily veliBourgogne has picked up the slack, and has developed a rental network similar to that available along the Loire.  You can now pick up your bicycles (Giant hybrids) at one of 16 locations along either canal, and drop the bike off any one of 16 locations.  This provides great flexibility for cyclists, and also avoids having to double back to drop off bikes.  The company has also partnered with 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.  The veliBourgogne website is currently in French only, but it is easily translated using Google Translate.  For additional information contact Laurent Richoux at infos@escapadegourmande.com.

  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