- Allen Skyy
As soon as I landed in Paris, I knew I wanted a bicycle. Though I love and support the idea of Velibs, I have to admit I feel a bit dorky on those bulky gray carbon copies—plus, each Velib ride inevitably leaves me with grease on my pants. But a more important factor in my decision was an image I had formed when I first booked my ticket to France: me, riding a cool French bicycle, baguette in tow, zooming down the streets of the city of love. And the fancy hybrid I left back in Brooklyn would not do: I needed something that this romantic, idealized version of me could distinctly call his own.
So where does one go to find the bike they always dreamed of riding in Paris? There are a few different options that satisfy a variety of urges, from casual biker to fixie-dedicated hipster to everything in between.
1) Velo Vintage
To answer my own question: this is where I went to find the bike I always dreamed of riding in Paris. A craigslist post brought me to this small, 80s-inspired shop in the 18th. Upon entering the shop I was struck by the quality of their vintage rides, which looked more like art with a seat on it than transportation device. Their bikes range from classic French Peugeot’s to Dutch cruisers. Few are built for the Tour de France; style, comfort and more style reign here.
Although it would be easy to stop at window shopping here, a purchase at VV can be a wise—and even cost-effective—investment. While some of their bikes are in the 600+ Euro range, my very comfortable, sleek, blue 5-speed with a rear rack only set me back 180 €. Before riding off, co-owner Eddy told me to send a picture from wherever the bike ends up taking me. And I’m sure I will: on this bike I feel very photogenic.
Velo Vintage, 58 Rue du Ruisseau, 75018
2) Bicycle Store Paris
Entering this store is like walking into a hipster’s wet dream. Or the wet dream of anyone who likes beautiful bicycles. If you can look past the demonic clown art on the walls, BSP offers up a fantastic array of bikes, from fixed-gear (a favorite of bicycle messengers everywhere) to French velos de ville, in a stunning array of colors and designs. This store also has many extra parts, like handle-bar grips and saddles, on gorgeous multi-colored displays.
Everything about BSP is modern, from their bicycles to their Foosball table to their business model. “We are here to get people on bikes,” Simon, mechanic and co-owner, told me. And while many of their products are above 600+ Euros (a fair price, once you see these beauties), soon-to-arrive shipments promise lower prices. If money is no object, you can have them custom-build one for you. I’m not sure it gets much cooler than that.
Bicycle Store Paris, 17 Boulevard du Temple, 75003
Out of the three shops featured here, Bicloune looks most like the older, more conservative guy down the street who shakes his fist at you if you throw your ball over his fence. But fear not: this well-established shop has plenty of stylish and unique rides to peruse.
Their expansive showroom is literally stuffed wall-to-wall with options, some of which are normal every-day road bikes. But black-finished vintage bikes, beach cruisers fashioned after Harley Davidson motorcycles and vibrant tandems can be seen hanging from the ceiling as well. The choices here, from style to color to price, are certainly the most varied and plentiful. It is surely a “traditional” bike shop, but with unconventional options. As a side note, knowledge of French is a big plus here. .
Bicloune, 93 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003
Sure, having a baguette or attractive French significant other might get you close to looking Parisian, but what of your ride? If you, like me, dream of becoming a French postcard, the right bike might actually get you closer than you thought. Until then, I’ll leave you with the mental image of me, riding by on a sleek bicycle, front basket full of baguettes, maybe sending up a splash of sewer water as I pass…
- Le Figaro’s guide to Paris by bike
- Amy Thomas‘ friends shot this great motion-stop video for Velo Vintage
Written by Eric Goldschein for the HiP Paris Blog. All images except lead by Cara Tobe. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.
Paris’ Best Bike Shops
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17 comments on “Paris’ Best Bike Shops”
I wanna purchase a new or second hand road bicycle like a biachi or pinarello
Where could I get one in paris
Craigslist, Le Bon Coin & Facebook Expat groups are the best places to search to find a bargain!
do you know if a Kjiffy urban trike can be purchased in any shop in France or from the manufacture directly and have it shipped to California USA.
I have been looking for one since I read an article about it,but they do not have any rep. in Usa.
I recommend contacting the manufacturer directly on their website: http://www.kiffy.fr/index.php?lang=en_US. Otherwise, you may be able to find one at the Bicycle Store on boulevard du Temple. Good luck!
– Isabel/HiP Paris
I love Geppetto’s bike shop at 59 Rue de Cardinal Lemoine in Paris. Ane Marie and her staff are the best. Great rental rates, good on advising on routes and also helped us navigate a 2 plus hour night ride on Friday night with 200 riders in Paris. The best.
Although most areas have several bicycle stores, they aren’t on every street corner. In fact, depending on where you live, there may be only a few in your area. Even so, you should visit each shop to get a feel for which store is right for you
I love the blue heels, where are those from!?!
the shop looks awesome i would love to visit
I love my bike, and even though I am in Los Angeles, I feel it gives off such a parisian feel. It ussually has a Wicker basket filled with groceries from a farmer’s market
I’ve been so unsuccessful finding any good deals on leboncoin.fr or craigslist that when I came across vélo vintage through ebay it didn’t seem so expensive at all. Thank you Pierre for the other suggestions! Though I’ve kind of already accepted that if I’m going to buy the French bike of my dreams in Paris it’s probably going to cost me a premium..
I agree these shops may be worth having a look at, particularly Bicloune which has a great variety of original bike types, but these three are the most outrageously expensive in Paris!
I’ll add that Velo Vintage is ran by a couple of guys who are more interested in business than bikes.
If you need to purchase a bike in Paris, the best buys are to be found on Craigslist or even better LeBonCoin.
Gepetto & Velo is the bike shop that offers the best prices for second hand dutch bikes.
Les petits vélos de Maurice is another recommendable shop, if you like folders, Les Vélos Parisiens is the place where to go (but not specially cheap).
And if you are broke you can fix yourself an old bike at the Velorution bike workshop.
Pier – Thank you for letting us know about all of these great options!
These are some great finds. Definitely a great city to have a bike.
I have a red bike that’s been patiently waiting a couple of years for me to ride. This will be the year I put air in the tires, oil up the chain and ride around town. Why the wait??? No answer 🙂
I would love to visit these shops on my next trip to Paris!
Yes, the aesthetics of the bike must match those of the city! If I moved to Paris tomorrow, I would definitely take my bike – it’s an old green Monark with whitewall tires, a woven wicker basket and a cool vintage-style seat. Yeah. Just give me a baguette.