What do Little Trekkers do when they visit a city? Jump on a bike, of course! In the summer of 2019 we took the boys, aged 6 and 8, to Paris for the first time. We all know that visiting cities can be exhausting with lots of walking between sights. Paris can get pretty hot in the summer too, so we didn’t want to be walking too much or jumping in and out of the metro as well as our kids suffering from sight-seeing ennui.
I came across a great tour company, Fat Tire Tours, who run family-friendly bike tours in the city. They describe their Paris Day Bike Tour as a great way to get an introduction to the city, and they were absolutely right.
At a cost of €32 per child, and €34 per adult, we went in with high expectations for the advertised three-hour tour.
The minimum age to take part is 4 years old. They provide tag-along bikes for younger and less-confident riders. Our two rode a bike each – the 6yo on a 20” and the 8yo on a 24”. They were city-bike style which took a bit of getting used to until they realised how stable they were and started practicing cycling with no hands! The company also provide helmets for all riders – mandatory for the under 12’s; adults are allowed to make their own choice. We chose to wear ours – why take the risk?!?
The group size was 19 and included a number of kids. This initially felt really large, but we quickly got used to it. Our boys always zoomed to the front of the group as we were cycling anyway, so we took advantage of their enthusiasm and stayed up the front too.
Our tour was run by Jack, an English bloke who’d lived in Paris for around 3 years. He really knew his stuff and was supremely confident on the roads. The trick about cycling as a group in Paris is all down to confidence. Sticking in the cycle lanes where possible, and following the tour leader, no vehicle is going to mess with a group of 20 cyclists riding in formation!
Did you know that Paris is actually a very bike-friendly city? The area we cycled round had plenty of dedicated cycle paths, cycle-friendly parks and lovely routes along the river. It’s also remarkably flat!
The aim of the tour was to show us a few key sights of the city and tell us some of Paris’s turbulent history along the way. I thought the kids might switch off from the history, but Jack told such a good story that they were completely engaged – learning about the Sun King, Louis IX and the short, angry Emperor Napoleon. MrP and I learnt (or were reminded of) plenty too!
On our bike tour we ticked off these key sights and a few others too:
- École Militaire
- Hôtel des Invalides
- Église de Dôme
- Place de la Concorde
- Jardin des Tuilleries (where we stopped for lunch)
- Eiffel Tower
- Pont Alexandre III
Top Tip: if you’re on a budget, pack your own lunch and have a picnic while the group eats at the café in the Jardin des Tuilleries
We also cycled along the Seine, spied the Musée de l’Orangerie and the Musée d’Orsay and saw the Arc de Triomphe in the distance. It really was a great way to get your bearings if you’ve never been to the city before, and an excellent way to have a new experience in the city even if you know Paris quite well.
We’ll definitely look to do a bike tour of a city again. What’s the best or most unusual city tour you’ve ever done? Does it beat the classic hop on – hop off bus tour?
25 thoughts on “A family-friendly bike tour in Paris”
These are great tips, the city can be overwhelming and busy!
You’re so right…it was a treat to be guided around for a few hours, and cover more ground than you can on foot.
I’ve heard great things about this company and think I better give it a go next time in Paris. I know the city very well having lived there for 10 years but I’ve never cycled in it (except for along the quais). One thing we love doing as a family is segway tours, they’re great fun. Thanks for linking to #AllAboutFrance
I imagine Segway tours are a laugh. We might have to give one of those a go on another city break.
Sounds like a great way to see the city. Walking is pretty tiring and travelling by Metro means you miss so much. Last time we were there 2 years ago, we used the buses a lot, but going by bike means you can choose your route. #AllAboutFrance
It was a great way to see lots without aching feet! The tour guide was brilliant too as we learnt more history than we would have done on our own.
You would see so much more of Paris this way rather than going on the metro. I had never considered that Paris would be a very cycle-friendly city, but your photos and description shows that it is! #allaboutfrance
When we visited most lines on the metro had some level of disruption so going on a bike really turned out to be an excellent way to see some key sights!
We live on our bikes here in Copenhagen and I love to show people around town by bicycle when they come visit. I’ll admit I didn’t really think of Paris as a bike-friendly tour destination, good to know there are dedicated cycle paths and plenty of places to safely see the city from behind handle bars! Looks very fun and love your little video. Cheers from Denmark. #AllAboutFrance
I love Paris on the bike and so exciting to hear there’s a safe guided way with the kiddies as well! Will definitely try them next time we are around, I know my way around well having lived in there for 2 years but have to admit with the 6 years old the group version with other children will be even better 🙂 thanks so much for the inspiration, great #CulturedKids article!
Thanks – it was so much fun and the kids really engaged with the history.
what a great way to explore the city with kids! #culturedkids
It really makes is!
It’s a great way to show the kids the city #CulturedKids
What a great way to do Paris! 19 in a group does sound a lot yet your excellent photos make it look like the city was half empty. We’re doing a much less cultural tour of Paris with the Brownies at half term. I’ll compare our exploits! #culturedkids
Good luck with the Brownies in Paris!!
I love this! We did a cycling tour in Cambodia and the kids loved it – best way to get them engaged in the city #culturedkids
Cycling tour in Cambodia sounds very adventurous!!