If you are on a holiday in the South of France, renting a bike is a fun thing to do. It’s also a great way to explore the area, just in case you are looking to buy a new apartment on the Côte d’Azur. While the wind blows through your hair and you’re cycling along the seafront, the idea of a second home becomes top of mind. If you want to know more about the possibilities, use our Property Buying Guide for the French Riviera. Now let’s see how these bikes work!
Welcome to Vélo Blue
Normally the only cyclists you see on the Côte d’Azur are older men in groups, thinking they are in training for the Tour de France. The rest of the French Riviera locals don’t dare to go cycling; the roads behind the seafront are too steep for an ordinary bike trip. Luckily for tourists on the French Riviera, you can hire a Vélo Blue (Blue Bike) and use the new green cycling paths that stroll around the seafront; all flat and easy to ride. All you need now is a bike; you can rent these Vélo Blue bikes for a day, or for a year (handy, if you are a slow biker and want to go from Nice to Marseille and back.)
Swipe and bike
There are 175 Vélo Blue stations around Nice and Cagnes sur Mer; here you can ‘swipe and bike’; using your creditcard into the terminal for one day and one week subscriptions, Place Massena, Blvd Dubouchage, Nice-Ville and Riquier train stations, Saint-Laurent du Var, Promenade des Anglais (Gambetta) and the boardwalk in Cagnes-sur-mer. Blvd Jean Jaures, Quai des Etats-Unis and Promenade des Anglais (west end).
If you don’t want to cycle with a credit card in your backpack, sign up for Vélo Blue via the Internet, entering your bank account there.
Or even more handy, download the App here and then call the number where your bike stands.
Go to www.velobleu.org and chose “Je m’inscris”. Here you have two choices:
1 month or 1 year: pay by internet, by post, or by phone by calling 04 30 00 30 01 while in front of Vélo Bleu station
1 day or 1 month – by internet or by mobile phone by calling 04 30 00 30 01 while in front of Vélo Bleu station
You must enter your bank credit card information via the website and then you can grab immediately a Vélo Blue bike. Don’t forget to bring your phone if you go directly to a Vélo Blue station! Otherwise, you’ll receive a Vélo Bleu card by post; you can use that for your future bike trips.
What to enter into the Vélo Blue terminal?
Turn it on by the blue button in the upper right-hand corner. This can take a few minutes.
Hold your Vélo Blue card in front of the blue circle under the number zero on the keypad or telephone the number on the screen from the phone you registered your account with.
You can see how to turn it on here
Choose “Louer” to take a bike. If there is more than one bike at the terminal, the machine will ask which bike you want to take. Press number 1, 2, or 3 and then okay. Pull the lock cable and you’re off.
If you return a bike, choose “Restituer”.
The machine will instruct you to insert a locking cable in 1, 2 or 3. Then wait for confirmation “Merci d’utiliser Vélo Bleu”.
How much do you pay for a Vélo Bleu?
€25 /year (with Ligne d’Azur card only €15)
Between 30-60 minutes €1 and then €2 for each extra hour
The first 30 minutes are free, so you could stop every 30 minutes, relock the bike at a Vélo Blue station, re-rent it and start the clock at zero again and pay nothing. Bear in mind that some of the terminals don’t work, locks get stuck, and then you get nowhere.
-Sometimes terminals don’t work so best to turn a few on simultaneously.
-If the bike doesn’t lock or unlock, gently rotate the cable to jolt it. If it doesn’t work, go to the terminal beside.
-If you lock your bike to return it and it doesn’t accept it, and you can’t unlock it, call the Vélo Bleu number 04 93 72 06 06 and report the bike number (on the side of the bike) the bourne (terminal) you are at and the time of day. Customer service runs from Mon-Sat 7h-20h on 04 93 72 06 06. If it’s after hours or on Sunday, leave a message, and even follow up with an email. Don’t panic. It’s very unlikely they’ll charge you, even if you can’t rent another bike with your account at that moment
-Check tires and seat adjustment before selecting a bike.
Enjoy the ride!