Credit: Mairie de Paris

Start them young, says the Paris mayor’s office, and we can’t help but agree. After the smashing success of Vélib, the city’s popular bike-sharing service, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo recently inaugurated vélibs for kids. What could be more fun than learning to ride a bike along the quays of the Seine?  But that’s not the only benefit. To quote the P’tit Vélib website: “Because good habits begin early, the mayor of Paris wishes to familiarise children with using more environmentally friendly modes of transport, and from a young age.”

P’tit Vélib is geared for children aged two- eight years old (different bike models are adapted for different ages), and the mini grey bikes come with baskets and brightly coloured helmets. Some have training wheels, and kids can practise their skills by weaving through colourful cones set up on the pavement. The new bikes can be found at the Berges de Seine, the Bois de Boulogne, the Canal Saint Martin, the Bois des Vincennes, and the coulée verte in the 12th arrondissement. All of these are pedestrianised locations without car traffic.

The concept for P’tit Vélib was developed during the mayoral campaign, when Hidalgo invited 50 school children to discuss her vision for the city. The kids were so enthusiastic about vélibs, that the idea was hatched, and it became a campaign promise.

Price at the Berges de Seine is 4 euros/hour, 7 euros/half-day, and 10 euros/day. For more information, visit blog.velib.paris.fr/ptit-velib.

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Mary Winston Nicklin
Based in Paris, Nicklin is the Web Editor of France Today. She is also the Editor of Bonjour Paris, the site's sister publication. As a freelance journalist, she has contributed to publications like The Washington Post, Condé Nast Traveler, Rhapsody, Travel Agent Magazine, Luxury Travel Advisor, Afar and USAToday.com.

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