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How Paris Bound Travelers can use Autolib’

Those who have traveled to Paris before know that the city has some very solid transportation options.  The Paris Metropolitan, RER, buses, Bat-o-bus, Vogué0 ferry service and of course Paris’s green bike sharing program – called Velib‘.

But, Paris keeps thinking outside the box and has recently introduced a new, unique green transportation option – an electric car-sharing program called Autolib’.  It’s very similar to Velib’ in that you can take advantage of short-term car rental and the car can be returned to any participating station.

Autolib electric carPhoto Credit : Francisco Gonzalez

Though I’m a huge fan of what Paris is doing, and I think it’s a great idea worth promoting, I’m certainly not here to advocate for those traveling to Paris to run right out, sign up for the Autolib’ program and start racing around the city streets in a car!

There is no need for Paris travelers to have a car in the city center.

However, I also like to think outside the box, and when I heard about Autolib’, I thought it could be useful to Paris bound travelers in a few instances. According to Autolib’, the cars can’t be taken outside the Ile-de-France region, but the battery life will allow you to travel 250km in a city and 150km on the highway.

Currently, there are 250 Autolib’ stations and cars can be picked up and dropped of at different stations.

Keeping that in mind, with one of the electric Bluecars, you could visit these popular spots just outside of Paris:

  • Fontainebleau
  • Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte
  • Chateau Vincennes
  • Saint-Germain-en-Laye
  • Chateau Versailles
  • Attend concerts or events at La Stade de France

And for the kids:

And if the additional proposed Autolib’ stations are approved, there may be opportunities to visit these attractions:

If you are thinking about using the Paris Autolib’ program, keep the following facts in mind:

  • Drivers must be over 18 and are required to have a French or International Driver’s License to operate the vehicles.
  • A paid subscription is required.  A 7 day subscription is €15; 24 hours is €10.
  • Rental rates run between 5-8 Euro per half-hour for the time you have the car.

It may not be the most cost-effective method of transport (though not having to pay high gas prices does offset the cost), but if you like the freedom of getting out of Paris to explore for a few hours, while doing your part for the environment, it might be a worthwhile option compared to the traditional car rental.

For more information and details about the program, visit the very extensive and helpful Autolib’ website.

What do you think?  Would you consider using Autolib’ to visit any of the spots I’ve listed above?

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  • User Gravatar
    Jim @NeverStopTraveling
    December 22nd, 2011

    From an economic perspective it doesn’t make sense to use Autolib’ when public transportation is available to a place such as Versailles, for example. However, I think it would be great to use it to go anywhere outside Paris where there is no public transportation. It’s costly but could be a bargain compared to renting a car and having to return it with a full tank.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jim!

  • User Gravatar
    Zurien
    January 18th, 2012

    This sounds like a viable option when travelling with kids – less hassle than going thru busy underground stations and packed trains. This makes me love Paris more!

    I like the way you think Zurien :)

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