Nancy has a small self-service on-street bicycle rental system called vélOstan’lib, with 29 stations, 250 bicycles and 560 docking points. These numbers have not changed since 2015, so either they haven’t expanded the system since then or (more likely) they have neglected to update the numbers on their website.
The name vélOstan’lib is made up of three words: vélo meaning bicycle, stan in honor of the last Duke of Lorraine, Stanislas Leszczyński, and lib being short for libre-service, meaning self-service.
The word stan is also a retroacronym for Service de transport de l’agglomération nancéienne (Service of Transport of the Agglomeration of Nancy).
The capital O in the middle of vélOstan’lib (which to me looks ridiculous, but who am I to judge?) is apparently an idea they got from the city of Toulouse, which calls its bike-sharing system VélÔToulouse (with an accent circonflexe on the capital O).
The bike-sharing system in Nancy is similar to the ones in the cities of Belfort (150 km to the south) and Besançon (190 km to the south).
My experience in all three of these cities (each of which has roughly thirty bike stations) is that I used the bikes more for recreation than for transportation. Since these cities are so compact, most of the places I wanted to visit were within easy walking distance from the train station and from my hotel, so there was no real need for a bike to get from one place to another.
As in most French cities, visitors can use the on-street rental bikes in Nancy by buying a one-day or seven-day ticket. Prices vary from city to city, but Nancy is one of the most economical, charging only € 1.50 for a one-day ticket or € 5.00 for a seven-day ticket. This entitles you to unlimited rides of up to thirty minutes each. If you keep the same bike for longer than that, there is an additional charge of € 1.00 per half hour. A recently-added feature of vélOstan’lib is that the one-day tickets are now free on weekends, though you still have to pay the extra charge for longer rides. (Prices as of 2022.)
The red bikes in these photos are vélOstan bikes with no ‘lib at the end, meaning that they are not just for short-term rentals and cannot be rented at one of the 29 self-service bike stations. This kind of bike can be rented for a minimum of half a day, but also for a full day, a week, a month, three months or a year at one of the nine “vélOstan boutiques” in Greater Nancy.
My photos in this post are from 2015 and 2017. I revised the text in 2022.
See more posts on Nancy, France.
See my posts on the Vélib’ bike sharing system in Paris.
5 thoughts on “Cycling in Nancy”
There is a cafe in Mumbai by the name Cafe de la paix which I haven’t visited yet. But I read somewhere that it has some connection with France.
So you can ride for 30 minutes and then you take the bike back to a station? How useful is that? Can you get another bike right away for another 30 minutes? You would have to know where the bike stations were wouldn’t you?
Hi Rosilie. You usually ride the bike to another station near where you want to go. The only reason you’d return it to the same station is if you were just different sightseeing in the area. Most people are going someplace. There are maps on the web site with all the stations or you can ask.
I think these bike shares are a great idea. It’s so nice of Don to highlight them.
In Paris you have to wait for two minutes before taking another bike, or the same one again. I must admit that I don’t worry too much about the time, since one Euro for an extra half hour is not very much money. The stations are usually quite easy to find (one every three hundred meters or so) and there is also a free app for smartphones showing where they are. In Paris they are also shown in the booklet “Paris Pratique par Arrondissement”, which I find more convenient than fiddling with my phone.