With 75 stations across the city where you can pick up and drop off a bike (at the swipe of a credit card, to guard against theft), the convenience has made the program popular and by some accounts a resounding success.
Bicycles seem to fit the scale of the city better than, say Los Angeles, so most people are able to pick up a bike and get where they want in under a half hour. And since the first half hour is free, the hourly rate (of about $1.50) can be bypassed. The annual permit is about $40.
The program was started in an effort to cut down on the congestion (and emissions) in the city but seems to have increased the quality of life for many Parisians that used to rely exclusively on public transport. Now people get to experience the city and get a bit of exercise.
Read more (in french) on the official Velib Website.
Image via doyouaiik