Paris Passions: Running
I often suggest that visitors pursue their passions when looking for things to do in Paris. This is a no-brainer for foodies and fashionistas, since those interests are both woven into the very fabric of this city. This is not necessarily the case for those of us in love with other activities, like perhaps… running. But even some of the trendiest, most fashionable Parisiennes put away their 10-centimeter heels to go running in Paris every now and again.
The politicos, like President Sarkozy and his very sexy wife, Carla Bruni, usually head to the Bois de Boulogne for a quick jog, partly because they need a park large enough for their security team and the entire flotilla of paparazzi at their heels. For us regular working stiffs, several times around the Champ de Mars, Tuileries or the Luxembourg Gardens is all we seem to fit into our schedules. But if you’re here on vacation, you’ve got time for much more. The Parc des Buttes Chaumont has hills that make for a challenging run, and on Sundays the quais of the Seine are closed to traffic, so you can run as the water rushes by.
If you don’t mind some traffic, there are plenty of routes you can take through the city. Personally, I get bored running round and round the Champ de Mars. I often make my way along the Seine, crossing at the Pont Alexandre III and heading down to the gardens of the Champs Elysées, around the Tuileries and then back across the Seine, continuing behind Les Invalides and along avenue de la Motte Picquet to the Ecole Militaire. Which takes you on a tour of the city, where you’ll pass no fewer than nine monuments on a route that is just about five miles. I know the distance because I’ve mapped it at Run.com, which is a great site to see where others like to run in Paris, or to plan a route of your own.
If running alone is not your thing, the Marathon de Paris is every April, and there is the very challenging Paris-Versailles run every fall. My personal favorite is La Parisienne, an incredibly simple 6K run for women. It’s the only race I know where some of the women head out fully made up and decked out in their finest evening garb, like true Parisiennes.