A lot has been alleged about the finer points of huffing it around the city of lights. Not to argue. Art walks, lit walks, conflict walks, river walks; walks up the wazoo. There is, however, another method employed with increasing popularity – running Paris. You can search “paris runs” and most of your results will have nothing to do with irritable bowel. They will, however, open up a workout with a view you won’t find anywhere on the planet. I started running in Paris in the late 90′s and would get so distracted and lost I’d sometimes need to get to a Metro to find out where I was. Even then, I might have to hop a turnstile and stand in that cramped subway car with all these civilized Parisians trying to ignore my stink. C’est la vie, baby.
My recent visit was merely a stopover and I really wanted to get out into the city to see it in a different season. I was shocked at all the runners burning up my favorite rues and boulevards. Here’s a course anyone could complete, based on being able to click off 4-5 miles, and have an absolutely delightful time in the process…
Garden Party — Luxembourg and the Twilleries
The run between these two landmark gardens in the heart of the city is my favorite street run for a couple of reasons. The quiet, narrow rues provide a very Parisian neighborhood experience. The reserves at each end of the route combine beauty and history in a wonderfully natural setting. Both gardens are living, evolving museums that act as a refuge and a tribute. At Luxembourg, there is the formal elegance of a time long past when royalty strolled the protected grounds amidst the plants and sculpture. The Nazis also took the palace over during the occupation, but that was heroically resolved. The palace is surrounded by walkways that make great paths for exploring the park and you’ll feel like you’re running around in circles to get to every cranny.
The Twilleries has a similar feel with less elaborate plantings but more dramatic sculpture. The route is straight up and back with no traffic, making it quite meditative. Twilleries is also the sight of the start of the French Revolution and you do get an odd sense of the struggle when you make your turn at the Champs-Ellysees. Head south to Pont des Arts, which is covered in padlocks. The idea here is to leave a lock with the names of the couple in love and the relationship will last as long as the lock is sealed.