Running in France is becoming more la mode and has risen to Number 2 on the "List of Most Posh Things to Do in Paris*". While the City of Light has in the past come across as a tough place to run, that notion is surely out of style. There are a number of small parks with paved "walking" tracks along their perimeters that make for a perfect morning run. And if you're looking to run further afield, two large woods on the east and west sides of Paris are ideal to get some great training in. As you cruise these areas, you'll notice that much of the Parisian running community is made up of tourists and ex-pats. But you will also find many of les sportifs (sporty French people) added to that mix. Look to the French to know what's fashionable. When you see them running, you know that running is in.
So don't be afraid to get out and be active on your next Parisian adventure. But a word to the wise about running here: unless you are heading to one of the aforementioned parks on the east or west side of Paris, try to have your run completed before 9:00 a.m. After that time street markets, cafe tables, sidewalk artists, and international travelers throng the streets, and you'll find yourself navigating an obstacle course instead of going for a peaceful jog. However, peaceful jogs and transformative running experiences are yours to be had during the city's magnificent dawns.
To help you find these types of runs, BTG has mapped out four perfect Parisian routes. Head to the Tuileries Gardens for a short but memorable morning jaunt or, if you've got more time and energy, blaze on to the enchanted Bois de Bologne or Bois de Vincennes. If you've got a day to get out of town, head to the Palais Versailles and run the world's most glorious gardens. Read on to find out more, and allons-y!
*The most posh thing to do in Paris is sit outdoors in a sidewalk cafe, drink espresso, and look incredibly posh.
- Pickpockets on the Champs-Élysées (or elsewhere): Paris is a crowded, tourist-filled, bustling city. Sadly, there are some individuals who choose to take advantage of that. To protect your valuables from pickpockets, zip your purses, keep your wallets and cell phones in your front pockets, and be alert.
- Urban Obstacles: Between the traffic, the crowds, and the cobblestones, this city throws a lot of obstacles in a runner's direction. That's why BTG suggests running before 9:00 a.m. - you'll be able to avoid the traffic and travelers. And if you follow our routes, you'll be safe from cobblestones.
- Night Life in the Bois de Boulogne: You get many different responses when you ask people about running in Bois de Boulogne. The only consistent thing our BTG researcher heard was "do not run there after dark." The area is a favorite haunt for people from the seedier sides of life.
Did you know? Ever wonder why Paris is called the City of Light? In 1828 the city began illuminating the Avenue des Champs-Élysées with gas lamps. It was the first city in Europe to do so, and so earned the nickname "La Ville-Lumière" or "The City of Light".