Like Running in a Postcard: A Backdrop of Iconic Buildings and Monuments!
- Difficulty: Easy
- Terrain: Roads and cement pathways
- Length: As long as you want
- Flow: Traffic lights slow down the flow in some places
- Scenery: Paris inner city: Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Notre Dam Cathedral to name just a few!
- Safety Issues: Regular city awareness
- Bathrooms: Restaurants abound, but require a purchase to use a bathroom 😉
- Drinking water: At stores along the way
- Transit Access: Yes
- Parking: Yes but who wants to drive in downtown Paris?!
- Night Access: Yes
- Special Features: Like running in a postcard! So much iconic scenery!
- Nearby Attractions: PARIS!
I was really excited to visit Paris this year. I had been there before, but never as a runner. I had dreams of running Paris and now those dreams were going to come true!
Paris is a wonderful tourist city, with something to please everyone’s tastes. For runners, it does not disappoint! I tried to research places to run before I arrived and quickly realized the whole inner city (where most tourists will stay) is a runner’s playground! The Seine River is accessible from most of the inner city and it is easy to find. Lined with numerous well-known and historic buildings and monuments, it makes an outstanding running route.
My run started out near our hotel in the 14th Arrondissement. It was early morning and I was greeted by the smell of fresh baked breads and coffee drifting out of numerous cafes. There were children skipping along with their parents trailing behind, escorting them off to school. It was a typical morning in early December, cold but not freezing, overcast and perfect for running.
I made my way through the streets heading in the general direction of the river, but zigging and zagging up side streets to avoid stopping at red traffic lights. As I approached the river I saw other runners entering a city park, so I made a little detour and found myself in a botanical garden. I ran around the paths and admired the plants and statues, then ran back out again to find the river.
I found a path that followed the river but I found it easier to run on the sidewalks and the path didn’t go very far before ending and who knows where it started again. The scenery quickly mesmerized me. As I approached the famous Notre Dam Cathedra, I stopped for a selfie. It was easy to lose myself in the moment as the historic buildings and monuments drifted into my vision, one after another: bridges, the Louvre Museum and the Eifel Tower. As I turned around I decided to retrace my steps, it was just as enjoyable a second time. I felt like I was running in a postcard or a coffee table book: these places I had seen in pictures my whole life now made a stunning backdrop for my run.
At one point I turned down a bridge to avoid a traffic light and came across a flock of pigeons eating bread that was being scattered by a women sitting beside the river on a bench. The birds scattered as I ran through and with the Seine River behind them it seemed like a scene in a movie.
The area I ran through was completely flat. Paris does have some hills on the other side of the river and they do offer spectacular views of the city. So if you like hills I would suggest heading up towards Montmarte in the 18th Arrondissement. We walked up there during our stay and its one big hill, but the view is quite a reward! Meanwhile the roads along the river, and the area south of it are quite flat. The sidewalks are in good condition and wide enough to navigate past pedestrians and the cafes that sometimes spill onto them.
Paris has a great transit system, but it’s not necessary to use it to run. Just head out of your hotel and head toward the river, the scenery of daily life along the way is entertaining enough to keep you amused before you get the river itself.
I am at a loss to suggest special places nearby in Paris. It’s Paris. The food is amazing everywhere! So when you are done running, stop at any café and have an espresso and some kind of amazing French pastry; you earned it! Then sit back and watch Paris: Ville Lumière.