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Running routes in Paris?

We'll be staying 5 nights in Paris in mid-July. My son is on his school's cross country team and should get in some runs to keep in shape for that. Our hotel is close to Champ de Mars. From looking at maps, it looks like a decent running route might be through Champ de Mars down to the Eiffel Tower, then along the banks of the Seine. Hard to tell how continuous a pedestrian path there is along the Seine, or whether there would be frequent intersections (this is our first visit to Paris). I can't keep up with my son, but I'd go running with him. The plan would be for him to run ahead and the keep doubling back to me, so we stay in contact with one another. We'd probably get out for our runs around 6:30 or 7:00am. Any runners out there who can advise me on whether these running plans make sense, or whether I should consider something else?

Posted by
9110 posts

The lower quais pass under the bridge abutments so intersections wouldn't be a problem. You'll see other runners the whole way. Personal opinion since I and all three of my kids where wandering Paris alone before any of us knew what high school was: show the sucker where you'll be drinking coffee and reading the paper and let him sweat alone. That'll also give him something to talk about. Trust me, I've tried mightily to loose kids and the scoundrels keep coming back.

Posted by
33 posts

Ditto what Ed said about running along the quais. My daughter and I went in March 2012. I am the runner; she stayed in the apartment and I just took of towards the Seine. There were plenty of runners out there.
The first morning after we arrived, I just hit the pavement. Having never been to Paris before, I was unsure what to expect. Imagine my surprise and delight when I came upon the Notre Dame! I wanted to pinch myself. Running in Paris, along the Seine.

Posted by
1068 posts

1) Bruce, always take Ed's advice. Seriously, I have never met or talked to the man but I read his posts assiduously because he (a) has an awesome sense of humor and (b) knows his stuff cold. 2) I took a long solo stroll in the Bois de Boulogne last December. It was probably 2:00pm-ish on a Saturday (might have been Friday, I was on vacation and not keeping track). I didn't feel at all unsafe or uneasy. It wasn't crowded, but there were plenty of other folks out strolling. I went in at Porte de Passy, wandered around the pond/lake and over to the sports center thingie, then walked up and left via Porte de la Muette. Everything seemed fine. Not a lot of litter, if any. Old folks. Families. Honestly, it seemed perfectly okay. No, probably not someplace I would go at night, but then, I'd be out drinking at night in Paris! That being said, I cut my public park teeth in New York's Central Park in the 1970s, so I may be a hard case. ;-) In my defense, the link I posted features plenty of other Paris running routes, not all of which can be hazardous to one's health. Happy trails!

Posted by
4370 posts

Bruce, do you know how to use Google Streetview? If not, your son does ;-) If he's unavailable, PM me and I'll tell you how. You can get lots of info from 'walking' (or 'running' LOL!) around Paris - where marked crosswalks are, where access is restricted but not obvious from looking at a map (gates, deep culverts, etc.), pedestrian-only areas, sidewalks in bad condition/too narrow/non-existent, etc., even planning pretty routes...you ARE running in PARIS, right?!? Choose picturesque routes!

Posted by
800 posts

Bruce - I had a lovely run 2 years ago doing much of what you just described. Our hotel was closer to the Tuilleries so I was able to also incorporate some of that park. I went early as well and did not have a problem running on sidewalks toward the Eiffel Tower and then along the Seine on the way back. I can remember at least one break in the pedestrian path but again it was early in the morning and I didn't have a problem crossing. I thought it was a GREAT run!

Posted by
1068 posts

Sounds like you will be close enough to the Bois De Boulogne for him to get in some runs there. It's a great place to run - lots of runners there at all hours. Here's a site with a great 4.3 mile route laid out (and links to some other suggested Paris runs): http://www.joggingroutes.org/2012/06/paris-bois-de-boulogne-running-route.html The Bois De Boulogne is a little hilly, too, which I know is great for cross country (my husband is a cross country runner - I am a cafe sitter and walker). Have a great trip!

Posted by
25 posts

Bruce, check out the Runner's World magazine website-I think that they have suggested running routes for different locations there somewhere-I know I used it before...good luck...greg

Posted by
9110 posts

Hmmmm... Bois De Boulogne .....no. I'm the all-time don't-believe-in-pickpockets/hookers-are-people-too/everywhere-is-safe guy. I wander the damnedest areas while the laggards are still asleep. I've seen more violence than you can shake a stick at. I've had really skilled folks try to demise me in all kinds of ways. I'm conceited and have gnads that would make bowling balls blush. I don't blink, ever. I don't have the gumption to wander the Bois by myself except at high noon and on the main paths. I haven't been out there in a long time, but for the last fifty years that I know of it's had a reputation for harboring thugs, dope peddlers, and up-against-against-the-tree prostitutes. The place is huge and has too many nooks and crannies that are out of sight and sound of anything else. I don't research answers normally, but I just googlized 'crime Bois De Boulogne' and didn't like what I saw. If my kid wanted to run there, I'd be in lock-step with him and would have obtained an international endorsement for my concealed weapons permit. And, just for the record, this is the first post in which I've labeled anyplace as being unsafe. I'll retreat slightly if anybody who really knows the place disagrees and says it's been cleaned up, but not very far.

Posted by
392 posts

I saw tons of runners in Paris in the morning around the Seine and Boulevard Saint-Germain (where I was staying.) I agree that keeping near the river is good, so that you will always have it as a reference point, and he can just double back inland to find you. There will definitely be plenty of French people out there with you "qui faire le jogging."

Posted by
922 posts

I have gotten the same impression about the Bois de Boulogne that Ed describes. And it's a real shame that more isn't done to clean it up. In previous centuries it was an elegant place for the wealthy to promenade of an afternoon. I have always wanted to spend time in the Bois, just as I love to spend time in the great parks of London, but I simply won't do in the Bois. I wonder if there are running paths in the Jardins du Luxembourg... There are some beautiful allées there. Can't remember if I've ever seen runners though.

Posted by
5 posts

We saw lots of runners doing the loop in Luxembourg Gardens, so that's another idea. Do this on a Sunday, Tuesday or Friday and walk through the Raspail street market in your way back. Bonus that you could sit in one spot while he does some extra training loops. The French Senate building is there and therefore also the police watching. Your idea will work, too. Just be cautious that some of the river level trails are cobbles. Oh and you will probably want a small camera wherever you go!

Posted by
206 posts

Hi, while listening to a travel podcast for Paris, they were talking about the Promenade Plantee (elevated park, built on an abandoned railroad viaduct) in the 12th arrondissement. It is just east of the Opera Bastille and is 2.9 miles long. They mentioned that it is a popular place for runners. You might want to Google it and check it out.
Have a great trip!

Posted by
25 posts

Thank you all for the tips! Makes me wish our visit to Paris was even longer so we could hit up more of the running routes people have mentioned. For convenience sake, the banks of the Seine will likely be our preferred route, since that should be relatively easy to get to from our hotel, evidently is well populated with other runners, and it sounds like we can go for somewhat long stretches without having to cross streets. Still undecided is how much of the runs I'll join my son on. Ed's idea of the coffee and newspaper is appealing . . . especially since I may be tired out by all the walking we'll be doing while visiting the sights.

Posted by
873 posts

I'm not a runner, but I second the recommendation for the Promenade Plantee. I strolled about 3/4 of a mile one afternoon (would've gone farther but needed to get back to the hotel) and sat on a bench in the sun for 30 minutes or so. Very pleasant and quiet, and it felt safe enough.

Posted by
4370 posts

"...have gnads that would make bowling balls blush..." Ah, Ed - the gift that just keeps on giving ;-) NOW I have a more complete picture of you in your Speedo... (For those not familiar with the beginnings of the 'Ed in a Speedo' saga that spawned many a reprise and embellishment - NOW involving "bowling balls":) The infamous Speedo post: "Hell, I'll come right out and say it since I've been mucking around that town since way before CDG and the RER were even thunk of: I couldn't do it ( Eileen here: make a particular train the OP asked about) wearing sneakers and a speedo with a fistfull of euros and leaving wailing women and children in my wake. You, on the other hand, don't have a prayer." Bruce, I DO like his coffee & paper idea...assuming those come with croissants.

Posted by
9110 posts

Okay, everybody's had their say - - although some to spots that are an expedition away or so short that they'd drive a distance runner nuts - - and Lux Gardens doesn't even open until real runners are already in the shower. Back when I had knees, I usually stayed in the Latin Quarter about even with the Sorbonne. I'd trot down the hill and run the river (both sides) with crossing points at everwhat the bridge is on the upstream side of Ile Saint-Louis and the Pont de l'Alma. The only deviation was to cut in and run down the middle of the Tuileries. Going further downstream from the l'Alma to the d'lena had something that threw the pace off, but I can't remember what it was. I've forgotten what the exact distance was, but it took right at an hour, door-to-shower, so call it seven miles. An hour and a little bit if I snagged a coffee and walked back up the hill. What I liked about it (besides having some of the best stuff in the city to look at along the way) was that was generally a breeze along the river and a bit of summer shade through the Tuileries. Your son could pick up the loop anywhere close to where you're staying. If you want to lurk, just on the right bank across the l'Alma bridge and sort of a half left (maybe Ave Marceau) there's a cluster of cafes with a metro entrance right in front of them. A couple open early.

Posted by
2349 posts

I have a feeling Eileen has that infamous Speedo passage tacked to her wall, and reads it whenever she needs a giggle.

Posted by
8677 posts

@Karen - Eileen has it laminated and in her wallet. I've seen it. ;-)

Posted by
2349 posts

The bowling balls do explain why Ed knocks over women and children. "Who was that well endowed man?"

Posted by
9110 posts

Extract from Community Guidelines in my own defense: 1. Stay on topic. Make your contribution relevant to the original post.

Posted by
12939 posts

I have been following this discussion with interest on many fronts. ;) We may be in Paris this time next year to catch a day at the French Open. ( Dynamite match going on right now between Nadal and Djokovic). I thought Roland Garros was in the Bois de Bologne, but I see on Google maps that the tennis complex is on the south edge. Fun to look at all that on satellite view. (Can't catch sight of Ed on Street View, though). I love running along the rivers in major cities- you get such a great view. Apart from London, where we run through the parks ( saving the South Embankment for a nice long walk) we would choose a riverside run every time. You definitely can't get lost! Kyoto is my favorite so far, but I'll look forward to a run along the Seine if I can talk my husband into it. (he claims the river run we did in Seville was his last, but I will try to change his mind about that.)

Posted by
9110 posts

Maybe I'd better back myself up. Bruce was asking about morning runs. By the time Kira mentioned the Bois, I'd forgotten his times. To me, running starts way before first light since, for just about my whole life, I've supervised sunrise to make sure it happens the way it should. The Bois isn't open with scattered trees like Hyde Park. Much of it is thick, dark woods, but interesting looking running paths go through them. Trolls live in the woods and come down out of the trees at night. At night the place is a hell hole. That's not true at all during the day. I took the runts down to Paris for a few days back during the winter. Had the weather been worth a crap, I'd have taken them out there for the zoo and playground stuff and never given it a second thought.

Posted by
1284 posts

I would not walk or run through the Bois de Boulogne at night but have walked through it many times during the day to get to the rose garden, the Parc Bagatelle, which I love. I've never seen many people around but didn't feel unsafe. I've walked from Porte Dauphine and it was a bit of a hike. Lots of curving paths and a couple of lakes, easy to get lost.

Posted by
8272 posts

I still wouldn't let my kid go running through the Bois early in he morning before the crews have cleaned the place up. Too many working people there at night.

Posted by
4370 posts

"Can't catch sight of Ed on Street View, though." Lola, he's the one playing 'boules'... Karen, I've actually made decorating fabric with The Ed Quote (2 bolts - fancy & swirly English script, and French - my homage to CDG, bien sûr); you really should see my lampshades and drapes... Bruce, I still advocate the 'sit-'n-sip' path.

Posted by
9110 posts

See 6/7/13 5:25 AM above. Enuf is enuf already.

Posted by
4370 posts

Exactly. Bruce, please come back here after you return and let us know how it went - the whats, wheres, whens, whys, and hows. Have a great trip!

Posted by
25 posts

Eileen, will do. Looks like "Trip Reports" is where we're supposed to post that sort of thing. Trip ends 7/22, so sometime after then. Trip starts 7/5, so chances are I'll be asking a few more questions before then.