After a long day that started in Lyon, ended in Paris, and involved rocketing between the two at 300km/h before meetings, conference calls, and strategy sessions, I was finally free at the end of the day to start enjoying the City of Lights. After this morning’s run I was keen to spend another hour on my feet but, like this morning, I was also keen to keep the run stress-free, too. Every time I come to Paris I like to play tourist on my runs anyway. I am rarely trying to fit in a hill session, a stair session, or intervals – it’s about enjoying the surroundings, taking advantage of being in one of the world’s great cities, and seeing what I can find as I explore the capital.
Of course, I have been to Paris many times and I know the ‘grande lignes’ of the city. That isn’t to say that I don’t get lost – it’s easy to get lost in a city this big and dynamic – but it’s also a city where you are never too far from anywhere by metro so, if you do get lost, it’s not too hard to find your way back home. Leave the hotel with a few euros tucked into your pocket and you can run almost anywhere and still be assured of making it back to safety.
I decided to make my way around the city running while taking in the sights. My primary goal: find my way to Montmarte and the Sacre Coeur Cathedral. It’s on a hill, it’s got a couple of steps, and a great view of the city. Getting there from the Gare de Lyon where my hotel is located involved running a few long boulevards and avoid all the tourists, locals, and traffic. I have to say it was a little frustrating to have to stop so often for traffic and to avoid running into people, but this is Wednesday night and the runs on Wednesday night are normally pretty relaxed so, hey, I’ll go with it.
From Sacre Coeur I made my way roughly in the direction of the Opera House and then the Place de la Concorde. When I stopped for traffic lights I checked my phone to see where I was but, as long as I was heading in roughly the right direction, I didn’t really pay a lot of attention to the streets I was running on of the crossroads to chose to traverse. Eventually I made the Place de la Concorde, turned left into the Tuileries gardens, and made my way towards the Louvre Museum.
As I reached street opposite the palace and the pyramid, I turned right for the river and started following it back in the direction of the hotel. However, as I passed the islands and spied the towers of Notre Dame, I decided to detour a little and pass over the bridge, snap a photo in front of the famous church, and then make my way down the other side of the river. Crossing over again, I found my way towards the train station, then back to the hotel, clicking stop on my watch just outside with nearly 90 minutes on my feet.
A lot of stopping and starting, a lot of traffic, and a lot of people, but such a beautiful city you can’t help but enjoy the run.