NOTE: This route can also be shortened, if you're not feeling up to the distance covered here: just turn it into an out-and-back along the Champs Elysées. Or if you just want to stay along the river, try the Seine Riverside Run link below!
Paris Running Routes:
Best Paris Running Routes: Overview
Seine island of St. Louis, St. Paul, botanical garden
Left bank and Luxembourg Gardens
Paris' green heart: Bois de Boulogne
Canal St. Martin
Rock formations of Parc Chaumont
Seine loop with Champs Elysees and Eiffel Tower
Seine riverside run
Bois de Vincennes
Versailles Palace Gardens
For more running routes, see Route List
This route is what I consider the classic loop through the heart of Paris, the most elegant city in the universe. The route takes-in a lot of the most interesting sights around the Seine riverfront: the Louvre palace and museum, the Tuileries park, the Champs Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and the elegant buildings and bridges along the Seine River.
|Looking towards the Louvre from Pont Neuf|
The run starts at Pont Neuf (New Bridge), which is really Paris' oldest existing bridge, in the heart of town. It joins both sides of town through the Cité island, and is easy to get to by the Metro. If you stand on the bridge, looking westwards towards the Louvre and beyond, this is the basic direction that we'll be running.
Looking at the statue of Henry IV on his horse, turn right and run northwards to the right bank, then turn left and run westwards along the Seine riverside, towards the Louvre. You will pass the row of booksellers with their green boites or boxes set up along the embankment.
|Booksellers' "boites" along the Seine|
Now, turn left to run through the palace's front entrance and you come out into the big, square courtyard. Continue straight ahead, through the next archway, and you can see the glass pyramid of the Louvre museum beyond, whose entrance is underground, beneath the pyramid.
NOTE: If you're in Paris on a work trip, the Louvre is open until 10 p.m. on Wednesdays. It's amazing collections are worth it: the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, Dutch Masters, antiquities from Egypt, Greece, Rome, much more than you can take in during just one visit.
|Louvre courtyard, looking towards Champs Elysées|
NOTE: If you get there after the gates are closed, you have to run around the park, either around the left or right side. I prefer the left, along the Seine, where you can see the elegant Musee d'Orsay across the river, and the constant parade of tour boats.
|You gotta love those Paris cafés: in the Tuileries|
You are now on the Champs Elysées. This part of the street is a tree-lined boulevard, bordered by parks. On the right side is a nice park for sitting and watching the flowers, with cafés and theaters mixing it up. Across the street, the park is a bit lonelier, but sometimes very entertaining: I've seen it full of french-horn players a few evenings, where they were all playing varying mixtures of solos and group-efforts in a merry chaos of hunting music.
On the right, you'll pass the backside of the Palais de l'Elysée, home of the French President.
When you hit the big traffic circle at Place Roosevelt, Champs Elysées transforms itself into the famed shopping street, lined with boutiques, cinemas, restaurants and lots of streetlife. The street goes uphill a bit here until you get to the pinnacle at the gigantic Arc de Triomphe (Etoile). You can take the tunnel around the back side to get there under the many lanes of traffic, and even go up to the roof, if you like.
|Champs Elysées street scene|
|View from the Trocadéro|
Run under the tower and out through the Parc du Champs de Mars, towards the military academy straight ahead, the Ecole Militaire.
|Peace monument and joggers in the Champs de Mars|
|Rugby games behind the Invalides|
You arrive at the beautiful Pont Alexandre III bridge to your left. Paris has, in my opinion, the most beautiful collection of bridges anywhere, and this one is maybe the most impressive.
|Pont d'Alexandre III on a rainy evening: still looks impressive!|
You can't also help noticing the last bridge before Pont Neuf, a small pedestrian bridge, the Pont des Arts, going across to the Louvre from the Academy of Sciences. This is a favorite meeting place and hangout for young people every evening, filled with picnic spreads and wine bottles, with a beautiful view of the river and the surroundings. Tourists have taken to hanging padlocks on the bridge railings in recent years.
|View towards Pont Neuf from Pont des Arts|