Arriving in Paris, it can look like a very unpleasant place to run. There are lots of wide, traffic-clogged streets, sidewalks full of people, uneven pavement, and lots of noise. In all, it's pretty daunting. But I love running in Paris. It's easy to avoid the loudest streets and to discover interesting neighborhoods all over this city full of character. The parks aren't as big as in London, but you can still find green areas and waterside runs to highlight your day.
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Seine/Champs Elysees Loop: This is the classic Paris run. If you have just one chance to run, try this: following part of the Seine, running through the Louvre and Tuileries gardens, and then up the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe, then to the Eifel Tower and back, past the Invalides and along the Seine again.
Seine Riverside Run: This run traces the newly cleared-of-traffic riverside sections, turning the Seine into a running paradise. This is the place for a morning jog if you're staying in the center of town.
Left Bank Route: Discover the backstreets in the Latin Quarter around the Sorbonne University with this run.
Montmartre / Pigalle: Montmartre is maybe the most romantic neighborhood in Paris: hilltop views, Sacré-Cœur basilica, artists painting portraits on every corner, charming restaurants. Who can resist?
Canal St. Martin: Here's a quiet, scenic run that follows the old Canal St. Martin, with its arched pedestrian bridges and boat locks.
Saint Germain: This short Left Bank run explores the quintessential neighborhood, St. Germain, with its galleries, cafés and bookstores, along with the Luxembourg Garden and the Seine.
Parc Chaumont: This park is a hidden gem on the north side of town. An ex-quarry, it's full of cliffs, water and an island citadel. Also a great place to do some hill work.
Bois de Boulogne: This is the place to go on a summer evening. This wooded parkland on the west edge of town is a paradise for runners, with lakes and gardens, streams and trees.
La Défense/Nanterre: This interesting route takes you through a whole different side of the French soul, discovering the modernistic architecture of the La Défense area.
St. Louis/St. Paul/Jardin des Plantes: This route explores the eastern side of the town center, and this beautiful section of the Seine, with its islands. It starts at the Île de la Cité, at Notre Dame, and crosses Île Saint-Louis with its old houses, then loops through the old Marais neighborhood before crossing the Seine to the botanical gardens, the Jardin des Plantes. A loop through this beautiful little park precedes the run back along the south bank of the Seine.
Bois de Vincennes: Like the Bois de Boulogne, but for the east side of Paris: wooded parkland with lakes, athletic fields, streams and garden. A great place to run!
Versailles Palace Gardens: The extensive gardens are free to the public, full of trails and offer impressive contrasts from the opulent palace to vegetable fields and sheep pastures. Definitely a run you'll never forget.