Length 10.2 km (6.3 miles), terrain: flat
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
The Bois de Vincennes is for eastern Paris as the Bois de Boulogne is for the west side: a big woodsy park full of athletic fields, a horse-race track, lakes, two botanical gardens, a zoo, a horticultural school, a sports institute and all the stuff that urban residents need to get a healthy dose of green, fairly natural environment. There is even an old fort/castle there (the chateau), and some small military bases next to the castle. For obvious reasons, it is one of Paris' most popular running areas.
So if you're staying in eastern Paris (near Nation), or you just want to try something different, head on out to Vincennes! This route loops through the main sights in the eastern two-thirds of the Bois.
|Eastern wall of the Chateau de Vincennes|
So turn south and start running along the Cours des Maréchaux, with the chateau on your right side. I like running close to the impressive, stone barrier of the castle walls. Most of the chateau was built 600 years ago, and the tallest tower is the highest fortified tower in all of Europe.
|Parc Floral entrance: head straight onto Avenue des Minimes!|
This short street ends after 400 meters, at the south end of the chateau. There is a parking lot and the main entrance into the Parc Floral, a botanical garden that charges for admission. Turn left here on the divided little street heading east, the Avenue des Minimes, between the fort and Parc Floral.
|Avenue des Minimes|
Now, at lakeside, turn right and run along the western edge of the lake, watching the people in their rented paddle-boats and sitting around at the lakeside café.
|Along the narrow part of Lac des Minimes|
It will soon come close to a road along the park's eastern edge, the Avenue de Belle Gabrielle. Cross Avenue Tremblay at the 4-km mark, using the zebra stripes next to the big traffic circle (roundabout).
|Avenue de Belle Gabrielle|
This trail is called the Avenue de l'Ecole de Joinville.
You'll then pass the police school, and -- after the 5.5-km mark -- run past the second small lake, the Lac de Gravelle.
|Lac de Gravelle|
|Along Route de la Tourelle|
NOTE: You could continue running westwards along the stream, bringing you to the park's biggest lake, Lac Daumesnil, lined by old exhibition buildings, with the zoo to the north. If you round the lake, then follow Route des Batteries north, you'll add a few kilometers to this route.
At 7.5 kilometers, you'll come to a place where you need to go around a circle full of bushes, where straight trails cross geometrically from many directions. Keep heading north for another kilometer towards the chateau towers that you can see far ahead. There are tree-lined trails to each side of the lawn on this section, called the Allée Royale. This is definitely the most popular running spot in the park.
|Along Avenue Royale|
At the first paved street, the Avenue du Polygone, turn right to run north along the west side of the chateau, as the street name changes to Avenue Carnot.
|The castle tower|