Length 5.5 km (3.4 miles), terrain: one hill, gain 60 meters
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
If there is one neighborhood in Paris that fits every tourist's romantic Paris dream, it has to be Montmartre. This is the place where so many impressionist painters made Paris the center of the art world, where Toulouse-Lautrec painted the cancan dancers at the Moulin Rouge.
|Artist in Montmartre: you just have to love Paris!|
The neighborhood is not big, so we'll zig-zag a bit on this short run, to see a few of the most scenic streets. Montmartre is one of the few hills in the Paris area, so this is one place to actually do some real hill-climbing.
South of the hill is the gritty Pigalle red-light district, with clubs like the Moulin Rouge, which adds a nice contrast to the picturesque hilltop. We'll combine the two neighborhoods, plus the cemetery into one really interesting run!
|Start of the run at Place Pigalle|
|Along Boulevard de Rochechouart|
The street-name soon changes to Boulevard de Rochechouart, and you'll come to Place d'Anvers on the right side. It's a nice little square, so let's round it and enjoy the greenery and come back out to the boulevard.
In two blocks you'll be at the base of the hill with Sacré-Cœur basilica crowning the hilltop with its beautiful white domes, throning above a park along the slope. This is the one-kilometer mark.
|Sacré-Cœur from below|
So run up the zig-zag pathways heading to the top, then continue on the central steps to the plaza in front of this really impressive church.
|View from the top!|
Now turn left (westwards) to run past Sacré-Cœur along Rue Azais. It ends soon at Rue du Mont Cenis, where you turn right to run a bit uphill to a square at an older church, St. Pierre. This church is left from an old monastery at the site, built where St. Dennis was martyred by the Romans.
Until the late 1800s, the hill was still mainly open country: just the monastery on top, with hillsides covered with vineyards and fields, and with 13 windmills grinding the grain for the nearby city.
|Portrait artists in action at Place du Tertre|
|Street scene in Montmartre|
So circle the square and continue down Rue Norvins for a couple of blocks, one of the most charming streets you'll ever see. In fact, EVERYTHING around here is charming. Keep your eyes open! A lot of things look somehow familiar if you've spent any time looking at impressionist art.
|At La Bonne Franquette|
We head downhill, then turn left at the first chance (at the pink house called La Maison Rose, onto Rue de l'Abreuvoir.
|Photo shooting at La Maison Rose|
|Fans visit Dalida|
At the 2-kilometer mark, turn into the square to run past the boules players and others relaxing in this nice little park. Exit to the north through the flower gardens.
|Boules players in the heart of Montmartre|
Exit the park to the left and head west along quiet Rue Simon Dereure. It ends at Avenue Junot, where you turn left and follow it as it curves uphill back towards the area where we already were. On the right side, take a look into the beautiful little cul-de-sac, Villa Léandre.
|Nice homes along Villa Léandre|
Now continue along the narrow alley, Rue d'Orchampt. There is some interesting street art along the house walls here, so keep your eyes open!
|Place Èmile-Boudeau, heading downhill|
This is a lively neighborhood, with lanes heading further downhill, and restaurants and shops all around.
Let's turn left to run just two blocks to the Place des Abbesses, a spot that looks so Parisian. This 3-kilometer mark has a carousel and a Metro station, and there's an interesting little park behind it, with its "Le mur des je t'aime", the "I love you" wall. The words are translated into lots of languages all over the wall, and many romantics head here to take a few pictures.
|The "I love you" wall|
Run about five blocks, until the road splits. Continue straight along the left-hand street, Rue Joseph de Maistre (stay to the left of the nice old half-timbered house with the Le Basilic restaurant).
|This way along Rue des Abbesses!|
At the south end of the bridge, take the stairs downward and then turn left to enter the cemetery, at the 4-kilometer mark. It's an interesting place, with memorials to lots of famous locals (lots of artists, and Dalida again!).
|The Montmartre cemetery|
It's a bit eerie, a sea of old tombs and monuments, in its own little netherworld below the busy city streets.
When you exit the cemetery, continue south, down Avenue Rachel until it ends at Boulevard de Clichy.
Now you just have to get to the promenade in the middle again and turn left to run eastwards back to Place Pigalle.
|The Moulin Rouge, always good for a picture!|