Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Port Louis, Brittany, Summer Fun Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 3.5 km (2.2 miles), terrain: flat

NOTE: This is the latest of our Summer Fun-Run routes, in vacation towns in Europe.

Port Louis, on Brittany's south coast, is a town that grew up inside a citadel, on a peninsula, surrounded by water on every side. The old walls (or most of them, anyway) still stand, and make a great course for a run around town: there is the main fort, further walls around the town on the coastal side, a harbor and a promenade walkway outside the walls, and the amazingly quiet old-town itself.
The fort at low tide
This route starts at the Notre Dame church in the old town, heads out to the fort, then continues clockwise around the town before looping back to the church.

So, ready to go? Then get yourself to the little square in front of Notre Dame on Rue des Dames, and then turn your back to the church and start running west along the little lane called Rue Notre Dame.
The street in front of Notre Dame church
In just two blocks, you'll leave the town and come to an area of fenced-in sports fields, with the citadel visible in the distance.

The city walls stretch out between the citadel on the left side and the town on the right.

Now turn left to run past the bus-stop, then turn right to take the footpath heading towards the citadel, with a little park-like area along the walls to the left. At the little parking lot, you'll see a gate in the walls leading out to the beach on the other side, with its beach-side restaurant: a place to come back to later.
Approaching the drawbridge
Keep running until you come to the drawbridge at the main gate of the fort, at the 0.5-m mark.

Now turn right and follow the waterside, with the water to your left, running past a war memorial to the Resistance fighters.

You'll run eastwards, past a little cove where some Hobie Cats and windsurf-boards are stored, then you'll re-enter the town, at the 1-km mark.
Hobie beach, looking back towards the fort
Follow the waterside road as it goes down to the harbor-side and turns right (the sign direction that says "Port la Pointe"), running southeast along Boulevard de la Compagnie des Indes. If you like boats, like I do, you'll enjoy running past this spot. The old town is up above the wall to your right.

Stay on the same road after the water ends, and it curves to the left past some garages and a soccer field.
At the harbor
The road turns to the right and comes to an intersection that looks almost like a plaza, crossing Avenue Marcel Charrier. Keep going straight here (south) into the little street called Boulevard du 14 Juillet, still running south.

At the end of this street, at the 2-km mark, you come to the water on the southeast side of town at a bay with boats moored out in the mud flats. At low tide, many of them are sitting on dry land.
Start of the Promenade du Lohic at the bay
Now turn right to run along the water's edge, going past the boat ramp and some benches, along the gravel path of the waterside park. This is the Promenade du Lohic, a short waterside trail. You're going past the ruins of a little fort at the beginning.

The trail makes a right turn at some rocks and continues outside the town walls past some wall-towers. There is a beautiful view here, with rocks and fishing boats and the towers.

At the third tower, at the 2.8-km mark, the promenade ends, and you run through the gate in the walls, where you turn left to continue running westwards on the inside of the walls, along the street called Promenade Henri Francois Buffet.

The street curves to the right, heading northwards, past a school, then comes out to the athletic fields that we saw at the beginning of the run. Now just follow the way straight past the bus-stop and then to the right, back along Rue Notre Dame to the starting point at the church.

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