(Updated Aug 2018)
I often get asked about places to swim, bike, or run in Paris. I made such a resource a long while ago for Washington DC when I lived there, so I figured I’d do the same here.
Keeping in mind I’ve only lived here about a year, so my view is somewhat narrow on the full potential of swim/bike/run in the city. That said, below are the places I routinely use to get my workouts in across all three sports.
Additionally, I’ve added in locations for rental bikes (legit road bikes that you can get in real training time on) – that’s in the bike section. I’ll add to this post over time as I find new places that I use repeatedly. Of course, feel free to add in the comments section additional ones. My only ask is that you include a link to some site that shows the actual route (i.e. Garmin Connect, Strava, MapMyRide, etc…) – as that helps out of town folks understand the exact route. Otherwise, it’s sorta all French. 🙂 Finally I’ve tried to use the simplified terms for different areas, simply because that’s what most out of town folks are going to know them by. For example, ‘Eiffel Tower Park’, instead of Champ de Mars.
Running is the easiest, there are plenty of places to run around Paris. Before I talk routes, let’s talk general running hotspots for me. Here’s an overview of central Paris (click to zoom):
Longchamp: This has a 2.2ish mile loop that’s aimed at cyclists (around the horse track – Hippodrome de Longchamp), but you can run inside of that. It’s slightly rolling. Outside of the actual loop within the Bois de Boulonge, there’s the vast park itself, which has endless running options both paved and unpaved. The loop is essentially closed to traffic, making it perfect.
Bois de Vincennes: Hands down the best overall running location in Paris if you want to get away from the crowds. Think Central Park in NYC, except literally about three times bigger. I can do entire 2-3 hour long runs in there and not repeat myself. Tons of both paved and well as offroad running. Especially in the inner and northern edges (off-road). There’s also a triangle loop that’s closed to traffic for runners and cyclists. Your best option here is to just ‘get lost’ and enjoy wandering around. There’s signs on all the trails with little arrows and distance to the next point. Oh, and check out the Chateau (castle-like) at the northern edge.
In the Parks: There’s a number of parks that are great for doing intervals or loops of. These are each outlined below. I personally love Bastille because it’s a paved dual pedestrian and bike path around it, awesome for almost perfectly 1-mile looped intervals, and it’s reasonably flat and very few crowds (has a free bathroom at North end). In front of the Louvre at Tuileries is also great (paid bathroom on Northern side). Jardin des Plantes is about 8/10ths of a mile around, but isn’t paved, so it’s a bit of a softer ride and is pancake flat (free bathroom on Western side). Luxembourg is very scenic, but you’ll dodge a fair number of people there, just like at the Eiffel Tower (free bathrooms at Eastern most leg of tower, underground). Invalides is awesome for intervals – almost perfectly a mile around, and without any crowds that get in your way.
Les Berges: This is a portion of the next section where I discuss the river more generally. But it’s worth calling out this specific car/crossing free stretch. Up until two summers ago, this area was a highway. Now, it’s been torn up and replaced by a beautiful pedestrian area for running and cycling…and in the summer outdoor restaurants. This has become one of our favorites for winter running, specifically for doing any form of interval training. It’s nearly 3KM long and almost perfectly flat. It also has a bathroom about half-way too (up on a wall oddly enough). Don’t however bother trying to run anything hard/fast here after about 4PM on a weekend in the summer, or any nice night in the summer for that matter. Jam packed with people out drinking rose wine.
Along the river: Finally, along the river as a whole. I tend to run along the river for most of my long runs. It’s really complex to say which side of the river is better, as it really depends on the season and weather. If it’s rained a lot recently then it floods over some of the sections. In general though, the Southern Bank is less crowded until you get to the islands. At the islands, it’s actually best from a running standpoint to hop across the bridge to the islands and run on them (wide/empty streets).
In the winter 2017 they also made the entire north portion of the roadway between Concorde (so the center of the map below) and the far right edge of the red line pedestrian only. It’s fantastic and is a great place to run, especially on quiet weeknights in the winter (it’s a horrible place on a busy summer weekend mid-afternoon, but fine in the morning).
Running really long: For really long runs if you don’t want the park, you can follow a route out along the river for some 50 miles. It’s pretty easy to follow too. Just go along the river until you see a double-span pedestrian bridge that meets in the middle but has an upper and lower entrance at each side and then from there on, ensure you’re on the Northern Side of the river on a bike path. Go forever.
My favorite route: As you can see, I run all over the place here in Paris. Usually mixing and matching together the above areas – which are all connected via sidewalks, mostly via the river. However, if you’re looking for a nice route that hits all the major sites, here’s my favorite. It starts from Notre Dame – simply because that’s where I am, but you can ‘hop on’ anywhere.
As you can see, it starts from Notre Dame and then goes down to the end of the next island before heading back up the river, where you’ll dip through the Louvre (past the glass pyramid) and then across the gardens before heading up to the Arc and then back down again to Concorde (big pointy statue in the middle of a giant traffic intersection). Then I head over to the river and run along the northern bank until the Eiffel tower. At which point I do a half-loop around the Eiffel Tower and then short-cut across to Invalides. If you want a touch bit of extra distance, don’t shortcut over but instead run back to the river and then along the river until you get to Invalides (it’s obvious, it’s a gigantic green lawn with a gold domed building half a mile down it).
Once done at Invalides (you can add tons of time there), then I head back up along the river and back to Notre Dame.
Here’s the Garmin Connect profile.
Ways to add extra distance: Once back at Notre Dame, continue down the river 8/10ths of a mile on the southern river bank, you’ll go through a nice park along the water. When the park ends at a bridge, go up onto the road and you’ll see the entrance to the Gardens (across street, gold gate), you can wander in there, each loop is about 8/10ths of a mile. Alternatively, at the other end, do loops around either Eiffel Tower or Invalides (or both). Each loop is 1-1.2 miles. Same goes for the gardens in front of the Louvre.
Ways to decrease distance: Don’t go up/back to the Arc, instead, just leave the gardens near the Louvre and then head along the river. Also, to save distance, don’t go down the park at Eiffel Tower or Invalides, just brush through them.
Cycling & Bike Rentals:
Given Paris is a city, your cycling options for legit training are somewhat limited. I define legit training as training where you can cycle more or less continuously at an intense effort without many stops or concern. There’s plenty of rides outside the city, but I’m going to cover the main ones inside the city. These essentially boil down to Longchamp and Bois de Vincennes:
Longchamp: The red area is where you want to be, the Hippodrome. This is the cycling mecca on the weekends here, with hundreds and hundreds of people cycling around it. Even a nice summer weekday will be packed. It’s a 2+ lane road that’s largely closed down and cyclists all go in the same direction. Think of it like a giant 1.2 mile roller rink for cyclist. The larger park is good for casual cycling, but not intense riding.
Bois de Vincennes: At the complete opposite end of the city is the Bois de Vincennes. This is much quieter than Longchamp from a cycling standpoint. The road quality is good, but not as perfect as Longchamp. Inside of it is the triangle, which is completely closed to traffic (no cars anywhere near there). And is split most of the way around between 1-2 full lanes for cyclists, and 1 lane for pedestrians (with hard barriers). Beware of leaves on the ground in the fall on a wet day.
The second option is on the road around the horse track there. I use this a fair bit as it has a nice hill in the middle of it, so it keeps things mixed up. This isn’t closed to traffic, but if you keep with going clockwise, you’ll never have to stop, and the traffic here is fairly sparse.
Finally, along the southern side is a perimeter road that has some traffic at peak times, but is otherwise fairly quiet. It’s about 1-2 miles, but has beautiful new pavement, so you can do back and forths there, and if you’re creative enough you can cut through the park and make a big loop out of it.
Looking for longer routes? Yeah, I’ve gotta update this list with some of my favorites. However, I can say that Strava’s list of Top 10 Paris cycling routes is very close to what many Parisians will use for routes out of the city. I routinely ride #1/#2/#8/#9 on their list (or variants of them). So definitely check that out. Plus, they have a running list too!
Bikes and Trains/Subways: Note that you can take your bike on the RER trains, but cannot take them on the standard subway/metro. Read this post here for all the details on where and when you can and cannot take them.
Rentals: There’s two shops I’ve rented from before. Both are good. In fact, the bike you see above is actually a rental bike (with my wheelset on them).
Paris Bike Co.: This company is run by an American who’s moved over here. Both his wife and him race triathlons and road races, and his bikes are awesome. I rented the bike you see above from him for the Versailles Triathlon. They also do pickup and drop-off. I’ll definitely be renting from them again when I need a bike rental (i.e. friends/family in town).
Allo Velo: This is the first shop I used in Paris for bike rental. It’s easy to get to and they have a lot of selection. You can see some of the photos from the bikes both The Girl and I rented for a ride last spring in this post.
Day Bikes (Velib): Finally, there’s the Velib system. It’s AWESOME. As residents, we just pay $35 bucks a year to use it, and I can pickup my bike for 45 minutes at a time and drop it off on almost any street corner. As of this past spring, they’ve updated almost all of the machines to take credit cards. The day rate is about $1.70, and you get 30 minutes per ride (but unlimited rides in that 24 hour period). Note that the machines are finicky for credit cards without chips. So I’d recommend simply buying the pass online. There’s no difference between the two, as all you get is an ID and PIN number to type in, so this will save you time standing in front of the machine frustrated. Here’s a few posts on the Velib.
Update 2018: Since the beginning of 2018 the Velib system changed operational hands to a new vendor. Since then it’s been more or less a complete cluster. It’s gotten better this summer, but can still be a bit of a mess sometimes. It’s more frustrating for residents than tourists, because usually residents have very specific timelines – like commuting to the start of a workday, than tourists which are a bit more flexible in finding a station.
Oh swimming, the bane of my existence in Paris. First, you should understand that swimming in Paris is unlike anything I’ve seen elsewhere in the world. Think of it more as an ‘experience’ than as real training. I say this again, you won’t get in good training here. The reason is the public pools all tend to have 15-20 people per lane at all times. Yes, really, 15-20 – PER LANE. While there is signage for fast/slow lanes at some pools, it’s generally ignored. So you’ll have someone backstroking down the fast lane with a pull buoy and an upside-down snorkel. Seriously, I’ve seen it.
Here’s the full listing of pools from the city. And here’s the map making it easy to zoom in to where you are. Note, ‘Piscine’ means pool. Also, most all pools require swim caps. Read my Paris Pool Post to understand the ‘rules’ of the pool (primarily on getting in).
That said, I really only swim in a handful of pools – simply because I don’t generally want to wander all the way across town for a swim. Here’s the two I tend to use most often:
Piscine Pontoise: This is probably one of the more unique pools in Paris. It’s the one I highlighted in the post above. It’s got fairly wonky hours, but the late-night hours (till midnight) make it slightly more accessible. The only challenge is just that it’s always so packed that timing your workouts to available lane time is pretty much near impossible.
Piscine Baker: This pool is actually on a barge on the river, and the glass roof opens up during the summer. It’s a bit out of the way for most, but they do have a Velib station out front – making it easy to combine cycling with running.
Just to be clear, there are no legal openwater swimming locations in Paris. Sorry!
In the event you need to pickup something, here’s the places I head to. Note, most of these stores are in French. If you’re trying to browse foreign language websites, I just use Chrome (browser) with automatic translation. Works perfect.
Triathlon focused stores aren’t exactly plentiful here in Paris. Nonetheless, here are your options in a pinch:
Triathlon Store: This place just opened this winter, and is mostly focused on high-end items. They’re in the heart of Paris, and easily accessible. This would be my first stop for tri-specific needs.
La Boutique du Triathlon: These guys are southwest outside of the city, so not really in the city center. But they have a good selection of odds and ends that you might need. They also speak a little bit of English.
For cycling, there’s three shops that I’d use:
Bike in Paris: This is primarily where I go when I need to get my bike fixed or something ordered. Good folks, and they speak English quite well. Also Trek dealer in case you need something from them.
Bicycle Store: This is from the same guys as the ‘Triathlon Store’ above, prior to them opening the triathlon store. It’s also where we bought The Girl’s most recent bike from.
Giant Store: This is the Giant bicycle company operated store, but they speak English, and near to me (Notre Dame). They sell almost only all Giant branded stuff, so it tends to be slightly more expensive, but they have a good variety of stuff.
For running there’s tons of options. I’ll keep adding to this section as I remember them all.
Boutique Marathon: Definitely a specialty running store. A bit higher end, but good selection and focused on running specifically.
Decathlon: This is a major chain store across Europe, and thus they carry running stuff (as well as some crossover into swimming and cycling). There’s a number of locations in Paris.
For everything else sports related, here’s another option:
Au Vieux Campeur: This is sorta like REI for France. In Paris the store is spread out over a number of city blocks, with tiny storefronts for different topics (i.e. one store for skis, one for running shoes, etc…). If you lost a Garmin charger or need a GoPro mount – they’ll have it (and mounts/chargers for most other cameras/action cams). In fact, they’ve got a surprising selection of accessories and items, and usually almost immediately at initial retail availability of a product. Far better than your average REI or Best Buy in the US. The specific store that has all the goods is at 28 Rue des Écoles, 75005. All the other stores are within 2-4 blocks of it.
Decathlon: This is a large chain sporting good store across Europe, similar to a Dicks Sporting Goods in the US. They have a ton of selection (and stores), though very rarely anything beyond what the average person might want fitness-wise. So you won’t generally find higher end items here (though they do have a wide selection of sports technology stuff). They also have a fairly good selection of gels/nutrition. There are many stores around Paris/France/Europe to select from.
(Thanks to the Expatries Triathlon team for the Marathon and Triathlon Boutique ones)
Races in France/Paris:
Looking to try your hand at racing against the French? Here’s a few resources for finding races in France/Paris:
From reader HollyOak: http://www.crchsidf.org then “Affichage calendriers”/”Hors stade – Cross” and click on “Exécuter”.
From reader Julien: http://topchrono.biz/ & http://www.le-sportif.com/ (The first one wins for being easiest to use – the second for being the most complete)
If you’re looking to see what I’ve been racing, check out my race reports section. In general most major races will easily accommodate non-French speakers and you can almost always find someone to help you translate. Do note that virtually all races require a medical certificate. This can be printed out from the race’s site and then taken to a doctor (or, someone pretending to be one) and then it’s best to ensure the office/etc have ink-stamped it. Races here are very serious about no-go without a certificate, though they don’t much care what’s on them, as long as it says medical at the top.
Add your own suggestions!
I’m all for hearing about new places, routes or otherwise. My ONLY REQUEST is that you please include a link to the route (again, it’s easy to create for free on Garmin Connect, MapMyRide or plenty of other apps). Or, if it’s a facility (i.e. an awesome pool), then please include the link to the facility.
Also, I’ll try and clean things up as best as possible over time (i.e. duplicates/etc…) so that it’s easy to find items.
Great info! Glad to see that when I was in Paris in April ’11 I was in one of the best running areas in the Bois de Vincennes. 🙂
It’s not the most scenic of parks, or terribly big, but I used to run laps around Parc Monceau. Ok fine – I only did it because it was next to my office, but the loops are almost exactly 1km each, and there were always tons of young people hanging out and providing a nice little vibe.
link to goo.gl
Thanks for the information, Ray. I usually run along the Seine as well and extend my route through loops of the Champs de Mars, Tuileries, Invalides, etc. just like you described. I rarely venture out of the city, but reading about your long running routes I might try it sometime!
Now for how I make Paris swimming reasonably bearable:
If I want to swim in the morning, I generally go to in de 15th district. From 7h05 to 7h30, the rightmost lane is usually pretty feasible. At 7h30, the lane is closed for lessons, so I start the 20 minutes of “swimming hell” you describe above in one of the remaining lanes. From 7h50 to 8h15, when it closes, you can generally get in some nice laps again. All in all 50 minutes of decent training to be had, so not that bad.
Evenings I go to Piscine Pontoise, like you. The 10EUR entrance fee is a bit steep, but between 22h and 23h45 I’ve always managed to swim in quiet lanes, sometimes even solo! So I treat myself to that every once in a while 🙂
Thanks Ray! I’ll upload some of the Garmin TCX course files prior to leaving DC. We’re scheduled to be in Paris from 7/1-7/4. Very excited to do some running while I’m there.
You forgot the buttes chaumont 🙂 if you want to work your hills repeat for running it’s a 2.33km loop (1.5miles) going up and down.
Here’s the link to the loop: link to app.strava.com
You can find an open water pool at Puteaux just near the Longchamp place.
Price is expensive, but it’s 50m with sky ceiling !
Hey, great post Ray 🙂
For the swimming, i usually go to Keller swimming pool (50 meters) on saturday or sunday at the opening: you can have 1 good hour of training since it’s quite empty at this moment. Otherwise, I agree, it’s a mess :/
I swapped my swim training to monday and wednesday during my lunchtime and Neuilly aquatic center is kind of nice, not too overcrowded, clean, but expensive sadly. I might try Levallois aquatic center too. Pontoise is nice, but the 33 meters are a nightmare to count without swim watch lol.
I used to work out by La Defence and can recommend Piscine Courbevoie as far as Parisian pools go (link to horaires-piscines.fr) is an olympic pool that while still having that french grandpa who backstrokes over you mauling you with hand paddles and fins… is not that packed (so I could usually swim with a work colleagues and not you know kill Papi)
Great article 🙂 As a Parisian I think you can add all the parks in your running places (Monceau, Buttes Chaumont…).
Anyway, I’m commenting to tell you one of your Garmin link is KO : “Here’s the Garmin Connect profile” (favorite running route part of the article).
Thanks for the info Ray! I’m going to Paris this week (june 20th) and i was looking for a fun and safe place to run with my 16 years old daughter. We will also going to pay a visit to the Girl’s bakery!
both Le Chesnay link to lechesnay.fr and Versailles link to vert-marine.com have olympic size pools which are not as crowded as those within Paris.
Not really a route or related as such, but wasnt sure where to post this.
I wondered if you had seen this blog regarding unusual/different locations (mainly) in Paris.
May give you and the girl some ideas for exploring on Sunday afternoons?
link to messynessychic.com
I’ve been meaning to subscribe to that blog, but I did actually see that one article – interesting stuff!
I will be in Paris for 2 weeks starting July 1. I’m a triathlete, and really appreciate the above info on all 3 sports! I am very concerned about not swimming for 2 weeks (despite your ‘warnings’), and am wondering if Piscine de Pontoise is accessible to tourists? Google Maps says it is a 15min walk from the apartment we’re renting, or 13min walk to Piscine Saint Merri (any experience with that pool?). Thanks 🙂
It’s absolutely open to anyone! Entry is 4.50.
The hours are really wonky , but here’s a photo of them (sorry, it’s a cell phone photo at night): link to sites.google.com
The first day in the week is Monday (Lundi), and goes down from there. On Monday and Friday they are open from 8:15PM to 11:45PM. Note, you cannot swim ‘across’ sessions. Meaning, from the session ending at 8PM till 8:15PM. They actually clear the pool and building. Strange, I know.
But it’s a ‘fun’ pool to check out, ignoring the others in the lane. In general, the ‘best’ time to swim is as close to the end of a session as possible. I often come in the last hour of the session.site.
As far as Saint Merri, it’s kinda not so great. 😉
Janelle, dont go to Pontoise as it is overcrowded, the best is to cross the park bois de boulogne with the bike and reach pont de Puteau where you have the aquatic center located on the island on the Seine. Very nice place with a 25m indoor pool, 50m outdoor pool, sauna, hammam and huge external solarium along the pool. here the link: link to guide-piscine.fr
Any idea if they prohibit photos/cameras at that pool? I ask primarily as I’m often trying to get photos of watches (swim), and some of the pools here prohibit photography.
Very good blog.
If you want to swim properly i recommend to go just outside of Paris (you just cross the peripherique), then you have 2 good olympic swimming pool center. One is outside located on the Puteau island (25m indoor and 50m outdoor, the other one is a 50m and 25 m both inside at La Defense Charass Tower. Personnaly i prefer the Puteau s one as it is the most beautiful, and with good swimmers.
For swimming I’d recommend the Piscine Guy Bey de Meudon Val Fleury, in Meudon:
link to forest-hill.fr
It has large opening hours, which is rare in Paris, has swimming lanes all the time, not crowded, and still allowshand paddles in one lane.
In addition, it hostes one of the greatest triathlon clubs in the region.
you didn’t mention parc montsouris, in the south of paris. Which is really good if you live in the neighbourhood, (14th and 13th arrondisments) and you can concatenate the tramway T3 and the quai in order to have a 20km run inside paris which is pretty nice
here the tour i was saying: link to connect.garmin.com
As I am going to spend the next 5 weeks in Paris because of my work, I found your post very useful. I am a cyclist, and just started preparing for the new season, so running and swimming is certainly on the menu. I was wondering, though, if the hippodrome longchamps is also suited for cycling in the evening/at night. Are there any lights alongside the road?
Hmm, that’s a good question, I don’t remember as I’ve only been over there once or twice at dusk. I do know that Bois Vincennes doesn’t (I learned that lesson last fall), though you can still ride if you bring a light.
There are street lights about 2/3 of the way round the Longchamp loop — so there’s a stretch of around 1km where you’re in the dark. I do see a few bikers training after dark (when I’m out running), with lights. And one of my triathlon clubmates definitely trains there before light in the morning, but that I have never seen first-hand, as I am not that manic.
There are easily accessible trail runs all round Paris, just a short train journey away. Lots of forests for running/biking which have hills to make it more fun.
If you want some running company in Paris, link to meetup.com organise twice weekly runs.
Besides the Let’s Run Paris! meetup group which Fiona has linked to, there also is slightly more dynamic Paris Running Meetup Group (link to meetup.com), and, for all bike enthusiast, Paris Cycling Group (link to meetup.com), both co-organized by members of Expatriés Triathlon Club Paris (link to meetup.com).
you didn’t mention parc des Buttes Chaumont (hilly) and canal de l’Ourcq, which to me are the best running spots in Paris where I’ve been living for 25 years.
My favorite pools are : Hebert (25m) in the 18th district, Georges Hermant (50m) in 19th but closed these days and Les Halles (50m) 1st.
link to piscine.equipement.paris.fr
Regarding open water swimming, there are a few places outside of Paris such as Torcy (20 min away from Paris by train). You’re supposed to pay an access fee : around 15€ / year afair but there is no control at the entrance.
Last, there are plenty of great spots for cycling around Paris. Easiest is look for routes on openrunner.
Apologies in advance for the slightly off topic follow up. I’m heading to Paris for the half marathon in a month and I haven’t been to Paris in a decade. Do any of you any recommendations for a simple, inexpensive hotel? All I need is a comfy bed as I will be eating (yes Bertie’s is a definite stop ;)) and running my way through the city 🙂 thank you!
Eek, I’m actually not too sure there (since, I don’t ever stay in a hotel in the city). However, in general for Europe I always use Booking.com and then use the ratings function and cross-check it with TripAdvisor. Generally speaking, they match. We’ve found Booking to be the cheapest for Europe. We’ve gotten pretty crazy rates even at the Olympics last year in London and at the TdF – all with 1-2 days notice. In fact, I’m booking a reservation here in a second with them for the Barcelona Half-Marathon in two weeks)
(Note: I don’t have any affiliation with them, other than that I like to save money. A coworker that was living here when I arrived gave me the tip).
Thanks so very much and good luck in Barcelona!
Came across with this: link to flowingdata.com
Was wondering how much of Paris data was formed by you 😉 link to flowingdata.com
For the longer Sunday rides, you should head South towards st Remy les chevreuses. From Paris that will be a minimum 70 k and 600 m of uphills climbing.
Paris bike co, is definitely a great place where to have your bike maintained or to get fitted to your bike…
This is really interesting! My daughter and I are both triathletes and we will be in Paris from end of April to early May. Is there a running event that you can suggest please? Thanks!
I recently started working in Paris (La Defense) commuting back to UK at weekends. I use the Hippodrome as a training circuit after work now that the nights are lighter, I’d be keen to know if you know of any routes that have some ‘hills’ around Paris. I’ve been looking out past Versailles towards Chevreuse, on the map it looks like a decent route but I can’t find any blogs about the terrain or roads etc. Any experience of this area?
The “Parc naturel regional du vexin français” link to pnr-vexin-francais.fr is a great area for cycling: very few cars, plain countryside and pretty hilly: altitude ranges between 25 and 200m . I go there every weekend, usually after a 70km my Garmin Edge shows around 700m ascension.
A good starting place is the city of Meriel, which is 25mn car ride from la Defense.
I hope you’ll enjoy.
we might have crossed paths in Longchamp: I try to go there in the evening at least once a week during week days: I ride a Cervelo P2 but I assume I’m not the only one 😉
you can find plenty of routes posted by other cyclists on openrunner.com including in Vallée de Chevreuse (which I feel is overrated: too many cars and cyclists).
My personal favorite spot is in the north of Paris, in the area of Chantilly: it just takes 30 min by train from Gare du Nord (using RER D) to go to Louvres and then you can ride: mainly forests and countryside villages.
This is my last ride:
link to openrunner.com
There are few hills but don’t expect the Galibier or Alpe d’Huez. The hilliest area in this region is located in forêt de Carnelle.
Vexin recommended by Yann is also a great spot but a bit too far for me since I live in Paris downtown.
Thanks for the replies guys, I’ll be sure to take a look and check them out. I intend on spending some weekends in Paris so that’ll give me a good chance to put some miles in. I’m not looking for monster climbs, just something a little less flat, so the regions that you have suggested seem to fit the bill, cheers.
Jeff, I have seen a few Cervelos around the Hippodrome but, as you say there are a few. I myself have bought my old Allez over from the UK as I wasn’t sure how the air freight people would handle it. I have a Venge at home and might bring that over later in the year.
Where is a Paris bike shop that would rent higher end road bikes?
Paris Bike Company per the above is definitely your best bet for higher end stuff.
You could try Paris Bike Company link to parisbikeco.com located just outside the peripherique, Sam running it specializes in renting out high end road bkes, and from my experience with him he’s really helpful and great to deal with.
Hi Ray, I notice just now that you say that a Longchamp lap is 1.2 miles… actually it’s about 3.5km, or 2.2mi.
Also, as a running place for shortish runs (10km or less) I’d also mention Parc Monceau. It’s in the 8th arrondissement (not far from the Arc de Triomphe), and has an outer loop which is almost perfectly 1 km long. The only problem is that when the weather is nice, it quickly gets crowded with strollers and small kids on bicycles…
Ahh, good catch on a typo. Fixed!
We are planning to bring our bikes along on a trip to the Paris area, so I was interested in the post about taking bikes on trains. We’ve heard mixed things about how easy (or not) it is to get a bike on the trains. But your link above is dead. Could you re-post the posting, or offer some advice?
You’ll find all info on SNCF site: link to bikes.sncf.com (SNCF is a company operating trains in France)
…and I just found the updated link. Looks like they changed one word in the URL. All good now!
My thanks to you both. We typically take cycling vacations, but this trip to France we’re planning a city’ish vacation with plans to mix sight seeing with cycling. This will help a lot!
a friend of mine told me this morning that he saw you cycling in Longchamp yesterday evening (July 16). Was it really you?
Yup indeed. A couple hours of loops into the dark… 🙂
Hi, do you also know any good running shop in London? Thanks.
Eek, sorry! Haven’t been to any running shops there.
My husband and I will traveling to Paris for the first time in September. He is currently training for the Chicago marathon. He is scheduled to run 20miles during our trip. Which route do you think would be best for him to run while I bike with him? Also, can you suggest someplace to rent a bike? Thanks so much!
I’d suggest going out along the river, using the route titled/shown in the section for “Really Long Run”, that’s because there’s an easy bike path for you to bike alongside.
For bike rentals, see the section titled ‘Bike rentals’. Though, realistically you could probably just rent a Velib (bike share bike) and pay the overages and it’d be less hassle.
Sounds perfect. Thanks so much for your help!
I think the best place for longs runs in Paris is along the canal de l’Ourcq : no cars, no traffic lights. You can run 200km non stop if you want.
See an example of a on long run I did: link to connect.garmin.com
Best is to start from “place Stalingrad” on the right side of the canal, then you cross the bridge in Pantin and run on the left side. Bikes are also welcome 🙂
That’s a nice one, though, a bit north for most tourists staying in the center of Paris. But for me – I’m definitely adding that to the list! 🙂
I really like that path for cycling out of the city. About 5mins after parc de la villette the surface is excellent and there are very few runners. Take the path to Claye-Souilly and go north on quiet country roads or go south and come back to vincennes on a good bike path along the river marne.
On another note, I’m looking for some running races (road or xc) over the autumn. Where is the best place to find info, or can you recommend any? Also does the medical certificate have to come from a French Doctor or can I get my doctor at home to write any old note?
I added a ‘Races’ section above that might help a little bit.
For the medical certificate, you can download just one generic one from any race and then re-use them for basically any race. So if you grab (for example), the Paris-Versailles medical certificate, get it signed/stamped/whatever’d by whomever, and then keep a bunch of originals to give out like candy to other races.
Please note that the medical certificate shouldn’t be older than 12 months.
Regarding races, I can suggest another link, which is very comprehensive:
link to calendrier.dusportif.fr
It’s in French but it can be used by non French readers, I assume, with help of Google translate when needed.. You just need to select the month on top of the page, then you get a (long) list of races (mostly in France) sorted by dates. If you click on the title you get a description of the race, including a link to the race’s official web site when available.
If you want to know where the race is taking place, the name of the location is on the right and the number between brackets refers to the French department.
Example: Paris = (75), Paris suburb = (91), (92), (93), (94), (95), (77) and (78) .
For the whole French mapping, see the map here:
link to fr.wikipedia.org
(I know it’s a bit complicated, but that’s the way we are 😉
Yup, good point on the medical – anything under than 12 months and you’re good.
Gents, merci bcp.
This is fantastic, thanks! My husband and I are both runners and will be in Paris next weekend, and I was hoping to find some good information on where to run, and about biking in the city. I can’t wait to rent a velib and head over to Bois De Boulogne for some casual cycling, and get a 7-10 mile site seeing run in along the river!
Enjoy the city! On the Velib pass, it’s easiest if you buy the little code online – since the Velib machines at each station don’t often take American credit cards (requires pin/chip). Plus, it’ll be faster. 🙂
Hi there, thanks for your post.
Have you tried running along the Canal St Martin (north-east Paris?) and then continuing on the Ourcq canal?
Pretty nice sights (including Cite’ de Sciences, to stick to the technology theme), plus it’s closed to traffic on Saturdays.
Give it a shot!
Cheers and keep up the good work
Yup! It’s quite nice up there. I did quite a bit last winter up in that area.
I am Laura, I am living in Paris, but I am Argentine. I want to by a bicicle, could you give same adreeses of places where they sell them? Thank you very much! Great you blog!!
Hi Ray and all others. Merry x-mas. :o)
I was so lucky to get a trip to Paris for x-mas. Me, my wife and my to daughters at age three and six planning on visiting your beautiful city at the end of march and start april.
I was hoping for some recommendations in where to stay, what to visit and where to run :O).
Im planing on the big things like the eiffel tower, notre dame, disneyland and of course a visit to Berties cake shop :O)
many thanks in advance and kind regards from Kenni, Denmark
any other ideas
Awesome! That’s a great time of year weather-wise (albeit, actually the busiest tourist-wise, even more than summer).
Hmm, I’ve never quite written down a ‘Ray’s guide to Paris’, perhaps I need to get cracking! That said, I did recently write down our favorite restaurants: link to dcrainmaker.com
Personally we love walking many of the major sights at night – like the Louvre and along the river.
For hotels, generally stay within the triangle formed by Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and the Arc (just draw a line between all three). Though, a bit further north on the upper side is totally fine. That makes virtually everything walkable and will reduce your travel time.
Hi Ray and Thanks for your feedback.
We have just booked our stay at hotel Amelot on Rue De Amelot a little north of the Notre Dame, so were sort of close to the cheese factory, Berties cup cakery, Holy belly and Ti Jos. So the snack and eating places are in place :-). And also close to your favorit running route. So now i just have to cross my fingers to that Polar will add the posibility to ad the route to my V800 before that :-).
As for sightseeing we up for sacre Cour, monteparnase, the beautiful City og Paris and perhaps a river ride. And ofcourse a few data of Disney with the kids.
Once again Thanks and do feel free to write more ‘must see and must do’ tvinges in Paris
Kind regards. Kenni Lund
I live in paris as well and run a lot either in the parc des Buttes Chaumont (19ème), which is beautiful and has lots of hills, or the track at the centre sportif jules ladoumègue (just outside porte de la villette), which is open to anyone. Any tips on where to find used bikes? thanks 🙂
I lived in Paris for 6 years and integrated within the local community by joining a “Cyclo-tourism” club in Asnieres-sur-Seine who, although the average age was 68, kicked my ass every Sunday morning with a 100km+ bike ride through the country side with their shaved legs and carbon fiber frames, so that they could be home to have lunch with their wives AT NOON.
(There was a bike rally organized almost every weekend by a different small town, which guaranteed water stops at one or two places and a sandwich and a coke at the end for a small entrance fee – get a bike GPS with mapping features – nothing worse than doing an extra 30km during a 100km bike rally because of poor signage)
The big event for the year was:
– Levallois-Honfleur – 215km ride to the north coast of France from Paris (need to arrive by 5pm so that you can catch the bus back)
link to levallois-honfleur.fr
link to connect.garmin.com
If this seems too easy, you may want to check out a cyclo-sportive club, that does shorter races every weekend.
Cyclo-tourism and cyclo-sportive clubs are found in about every community, with sign-up occurring in September at teach local townhall sports and club fair. (Levallois and Meudon are pretty hardcore town clubs as well).
Leaving for Paris tomorrow, and looking forward to revisiting the beautiful city. And also looking forward to running your (RAY) favorite 10 miler at night :-).
Hooping for some good weather, some nice Crepes and some very good tasting Cup Cakes from Berties. :O)
Paris here we come, so last chance for all you Parisians to comment with your Must See, Must taste, Must experience things.
Kind Regards from KilkennY, Denmark.
Just wanted to say thx for all your recommendations.
We had a fantastic trip to Paris, and wauv what a great week. We visited all the big sites ( including Disneyland) and I also saw much of it at night, while running something that looks a little like your favourite 10 miler 🙂 link to strava.com
We had breakfast twice at the Holy Belly, and damn I’m already missing that place :-). We also tried the grilled cheese factory, Kodoya, Ti Jos ( you should try the complete here with cheese, mushrooms, eggs and ham) etc.
and of course we visited Bertie’s :-). Bobbies wasn’t there, but instead a very nice norvigian girl. Norvigian and Danish are very similar, so no need for ordering in English :-).
Once again thanks.
Kind regards, Kenni.
Awesome – sounds like a great lineup! And indeed, Sophie is awesome (the Norwegian girl)!
Hello, FYI there’s a small typo in your text : The “Bois de Boulange” is actually “Bois de Boulogne”.
Also, kudos for promoting the bike friendly road that enables cyclists and runners to leave Paris by the east on a path separated from the cars for several kilometers. Even many regular Parisian cyclists ignore it exists. It doesn’t even have a nice name (the official name seems to be “Véloroute de la Seine et de la Marne”), and no sign from Paris to show it exists.
Ahh, nice catch. Thanks!
great article! I moved recently to paris and I’m leaving in a few minutes for my first attempt at cycling at longchamp hehe
I was wondering if you know any cool long hill routes around paris to do weekend long cycling training
first of all really it’s a nice blog to read. Plenty of good advises for foreigner if they want to find quickly a place for training (running or cycling).
I live in the north of Paris and will prepare some picture of loops in more wild areas not that much far away from Paris.
Hi, excellent blog. I’m moving to Paris in 18 days! Do you have any gym recommendations? I’ll be on Jean Jaures in the 18th. My wife was looking at Club Med which is pricey, I was only after a treadmill and some decent machines and weights. I’ll definitely swing by Bertie’s CupCakery when I’m in town. Might see you on the road. Thanks.
Are there any public tracks pretty close to the city center that are open for public use? Thanks!
There’s one that’s one block to the west of the Eiffel Tower (easily seen on Google Maps). Just google “centre sportif emile anthoine horaires” for the current hours.
The hours are a bit funky, but otherwise fairly straight forward.
Hi Jenny – did you have any luck with finding athletics tracks in the city center. Interested to know what access is like.
I am writing a children’s book set in WWII in Paris and was wondering if anyone can tell me whether the 17th arrondissements is hilly or not re cycling and if there are some nice hills to cycle up or down whether you could name the streets for me.
thanks – have had no luck on google search
17th arrondissement is very flat…
Even when you cross the St Lazare railways, you do it at street level.
The “steepest” maybe the Avenue de Wagram but you don’t go fast without pedaling nevertheless and there are cobblestones.
FYI, the 18th arrondissement (Montmartre) is *very* hilly, you need some skills in some streets. Random choice : Rue Paul Albert
PS : if you want a street that ends into the 17th arrondissement, I found Rue Pierre Ginier in the 18th.
Hi! At first I’d like to say that you’ve got a great site. In 2014 I’ve been to Paris. And unfortunately I first your site in 2015 😉
I did a great sightrunning tour. Ok, it wasn’t really hard- but I learned very much about the history of the town.
If you want to recommend this to your readers: Feel free 🙂
link to sightrunningparis.com
There is a fantastic group of ex-pats and Parisians who run on Monday Evening (10km) and Saturday Morning (9am – long runs) with 3-4 different pace groups (from 5-7 min/km), They are always welcoming visitors into the group. So if you are in town get in touch through the facebook group or through Meet-up link to meetup.com
Hi! X 2 months I will be in CDG x business..I want continue my running training there..someone can give it to me any info if there’s any recommend place to run?
Thanks in advance x replay!!!
do you plan to stay in the CDG airport (30km north from Paris) or come to Paris downtown?
if you come downtown, then you have a few suggestions posted by DCR above.
my 2 personal favorite running spots are:
– parc des Buttes Chaumont : nice hilly park that you can easily locate in google maps.
– canal de l’ourcq: it’s a path along a canal for bikes and pedestrians only, totally flat and you can run along this path for 100km or more without crossing a car.
below my run of yesterday evening:
link to connect.garmin.com
I started from home but you can start from “place de la bataille de Stalingrad” (search in gmaps).
My recommendation: you better start on the right side of the canal and then cross the bridge like I did around @ km 5.
Hope it helps. Feel free to contact me if you need more details.
Thanks X answer! Unfortunatly I have an hotel in Roissy and with a train or bus become very difficult to reach downtown..any idea near the airport??? Thanks!
I did a quick search and sounds like there is a nice park in the village near the airport, it’s called “la vallée verte” the green valley.
link to hotels-roissy-tourisme.com
I never went there, but looks like a cool place for running.
Thanks for the great post! Just wondering if you know a good place in/around Paris to buy a new road bike and get properly fitted (I speak French)? I think it’s time to upgrade my second hand, sport store brand, slightly too small for me entry level road bike. Somewhere with several brands to get a more unbiased opinion and perhaps with some female friendly advice. I live next to the triathlon store – they’re great for nutrition related things but I wouldn’t consider buying a bike there. Thanks in advance!
Within the ‘Sports Stores’ section, I’d look at the one called simply ‘Bicycle Store’, I know a bunch of local folks use them for picking up new bikes.
if you are not price sensitive, indeed you can purchase a new bike.
Some suggestions of bike stores in Paris downtown in addition to DCR’s above:
– link to franscoop.com
– link to culturevelo.com
– link to cycleslaurent.com
if you have time, you should consider visiting bike stores outside of Paris where you might have more choice and better deals.
If you’re price sensitive, then I suggest you to consider 2nd hand bikes, there’s a great site for this:
link to troc-velo.com
you can search by brand, size, location (for Paris and surroundings, type “ile de france”). You can find great deals there. I personally purchased a Trek road bike and a Cervelo TT bike on this site: almost new and 50% off the retail price.
Last point: bike fitting. Either you get fitted in the store if you purchase a new bike or you can look for an independent fitter. I suggest you to search with the keywords “étude posturale” which is the translation for bike fitting in French. There are also great apps to help you with this. I remember that DCR posted a review for one of these apps. Hope this helps.
Thanks for the reply! I will definitely check out those out! Do you know of any decent bike shops outside the city? I’m not in a rush.
I found some interesting bikes on the second hand site you listed – just need to visit a shop first to figure out the size…
sorry for my late answer, for bikeshops outside Paris, I recommend :
– link to lechappeebelle.bike in Asnières sur Seine, they sell special brands
– link to velo9.com in Herblay, here the choice is very large and the shopowner is very carefull.
If you’re new to Paris and keen for a run, you can go on one of the running tours at http://runparis.fr
The route is pretty similar to DCR’s favourite running route in the article. The best bit is that you won’t have to worry about getting lost, and they’re free!!
Now especially that it’s winter and days are so short: what are your thoughts on the safety of running in Paris after dark, both in the streets and the parks?
I’ve been running for the past 20 years or so in Paris, that means thousands of runs, many times in the dark, sometimes in the middle of the night and never had any problem.
Agree. Absolutely zero issues at night, anywhere.
Heck, The Girl was even running last winter by the temporary migrant camps along the river at night. No issues.
For those of you who like long runs and street art, canal de l’Ourcq is definitely the place to go, starting from Quai de Loire in Paris, you can run 10s and even 100s of kms along the canal without crossing a single car.
my run of yesterday morning: link to connect.garmin.com
After a few km outside of Paris, there are great pieces of street art painted on the walls along the canal. The funny thing is that it is continuously changing: old paintings covered by new ones.
Some pictures I took of these paintings on the blog below. I hope, this will encourage you to run in my favorite running spot:
link to tucoursourcq.blogspot.fr
I’d like to recommend parkrun, free timed 5k runs every Saturday morning at 9am. Currently there are two in Paris, Bois de Boulogne and Montsouris, but there are plans to expand to Vincennes and elsewhere.
All you need is to print a registration barcode off the website (once off) and you’re good to go.
There are parkruns in many other countries too.
I will be racing in the Garmin triathlon July 2. Is there a good location to stay in order to have easy access to the race site and T1.? I really appreciated your 2016 review of the race.
They’ve changed up the swim location this year from far outside of town to inside of town (in the Bassin de La Villette). I haven’t seen any route maps though as to how the bike will look. Either way, the run starts/ends at the Eiffel Tower (T2 as well).
I’d kinda ignore trying to find a place near the start, since that’s not super useful anyway (totally different spot, etc…). Instead, the best place for access to T2/Finish would be near the Eiffel Tower, roughly. I don’t know specific hotels that well (since I don’t actually stay in them here), but anywhere along that are would be good. See ya out there!
I’m looking for a group ride on June 18 that’s suitable for an average Cat 3 cyclist. Not looking to hammer or race. I speak no French.
Just looking at the Expat Tri team calendar, I don’t see anything scheduled for this Sunday as far as long-bikes go (which is pretty unusual). It looks to be a fairly race-heaving weekend though: link to meetup.com
I don’t see a ride listed yet for the Paris Cycling Group for Sunday, but my guess is one will show up in the next day or so: link to meetup.com
Both groups speak good English (well, the first group is largely expats, so perfect English). I would normally be happy to take you out, but I’m headed up cycling in the Netherlands tonight. Sorry!
just noticed your message. Not sure if you found a group yet. My usual training partners are racing or recovering this w-e. So I plan to do a 90k bike ride, easy pace, starting from Paris at 8:00AM (I live near Montmartre) and going east, outside of Paris. Let me know if you want to join.
That would be fantastic. Apparently the last time my Garmin blew itself up it took my maps of Europe with it. I will try to redownload them tonight. Either way if you can tell me exactly where to meet you, I can at least find it using my phone if I’m unable to get the maps working.
ok. not sure where you are based. The easiest for me would be to meet at 8:00AM at the intersection of Boulevard de la Chapelle and Boulevard Magenta just in front of a theater called Louxor. See map here: link to cinemalouxor.fr.
But if it’s not convenient for you, we can also meet near the polygon in bois de Vincennes (a famous cycling spot in Paris) at 8:30AM.
I’m staying in St Germain. How long should it take me to get to you?
If it’s easier my mobile is 1-773-599-2929
tried to call you twice and left you a voicemail. Did you get it?
Sorry, wrong number. I was trying to sneak type at dinner.
Thanks Ray. Your friend Jeff took me on a beautiful 60 mile spin into the countryside east of town. Great guy. Perfect Father’s Day gift!
That’s great – glad it worked out! Enjoy the rest of your time in Paris!
it’s been a nice father’s day gift for me as well to have the chance to ride with a person like you.
@Ray: never met you in person (just crossed you once in Longchamp, I think) but thanks a lot for facilitating this, thanks to this section of your web site.
for anyone interested, below the loop we did on Sunday and a slightly longer version, relatively flat and not too much traffic on Sunday morning.
link to openrunner.com
link to openrunner.com
I’ll be back in Paris Wednesday evening. Let me know if there are any interesting ride options Thursday or Friday. I fly home Saturday around noon.
I’m not sure I’d have much in the way of ‘interesting’ rides, but I’d certainly have a ride on Thursday of some sort. You’re welcome to ride along. My guess is it would be about an hour or so if I did loops at Bois de Vincennes, or about 90m-110m if I went out to Versailles and back. If it’s pouring out, my chance of doing so dramatically reduces. 🙂
Let’s touch base tomorrow evening and see how the rain is shaping up. I’d be up for a ride to Versailles, more than laps in the park, so if that’s where you’re heading it would be great to connect. You’ll pull the whole way right?
It’s all uphill, so no worries on pulls. 🙂
I’m currently on a business trip. Back on Friday. I see that you’re in good hands. Have fun.
Thanks for the info Ray, had a great run while in Paris monday evening and ran your ‘favourite route’ via Louvre, Eiffeltower and back via Notre Dame. Great way to see some spectacular sights and enjoy the city!
Awesome – glad you were able to enjoy!
i’m arriving in Paris Monday afternoon. Anyone have a ride planned on Tues or Weds?
This guide is fantastic! Was wondering if anyone knew of similar ones out there specifically for cycling? Just to keep piling up resources for cycling in Paris.
Also, I was wondering if there were any mid-week training races or criterium-style group rides at either of the parks? A ‘Tuesday Worlds’ type of thing? I’m also looking for longer group rides during the week or on the weekend, which I’ve found more resources for. However, any suggestions for weekly group rides are much appreciated. The longer/faster the better.
Finally, anyone know of any resources for mountain biking in and around Paris?
I suspect there are definitely scheduled crit-style rides at both parks, but I just don’t know the schedules for them. I simply show up instead, and it almost always works out. Generally speaking if you head to the parks between 5-8PM on most weeknights, you’ll find some solid groups there riding.
As for mountain biking in Paris, it’s slim pickings (mostly due to lack of mountains). There are some trails people ride though in the Forêt Domaniale de Meudon, which is a quick pedal from the center of Paris (I ride through it out to Versailles).
Can you ride the TdF route into Paris early that morning, but while the roads are still blocked off? If so, what time do you recommend? I’ve searched the vast internets (including, of course, your review of watching the stage) without a definitive answer.
Yes and no.
You can definitely ride the vast majority of the course pretty much anytime that morning without issue. They’re pretty lax about that until perhaps about an hour before the caravan departs.
Where it gets messy is in the center of Paris on the loop portion. Historically (as in 3+ years ago), you could ride that up until about mid-day or so. They’d even have traffic blocked. After lunch it became iffy if certain portions were rideable, and definitely by afternoon they were blocked for all but official vehicles.
But since the attacks, it’s become much more restrictive and they lock it down sooner – presumably so they can implement security sweeps in the grandstand areas. I think last year I tried around mid morning (9AMish) and the loop was already locked down. The year before it was locked down by late morning (11ish).
Ultimately there isn’t a good answer here because the answer keeps changing each year – and the French police are highly unlikely to give the answer people want, and as we saw with La Course as well – that can also impact things too (it won’t impact it this year).
Help. I am in Paris 9/24-9/30 and Lyon 10/1-10/3 and need a gym in the Marais district of Paris to train. Any suggestions?
Great post with a lot of information, it really helped me when looking for some routes in Paris last month.
Heading to Amsterdam this week and looking for some friendly routes for some run (longest will be 24K). Is there any similar post for Amsterdam?
Hello, can you please shed some light on the swimming pools rules, how much time is available in one entry, is it still the case that lanes are overcrowded? I am going to stay i Paris for two months working on some projects and I am looking for some advice where to swim. Thanks
Max time is usually limited by when the pool is open. So you can stay in that lane as long as you’d like, but if the facility closes, then you’re out of luck. Most of the pools I used had 2-3 hours per opening session (morning/noon/night). So you’d want to check the schedules for that given pool.
And yup, lanes are still overcrowded. 🙂
May I suggest my best bike training substitute during these two years when I lived and worked in Paris?
The Buttes-Chaumont stairs, Parisian métro’s longest stairs, located on line 7b.
There exist many ways to do them, depending on the power zone you climb them in, and how much time you have on your hands. I still recommend a 20′ prior warmup around, or in the Buttes-Chaumont park, quite hilly too. Or even on a Vélib from and back home, and, for the elite, a Vélib with a 6-pack of 1.5 litre mineral water in the front basket. Not only it’s super hard, but you can take that water with you inside the staircase, for reffuelling! (I suggest you put an old towel at the bottom of the basket, to avoid wrecking your bottles).
You can easily find these packs for a couple of euros at the nearest supermarket.
Then, just go down the initial stairs to go and talk calmly to the person at the counter. Explain the situation, and, if well-put, they should open the gate to you with a smile. I used to announce a “Hi, how are you going? I’m the excentric who goes up and down the stairs for 60′. I’m not dangerous. Can you let me in please?”
To which I usually got a “are you serious? All right!”.
This is the French for it:
“- Bonjour, comment allez-vous ? Je suis l’excentrique qui monte et descend les escaliers pendant soixante minutes. N’ayez pas peur, je ne suis pas méchant. Vous pouvez m’ouvrir la barrière, s’il vous plaît ?”
Once, it was a new staff, and they didn’t let me in. So I just went over the gate with my bag and water, and, after 3 reps, they felt sorry for me, and came to meet me at the top of the stairs, and kept my bag during my training. How nice is that?
Don’t worry about security / police, they usually respect sports persons who are not violent, abusive, or a threat to anyone, even if they caought you going over the gate. Just explain you’re not going to evade the fare, since you’re not using the Métro, only the stairs!
The stairs are made up three sections, which you will very soon know by heart, down to the number of stairs!
At the bottom, lower section, you can choose to go left or right, I used to do an A-B-A-B pattern, to vary…
After 15′, you’ll know all the latest venues and theatre plays on by heart, as there are posters for them along the way.
The best time, IMHO, to train there, is early in the morning on a week-end (Parisians wake up late), or at lunch time in the evening (French observe strict and extended times to eat).
Hint: you can leave your bottle of ISO drink on, or under the bench, located on the flat part between sections. Nobody will touch it, since you’ll be on your own, in theory. The only people you will go past are either:
– determined people, who make a point doing some kind of physical activity after a long day at work, and before hitting the sack.
– or most likely, people who didn’t realise that there is a lift…
The place can be quite windy, with the draft occasioned by the coming and going of the métro. So, in Winter, wear something warm, or have it handy, as it can be just a few degrees over 0. Tested for you.
You can vary your training by running up and walking down, or vice-versa, or vary the angle of your foot, thigh, etc. You should quickly realise that there is a way to preserve your knees and lumbar spine, Achilles tendons, and keep going at the same speed all the way up for an hour.
I can remember I used to do between 40 and 50 returns, that should be eligible for a “legit training”.
In the end, always thank the person at the gate. Once you’re in trust with them, they may even keep your bag, chat, and you may even share a coffee with them at the back. But don’t publicise it or mention their names, as this is normally not allowed by their employer, RATP.
Thank you to all you RATP employees who let me in, during those freezing Winter nights, and steamy summer nights.
Somehow, I missed this comment a few years ago – but man, this is amazing!
Thanks a lot! if covid lets us, we are planning to go to Paris at December 2021.
For sure we will run your 10-mile course.
Thanks, if you ever come running to Lisbon, tell me so, i have lots of great courses
Hi, I love the places you suggest where you can run in Paris. As a Parisian, I think you can also add the green corridor that goes from Bastille to Vincennes.
Indeed, it’s a great route – primarily on weekdays. I find on weekends (if using the elevated portion anyway), it’s pretty much a too-crowded disaster. But honestly, the lower portion alongside it’s just as great, and once the tribal merge happens at the tunnel it’s perfect from there out anyway.
Looks like Strava did away with “Strava Local” which is kind of infuriating.
Do you have links to the routes you mention below for cycling?
Some years ago you shared me with a route to Chevreuse which I will use this weekend, I’m considering other options as well.
Thanks in advance!