Article updated on September 27, 2021
Text: Claire Lessiau
Photographs: Marcella van Alphen & Claire Lessiau
Discovering Paris running is a fantastic way to enjoy some of the major landmarks and take the pace of the city. It is better though to have a few routes in mind before venturing out as the traffic can be hectic and its nice cobble stone streets that are great to discover on foot can be a runner’s ankle nightmare. These top running routes tend to avoid these hazards and will also take you to some of the nicest parks of Paris.
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- The Seine River banks to the Eiffel Tower (la Tour Eiffel)
From the heart of Paris (métro Rambuteau on line 11 or Hôtel de Ville on line 1), pass the city hall and run along the right bank of the Seine River all the way to the Eiffel Tower. The right bank has been remodelled and is car-free. Admire the medieval looking Conciergerie and the fantastic Musée d’Orsay. Then, go back to the street level all the way to the bridge to the Eiffel Tower: cross the bridge and enjoy la dame de fer (the iron lady) right in front of you. Then, run back westward along the left bank that is also car-free and hosts cafés, restaurants, terraces, playgrounds, floating gardens and exhibits. Admire the Grand Palais and Le Louvre on the right bank. At the end of the promenade, in front of the Musée d’Orsay, keep going on the side walk passing some bouquinistes and cross back to the right bank in front of Notre Dame.
This long run (about 11km) is nice to enjoy some of the most prominent Parisian landmarks. The run can easily be cut shorter, crossing on any bridge along the way!
- The high line (la coulée verte)
From the heart of Paris (métro Rambuteau on line 11), run eastward through Le Marais passing beautiful historical mansions, all the way to Place des Vosges. Continue straight and at the T junction, turn right towards Bastille. There, admire the modern Opéra Bastille (the second of Paris, Opéra Garnier being the original one) and cross to reach the entrance of the Parisian high line (la coulée verte), a park above the streets that you can follow all the way out of Paris. If you are in for a long run, you can even keep going across the Vincennes Wood, to reach the medieval Vincennes castle (and then, you will probably want to take the subway back at Château de Vincennes on line 1, except if you are in for a semi marathon!). If not, turn around any time you wish and enjoy the views of the Parisian buildings, look for the art deco architectural details, and smell the scents of the many plants along the former train track.
- The Luxembourg Gardens (les jardins du Luxembourg)
From the heart of Paris (métro Rambuteau on line 11 or Hôtel de Ville on line 1), run in front of the city hall, across the Seine River to Notre Dame, and down South on the left bank uphill to the Luxembourg garden (about 2km). A loop around the gardens is another 2 km (if you stick to the walls). Commissioned in the early 17th century by Marie de Médicis to remind her of the beautiful palaces of Florence, today, the Luxembourg palace houses the French senate. Running around, you will pass the orchards, and admire the French-style and British-style gardens.
- To download the GPS tracks of these running routes, refer to this short tutorial.
For more in Paris, click on these images: