Paris is a great city to discover by foot - and also by running! There are many different spots, far from the hustle and bustle of the capital's traffic, to explore its monuments, secret passageways, riverbanks, canals, and parks. Whether you're a seasoned runner or just enjoy the occasional Sunday jog, here are our top 7 best places to run in Paris.
With warm weather just around the corner, foot races are popping up all over the city. The Paris semi-marathon kicked off the season on March 5 and will be followed by the must-see Marathon de Paris on April 9. It's enough to make you want to throw on your sneakers and go for a run - and here's your chance! Paris is a veritable playground for runners, especially when you know where to go to avoid traffic, pedestrians, and stoplights. The city's many parks and gardens are a safe bet: the Parc Montsouris comes to mind, as well as the Jardin des Plantes, the Parc Monceau, the Jardin du Luxembourg, and even the Parc de Bercy.
But Paris has so many other great places to run, too! Some will take you past its most famous monuments, while others show the City of Light's unknown hidden sides. No matter what, there's somewhere for all levels and all desires.
Cardio-Heavy: The Parc des Buttes Chaumont (North):
Climbs, slopes, and stairs - the Buttes Chaumont will get your heart pumping! The park is an ideal place for veteran runners to push themselves to the next level. All this athletic challenge is offered in a beautiful setting where all sorts of people come together to enjoy the fresh air: walkers, runners, tai-chi masters, and friends coming to picnic on the green grass.
Tip: The main path stretches approximately 2 kilometers long. Check opening and closing hours before your visit.
Into the Woods: The Bois de Boulogne (West) and the Bois de Vincennes (East)
To get a taste of the countryside in the middle of Paris, head for the Bois de Boulogne to the west of the city or the Bois de Vincennes to the east. These two parks are great places to run through nature between lakes and greenery, with a veritable all-you-can-eat buffet of tree-lined running paths to satisfy all skill levels. There are also a number of athletic courses.
Tip: The Bois de Boulogne's two major lakes have a perimeter of 2.5 kilometers and 1 kilometer. The Lac Daumesnil in the Bois de Vincennes has a perimeter of about 2 kilometers. No opening or closing hours.
Parisian Culture: The Banks of the Seine
For several years now, the banks of the Seine have been closed to vehicle traffic. The Rive Droite and the Rive Gauche are now a paradise for pedestrians and runners alike. There's something special about getting to run along this UNESCO World Heritage Site, discovering some of the City of Light's most beautiful monuments: the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, the Pont de l'Alma, the Musée d'Orsay, the Eiffel Tower, and so many more.
Tip: The distance between the Pont de l'Alma and the Louvre is 2.5 kilometers. No opening hours.
The Best-Kept Secret: The Coulée Verte Renée-Dumont (East)
The Coulée Verte is one of Paris's best kept secrets, even amongst locals. This pretty "promenade plantée" - or plant-filled promenade, the site's nickname - follows the city's old abandoned rail lines from Opéra Bastille to the entry of the Bois de Vincennes. Cross through gardens and tunnels seven meters below ground. Even though you're in the middle of the city, you'll feel completely at ease along this bucolic path.
Tip: 4.5 kilometers, one-way. Access near Opéra Bastille, 44-46 Rue de Lyon (staircase near the parking lot entrance). On the path, at the entrance to the Parc de Reuilly, you can find a fountain with sparkling water! Verify the opening hours on the Coulée Verte site (link at the end of this article).
Near the Eiffel Tower: Champ de Mars and the Stade Emile Anthoine
Enjoy an incredible view of the Eiffel Tower as you run through the famous paths of the Champs de Mars. The Emile Anthoine athletic center also offers a great perspective of one of the City of Light's top monuments.
Tip: The perimeter of the Champs de Mars is about 2 kilometers; the Emile Anthoine path is about 350 meters, along with many other free athletic stadiums in the capital. No opening hours for the Champ de Mars. Verify the opening hours for the Emile Anthoine stadium.
Run like a Royal: The Jardin des Tuileries (Louvre and Concorde)
A true little paradise for runners with flat land and a spectacular setting. From the Musée du Louvre to the Place de la Concorde, the path is decorated with beautiful flowerbeds, pools, and statues (notably some of Rodin's sculptures).
Tip: Approximately 2.5 kilometers round-trip between the Louvre and Corcorde. Verify the gardens' opening hours.
The Coolest: The Canal de l’Ourcq (North)
Flat and calm, the reconstructed embankments of the Canal de l'Ourcq are ideal for a run away from the city's traffic.
Tip: From the Bassin de la Villette to Pantin is 2 kilometers, though you can go further - the embarkments continue for another 30 kilometers to Claye-Souilly. No specific opening hours.