Once you’re working with Your Personal Trainer once or twice a week, you’ll start to feel the need to work out more and more. Your body will crave variation, and, with this list, you’ll be able to provide it! Paris is fast becoming a world-class running city and there are great places to run all over the city, so let’s break them down geographically.
If you live on the east side of town
(the 11th, 12th, 13th or 20th arrondissements)
Head to the Bois de Vincennes.
There are three lakes of various diameters to run around which are great for measuring your progress. There is also a 500-meter straightaway, the côte du Gravelle, where you can run sprints. And if you want to mix things up, there’s a vast trail system in the woods for cyclists and runners alike.
Access: metro line 1 Château de Vincennes
If you live on the south side of town
(the 13th, 14th or 15th arrondissements)
Head to the Parc Montsouris.
The smallest of the parks on this list — it’s just over 1.6 km all the way around — Montsouris makes up for its size in other ways. The routes are both flat and a little hilly, good for mixing up your routine. As it’s not a tourist destination, the park is generally less busy than others in town. Most of the regular runners there are students at the nearby university, so “peak hours” don’t apply as they do in many other places.
Access: RER B Cité Universitaire, metro line 4 Porte d’Orléans, tram T3a Montsouris.
If you live on the northeast side of town
(the 10th, 18th, 19th or 20th arrondissements)
Head to the Canal de l’Ourcq.
The Canal is over 100 km long, so there’s plenty of area to run. As it’s not an enclosed space, it’s open and accessible 24 hours a day, something to consider as many parks switch to winter hours in the coming weeks.
A natural starting point is anywhere along the Paris-end of the Canal, from Jaurés to Porte de Pantin. The paths tend to be a little crowded here, but once you cross the Périphérique just after the Parc de la Villette, it thins out quite considerably. The route is very quiet — little to no traffic noise — and features a couple green areas along the way (Parc de la Villette and Parc de la Bergère) where you can stop and stretch or do push-ups. If you don’t want to have to think about which exercises to do, a little up the Canal, near Bobigny, stretching and exercise stations have been installed along the route. Bikes allowed.
Access: multiple points at Stalingrad ( lines 2, 5, 7), Jaurés (lines 2, 5, 7B) and Laumière, Ourcq and Porte de Pantin (line 5).
If you live in the center of town
(the 1st, 4th, 5th or 6th arrondissements)
Head to the Luxembourg Garden.
A long-time favorite of Paris runners, possibly due to the expat communities which border it, this 17th-century park is about 2.5 km all the way around, making it a great training route for 5-, 10- and 15k races. Unfortunately, as the unofficial center of runners in Paris, the Luxembourg is often packed, so get there early (before 10) if you want to avoid the crowds and tourists.
Access: RER B Luxembourg or Port-Royal, line 10 Cluny-La Sorbonne or Odéon, line 12 Rennes or Notre-Dame des Champs.
If you live on the west side of town
(the 8th, 16th or 17th arrondissements)
Head to the Bois de Boulogne.
At almost 8.5 square kilometres, it’s the second largest park in Paris (after Vincennes) and it has everything you could ask for in a running spot. There are lakes, gardens, bike trails, a horse track and a tennis court. The vastness of the space and its location just outside the city mean that it’s significantly less crowded than most of the places on this list.