Lets face it, in my job I am lucky enough to spend a lot of time in the beautiful parks of Paris. So today, I’ve decided to have a little fun and rate the top 8 in Paris. I’ll be grading these parks primarily as a runner but I will also be considering other aspects, like people watching, the aesthetics and accessibility.
Jardin des Plantes
Founded in 1626, The Jardin des Plantes is the main Botanical Garden in France. As you can imagine it’s a beautiful place to run, boasting amazing cherry blossoms in the spring but probably more suited to the debutant due to it’s relatively small size and flat terrain. The dusty track can also be a pain in dry, hot windy weather. The upsides for the seasoned runner are the broad, long pathways great for interval training! People watching rating 6/10.
Jardin des Tuileries
Created in 1564 by Catherine de Medici, the Tuileries Garden is located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde. Undeniably stunning and slap bang in the centre of Paris this garden is often used by many office workers squeezing a run into their lunch hour. As a runner this park looses points for it’s uninteresting repetitive terrain, dusty summer sand storms and glaring white pathways, making sun glasses are a must on a sunny day. The upside for the seasoned runner, broad, long pathways great for interval training! People watching rating 8/10!
Situated in the 17th arrondissement, this park was established by Phillippe d’OrlÃ©ans, Duke of Chartres. A small but pretty park with the most amazing trees of every colour imaginable. Working here in the spring/summer brings me nothing but pleasure. It is smaller than the other parks and in turn more intimate, I have been watching the same people use this space for over 8 years. Guess what…. no dust and a slight incline! Looses points for crazy overcrowding on the weekends and holidays. People watching 9/10.
Champ de Mars
Constructed in the late 1700s this green space is located in the seventh arrondissement. This park gets most of its rating due to its magnificent location directly behind the Eiffel Tower. The 2 or 3 roads that run through can be a hindrance or a great place to catch your breath. Top tip-Avoid tourists close to the Eiffel Tower at all costs. People watching 6/10.
Jardin du Luxembourg
Created in 1611 by Marie Medici, it is the 2nd largest park in Paris with a circumference of approximately 2 kilometers (22.5 hectares). It’s big (for Paris), bold, beautiful and slightly undulating. Great for runners, not too dusty and not too overcrowded and simply stunning on a clear sunny day. People watching 9/10.
Le Bois du Vincennes & Les Bois de Boulogne
These two places I’ve ranked together as they are both very similar. The Bois de Boulogne are located to the west of Paris just outside the city limits and the Bois de Vincennes is also situated outside the city limits to the east of Paris. Their location along with the fact that they’re littered with sex workers and the colourful people they attract are why I have not listed these two massive woodland areas as the no.1 running spots in Paris. They’re wild, green, rugged and beautiful. People watching 4/10.
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Over 5kms of trails, hills, twists and turns make up this urban runners paradise. When established in 1867, the park was envisioned by Napoleon III as a garden showcase. If you’re short on time, a quick 40 minute effort around this 19th arrondissement green space will test even the fittest runners out there. Top Tip – go off the beaten track to find some real inclines that’ll make your thighs scream for mercy. People watching 6/10
What do you think of my assessment? Which is your favourite park to run in even outside of Paris?
Please comment below.