Friday, July 20, 2007

Running in Paris (1): Parc Montsouris

Before escaping the French capital for a family vacation week in the Alps in Chamonix, a short post to describe one place for a run if you are visiting Paris.

The Parc Montsouris is situated in the South of Paris, next to the RER B's station Cité Universitaire (see Google Maps). Established in the 19th century when today's 14th disctrict (arrondissement) was still inhabited.

The park opens at 8am during the week, 9am on weekends. And, from June to September, closes at 9:30pm, which is convenient if you are jet lagged and want to run at the end of the day.

If the park is closed, like early morning, you can circle outside the park, you don't have any road to cross. And you should have some company as this is a favorite spot for the local runners, of all abilities. The outside loop is 1.04 mile.

Of course, it's even better to run inside the park when the doors are open (they usually open a bit earlier than the disclosed times). If you follow the outside trail, actually mostly asphalt, the loop is 0.94 miles.

The loop is gently inclined, about 50ft overall, providing a rolling profile for every mile. If you want to break the monotony of the mile loops, there are trails (asphalt again) crossing the park.

Depending on the season, you'll see ducks and swans around the lake. I even saw an egret last week, which is very rare in downtown Paris. Pigeons too of course (they are everywhere!), and many Parisians, quite a few walking their dogs (12 million dogs for a 60 million population!). Likely a few students too, from all over the world and living in the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, just across the street and the brand new tramway (T3 line). While you are in the neighborhood, it's worth visiting the Cité and looking for the building of your country as so many nations are represented.

By the way, the park has (free!) public restrooms (a rare resource in Paris, sorry...), and three drinking fountains (also not so frequent).

I'm just back from running 15 laps there, which is 13.1 miles, right a half marathon. Hope you have the chance to visit Paris and stop by this park if you stay in the 14th district.
Enjoy and, bon voyage!



Thanks for the info! I hope to check it out next week when I'm in Paris. Are there any other longer runs along the river or the Eiffel tower?

Jean Pommier said...

Thanks for stopping by, "Velo Bella".

First, not sure if you have seen this other post (Coulée Verte). The start (Place de Catalogne) is about 2 miles from Eiffel Tower, so worth considering.

On the West side of Paris, you can run in Bois de Boulogne, but in daylight only, not a safe place at night. And take a map with you, you can easily get lost.

Also, I believe the road long the Seine (called Voies sur Berge) may be closed most of the day on Sundays, althoug I can't find a confirmation on the web. That would be a great alternative from the Eiffel Tower.

Enjoy Paris!