Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tres Bien

Ok, so I will cut straight to the chase: I didn't go for a run in Paris, even though I had all of my gear and was ready.   The reason though, was a combination of things, but the largest was that we were staying in the city center, just off the Louvre.  It is crazy busy there, with tourists, cars, french people and small-ish sidewalks.

I drafted a post a couple of years ago about how to act when you visit New York, tentatively titled "Welcome to New York, now leave." But it turned out really snarky and whiny.  It ended up as a compendium about all of my tourist pet peeves and sounded much more mean spirited than I had intended.  One of my pet peeves, though, is us runners, who feel compelled to RUN in the city.  Not run in Central Park or on the Hudson or East River, but choose to run down Sixth Avenue. Or through midtown Manhattan. It drives me crazy to see Mr. Runner Guy, sweaty, all geared up, running, dodging people on a crowded sidewalk, people who just wan to get to work.  A city sidewalk is not a running track.

And in Paris that is what I felt: the running routes seemed so -- contrived.  I just never saw one that seemed like a real route, rather than just a route to run in Paris.  I saw a lot of people running laps in the Tuileries Garden.  The Tuileries Garden is spectacular, and a lap is about a mile and a half.  Like this:

But right now, the "Garden" isn't green, but sort of a clayish white.  And people, tourists (like me) were everywhere.  I live in New York, and didn't want to be one of "those people."  So, no thanks -- I'll walk around it and enjoy it instead.  Running along the Seine looked kind of cool too, but there are cars, people and stairs to deal with.  No thanks.  Supposedly the Bois d' Bologne is great to run in, but I didn't want to ride the Metro.  Same with the Luxembourg Gardens.

Or maybe I just wanted to eat, sleep, and drink and not worry about running.

One word of advice though: Parisians are not early birds.  Running at 7 am, you would have the whole city to yourself.  But, again, the city center streets really aren't set up that well for running.  I suppose I could have run down the Champs d'Elysee (a nice broad street), and I am sure there are a hundred other running routes, but at the end of the day, I just wasn't thrilled with it. Of course, if I had to run (if I was training) I could have made due.  But I didn't.  So I chose to sleep in, grab a cafe creme' and a croissant and wander around the city instead.

One other Paris note: the people could not have been nicer to me and my family. We didn't go to touristy spots, and even still, the waiters and people were incredibly nice, friendly, even helpful.  More so than New York, and made for a delightful experience.  I cannot say enough about the people we met, who were incredibly friendly, chatty and engaging.  Tres bien, indeed!


  1. I am glad you had a great experience even if you didn't run. I probably would not have run either!

  2. I like your take on all of this and appreciation for the Parisians space. I was there years ago, before I was even running and just enjoyed walking all over the place, taking in the sites and enjoying the incredible food/wine. And totally agree--they were incredibly friendly. I think as long as you don't play the dumb/ugly American, they welcome you with open arms. Well done!

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself! I found people in Paris very nice too. And you probably did a lot of walking, so no worries about not running.

  4. I'm so jealous. Seriously jealous. And I'm glad you took advantage of your time in Paris and just enjoyed it. I've always heard that the people are not real nice to Americans so it's great to hear this kind of report.

  5. I can see how it would be hard to run in Paris, I had a hard enought time crossing the street correctly when I was there. Glad you had a great time....mmm...croissants!

  6. Sounds like you're having/have had a great trip. We saw a few people trying to run on crowded footpaths in New York -- not a great idea. Very happy we were only a couple of blocks from the park (which is a runner's paradise). I'd be pretty wary of running anywhere but in a park in Paris. Parisian drivers are crazy, even in the early mornings when the streets are relatively deserted: http://youtu.be/Eidtc55ZqoU


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