10 Spectacular and Scenic Running Trails in France – Paris and Vicinity
A running trip to Paris, undoubtedly the experience of a lifetime, will allow you to tour the fabulous historic and architectural sites of the city. You will be enthralled with the many museums, cathedrals and local attractions.
Paris is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular cities in Western Europe for running enthusiasts. Known as the "City of Light", Paris is home to historic sites, world-class art museums, monumental cathedrals and magnificent architecture. The aroma of freshly-baked baguettes and espresso wafting from local boulangeries is a sensation unlike any other.
There are many winding running trails coursing through the 20 arrondissements or districts in Paris. Runners can enjoy a variety of running trails and paths along the Seine River, Place de la Concorde, Luxembourg Gardens and the Champs des Mars, adjacent to the Eiffel Tower.
The Jardins des Tuilleries offers runners an easy 1.77 km circular run through the gardens, ending at the Louvre. This easy run, best in the early morning, will give you a full day to explore the gardens and tour the Louvre. There are trail markers and running routes posted at most Paris metro stations.
Among the many parks and forested areas in Paris, you may enjoy the running trails in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont and the Parc Montsouris. Steep winding back-road trails and stone steps will lead you to the historic area of Montmartre, known as the “Mount of Martyrs.
In the northern area of Paris, Montmartre is home to La Basilique du Sacré-Cœur. Overlooking the city, Sacré-Cœur is among the most popular attractions in Paris. After a difficult run, you may want to dine in one of the many outdoor restaurants in Montmartre, the most well-known of which is Maison Catherine. After a leisurely lunch of fresh calamari or escargots, you will be ready for a tour of Sacré-Cœur.
Ecotrail de Paris 2009
Distance: 79.566 km
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Location: Near Trappes, in the Ȋle-de-France region
Attractions: This is an annual event held in France and with various different distance. The trail ends at Eiffel Tower, home to local restaurants, pubs and historic sites. You will be able to immerse yourself in culture not typically visited by tourists.
Neuilly-sur-Seine-Paris 16 Passy
Distance: 10.767 km
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Location: Near Neuilly-sur-Seine, in the Ȋle-de-France region
Attractions: After navigating this scenic trail along the Seine River, you can take a leisurely stroll along the esplanade leading to several bridges, including the Pont Neuf. Depending on your energy, you may spend an afternoon at Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the most famous cathedrals in the western world. There are several sidewalk cafes featuring traditional French lunches.
Trail Running 22 km–Bois de Boulogne et Parc de St. Cloud
Distance: 22.161 km
Difficulty Level: moderate
Location: Close to Puteaux, in the Ȋle-de-France region
Attractions: Puteaux, a small area north of Paris is known for the famous Parc de St. Cloud, adjacent to the Château de Versailles.
Distance: 10.462 km
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Location: This scenic trail, located in the Ȋle-de-France, is a short distance north of Paris city centre.
Attractions: The trail, which runs along the Seine River, provides you with stunning views of the river and its summertime sailing and water sports. The trail is relatively flat and eventually crosses the Seine and leads back into Paris centre.
Bois de Boulogne
Distance: 56.32 km
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Location: This run includes two trails, known as the Tour du Bolougne Longeur and the Bois de Vincennes Grand Circuit. They take you through forested regions in the Ȋle-de-France. Even though these trails are in central Paris arrondissements, you will have outstanding runs through forested areas. Both trails are clearly marked.
Attractions: The forested areas is located on the east side of Paris. To run and visit the historic Arc de Triomphe, the home of the tomb of the unknown soldier and Invalides, you have to exit the forest and they are easily 1.5km and 4km away respectively. Views along the trail include the Eiffel Tower.
Seine Trail Run
Distance: 9.656 km
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate
Location: This trail, in the Ȋle-de-France, leads you along both sides of the scenic Seine River. There are several bridges if you wish to cross the river and explore local culture on the Left or Right Banks of Paris.
Important facts: The best time to navigate this run is on Sunday mornings, as traffic is prohibited on side streets and motorways near the Seine. The trails are only open to runners and in-line skaters.
Attractions: The trail officially begins at the Hôtel de Ville on the Right Bank and ends at the historic Pont de l'Alma, where you will be able to view the monument built to honour Princess Diana's tragic death. Once you have exhausted your trail running and travel experiences in Paris, there are several side trips you can take to experience scenic glory and running at its finest.
The area on both banks of the seine are lined with roads and pavement and might not consider exactly a trail.
25 Bosses Fontainbleau
Distance: 15.289 km
Difficulty Level: Difficult
Location: Near Le Carrouge, in the Ȋle-de-France region. This trail is located approximately 55 km south of Paris near the historic Château de Fontainbleau. It is necessary for you to take a train from Paris, which will take you approximately one block to the entrance of the trail and Fontainbleau.
Attractions: The Château de Fontainbleau is one of the largest and most magnificent royal palaces in Europe. Napoleon referred to Fontainbleau as “the true home of kings, the house of ages.” Fontainbleau features more than 1,500 rooms, which have been inhabited by French royalty for centuries. After your trail running, you will be enticed to spend an entire day exploring and experiencing history and original art dating from the Italian Renaissance. There are several affordable hotels in the area, so you will not need to rush your experience.
Distance: 15.385 km
Difficulty Level: Easy
Location: The historic Château de Versailles is located approximately 25 km north of Paris. In order to reach the area, you will have to take a metro ride to the Port de St. Cloud/Sevres, then a short train or bus ride to the gates of the former home of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette.
Attractions: A trip to Paris would not be complete without a visit to Versailles. After completing several trails, a combined distance of over 55.925 km, you will be enthralled to view the spectacular historic site, including the lavish gardens, lake and fountains. You should be prepared to spend several hours exploring the architecture and beauty of Versailles. You can take a tour through the interior, including the famous Hall of Mirrors, sleeping quarters, king's chambers and Queen's Hamlet. There are several restaurants in the area to quench your hunger and thirst after a difficult trail ride and a tour of the premises.
Although most of the trails in Giverny are unmarked, unrated and unranked, runners are welcome.
Location: Giverny is located approximately 50 km north of Paris. It is necessary to take a train or private vehicle to reach the spectacular home and gardens of the impressionist painter Claude Monet.
Distance and difficulty levels: The distances vary, depending on where you run and whether you choose to run through the gardens or explore the outlying areas on unmarked trails. The surfaces are relatively flat, so trail running tends to be easy to moderate.
Attractions: After running, you will be enticed to tour Monet's home and gardens. Monet's gardens, some of the most famous in the world, include the Clos Nomand, located in front of the sprawling property and the Water Garden, constructed from a tributary of the Seine River. Monet's gardens, inspired by early Japanese gardens, are covered with colourful and beautiful plants, including wisteria and several large weeping willows. A visit to Monet's house will allow you to tour his infamous yellow dining room, blue sitting room, private apartment and studio. Original artwork inspired by the gardens are on display.
If you tire of running, there are many walking paths to explore throughout the city. This will be a trip to remember, so there is no need to hurry. Take time to smell the coffee, enjoy the food and sample the many varieties of wine from France.
Paris comes alive at night. There are many nightclubs featuring some of the best jazz and blues musicians in the world.
After your trip to Paris, you will be looking forward to difficult and challenging running trails in mountainous regions located in the south of France.