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Where to go running in Paris

Craving a runner's high whilst in Paris? We've found the perfect stretches of terre in the city to break a sweat on


Paris Editor

While Paris doesn’t have parks on the same scale as those of London or New York, nor the great outdoors of more rural parts of France, it still has its fair share of greenary and airy spaces where you can inflate your lungs and work-up a sweat. Marathon-runner and multilingual tour guide, Léa Clara Hofmann shares all her insider running spots in the city.

Guided Paris running tours

7336108078 8c059e4d7b bTuileries Gardens

“Running with a guide around Paris’s top landmarks is the best way of seeing the city,” says Léa. “It’s scientifically proven that you actually retain a lot more information while running.” The German-born marathon-runner who has lived almost 10 years in the city has combined her love of Paris and of the arts with Sightrunning Paris. Offering guided tours of her adopted home city in English, French and German, Léa’s easily modifiable loop of 11km can be adapted to all levels of fitness. The itinerary begins at the Eiffel Tower, passing via the picturesque Alexandre III bridge, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, the Tuileries Gardens, the Champs Elysées and to the Trocadéro Eiffel Tower viewpoint.

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VincennesParc de Vincennes

“There are only two parks suitable for long-distance runners,” explains Léa. “The Bois de Boulogne (Boulogne woods) in the west and the Parc de Vincennes in the east. Personally, I prefer Vincennes because it has three beautiful lakes to run around and if you’re new to the city you can also break up your run with a visit to the Chateau de Vincennes and the National Museum of Immigration with its beautiful Art Deco bas-reliefs. For me, there’s less to see in Boulogne, although it is also a good option for running. Just check opening times for either park before you go.” www.parisinfo.com/parks

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The Seine riverbanks

183-29 cmjnThe Seine

Several of the Seine’s banks have been closed to traffic and pedestrianised. Always open, Les Berges de Seine for instance is a 2.3km picturesque stretch right by the water’s edge, which can be ideal for running aficionados. “With the Berges the problem is that in the day there are so many people strolling along that it can be difficult to run at your own pace without interruption. The best thing is to get there early in the morning or to run later in the evenings.”

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Cité Universitaire International

465421123 467d661e5d oCité Universitaire International

“A beautiful university campus in the south of Paris that is open to everyone around the clock, the Cité-U is one of the best running spots, especially for long-distance training – it’s quiet, pretty and most importantly, it is lit throughout the night. In Paris, especially in winter, there are few places adapted for running that are well-lit so this is a great one to keep up your sleeve. For people who prefer somewhere more central, while the Champs de Mars isn’t a large stretch, it is well-lit in the evenings.”

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Paris stadiums

3746933943 d163cc7a24 bLe Parc des Princes

“Places that are usually open, quiet, well-lit and free, are actually Paris' stadiums. While there isn’t much to see here, they are practical and easy options for focused training. They are usually open to the public and free but timings can be vary and so should be checked before making the trip just in case they are closed for maintenance works.”  

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Let’s Run Paris group running

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“If you’ve seen the Paris sights before, you are on a budget, and you prefer to run in groups, then Let’s Run Paris is a great association that gets keen runners, usually marathon-runners, together every Saturday morning at 9 am outside Le Cercle café close to the Luxembourg Gardens (5th district) and on Monday evenings at 8pm outside Le Canon café in Nation (12th district). The itinerary is usually of about 29km across the city and groups are widely international made up locals and tourists needing to train while visiting the city. Just make sure to sign up on their site before turning up.”

1 Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris
2 Le Parc des Princes
3 Le Cercle Luxembourg
4 Le P'tit Canon
5 Les Berges de Seine
6 Bois de Boulogne