A royal route through the Tuileries
When it comes to running in Paris, there's no better place for illustrious surroundings than the Tuileries Gardens, between the Louvre Pyramid and Place de la Concorde. This elegant, rectangular park, designed by Louis XIV's gardener, Le Nôtre, extends along the axe historique or historical axis in Paris, sometimes also called the ‘royal way'. Echoes of France's centuries old monarchy accompany the sound of your stride in the gravel. Test your stamina as you circle the Orangerie museum and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, then turn left into Allée de Castiglione and leave the gardens heading towards the banks of the Seine – another must-run route in Paris.
A real-life film set on the banks of the Seine
To discover the capital from the water's edge, head to the Rives de Seine park. This riverside promenade offers runners a 7-kilometres sports track along the city's Left Bank. Between the Musée d'Orsay and the Alma bridge, the park is the setting for a big-screen bonanza with the Grand Palais, Bateaux Mouches riverboats and Eiffel Tower playing the starring roles. Start off gently in the warm-up area before finding your cruising speed. Put your sprinting prowess to the test on the 100-m track. Finish off by heading to the stretching area to prevent those post-run aches and pains.
Find another side to Paris along the Canal de l'Ourcq
Water is still at your side as you run along the Canal de l'Ourcq. This route takes you through an area of real Paris where ordinary people live and it is teeming with urban charm. Start from the rotunda in Place Stalingrad, but make sure you set off early to avoid all the picnickers who take over the place on sunny days. Jog along the Quai de la Loire as black-headed gulls swoop overhead. Some sections are paved, but if you run on the edge of the canal, the ground is flat and your ankles will thank you for it. This route is about 10 kilometres long and it leads to La Villette Basin with its grassy areas. As you cross the Parc de la Villette, the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie rises up on the horizon.
Two and a half lush-green kilometres on the Coulée verte
Fancy escaping to an oasis of peace and quiet? Then there is nothing better than a run on the elevated Coulée verte René Dumont. This walkway is a world away from traffic and noise pollution as it takes you along a landscaped disused overhead railway line. Setting off from behind the Opera in Place de la Bastille, find the steps that take you up onto the top of the arches of Avenue Daumesnil. All you need to do then is follow this tree-lined promenade all the way out to the périphérique ring road. When you go over the footbridge above the Jardin de Reuilly, come off the walkway for a while. Reward yourself with a small detour in this park, popular with Parisians, and quench your thirst in its bubbling water fountain.
Heading up to the Buttes-Chaumont
Well known to Parisian runners, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont occupies the site of a former gypsum quarry. Get into your stride on the 2.5-kilometres path that runs around it. If the fighting spirit is within you, make your attack on the island in the middle by taking the suspension bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel. The overall elevation of the park is less than 30 metres, but some of its steep hills might bring you out in a sweat. Why not rest your legs a while on the terrace of the Rosa Bonheur open-air café?
Parc des Buttes Chaumont,
2 Allée de la Cascade, 75019 Paris
+33 (0)1 42 00 00 45
Bois de Vincennes, the green lung of eastern Paris
Did you know you can actually run in Paris surrounded by nature? Occupying an area of 995 hectares, the Bois de Vincennes is a fantastic playground for sports lovers. The stage for classic Parisian races, with the Paris marathon and half-marathon topping the bill, the green lung of Paris's east attracts endorphin-addicts of all levels. If long-distance running is your thing, you can train along the park's straight avenues. If you prefer more rural surroundings, then lose yourself along its small pathways. Where there is a bend in a stream, you may come face to face with a timid fox. Just one of those unexpected Parisian encounters.