How do you feel about marathons? If you’re like me, and the idea of running five miles – let alone 26 – makes you break out into a cold sweat, then don’t panic: I’m not suggesting you dust off your running shoes…
The annual Paris Marathon is taking place this year on Sunday, April 7th. It attracts an international crowd of over 60,000 visitors who come not only to watch the race but also to make the most of the vibrant atmosphere, various events and the lack of traffic on many of Paris’ boulevards. It’s the perfect day to sight-see while taking part in one of the five biggest marathons in the world (alongside New York, Berlin, London and Chicago). Another advantage is the rare combination of tourists and locals all coming together to enjoy the day. It provides unique insight into Parisian culture.
By following the race at your own speed, you’ll go on a wonderful tour around the city, from east to west and back again. You’ll find yourself cheering some 40,000 runners as they set off down the Champs Elysées, waving flags at the place de la Concorde, strolling by the Louvre, past La Bastille, through the Bois de Vincennes (perfect picnic spot alert!) back down the river Seine, past Notre Dame and the Musée d’Orsay before the race to the finish via the Eiffel Tower. It’s impossible not to be caught up in the excitement and adrenaline-fueled atmosphere that the Paris Marathon is famous for.
To get you in a sporty mood before the big day, check out a free exhibition for all running fans at the Parc des Expositions, (metro Porte de Versailles) from April 4th-6th, . It’s very popular, so try to avoid peak times if you don’t want to contend with long lines.