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Where To Go Running In Paris: 10 Best Spots

Interested in some scenic running in Paris or perhaps just a lovely walk? Here are 10 of the best spots that are located in beautiful locations and include parks, gardens and promenades. These are the favourite places to run in Paris chosen by casual and seasoned runners and flaneurs too (flaneurs are those just out for a stroll). You can choose to run a variety of distances, from 1 kilometre to 13 kilometres. It’s certainly an interesting way to discover Paris on foot!

Running In Paris: Routes To Consider And Avoid

Best Running Spots in Paris

When I stayed in Paris, my apartment in the Marais neighbourhood was the ideal location for accessing a number of running spots—some close and some just over the river—-such as the Promenade Plantée, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Luxembourg Gardens, Jardin des Plantes, and Bois de Vincennes.

Not surprisingly, a number of the Paris running routes that I’ve selected are actually part of some famous Paris running races, such as the Marathon de Paris, the Paris Half Marathon, and the 20km de Paris.  [To read out my post about running in France, click here]

The best places to run in Paris are primarily located away from traffic and car fumes. You can run to these spots or take the Metro and then start your run once you arrive.  The routes are often in areas with some shade and even drinking fountains so it’s great if you’re running on a hot day and want to keep hydrated. Some parks also have free public toilets.

Routes To Avoid In Paris

For the most part, I recommend avoiding the popular streets of Paris, like the Champs Elysées and Saint Michel, or along the Seine river when you are on the upper sidewalk of the main road (ie. Quai Francois Mitterrand).  Sometimes there are cobblestones that you can easily trip on, crowded sidewalks, and numerous traffic lights.  So you’ll be stopping and starting constantly. If you want to run along the river, check out the first route on my list below. There are more details on what it’s like and where to do your run.

If you’re interested in running in a Paris cemetery or along Canal Saint Martin, check the FAQ at the end. These two locations are not included in my list for good reason.

1. Running Along The Seine River

Running along the Seine River, Paris

(a) Overview

Can you run along the Seine on the left bank (Rive Gauche) or right bank (Rive Droite)? Yes, and it’s a scenic run going along the riverbanks of the Seine river, passing by iconic monuments and museums such as Notre Dame Cathedral, La Conciergerie, Musée d’Orsay, and arriving to view the Eiffel Tower

You need to know where exactly to run. There are sidewalks along many of the quais, such as Quai Francois Mitterrand, Quai Anatole France, and Quai des Grands Augustines. These are the main roads that are actually above the river and while there can be trees providing shade on a hot day, the downside is that there can be a lot of traffic lights and pedestrians to get around.

Running along the Seine River-lower part

I prefer running down below the major roads on the smaller quays on the banks of the Seine. They’re sometimes called promenades (or voies). Keep in mind that you still might be on a sidewalk, alongside automobiles; however, there are far fewer vehicles on these roads.

The only bit of frustration is that you aren’t able to run non-stop on the entire promenade or voie east-west. The promenade is broken into sections. While sometimes you run under a bridge, there are other times you have to go up some stairs to the main street and then back down a ramp to the next section of the promenade. If you really want to run this area of Paris, consider doing your run before 8:00 am, before the rush hour starts. Otherwise, the traffic and lights will drive you crazy.

Nearest Metro Stations To The Seine River For The Start In The East: Sully-Morland, Jussieu, Pont Marie, Cité, or Chatelet

(b) Route And Distances

RUnning route on the rive gauche, Paris

The following are routes that have running paths along the Seine River, between Pont de Sully in the east (SW of Place de la Bastille) and the Eiffel Tower in the west. I prefer running on the south side for a few reasons.

One, there are longer stretches where you don’t have to go back to street level. Two, there seem to be more developed, garden-like areas such as the Jardin de l’Archipel des Berges de Seine Niki de Saint-Phalle that are nice to run through. And finally, you tend to pass more developed areas where there is entertainment and dining. There are a number of barges that serve drinks and meals. The only downside is the section at  Voie Express Rive Droite which isn’t as nicely developed.

(i) Route On The Rive Droite (north side-east to west route)

  • head west on Voie Georges Pompidou to rue de l’Amiral de Coligny (2 kilometers)
  • south of Jardin des Tuileries west along Port de la Concorde, to Port des Champs Elysées, to Port de la Conference, Voie Georges Pompidou, Port Debilly, to La Tour Eiffel on le Pont d’Iena (2.6 kilometers)

(ii) Route On The Rive Gauche (south side-east to west route)

  • head west on Port de la Tournelle then along the Bords de Seine de Paris, passing by Notre Dame Cathedral on your right, along Quai des Saints-Pères,  Promenade Edouard Glissant, Promenade Gisele Halimi, Voie Express Rive Droite, and then Port de la Bourdonnais to the Eiffel Tower on le Pont d’Iena (5.4 kilometres)

(c) Pros and Cons Of Running Along the Seine River

Pros

  • Passing by historical monuments and museums
  • Along the way, there are washrooms, water fountains, and kiosks selling food/drinks (depending on the time of year)
  • Pretty much entirely flat
  • Along the way, there are often fitness apparatuses in case you want to stop and do some exercises

Cons

  • No trees to provide shade on a hot day
  • It can be jam-packed in the summertime especially during Paris Plages (artificial beaches are set up and there are a lot of food vendors). Don’t even attempt to go running then.
  • traffic lights where you’ll have to stop and start
  • some cobblestone paths

2. Luxembourg Gardens (6ème arr.)

Running in Luxembourg Gardens

(a) Overview

Luxembourg Gardens is one of the most beautiful places to hang out and it’s a very popular place to go jogging in Paris, especially on a nice day. You’ll often see people having lunch here so it can be particularly busy. There is a running or walking path that follows the perimeter of the gardens.

Luxembourg Gardens has several entrances including rue de Vaugirard, rue Guynemer, and rue Auguste Comte.

Opening Hours: sometime between 7:30-8:15 am and closes between 4:30 and 9:30, depending on the season

Nearest Metro Stations To Luxembourg Gardens: Rennes, Saint-Placide, and Odéon

(b) Route And Distance

Route: running around the perimeter of the gardens

Distance: any distance you choose, where 1 loop is about 2 km

(c) Pros And Cons Of Running In Luxembourg Gardens

Pros

  • gravel path
  • entirely flat
  • shaded
  • drinking water fountains. public toilets, and benches
  • no automobile traffic——all pedestrian (no bicycling is allowed in Luxembourg Gardens)

Cons

  • while there are various routes you can take throughout the gardens. The distance around the perimeter is not very long (only 2 km). Most likely you’ll do a few loops to get in some decent mileage or mix it up and do various routes..
  • can be crowded, especially during lunch and on the weekends, which makes running non-stop difficult

3. Parc Monceau (8ème arr.)

Colonnade at Parc Monceau

(a) Overview

Parc Monceau is located in the elegant 8th arrondissement and I think it’s one of the most picturesque places to run. Constructed in the 1770s, it wasn’t until the 1850s that the city of Paris bought it and turned it into a public park. It was part of the rebuilding of Paris by Baron Haussmann.

In the vicinity, you will find 19th-century mansions and Musée Jacquemart-Andre and the Musée Nissim de Camondoand. One of the entrances has an ornate, golden gilded gate. It is located on Av. Ruysdaë.

Within the park is a duck pond encircled by a Corinthian colonnade. There are also sculptures, bridges, a children’s playground, a carousel, a miniature Egyptian pyramid, and lots of grassy areas for picnics. This park is very popular with nature lovers, painters, joggers, and families, especially on weekends.

Opening Hours: 7 am-10 pm (summer) and 7 am-8 pm (winter)

Nearest Metro Station: Monceau

(b) Route And Distance

Running path in Parc Monceau

Route: There are a number of allées (alleys or paths) that go around the perimeter and all over the park, so you can basically run in whatever direction you want to get in your mileage.

Distance: 1 loop around the perimeter is just over 1 kilometre

(c) Pros and Cons Of Running In Parc Monceau

Pros

  • flat terrain
  • toilets (located in the Rotonde du Parc Monceau)
  • cafe/snack bar, benches, and drinking fountains
  • shaded so great when it’s hot
  • architecture and atmosphere of this park are beautiful
  • very safe, family-friendly park

Cons

  • the park is not located in the centre of Paris. It is 2 kilometres northwest of the Palais Garnier and unless you are staying in the area, it might be a trek (through busy streets)  to get here
  • the park is small compared to others so you’ll be doing many loops around the perimeter to get in a good distance

4. Promenade Plantée (Coulée Verte René-Dumont) (12ème arr.)

Running along Coulee Verte
Running on Promenade Plantee

(a) Overview

Promenade Plantée is also known as Coulée Verte René-Dumont, a greenway that is a wonderful, peaceful place for a walk or run. I ran from Coulée Verte René-Dumont to La Petite Ceinture du 12ème and the distance there and back was about 7 kilometres.

As I wrote in this post, “Relaxing Paris Oasis: Promenade Plantée”, this pathway is on former railway tracks located just south of Place de la Bastille and continues to Bois de Vincennes. Today it is tree-lined with flowerbeds, benches, and a tunnel or two, all the way down to the peripherique and the Petite Ceinture of the 12 arrondissement.

The Petite Ceinture (“little belt”) was a railway that encircled Paris in the 1800s and early 1900s. After the trains fell into disuse, SNCF went about renovating the areas and today some sections have gardens and playgrounds and some parts of the track are accessible in different arrondissements, such as in the 12th arrondissement. I only ran as far as La Petite Ceinture and didn’t run along it. It is not paved and I preferred staying in the open for safety reasons.

Opening Hours: 8:00-8:30 pm (summer) and 8:00-5:30 pm (winter). Sometimes open later (ie. 9:00 am) on weekends.

Nearest Metro Stations To Promenade Plantée: Ledru-Rollin, Bastille, and Quai de La Rapée

(b) Route And Distance

Coulee Verte Rene-Dumont to Le Petite Ceinture du 12eme

Route: from Coulée Verte René-Dumont (1 Coulée Verte René-Dumont)  to Le Petite Ceinture du 12ème (12 rue Rottenbourg)

Distance: about 7 km return

(c) Pros and Cons Of Running On Promenade Plantée

Pros

  • pretty flat
  • quite a beautiful route: you’re surrounded by greenery and nature most of the time
  • shaded by trees
  • benches along the way
  • water fountains (including a sparkling water fountain in Jardin de Reuilly Paul Perrin)
  • no automobile traffic most of the time (You have to run along some streets before entering Coulée Verte René-Dumont. Then, for the most part thereafter, you are in traffic-free zones).
  • wide variety of terrain and scenery along the way—-up above traffic on the Promenade Plantée, on cement and paved paths and wooden planks, on narrow bridges and wide bridges, past playgrounds, through gardens (ie. Jardin de Reuilly Paul Perrin and Square Charles Péguy), and through tunnels with creative graffiti.
  • if you really want to do a long run you could continue your run through Bois de Vincennes and Parc Floral de Paris (Route #8).

Cons

  • While every time I have run along the Promenade Plantée it hasn’t been busy, I can imagine that on a beautiful weekend it might get crowded in certain parts. The paths are not that wide at times, so you might get frustrated maneuvering your way past people and bicyclists.
  • the latter part of the run has you in an area where there are not any stores in case you want to buy water/food

5. Jardin des Plantes (5ème arr.)

Running in Jardin des Plantes

(a) Overview

One of my favourite museums, Grand Galerie de l’Evolution, is located in this wonderful garden, Jardin des Plantes, which is popular for running. There are lots of trees providing shade and it’s a pretty area with lots of flower gardens.

Opening Hours: 8:00-5:30 pm (winter), 7:30-8:00 pm (Spring/Summer), and 8:00-6:30 in October. Check the official website for exact hours. Website: https://www.jardindesplantesdeparis.fr/en

Nearest Metro Stations: Place Monge, Jussieu, and Censier-Daubenton

(b) Route And Distance

Route: You can do a loop or run up and down the pathways to give you more variety and distance.

Distance: any distance you choose, where 1 loop is about 2 km.

(c) Pros And Cons Of Running In Jardin des Plantes

Pros

  • gravel paths that are very wide, so even if there are many people, it doesn’t feel crowded
  • entirely flat
  • shaded
  • drinking water fountains. public toilets, and benches
  • no automobile traffic——all pedestrian (and some bicyclists and those with baby carriages)
  • it is located in a popular area so there’s easy access by the Metro and it is in a commercial district with restaurants and stores

Cons

  • the loop is short so if you want to cover a long distance you’ll be doing many loops and it can get boring

6. Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (19ème arr.)

Running in Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

(a) Overview

If you’re looking for hill training Parc des Buttes-Chaumont is the place to go. Unfortunately, you’ll have to travel through the Belleville neighbourhood with lots of traffic. Once you go through the gates, you’ll be in a lovely park with a lake (Lac des Buttes-Chaumont).

There are so many different routes that you can take as the paths crisscross all over the park. You can even run up to the Temple de la Sybille, although right now it is closed due to construction, so you can’t enter it.

Opening Hours: Open daily 7:00 am-10:00 pm; however times sometimes vary and they will close it if it is especially windy or if there’s bad weather.

Nearest Metro Stations:  Buttes-Chaumont and Botzaris

(b) Route And Distance

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Paris

Route: Run the perimeter of Parc des Buttes-Chaumont or just follow any path

Distance: any distance you choose where 1 loop around the perimeter is about 3 km

(c) Pros And Cons Of Running In Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Pros

  • absolutely beautiful park with a variety of hills and flat terrain
  • running along and around the lake
  • cement and gravel paths
  • lots of wide, open spaces so it doesn’t feel crowded
  • some shady areas
  • drinking water fountains, public toilets, and benches
  • no automobile traffic——all pedestrian (and some bicyclists and those with baby carriages)
  • if you don’t have the energy to run back to your hotel (mine was further south), you can just take the Metro back. The Buttes-Chaumont station is right on the edge of the park (line 7bis)

Cons

  • hills (because I hate hills, although they make for a great workout)
  • getting here when running from the Marais: besides the traffic, the journey wasn’t the most enjoyable ( through the Belleville district (see the FAQ at the end to learn more about running via Canal Saint Martin). Next time I’d just take the Metro and do my run solely in the park.

7. Bois de Boulogne (16ème arr.)

Running In Bois de Boulogne Paris

(a) Overview

Bois de Boulogne is located in the western region of Paris, just beyond the Peripherique. It was originally royal land for hunting but in 1852, Emperor Napoleon III turned it into a public park covering an area of 2088 acres (845 hectares).

This is a huge park, with a number of lakes and a grand cascade. It’s a popular place for picnics, horseback riding, rowing, running, and biking. There are also numerous gardens (ie. rose and English), the Hippodrome de Longchamp racecourse, the Jardin d’Acclimatation amusement park, Fondation Louis Vuitton, and the Stade Roland Garros, where the French Open Tennis tournament takes place.

In this park, there is also the Château de Bagatelle and behind it is Villa Windsor, the house where the Duke of Windsor and his wife, Wallis Simpson lived in the 1950s and 1960s. The house is owned by the City of Paris but leased to Mohamed Al-Fayed, the owner of the Ritz Hotel.

Paris races, such as the Paris Marathon, the 20km de Paris, and the 10km Pour Le Climat (formally called the “10 km Bois de Boulogne”), have routes that go through this park.

The one downside of this park is that it is not safe to run here at night. The area is known for criminal activities (ie. drugs) and prostitution. I felt fairly safe running there during the weekday, however, to be honest, I wish there had been more people around. A weekend might have been better.

Opening Hours: Open daily, 24 hours a day

Nearest Metro Stations: Porte Dauphine, Les Sablons, Neuilly Porte-Maillot, Ranelagh, Jasmin, and La Muette

(b) Route And Distance

Path along Lac Inferieur in Bois de Boulogne

Route: There are so many paths in this park and I especially enjoyed running along Lac Inferieur, passing by Le Chalet des Iles, which is on an island in the middle of the lake. You could do a loop around one of the lakes (Lac Inferieur or the smaller Lac Superieur).

Distance: About 5.5 km to do a loop around Lac Inferieur (from Porte Dauphine entrance to the Cascade du Bois de Boulogne and back)

(c) Pros and Cons Of Running In Bois de Boulogne

Pros

  • gravel path
  • entirely flat
  • pretty lakes to run around and do a loop and long distances
  • often shaded by trees
  • drinking water fountains. public toilets, and benches

Cons

  • the area can be a bit dodgy
  • not sure if I’d run here alone. I’d run in the open, by the lake, rather than in the “woods” and I certainly wouldn’t run there at dusk/night
  • the area might not be the cleanest or safest due to the illegal activities that take place here (ie. condoms, needles), so stay on the paths
  • the park is on the outskirts of Paris
  • not really near any commercial businesses
  • not entirely free of cars/traffic as a few roads cross through the woodlands

8. Bois de Vincennes (12ème arr.)

Running In Bois de Vincennes
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(a) Overview

I have done many races that have gone through Bois de Vincennes. The Paris Marathon and Semi-marathon de Paris go through this wooded area.  It’s the largest park in Paris that is located on the periphery of eastern Paris. Runners (and bicyclists) especially like this park because it is so big (2459 acres or 995 hectares).

The park has a lot of trees, flowers, and a beautiful outdoor setting. Adjoining the park is the botanical garden, Parc Floral de Paris, so if you’re there when the flowers are in bloom, its an even more beautiful place to run or go for a stroll. Also in the park is a lake, Lac Daumesnil (with 2 islands) where you can rent a boat. There’s also a playground, restaurants, an arboretum, and the Paris Zoological Park (Parc Zoologique de Paris).

At the entrance to the park is Château de Vincennes, which was the royal court for many Kings of France from the 1100s to the 1700s. It was also a prison and military base. In the mid-1800s Emperor Louis Napoleon III and Georges-Eugène Haussmann transformed it into a park. Today the château is open to the public for visits.

Certain sections of the park are open to traffic but you can find areas where it is traffic-free (albeit, there are bicyclists).

Opening Hours: Bois de Vincennes is open daily, 24 hours a day [Note: Parc Floral de Paris is free only in the off-season (October-March). It is open 9:30-5pm (winter) and later in the Spring and Fall. Check the official website for information LINK: https://www.paris.fr/lieux/parc-floral-de-paris-1

Nearest Metro Stations: Château de Vincennes

(b) Route And Distance

13.5km run in Bois de Vincennes

Route: There are several pathways to do your run. One option is to start at Château de Vincennes, run toward Parc Floral de Paris, and then on to Lac des Minimes. From there, run back to Château de Vincennes then head south almost to the end of the park where there’s a water fountain (Fontaine des Bois). From there turn northwest towards Lac Daumesnil and then back to Château de Vincennes.

Distance: 13.5 km loop

(c) Pros And Cons Of Running In Bois de Vincennes

Pros

  • open area so it doesn’t feel crowded
  • cafes, chairs, benches, toilets, and drinking fountains
  • some shade
  • sports apparatus along the route

Cons

  • like Bois de Boulogne, Bois de Vincennes is also known to have prostitutes and criminal activities so definitely don’t run here at night.
  • as it is located on the outskirts of Paris, you’ll likely take the Metro to get here, so doing a long run in this park would make your trip more worthwhile.

9. Jardin des Tuileries (1ère arr.)

Running in Jardin des Tuileries

(a) Overview

Certainly one of the most famous gardens in Paris is Jardin des Tuileries and as a result, it can be busy, but picturesque. There are only a few paths that parallel rue de Rivoli, so running through the gardens could be part of a longer run as this area is small. I have actually run from the Louvre, through the gardens, down the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe; however, I do not recommend adding this section if you can help it. There are too many traffic lights and maneuvering around the crowds on the Champs Elysées sidewalk can be a pain.

Opening Hours: 7:30 am-7:30 pm (January-March and October-December); 7:00 am-9:00 pm (April, May, September); 7:00 am-11:00 pm (June, July, and August).

Nearest Metro Stations: Tuileries

(b) Route And Distance

Route: a run from the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel to the Place de la Concorde entrance will take you through the gardens

Distance: to Place de la Concorde and back is about 2 kilometres

(c) Pros And Cons Of Running In Jardin des Tuileries

Pros

  • gravel paths
  • wide-open paths
  • benches and chairs
  • toilets near the Place de la Concorde entrance
  • scenery-gardens, an octagonal basin and fountain, flowers, statues, beautiful buildings, the Louvre, and Place de la Concorde in the surrounding area
  • there are concession stands along the way for food/drinks

Cons

  • can be crowded
  • lacking trees that provide shade while you run—I always feel it’s incredibly hot in this garden, even when I’m not running
  • not many paths to mix up your route
  • only 1 kilometre one way

10. Champs de Mars (7ème arr.)

Running in Champs de Mars

(a) Overview

Just in front of the Eiffel Tower is the Champs de Mars….meaning the field of Mars (not the planet, but the God of war). While primarily green space, there are paths that crisscross the area where you could run. Or you could run the perimeter.  However, the area isn’t big, so you’re not going to cover a lot of distance without doing several loops.

Opening Hours: Open daily, 24 hours a day

Nearest Metro Stations: École Militaire, Dupleix, Bir-Hakeim, and La Motte-Picquet Grenelle

(b) Route And Distance

Route: perimetre of the Champs de Mars from Ecole Militaire to Avenue Gustave Eiffel, which is just in front of the Eiffel Tower

Distance: just under 2 kilometres

(c) Pros And Cons Of Running In Champs de Mars

Pros

  • running with views of the Eiffel Tower
  • entirely flat on gravel

Cons

  • no trees for shade
  • can be crowded, so try to go at dusk when it is less crowded

What If I Don’t Want To Run Alone?

If you don’t want to run on your own, you might consider doing a Paris running tour. I did one with Paris Running Tours and loved it because I learned more about the history of Paris, while I ran. Check out my post here:

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can You Run In Cimetière du Père Lachaise (Père Lachaise Cemetery)?

While running in a quiet cemetery with hills would be ideal, you are not allowed to run or jog in Père Lachaise Cemetery, which is the largest cemetery in Paris. It covers 110 acres (44 hectares) and was opened in 1804. If you try you will be stopped by a security guard telling you that running is not allowed on the grounds.
 
But if you’re interested in going for a nice walk, with hills, head here. Keep in mind that there are cobblestone, gravel, cement pathways, and stairways with railings. There are drinking fountains and toilets near the entrances to the cemetery. The nearest Metro stations are Père Lachaise, Philippe Auguste, and Gambetta
 

2. What Is It Like To Run Along The Canal Saint Martin?

I ran from my hotel, Citadines Bastille Marais, along the Canal Saint Martin to Le Bassin de la Villette in the north. It was just over 7 kilometres return and while parts of it was nice because you were running by the water, I did not enjoy running on cobblestones or encountering numerous traffic lights. I really felt I was running “in” the city– congested with cars and noise. It wasn’t a peaceful run. I would not recommend this running route in Paris.

3. Is It Possible To Do A Paris To Versailles Run?

While the distance is only 16.2 kilometres between Paris and Versailles, I would only run this route as part of a race, such as La Grand Classique. There is too much traffic to maneuver.

Do you have any favourite places to go walking or running in Paris France? Please share.

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Where to run in Paris-10 best spots

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Clara Sohn
    January 8, 2023 at 10:57 am

    Thank you so much Janice! I will be going to Paris in June and this is a very helpful information.
    As a fellow lover of France, I am so glad I came across your website which is full of useful & practical info!!
    Clara from Vancouver, BC

    • Reply
      Jan
      January 8, 2023 at 4:22 pm

      Nice to hear from another Canadian!
      I appreciate your comment about my latest post and my website. Glad the information has been helpful.
      Enjoy your trip in June—great time to go. Hopefully, you’ll be there on June 21 so you can take part in Fête de la Musique—events all over France.
      It’s a lot of fun.

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