City Tour: Running the Streets of Paris
As both an active runner and someone who enjoys travel, I speak from experience when I say: it can be really hard to stay true to my routine when I'm away from home. (To date, I have only successfully maintained a semi-normal running schedule once while traveling. Don't judge me.) Between late nights, full days, and the desire to take in as much as possible in a short period of time, sometimes it's just not possible. (And fine, I admit: sometime I'd just rather sleep a little later than get up for a run. There, I said it.)
That being said, I was intrigued when a colleague passed along information about a different type of tour now being offered in the great City of Light: a running tour.
That's right. A running tour. This is some serious travel time management, and I love it. (Not to mention, anyone who knows me knows that when I travel, I'm very much a "do as the locals do" type. So what better way to tour a city than as a resident jogger would?)
Operated by a company called, appropriately enough, Paris Running Tours, most of the tours range from 6–12km (roughly 3.7–7.5 miles) and last about 60 minutes, though they also offer two 20km (~12.5 miles) tours that last around two hours. The number of sites you see depends on your pace, but if you're a bit on the slower side, you can extend the length of your run...for an additional fee.
Each tour is led by your own personal coach, described as "highly experienced Parisian joggers (marathon & triathlon runners, etc.) who know all about Paris and its secrets, having been running there on a daily basis for several years."
With each tour, you have the option to start at your hotel or a more centralized landmark. Depending on your hotel's location, I'd recommend the latter to help maximize your time; you don't want to spend 20 minutes of your tour just getting to the beginning!
The two biggest tours offered are the Right Bank Tour—think: lots of monuments—and the Left Bank Tour—a multi-faceted tour of St. Germain des Prés. Also offered are more focused tours, such as the Parisian Canal Tour, Banks of the Seine Tour, and the French Revolution Tour.
None of those interest you? No problem. Just get in touch with Paris Running Tours, and you can customize your own route based on your specifications.
The tours start at about $105 for a 60-minute one-person run, and about $150 for a 120-minute one-person run. Rates per person drop (as low as $70 and $80 per person, respectively) as you add people. And as I mentioned before, if you're a slower runner, you may miss out on some sites, but you can extend your run by 30 minutes for about $40.
Could there really be a better, more active way to tour a city? For me, no.
Joshua Pramis is an online associate editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo 2: Lyndsey Matthews