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Running abroad

In week 17 of her fitness challenge New Zealand associate editor Carolyn Enting discovers running is a great way to sightsee in Paris.

Running abroad

I make no secret of the fact that I love my job at MiNDFOOD, especially when it means visiting France!

This week Moet & Chandon hosted me in Epernay, Champagne where I toured the historic cellars and attended the Roland Garros tennis tournament in Paris.

When I broke the news to my trainer Gaz Brown of GetRunning that I was going to France I expected to be handed a training plan but instead he told me to enjoy myself and do what the French do – ride a bicycle, glass of wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Of course he didn’t meant that literally though the stereotype is not far off. It’s amazing how many French smoke and unapologetically so. They also love to cycle and drink Champagne, and the latter of course was the primary reason for my being in France.

But with the pressure of training off I got thinking and I realised I had a dream opportunity in front of me (aside from visiting Champagne and attending the tennis of course) and that was running in Paris. A goal many of the runners I train with at GetRunning have shared is to one day run the Paris marathon, one of its charms being getting to run past countless iconic as well as beautiful monuments. So after getting some directions from the hotel I laced up my trainers and headed to the Seine. Passing the Grand Palais I crossed Pont des Invalides. The Eiffel Tower loomed ahead on my right but I decided to run in the direction of Notre Dame. It was 8am, grey and raining lightly but I didn’t care. It made the gold statues gleam even more brightly.

As I ran alongside the river I was astonished at how much ground I was covering though by the end it became more of a walk/run due to making frequent stops to photograph the sights – the Assemblee Nationale, Musee d’Orsay, over Pt Des Arts groaning under the weight of thousands of lovers padlocks, the Louvre, through the fragrant Tuleries gardens and its spring blooms, past the Orangerie and Rodin’s sculpture ‘The Kiss’, the Obelisque at Place de la Concorde and along Champs Elysee to the Arc de Triomphe – all in an hour!

At the time of the day my only companions were other runners or people on their way to work. I only spotted a handful of tourists.

Running is a great way to discover a city and get your bearings. I thoroughly recommend it and so glad I packed my trainers.

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