04 November 2012
the best way to visit Paris on foot
Needing an easy excuse for a weekend in Paris I decided to sign up for the 20 kilometrès de Paris race a couple months back. It was the perfect reason to get us to the city of lights for a quick 36 hours in October. Paris did not disappoint, we had the best weekend. We packed in a lot and it made for so much fun. Clover got to stay with Felix's parents and sister and be spoiled with attention while Félix and I traipsed around the capital.
Our friends loaned us their lovely apartment as a homebase for the weekend since they were out of town. Don't they have such a gorgeous view of the Théatre de la Renaissance? Thank you so much, A&A! We really wanted to stay for days and days!
It was wonderful to be in the city. We stopped for a leisurely coffee and hid out from a bit of rain until the weather cleared to make our wanderings a little less damp. After doing our best of being tourists for a bit, we went to the Trocadero to get my bib number for the race. After a bit of a hiccup with the mandatory doctor's note , mine only specified that I was allowed to run 20 kilometers and it had to specify either run the 20 kilomètres de Paris or run in competition. Very strict about that, good to know! So I had to call my doctor on a Saturday morning and get a new note scanned and emailed to me and then find a shady copy shop to print it out. In the meantime, we didn't let my momentary inattention to detail get us down. We went to lunch in a little bistro on Rue Montorgueil and did some good people watching. I managed to wrangle Félix into doing a tiny bit of shopping before we went back to the race headquarters where I waved my very dear athletic clearance and I was finally officially eligible to run.
We had heard good things about the Edward Hopper exhibit at the Grand Palais but upon our arrival we learned of a 2-hour wait to get in. It was too much for our impatient souls. We went for a celebratory flute of champagne and then headed to a sold out performance of A la Française at the Théatre Marigny. A work written, directed and starring one of our preferred french actors, Edouard Baer. It was hilarious and light-hearted, heavy hitting and thoughtful. He wonderfully poked fun at french culture but also gave a bit of an ode to it as well. Félix and I both left grinning. It was so easy to get carried away in the story, the humor, the moment.
The next morning we headed to the foot of the Eiffel Tower and I got ready to race. This was my first time running with so many people. There were about 25,000 runners. The race took us out towards the Bois de Boulogne and back through the city and along the banks of the Seine before bringing us back to the Eiffel Tower. I loved how flat the course was! Compared to where I was doing all my training runs in the hilly, high altitude of the Alps, it was a very welcome change.
There were groups playing music every few kilometers all along the course and people cheered encouragement along the race route. It was a grey rainy day and it only got more grey and more rainy as the race went on. It did nothing to dampen my spirits though, it was so fun to be running around Paris with the streets closed just for me... ahem, us, all of us runners.
There were so many people: participants, supporters, organizers. Félix and I lost each other until we met up at our pre-determined post-race spot overlooking the Eiffel Tower. I was greeted with cheers from Félix and his cousin. I ran it in two hours, I was hoping to be faster than that but overall, I am really happy with my run. I had a lot of fun and would do it again in heartbeat. And before we knew it was time to catch the train home and find our little Clover so that we could cover him with kisses. Now, the only lingering question is what race to sign up for next. Any ideas?