Monday, August 4, 2014

Paris + Running: A Picture's 1000 Words

If you read my last post, you already know that I just returned from Paris. As I was packing for my trip and throwing in some running clothes, I was immediately taken back to my old running route.

When I studied abroad in Paris I lived near Le Parc Monceau, a beautiful, under-appreciated urban neighborhood park. A few times a week I ran there. I ran in clothes I wouldn't be caught wearing on a treadmill now. In my defense, it was 2002 and black or gray cotton yoga pants (fitted through the hip and thigh, flaring below the knee, of course) were in style. I can't do much to defend the cotton t-shirts, except to say I didn't know better. Wearing this get-up, I'd walk out of my Paris flat, where I lived with an old couple, onto Rue du Saint Honore, turn right, and wound through the neighborhood a bit, and enter the park. I'd have, usually, Lincoln Park blaring on my Discman. Hand held. That's how we rolled back then. I'd run a few laps in the park, maybe for 30 minutes, people watching and listening to the city around me, before heading back.

One of the two girls I traveled with last week also wanted to run during our trip, but to save time we decided to run near our hotel, which was much closer to the Tuilleries than to Le Parc Monceau. We ran several laps there, hitting about a 5k distance, before deciding to head back to get cleaned up and start the day. We started back the way we came, but took the wrong side street. Only then did it occur to us that we were two directionally-challenged women in Paris with no money, phones, or maps. Oh, and, Paris is not on a grid. Once you've made a wrong turn, it's never as easy as going around the block.

We headed in what we thought was the right direction, and all told probably only went about 0.3 miles out of our way. In the process of this, we came across a Longchamp store, which my friends had been hoping to find. I took note of the cross streets: Rue Saint Honore and Rue du Chevalier de Saint-George.

Later than day or the next, when it was a good time to do our Longchamp shopping, Jenn and I told Lynn that we could find the store, we'd seen it and remembered the names of the cross streets. Except, Rue du Chevalier de Saint-George was nowhere to be found in our trusty guide book, Paris par Arrondissement. And, naturally, we only remembered about half of the landmarks necessary to get there. Lynn didn't have to say out loud that she absolutely did not trust our memories, and could be heard muttering repeatedly how completely ridiculous the two of us were in our unreasonable inability to navigate.

Finally a gentleman saw us gazing around, clearly not sure where to go, and asked what we were looking for. He pointed us down the street, telling us where to turn. So we did. And you know where the store was?
Let me turn that up for you if you can't read it: Rue du Chevalier de Saint-George
I couldn't resist posing for my victory. But when I look at this picture, I see myself in the middle of a high training volume summer, strong, fit, and all these years later, still discovering new corners of Paris by running. La vie est belle.

1 comment:

Black Knight said...

Glad you enjoyed the trip to Paris (only 2 hours flying far from here). I never succeeded in running in Paris, too much traffic and crowded streets.