There are many wonderful ways to discover and get to know a city. One of our favorites is by running! This past weekend we ran the Paris marathon and it revealed parts of the city that neither of us had ever been to before. Early Sunday morning we made our way to the starting line while most of the city was still sleeping. The street outside of our apartment was empty and the sun rising over the horizon made a serene setting for race day. However, once we arrived at the Champs-Élysées, we found another 40,000+ runners and countless spectators enjoying the same sunny, crisp spring morning. The start of the race was much like the ones we’ve run in Chicago, but with the first cheer of “Allez, allez!”, we knew this marathon would be different from the rest. Maybe it was seeing the sun rise over the monuments of Paris, running on cobbled streets, or the burlesque dancers cheering us on from the sidelines, but this race will always be part of what made this trip a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Since we don't have any pictures from race day, we thought we would include this shot that we found online to show what an impressive site is was. Can you pick us out of the crowd?! (Hint: we are by the Arc…)
We did take one pre-race photo… We didn't look this fresh at the end of the race, but it was an amazing feeling to run across that finish line together. Couldn't you just mistake us for a couple of elites?
The marathon wasn’t the only exciting event of the weekend — we also had our first house guest! Mel’s brother Mark was in Paris on his way to a conference near Bordeaux, so we did our best to show him a little of “our Paris”.
After walking around our neighborhood and showing Mark our school, we decided to check out a couple of parks that he had never been to in his previous visits to Paris. The first one was La Villette: Mark and Marc demonstrate one of the many interactive features that this park has to offer.
The science museum located at one end of La Villette is a good example of the 1980s style that this park reflects. It is also a great example of the paradox that is Paris: modern and ancient, technology and tradition, authoritarian and creative…
We couldn't pass up taking a picture of this cool reflective geode outside of the La Villette science museum since it reminded us of "The Bean" in Chicago (but not quite as cool, of course).
The second park that we visited was Butte Chaumont. This park was unlike any other we had seen since it was created in an old quarry, which made for some very picturesque rock formations and views in every direction. Definitely a spot to return to on another day to faire un picnic!
The day wouldn't be complete without dinner chez Abadie!
To kick off the weekend, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful spring weather and have a picnic with a couple of our classmates. Mel and Agnes pose with the main ingredient… Baguette anyone? (There may have been some wine involved too…)
Le Jardin du Luxembourg makes for a perfect picnic spot. Although most of the grass is interdit to sit on, there are plenty of chairs on which to enjoy a more civilized picnic. And the homemade apple tart that Lewis brought was an excellent complement!
The temperature was cool, but it felt great to sit in the sunshine. Well, it did until the next morning when some of us woke up with sunburns! Quel soleil!
Bravo is the perfect word to sum up the past week’s adventures. An amazing running tour of Paris, hosting Mel’s brother and an afternoon picnic in the sunshine — Bravo Paris!