Yep you read that right! A ridiculously hot few days in the City of Love come to an end as I finally get a chance to put some “thoughts to paper”.
After a sad goodbye to Basel with a final swim in the Rhine, I caught the TGV straight to Paris! Its crazy how close everything is in Europe and how well connected it all is. I think the fluid nature of the border helps – only a few minutes later, I had entered France and didn’t even realise until I checked Google Maps. Trundling through French countryside, passing quaint towns and major cities, the 3 hour trip didn’t feel very long as I pulled into Gare de Lyon.
Another interesting running achievement ticked off: run in two different countries in the same day. A full 11km of barging through tourists around the Eiffel tower, joining a running group for a bit, and getting told off by army people for running on the police lane, I’m not sure how but I made it back to the hotel. Straight into the cave-like swimming pool of the hotel – tiny but refreshing.
The next day started off with a huge hotel breakfast (+ sneaking out a salmon sandwich for lunch) and heading out with a packed bag of beach stuff. My first stop was going up to the largest hill in Paris, Montmartre. With the temperature already in the high 30s, walking uphill was not the most enjoyable but worth it to see the view from the top.
My walk continued, hopping between shades and ended up getting into a massive fruit and vegetable market. I was in a much less affluent area of Paris; insightful to see this part of the city too and not just the glamour of the touristy areas.
Destination: Bassin de la Villette – an artificial lake that is connected by the Paris canal back to the main river. Considering the weather forecast, I just wanted to be in the water so had researched outdoor pools in Paris (following my streak from Switzerland). I got there just around opening time and jumped straight into the pool. After a couple laps, chilled out on a deck chair then decided to clock my run in too. Following the lake then along the canal, only to return and jump back into the pool because it was hot – even years of running in Saudi can’t prepare you for running in 40 degrees.
My final day was more subdued and even hotter. After breakfast, another run past the Louvre and Jardin des Tuileries, along the river Seine and cooling off in the pool. I had to checkout early even though my flight was later at night so packed and headed to Musée du Louvre. Many tourists had found refuge from the heat under the glass pyramids of this museum. I didn’t bother queuing to see the Mona Lisa and instead ambled my way through the Islamic Art section and the galleries, getting a chance to see some magnificent sculptures and even Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People.
The journey to the airport in the metal can that is the RER B (an underground line) with hardly any windows and no air conditioning, tops the worst tube journeys I’ve ever had. Somehow made it and boarded the delayed flight. To where, you ask? Well, stay tuned for the next post!
Runs of the Days