Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Paris je t'aime!

The heading says it all. Four days in the beautiful city is a fantastic relaxing way to kick start the two week holiday from college. We left for the early Eurostar on Saturday and arrived in time for elevenses (at a cute street cafe) on the way to the hotel. A quick trip to the marathon expo, then back into town for some shopping and wandering around enjoying the sights. Pizza and red wine in the Quartier Latin for the now-traditional and ideal pre-marathon dinner.

After lots of smaller events, I'd forgotten how it can be fun to run with thousands of others (over thirty thousand starters lined up on the Champs Elysees) and I took the run at a relaxed pace, just drinking in the scenery (and a glass of red, courtesy of the Beaujolais Marathon organisers at mile 23 too!). The route takes in two parks and several of the major sights (Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower), with my favourite part being along the Seine. In one of the tunnels there were amazing accoustics, with the runners sending a kind of sonic Mexican wave through the dimly lit underpass. A comfortable finish in 4:14:22, then back to the hotel for lunch.

In the afternoon we went to a pub near Place de la C0ncorde to meet some of the Fetchies: runners that I'd been chatting with online in the preceeding weeks. It was great to finally meet these people in real life!

In the picture below I've got my copy of L'Equipe which has all the finishers' names and times printed in it. This is the paper that I keep hearing about as we watch the Tour de France every year so it's pretty cool to be in it!

We had a picnic on what we call the 'picnic bridge' - the Pont des Arts - including yet more red wine. A very civilized way to dine. There were some rather good buskers playing the sort of jazz that is used in the Jeeves & Wooster TV series.

On Monday and Tuesday we took in some museums, cafes, bars, shopping and general pootling about just being happy to be in Paris.

Like I said, Paris je t'aime!

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