10 March 2015

Walking among runners

When I arrived in Paris Sunday morning, coming in by train at the Gare d'Austerlitz, my plan was to walk over toward the Marais neighborhood and have lunch in a café not that far from the Bastille. As I crossed the river,  I had a nice view of the Bastille column, the monument that marks the spot where the old chateau/prison stood back before the French Revolution.

I thought I'd have an easy 20 minute walk, even pulling my suitcase-on-wheels behind me. The case wasn't that heavy and the weather was beautiful.

I walked across the Pont d'Austerlitz from the Left Bank to the Right Bank. Below, you'll see a photo of what greeted me: thousands of runners participating in a half-marathon race on a Sunday morning. It looked like it was going to be impossible to cross the street to get the the café. Finally I managed, though. I had to pick up my suitcase and carry it rather than pull it behind me. I watched as another man successfully make it across the street, weaving his way through the pack of runners. I did the same think, and I made it! Little did I know that I would have to cross the race course the same way a second time before I finally found a place where I could have lunch, after my first two choices closed turned out to be closed at lunch on a Sunday.

I'll put a positive spin on it: one of the things I like about Paris is that the city always surprises. It's never boring. You have to be resourceful — débrouillard, they say — to visit or live there. Watch what the local people do and follow their example.


Literally thousands of runners were jogging, sprinting, walking, or lumbering up the street, cutting me off from my planned destination.

From this Pont d'Austerlitz, I also had this nice view of Notre-Dame cathedral. It's always a striking sight.

I'm in North Carolina now. Because of jet lag, I got up at 3:30 a.m. today. I'll try to get back on schedule soon, as well as get out and take some photos locally.

9 comments:

Travel said...

Welcome to the US. Cities are fun, sometimes you just have to go where they take you instead of where you are going.

Susan said...

I assume the runners had thinned out a bit before you crossed!

Andrew said...

I remember seeing the Bastille column and not knowing what it was. I did recognise Notre Dame when I saw it. Do enjoy your family time.

Ken Broadhurst said...

By the time I dared to attempt a crossing, the main pack had passed by and I was cutting through stragglers.

Seine Judeet (Judith) said...

Holy cow, that would be a mess to get through *LOL*. We came across a (much, much smaller) group of runners on Thanksgiving morning (around here) as we were trying to drive to the airport.... every way we tried to get past a certain street, there were runners! We had to go way out of our way :) Worked out fine, in the end.

I hope the time adjustment goes well and that the first full day back in NC is lovely for you!

melinda said...

and we're supposed to have rain for the next few days here in the western part of the state....hope ur weather is better out on the coast....but at least the temps are warmer

Diogenes said...

Euro is at $1.07 today. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Ken Broadhurst said...


l had just seen that news when I got your comment. I remember that the rate in Dec. 2002, when we put money down on our house, was 1 euro for $1.06. By April 2003 the euro was at about $1.10. It's been that long.

Galestorm said...

You had a lovely warm first day back to NC! Hope the good weather continues for your visit!