by Melinda Gallo

Running along the quays

Twice this week, Tuesday and today, I went for my morning run along the quays in Paris. I have been running in the Champ de Mars around the Eiffel Tower during my stays in Paris, but I did feel like I wanted a change. Each tour of the Champ de Mars is about 2k and a 2-3 tours a few times a week loses its charm. After my long run this last Sunday to Notre Dame, however, I was eager to see what it would be like to run along the quays in the early morning.

When I got outside this morning, it was still dark. The streetlights were on, the Seine a glossy black with shimmers of light, and the sky so dark it was difficult to see if there were any clouds or not. There always seemed to be a thick fog covering the city in the morning because it was rare the morning when I could see the top of the Eiffel Tower. I ran through a small portion of the dark alleyways of the Champ de Mars and crossed the wide street along the quay to reach the Pont díIťna.

Getting to the other side, I felt as if the sky opened up. Compared to the tree covered alleyways in the Champ de Mars, I was finally out in the open with trees, having few leaves still left on them, on one side of me and the Seine on the other.

The sidewalk had been cleaned since my run on Sunday when the same path was covered with leaves. Every morning this week, I hadnít noticed just how busy the city was until I was running along the quays. It was at Pont de líAlma with the Flame of Liberty statue that I suddenly remembered that Princess Diana had died in the tunnel below in 1997. I remember that year because I was in a taxi driving past the crash site the very next day to go to Florence for the first time to live.

I continued on the quay and headed toward the Invalides. With the Grand Palais on my left, I finally turned down one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris, Pont Alexandre III. To me, this bridge is the most representative of Paris. It is so beautifully designed with its gold statues on all four corners, its unique street lights, and how itís positioned in the heart of the city with the Place de la Concorde not far away.

I was filled with joy running across it toward the Invalides. To my dismay, the return to the Eiffel Tower was not the best part of my run. On my future runs along the quay, I will cross the bridge and turn around to cross it again to run along the quay on the right bank.

They were doing construction work on some parts and because the voie express rive gauche (Left bank expressway) is busy with cars, I had to stop at additional lights as well as each bridge.

The reward though on the left bank was that I stood right below the Eiffel Tower to cross the street again and was able to take it in. It is breathtakingly beautiful when I am running across the street toward it and looking up at it.

I enjoy running along water, Iíve realized. I love seeing its changing colors and reflections. Running itself is so wonderful, but being next to the water and looking at it makes it even more enjoyable and invigorating. It truly is a wonderful way to start my day.

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