Here’s my recap of what we did in Paris before the marathon. I know this is probably so uncultured to admit but… Ben and me really only went to Paris for the marathon. For a bit of an adventure to run an iconic marathon in a different country. I won’t lie, if there wasn’t the marathon we wouldn’t have gone. So we didn’t really do any planning for the actual non-marathon related times. That’s not to say we didn’t have a good time though.
We left on Friday afternoon from Southampton airport – which for us is literally a 15 minute drive away. As you can imagine, this was a dream. The day before I decided to panic buy the 220 Garmin from Amazon and as I have Amazon Prime I was really hoping it would arrive before we left. I could have hugged the postman when he turned up with it!
We had a couple of last minute things to do before leaving…
Like ironing on our names to our running club vests. [Side note: because our running club colours are red, white and blue when I was running the marathon quite a few French people clapped me on the back and said things like “Vivre le France”. Mildly amusing.]
Anywho, we got to Paris without any issues. After getting to our lovely hotel, we then took a taxi to get to the marathon expo. We thought it’d probably be wise to do it Friday evening rather than Saturday when a lot of people would also be there.
We walked past the barriers (bottom left photo) feeling quite good that we didn’t have to queue there//In the bottom right photo there’s a man standing as a mannequin and jumping out at people which was very funny
Having never been to a race expo before I didn’t really know what to expect. I was neither blown away nor disappointed. We got our marathon bibs and our t-shirt for the next day’s race (the Breakfast Run – you used your t-shirt as your race entry). Annoyingly they had run out of small t-shirts for the Breakfast Run so I had to settle for a medium. It was quite the tent on me!
Here’s the expo haulage:
Not too shabby. The white square thing is a sponge which you could take around with you during the marathon and dunk it in buckets of water to sponge yourself with. Purely my own personal preference, but the thought of doing that after thousands of other sweaty people was definitely not my cup of tea. The fact that I saw people dunking their entire heads and drinking the water from the buckets during the race really freaked me out!
Then we walked to find somewhere to eat. Ideally we were looking for a cheap place to just grab something easy. But we struggled with places not having English translations on the menu (yes I know, how very ignorant of me not knowing French and being such a tourist with my expectations. I feel suitably ashamed). In the end we picked a place because the menu didn’t look too expensive (in Paris terms) on a very quick cursory glance and it had pretty lights on the front. Yep, key important restaurant necessities.
As we sat down we suddenly realised it was fairly posh. This was further clarified when a group of four sat near us covered head to toe expensive designer clothes and jewellery and the men had expensive laughs (you know the kind) and cravats.
At this point we felt a little underdressed… The restaurant (Bistrot Jadis) was lovely. The service impeccable, the food…oh the food! I had some sort of soup to start which was creamy and rich, but very tasty. I wish I could tell you what it actually was but see above about me being an ignorant tourist. It was definitely fish. Then I had a steak with anchovy sauce and stuffed mushrooms for main. I could have licked the plate. For pudding we both went for a passion fruit crumble thing. Basically passion fruit custard on a crispy sweet biscuit with meringue, er, mini rods?
All in all, deeeeelicious. However, very very rich. My poor tummy felt a bit hard done by later that night, but nothing major. Just a very heavy and queasy feeling. This made it clear that we were to take no risks the night before the marathon.
The next morning we were up early to go to the 5km Breakfast Run (organised by the Paris marathon, 5 Euros to take part in – bargain!)
Sorry I couldn’t resist this photo…
There was such a great atmosphere for the start and entire race.A bit like a Parkrun, but filled with so many different nationalities. Ben and me discussed our game plan: run together, nine minute miles and no faster. Keep it nice and easy.
However, this became a joke because the leading car (blaring out crazy music) didn’t let people run faster. So we were running 10-11minute miles. Hey, fine by me! It did make me laugh though – Saturday 9am and this car is belting out Sean Paul dance songs stupidly loud down residential streets in Paris. Bet they loved us.
There were a few stops here and there so lots of photo taking opportunities. This was good because I didn’t take any photos during the marathon – although I had planned to. It was just too complicated to navigate getting the phone out with gels and headphones. Plus I was terrified of dropping it during such a big race.
At the end there were stupid amounts of croissants, pain au chocolats, coffee, bananas and water. Nicely done. We then had a fair walk back to the hotel (an hour’s walk)…meaning my banana and Ben’s pain au chocolat became breakfast and after we’d showered and got out of the hotel it was lunch time!
Can I just put it out there now… I did not go to Paris for a culinary adventure. I wanted to keep things simple the day before the marathon. And finding my favourite salad on the menu ticked all my requirements.
I’m also going to hold my hands up now and say we went back to this cafe twice more and I had this salad each time. It was that good.
Then we met up with some friends and sat in a lovely bar/cafe for a while catching up. After this we then made the error of walking a lot…to the Arc de Triomphe, down the Champs-Élysées and back on the metro. I was starting to panic about how far we were walking and also I was having huge doubts about the next day. After saying goodbye to our friends, we had dinner (pizza) and headed back to the hotel (where my panicking would continue).
The next day –> The marathon.
I’ll (finally) finish up Paris with what we did post-marathon and the day and a half after 🙂
Have you ever been to Paris before?
Have you ever gone to a foreign country to run a race/take part in an event?
Do you enjoy French food?