Le Paris – before the marathon

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!

220 Garmin Wearing my lovely slipper boots there

We had a couple of last minute things to do before leaving…

IMG_6231 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.

Paris marathon expo 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).IMG_6365 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:

IMG_6259 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.

Restaurant Jadis 2 At this point we felt a little underdressed… The restaurant (Bistrot Jadis) was lovely. The service impeccable, the food…oh the food!Restaurant Jadis 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…IMG_6271

There was such a great atmosphere for the start and entire race.IMG_6275A 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.

IMG_6284 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.

IMG_6367The route was different to the marathon (thankfully – what a spoiler that would have been otherwise!) but it did go under the Eiffel Tower which was cool.

IMG_6300 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.

IMG_6361Chicken Caesar salad with bacon, a hard boiled egg, croutons, shaved parmesan and a delicious dressing on the side for my pouring pleasure 😀

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?

18 Replies to “Le Paris – before the marathon”

  1. Catch up reading 😀 Okay, so first you should know that I totally appreciate your side comment about being a tourist and not knowing the language. I feel that people are always so critical of tourists, especially when portrayed in movies, when we’ve all been there at some point in our lives. And I’m not going to learn French just to spend a few days in France. Lol.

    I was so nervous when you said the food didn’t settle well with you that you weren’t going to be feeling well for the race! Good to hear that all went smoothly though afterwards.

    Your pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower are so nonchalant. 🙂 “Oh look, here I am in front of one of the most iconic images in the world.” So awesome. Those pictures are keepers.

    1. Exactly! I feel bad not knowing the language but realistically I’m not going to use it again after the holiday.
      Haha it was a bit like that – after the first time of seeing the Eiffel Tower it was a bit like “oh it’s still there, looking amazing.”

  2. I don’t think you should feel guilty about not knowing the language or your food choices at all! At least you have self-awareness, which is more than I can say for most UK tourists. When I went to Paris with my school, I did speak the language reasonably well, but even so it was quite difficult to communicate at times, because lots of people seemed to find our accents amusing. I don’t want to stereotype the French, but my experience in Paris wasn’t the best…I would never dream of making fun of anyone’s accent if they had made the effort to speak English!

    French food is a nightmare for me – when I went I was veggie, not vegan, but that was bad enough! I was served fish so many times that in the end I just stopped eating for the rest of the trip – I was horribly sick from the ferry journey over anyway, so the idea of accidentally eating meat or fish just made me feel even more queasy and I couldn’t face food at all. I lost 10lbs in the week we were over there and my parents were horrified at how I looked when I came back!

    That 5k does look fun though, and a great idea to have before the race. I think with all of the walking you did the day before, your eventual time is all the more outstanding.


    1. It’s funny because they didn’t really make a huge effort to converse in English. However I remember being in Berlin and you would try and speak German but they’d straight away know you were English and talk back in English because they want to get better at their second language!
      Oh god yeah I imagine being a vegan in a foreign country must have been tough. Especially France where they do like their meat.

  3. Haha! I love the ‘Uncle Ben’ picture! 🙂 Looks like you had a wonderful time outside of the marathon in Paris. I was in Paris the year before last and had a wonderful time. The food was amazing where we were, very simple but tasty.

  4. Awesome post Anna, I loved seeing the build up to the big day! I have to say that I always feel so ignorant when I go to France because my French is pretty much non-existent. I know it’s bad and last time some English woman had a big go at me for being rude because I didn’t know the French word for ‘cashpoint’.. I kind of assumed it would be the same but apparently guessing makes you an embarrassment to fellow Brits who actually bother to learn the language of the place they are travelling to. Le sigh.
    Menu translations are always SO helpful!

  5. The last time I went to France was on a school trip in year nine. Our apartment ran out of toilet roll but we didn’t know how to ask for more so ended up doing some rather disturbing actions to get ourselves understood!
    Love that you were running in French colours though! Did you spot many English people running the race?
    I would love to go to a race abroad but knowing how expensive London ended up costing us I think it will be a little while away yet.

    1. Hahaha hilarious. I was actually wondering where that sentence would go “We did some rather disturbing actions….” ahh to make yourself heard. Thank god!! 😉
      There were quite a few Brits (and Americans as well). In fact there were quite a lot of non-French runners from all different places.

  6. I love that pic of you running- you look so happy!
    So annoying about the t-shirt size- that normally happens to me because by the time I finish a race most of the sizes have gone! Although that race is a bargain!
    I have been to Paris a few times- I never think the food is that great, but then French people don’t really “get” vegetarians- Andy and me went when we were at uni and I got a croissant that turned out to have ham in it.
    Those sponges! I had forgotten but at Stockholm we were given one too! We had to fly on the Friday night (as I was working Friday) and the marathon was Saturday (we nearly booked flights for Saturday, assuming the race would be on Sunday like every other race in existence!)- we only double checked because I was worried the expo would not be open on the day of the race! But we didn’t have a lot of time as we got a bit lost in the morning- I think there were deals for sports kit and things, but my mind was not really on that sort of thing- I was preoccupied with the thought of the long run ahead. It was good to see sights on the run though.

    1. Haha that’s so typical of the French. Ahh veggie, but ham is ok, non? 😉
      Wow that is really lucky about Stockholm. So random that it was a Saturday. I found Boston being on Monday really confusing as well.

  7. I haven’t been to Paris in ages, I’m not sure it’s amazing in terms of Vegan food. Berlin will be my first proper overseas race, I feel quite comfortable with that as I’ve already traveled there, know it well- and love it!

    1. Yeah that’s a safe bet with Berlin then. I’ve been about 4 or 5 times but always with my German friend who basically held my hand the entire time. Not sure how we’ll be without her!

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