Impressive alliteration aside, it was a most memorable weekend. My friend Cindy, otherwise known as 'she-who-got-me-off-my-butt-and-running-seriously-3-years-ago' and I spent this past weekend in Paris as part of a blisters be-damned, sore backs be-ignored, tight-hamstrings be-stretched all girls shopping, eating, site-seeing and oh yes running junket.
We joined up with a group of 8 other women from near or around Geneva and grabbed an early TGV train to Paris' Gare Lyon Friday morning. After a quick 3-hour and a bit journey, we settled into a charming boutique hotel in the 16th arrondissement with a wicked view of the Eiffel Tower perfectly framed between the twin palaces of the Trocadero.
After a bistro lunch, we split up for an afternoon of walking and shopping on avenue Victor Hugo and rue de Passy. I didn't know the 16th arrondissement very well with the exception of having had dinner at La Table du Joel Robuchon last April so really enjoyed exploring this part of Paris close to the Eiffel Tower. We later reconnected with the other women and had a fabulously raucous dinner at Restaurant La Gare on rue La Muette also in the 16th.
Saturday dawned sunny and warm and 4 of us from our group of 10 spent much of the day wandering Saint-Germain-des-Pres, the Latin Quarter, Les Halles and Ile St. Louis. That evening, all of us had a considerably tamer dinner at the charming brasserie Le Coq in place Trocadéro. Earlier to bed that night in order to awake bright and refreshed for the real purpose of the weekend. Although truth be told, does one really need a purpose to visit Paris???
Still....we ten joined up early Sunday morning with 20,000+ other running addicts at the base of the Eiffel Tower to run in the 32nd annual Grande Classique, a 16km route from Paris to the gates of the Palace of Versailles. Can you imagine the spectacle of standing for over an hour shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of others in their running kits singing, dancing, and watching the early morning light glisten off of the immense girders of the Tour Eiffel towering over our heads waiting for our turn to move through the start line.
The race took us on a roughly 90 minute run out of Paris into Issy Les Moulineaux, up into the hills of the Cote des Gardes and the route Royale, through the forests of the Meudon, onto the long avenue de Versailles, up the slight incline of the avenue de Paris and into the finish near the gates of the Palais de Versailles.
It was a marvelous experience, a strong and positive run, and a great memory. After returning to Paris on the RER, we showered, and treated ourselves to a late lunch, a cold beer, and a giant profiterole as reward for a good day's effort. Cindy and I returned that evening to Geneva by TGV and were home by 10:00 pm.
Katherine, Cindy and one giant profiterole
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