Paris, along with Berlin and London, must be amongst the best european marathons going, if the scenery was the qualifying factor. Luckily for Paris, there is also the amazing atmosphere, the iconic route and a start line / finish line to add to the list of reasons why this is a race that should be run, at least once.
The race expo is held in the Parc des Expositions, within easy reach from the city centre via metro or bus, or even by foot if you wished to take in the sights of Paris. The massive hall contains everything you need once your race number has been collected, with running shoes and branded race tops available. As with all race expos, they get busier as you near the final day and Paris is now exception. If you come on the Saturday then you must expect long queues and limited merchandise.
Saturday morning sees the Paris breakfast run, starting off near the home of the Mona Lisa. the Louvre, and finishing off by the Eiffel Tower. 12 euros is a good price for the technical t-shirt and to be able to run and finish within the shadow of the Eiffel where coffee and a pain au chocolat awaits.
Race day and you assemble on the famous Avenue des Champs-Elysees where you can soak up the atmosphere from your pen. Unless you are in one of the frontpens, the start is more a stroll and a jog as people fill out the road, heading down towards Place de la Concorde, before heading off into Paris proper. There are so many sights to take in many runners find themselves stopping quickly for a tourist selfie.
Race stations are well stocked, the route is well supported and first aid posts keep an eye on runners, especially those in the latter stages of the race when fatigue and "the wall" often raise their heads.
The finish line, on Foch Avenue in front of the Arc de Triomphe, also adds to the memory of the raise and you can join thousands of others in taking the winning selfie, holding up your medal in front of the Arc.
Travel tip: Stay on the edges of Paris and travel / walk into the centre. You will see more of the city and benefit from cheaper hotels.If you are planning on doing the tourist visits, book ahead as opting to visit the Eiffel Tower on a whim will not happen.
Race tip: Visit expo on a Friday at the latest if possible. On race day, plan ahead to travel to the start early. Be prepared to wait so take a top you can leave behind. These are collected and supplied to the homeless.
Value for money: It is not cheap but to run in such a beautiful city is worth the money, as is the finisher shirt, although the 2019 medal left a little to be desired.