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Article: Three marathons to run at least once in France

3 Marathons à courir au moins une fois en France
Marathons & Semi

Three marathons to run at least once in France


Running a marathon, whether it's your first, second or tenth, is a real challenge and a unique experience. It's also a rare and incomparable opportunity to discover a city. The city hosting a marathon is prepared for the event, with streets reserved all along the route just for you and all the other participants. People cheer you on. And even if the marathon remains a difficult race, running a marathon in a city is a unique opportunity to discover it. The images will remain engraved in your memory, and the city where you'll be running for 42 kilometres will reveal itself to you as you go along.

If you're looking for ideas of Marathons and towns to discover while running in France, here are three very different Marathons that are worth the trip, as the Michelin guide would say. These are three very different Marathons in three different regions of France, each offering a unique experience.


The Paris Marathon

The Paris Marathon is a must in France. Because it's Paris, the city of lights, with its grand avenues, majestic bridges, and grandiose monuments. Of course, as with all great cities and capitals, there's a bit of excess. The number of participants can be counted in the tens of thousands. At the last edition, there were over 54,000 finishers. Fifty-four thousand is a huge number! It's a mega-event with a high density of runners. It's not the fastest, but it's a truly unique course in the middle of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

The start on the Champs-Élysées is memorable, just below the Arc de Triomphe. It's essential to remember to turn around after one or two kilometres of running. You'll find yourself in the middle of the Champs-Élysées and you'll have a continuous stream of runners in front of you and behind you, filling this great and beautiful avenue from top to bottom. It's a very impressive sight and one that's sure to stay with you for a long time. During the Paris Marathon, you'll run along the Champs-Élysées, then cross the Place de la Bastille, pass by the Ile de la Cité and Notre-Dame Cathedral, skirt the banks of the Seine - and all without seeing a single car. A real and rare pleasure in Paris. On the second part of the race, when you'll be running back towards the west of the city after passing through the Parc de Vincennes and crossing the centre of Paris, the Eiffel Tower will accompany you on your left for many kilometres. You'll 'finally' arrive in the Bois de Boulogne. This is not the easiest part. As you approach the 35th kilometre, it will be difficult and the spectators will be fewer and farther between in the Bois de Boulogne.

But a few kilometres later, you'll finally emerge from the Bois de Boulogne for the last few kilometres. It will be tough, but the finish will be close. A final bend to the right and there it will be there at last, that liberating finish line. You'll cross it with great relief and satisfaction. You'll have become a marathon runner, perhaps for the first time, and some of the great avenues of Paris will no longer hold any secrets for you.


Lake Annecy Marathon

Change of scenery for this second marathon in our list of 3 marathons to run at least once in France. We're off to the Alps and the beautiful town of Annecy and its superb lake. The Lake Annecy Marathon is run along the banks of the lake. It's an out-and-back race, and you'll be running alongside one of the most beautiful Alpine lakes in Europe the whole time, going out on your left and coming back on your right. Lake Annecy is a superb lake, with transparent waters and winding contours in the middle of a beautiful Alpine landscape. It's not always easy to look up when you're running a marathon, but if you do so from time to time, when you're between two imposing massifs, you'll see the Semnoz massif on your right on the way out and the Tournette massif on your left in the second half of the lake as you approach Doussard at the end of the lake, where you'll make your U-turn.

An out-and-back course is also a unique opportunity to pass the first runners as they speed towards the finish. I remember seeing the first runner upright, light, and swift, giving off an incredible impression of speed and ease. Of course, as the kilometres went by and fatigue set in, the return to Annecy became more difficult. I remember having the impression that the further I ran towards Annecy, the more the town seemed to move away from me, as if it were impossible to return. Once you've got past that difficult moment when you're not quite clear-headed, Annecy eventually gets closer, and you return to the starting point to complete a Marathon in a unique Alpine landscape on the shores of a majestic lake.


The Alpes-Maritimes Marathon Nice - Cannes

Now imagine a Marathon that starts on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, runs along the Mediterranean coast and finishes on the Boulevard de la Croisette in Cannes. Incredible, isn't it?

Incredible, and yet this Marathon exists. It's called the Marathon des Alpes-Maritimes Nice-Cannes. The course is unforgettable. The views throughout the Marathon are splendid. Firstly, along the Promenade des Anglais, with the superb bay opposite Nice on the left, and if you take the time to look back, you'll also see the mountains of the Nice hinterland, perhaps with peaks already covered in snow (this Marathon is run at the beginning of November). All along the route, even though you're running a Marathon, which is never easy, you'll almost feel like you're on holiday. You'll run along the Mediterranean, taking in all the beauty of the Côte d'Azur as you pass through the legendary towns of the French Riviera, including Cagnes-sur-Mer, Antibes, Juan-les-Pins and Golfe-Juan, before finally arriving like a star on the Boulevard de la Croisette in Cannes.

A great Marathon to run at the end of the season to round off your running year in the best possible way.


Paris, Annecy, Nice: three beautiful Marathons in France that we recommend discovering three unique courses with a huge diversity that will take you from the main avenues of the French capital to the shores of Lake Annecy, then to the roads along the Côte d'Azur between Nice and Cannes. Quite a programme!

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