I’m on a holiday in Lyon and of course, I’m still following my training plan and I’m running exactly as I would if I were in London. But running in familiar places brings out old memories, back from the days I still hated running. I hated it but I still had a weekly jog with Jack of all trades, which made it bearable because at least I had a good friend to speak to and make the time pass. Yes, it was also a good excuse to see my mate and talk shit.
I’ve been running on the left bank of the Rhône, one of the 2 rivers in Lyon and this reminded me of the Sunday runs we did every week on the very same river bank, from one park to another. You must know that Lyon has 2 major parks: le Parc de la Tête d’Or and le Parc de Gerland. It is a very common run for locals to link the 2 parks running along this majestic river that is the Rhône (even though the banks of the Saône are prettier). It’s a mere 6km stroll and the bank has been refitted for pedestrians and cyclists, with wide paths, cycle lanes, playgrounds, fountains and trees. It also boasts a great view on several major sights of the city:
- The Parc de la Tête d’Or itself is a beautiful park with a rose garden, a free zoo, a lake with an island, many great trees and plenty of grass to play football or bask in the sun
- The Croix-Rousse hill, with its colourful façades and XIXth century buildings
- The Hôtel-Dieu, an old hospital originally built between the XIIIth and the XVth century
- The Piscine du Rhône, an ugly but iconic swimming pool from the 1960s
- The fine XIXth century buildings of the universities and of the university library
- The Musée des Confluences, a building controversial for its gigantism, its weirdness (not to say ugliness) and the astronomical sums of money it cost the local taxpayers
This last one wasn’t here yet when we ran there with Jack of all trades, there was just empty space where the 2 rivers meet. We would go to the Parc de Gerland and come back to the city centre for a croissant and a coffee with a glass of fresh orange or lemon juice. I have to admit I miss that part and every time I go back to France I have a coffee and a proper croissant at the terrace of a typical café.
Several years later, we took on running together again and we went closer to our new respective workplaces, in the Parc de Lacroix-Laval of Charbonnières-les-Bains, the posh suburbs of Lyon. This was a whole different setting and much more hilly, but also very pleasant because in some parts of this park the forest is almost wild. These are great memories too and I hope I’ll run there again one day…