A new itinerary brings with it new discoveries! This route is aimed at the athlete inside every one of us. Vélib’ Métropole also offers the chance to push yourself to the limit a little bit every day.
We’ve tried out the best-known sports venues in the capital. To help you get the very most out of this itinerary, we’ve designed a training programme just for you.
And there’s no need to worry – we’ve created exercises suitable for all levels of fitness 😉
NB: don’t forget to bring a bottle of water with you. If you like basketball or football, a ball may come in handy too.
Starting point: Vélib’ Station 10025 – Jemmapes – Ecluses Saint-Martin
Finishing point: Vélib’ Station 32014 – Place du Cornillon -Stade de France
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Quai de Jemmapes
The first big urban street workout spot in Paris, you can start off by getting yourself mentally in the zone at 144 quai de Jemmapes by admiring the skateboarders’ tricks or joining in a game of basketball on the court just next door.
Vélib’ Station: 10025 – Jemmapes – Ecluses Saint-Martin
Grange aux Belles
Our next stop is the outdoor sports facility at the gymnase de la Grange aux Belles, a stone’s throw from the quai de Jemmapes. Its running track is the perfect place to warm up – physically, not just mentally this time!
This sports hall is based in the district of la Grange aux Belles. The area features typically 70s-style esplanades reserved for pedestrians (and bicycles too, of course).
Constructed by Napoleon to improve Paris’ water supply, the canal Saint-Martin adjoins the Quai de Jemmapes. Drinking water has always posed a major challenge for the French capital, which is why Richard Wallace donated 50 public drinking fountains in 1870. These so-called Wallace drinking fountains are famous in Paris and continue to supply free drinking water in the streets of Paris.
The first was opened in 1872 not far from here at boulevard de la Villette. Two other drinking fountains are to be found in front of the entrance to this sporting facility.
If you’d like to learn more about the history of the Canal Saint-Martin: A ride by the Water’s Edge is perfect for you!
The aim of doing a warm-up is to increase your body temperature to prepare it to spring into action, but let’s start off gradually:
- Very gentle running for 3 minutes.
- Upper body: make slow, circular movements with your arms, gradually increasing the size of the circles.
- Lower body: get down on all fours, raise one leg behind you and lower it again. You can bend your leg or keep it straight. If you’re really hard-core, you can make small circular movements with your legs, 15 for each.
Vélib’ stations: Station n°10115 – Granges aux Belles ;
10110 – Louis Blanc – Jemmapes ;
10038 – Place du Colonel Fabien
Playground Stalingrad outdoor basketball court
Let’s go back up the canal beside boulevard de la Villette towards Stalingrad.
This boulevard cuts through the north of Paris and follows the course of the old city walls, the ‘murs des fermiers généraux’. They were over 3 metres wide and were demolished in 1860.
This wall was built shortly before the French Revolution. It enabled goods entering the city to be taxed by the ‘Ferme Générale’ (a customs and excise body – this is where the name for the wall was derived).
Located beneath an overland portion of the metro, this famous Parisian outdoor court was built in 1994 and rapidly became the ultimate Paris basketball venue and star of many rap videos of the 1990s. Neglected for a while, it was restored to its former glory in 2019 on the initiative of All Parisian Games, with funding from the City of Paris.
If you want to ride some New York vibes, this is the place for you!
Vélib’ stations: n° 10036 Aqueduc – Villette ;
19022 Marché Secrétan ;
19003 – Quai de la Seine
La Chapelle Skatepark
Just a short distance away is the La Chapelle metro station and a new skatepark boasting great views of Paris and its bus and coach stations.
Before the arrival of the railways, this district was very different. La Chapelle was a prosperous village thanks to the various fairs that were held here. The most important, the foire du Lendit, attracted thousands of merchants from all over Europe over a period of more than 600 years, from the 9th to 16th centuries.
If you feel like it, this is an ideal place to get a little more physical:
- Squats: keep your back straight, your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly outwards. Bend your knees slowly as if you were going to sit in a chair, keeping your spine straight. Try to feel your glutes contract as you begin the upward movement. The lower you go, the more effective the exercise will be. However, listen to your body – don’t push it beyond its limits. Do this exercise 15 times.
- Dips: with a bench or a bar behind you, place your hands on the structure and lower your body by bending your elbows, then raise your body again. This exercise works triceps, pectorals and shoulders. Do two lots of 10.
Vélib’ Station: n° 10034 Louis – Blanc La Chapelle
Playground Duperré basketball court
We head towards Pigalle to find one of Paris’ most famous sports facilities. You’re now as likely to come across instagrammers as sporting types here!
This court was refurbished in 2016 by Stéphane Ashpool, who created the streetwear label ‘Pigalle’, named after the local area. With help from a famous sportswear brand, this venue was revamped in a design that used shapes and colours inspired by Russian artist Malevich…this design was so popular that two similar courts have been opened in Beijing and Mexico!
Back in the saddle, we leave Paris behind us and pedal along the avenue du président Wilson towards Seine-Saint-Denis.
Be careful as you pass underneath the ‘périph’ (Paris’ ring road). Thankfully, just after there is a very good cycle path.
You’ll cross the Plaine Saint-Denis, a place which had a major role in our country’s economy. Up until the start of the 19th century, this was a major market gardening hub that fed neighbouring towns and, naturally, the capital itself.
During the industrial revolution, it was perfectly-sited for the new rail network and as a result a number of different industries set up shop here. The opening up of the canal Saint-Denis in 1821 completed the picture. Thus the area very quickly became one of Europe’s industrial powerhouses.
Vélib’ Station: n°18042 Place Pigalle
Stade ZZ10 Saint-Denis
In the shadow of the Stade de France a small sports ground painted blue lies half-hidden away.
If you’re not really paying attention, it’s easy to miss – which would be a shame! This is really a place that’s a little bit special. This ground was opened in 2018 by Adidas, with Zinedine Zidane and his World Cup-winning team-mates (Laurent Blanc, Alain Boghossian, Fabien Barthez, Robert Pires, Youri Djorkaeff and Christian Karembeu…). Built to celebrate the 20th anniversary of France’s victory at the 1998 football World Cup, the ground’s very special shade of blue is identical to that of Zinedine Zidane’s strip, the design of which has been reproduced on the pitch and signed by Zidane (affectionately known as Zizou) himself!
If you like street football, this will be hard to beat!
Vélib’ Station: n° 32004 Wilson – Landy
Stade de France
What better place to finish our sport-inspired itinerary than the Stade de France?!
It’s not only the biggest football stadium in France, seating 80,000, it’s the only large stadium in Europe to be state-owned.
It’s sure to bring back fond memories for many of you – victory at the 1998 football World Cup – and some less happy ones too – for instance, defeat in the final of the 2016 Euros.
Before heading inside, don’t forget to do some stretching exercises in order to end this work-out on a high:
- Stretching your quads: standing on one leg, bring your heel all the way back to your buttock and pull gently for 20 to 30 seconds. Do this to both legs.
- Calves: stand facing a wall and place two hands against the wall to support yourself. Position one leg almost touching the wall and the other further from the wall. Your front leg should be bent and your back leg taut. Keeping your feet parallel to each other, press through your back leg’s heel and hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Then switch legs.
- Massage your muscles if you can feel any tension building up
Finishing point: Vélib’ Station 32014 (Place du Cornillon – Stade de France), within easy reach of the RER B and D stations near the Stade de France.