PARIS, FRANCE – October 2007

Brotherhood of Joggers

Whilst in Italy, I added Naples to the list of exotic locations in which I have gone for a jog. Until then, that list only amounted to Tokyo – as a teenager – and Chalon-sur-Saone. I can now add the Luxembourg Gardens in the Latin Quarter of Paris to my list.

The gardens themselves were quite attractive. Think the Botanic Gardens in Sydney without the harbour but with a French flavour. In fact, it was quite fun to jog past women pushing prams, French university students canoodling on park benches and elderly gentlemen playing boules with their mates on a lazy Friday afternoon.

However, what made the experience truly memorable was a group of French joggers.

I had almost completed one lap of the gardens when three runners came up behind me and passed me, before calling over their shoulders “allez, allez” whilst motioning with their hands that I should join them.

I kept up with them for about a kilometre – they being much fitter than I – before I had to stop. However, when I did, they turned, ran backwards and put their arms out, palms upward, in mock surprise, before again encouraging me to continue running with them. I duly complied for another five minutes before I said “au revoir” and “allez le bleu” and made a hasty exit through a side gate.

I shall remember my French running mates fondly, though. I enjoyed our short time together, trotting along the paths of the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris.


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