Into the Parisian Woods

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It is January, temperatures are low. However, for the determined jogger, reasonable layering and minimal precautions against the cold  are all you need to jog without doing yourself damage in and around Paris.

The region’s climate, at least over the most recent winters, seems not be inhibitive to outdoor movement (relative to weather further North in the continent and elsewhere).  Yes, there have been spells of terribly cold weather that have made limiting oneself to the gym sufficient.  Nonetheless, pavement pounding is possible throughout much of the year.

Strangely enough, it is not so much frostbite that poses  the greatest threat to the dedicated jogger, but rather  the prospect of killer looks that are sometimes vaulted in the direction of people jogging or cycling in ‘cold’ weather (this contrasts strongly to London where eccentricity is widely understood and at times encouraged. It is not at all odd to take a jog around Westminster at, say, 10 pm at night in winter).

Across the channel,  however, I have seen and heard fascinating gestures of disapproval of joggers and have been traumatized by the debates in the past decade about jogging as un-French, undignified and anti-intellecutual.   This adds an additional layer of psychological preparation for winter time time jogging.

Once one takes the first steps into the cold (and for this blogger – into the woods of Bois de Vincennes)  the rewards are immense: there is the prospect of decompressing, clearing one’s mind before hitting the books and maybe even structuring one’s mind to get pages done toward completing the dissertation. There is also a world of fellow eccentrics running in low temperatures.

The more one does it, the more it seems as though the antipathy against joggers in Paris is a confluence of exaggeration, imagination, and a dash of laziness.  Paris’s weather makes it a great place to jog in during most seasons of the year.