Paris is well-known for being a city of fine foods, delicious wines, extravagance and romance. It’s less well-known for its huge community of Parkour enthusiasts or ‘traceurs’. Parkour is a holistic and highly disciplined means by which the traceur moves through his or her environment. Some consider it to be an art with a deep philosophy attached, and I’m inclined to agree. Once you’ve left the car at the airport (you can learn more about that on Standsted’s parking page), and taken the metro into the heart of Paris, you’ll see why.
Parkour is just as much a mind-set as it is a physical endeavour; the goal is to move as efficiently as possible through the surrounding environment being constantly mindful of every move you make. There are few places as good for such things as cities and few cities as suited as Paris, France where the sport was born.
There are a many spots in Paris that are now considered sacred within the Parkour community, as some of the very first traceurs used to practice at them.
Lisses is a suburb of Paris and just so happens to be where Parkour was birthed by its founder, David Belle. The area known as La Dame Du Lac houses a park that has its own purpose built Parkour park that itself houses a concrete structure which is used to this very day by budding traceurs following in David Belle’s footsteps. The structure towers above its surroundings and has ledges to work with, as well as climbing walls, steps and walls of varying gradients.
One of the benefits of engaging in Parkour in the confines of a city is that cities are ever changing. The ‘playground’ of the traceur is dynamic and constantly shifting as is the mind of the traceur. Where once a wall existed, there is now a ledge to conquer. Where there stood a spiral staircase there is now a church spire to leap from.
Evry cathedral is another Parkour hot spot that’s frequented by some of the best traceurs in history. Again, made famous by David Belle for the renowned ‘manpower’ gap-jump that many have attempted and failed since, Evry has a broad range of areas that suit all skill levels.
One traceur describes the area as having many multi-level walkways and expansive pedestrian areas that have handrails, walls, ledges and stairs to move between in a perfect fusion of mind and body.
Have you ever been to Paris for Parkour? Let us know your expert tips and advice in the comments!