Running on the River
I emerged onto our cold, darkened street in Lyon, more of an alleyway really, and tried to get my bearings. I saw a river as we entered the city, but I wasn’t sure how far away it was from our apartment.
I took off toward it and hoped for the best. Being densely populated, I first noticed how tranquil the city seemed. It was perfect for my first run in Lyon.
The second thing I noticed was the street art and graffiti. Initially, my privileged suburban attitude kicked in, as I found it unsettling. Jackie and I later learned that the city celebrates and supports street art.
During February, the sun rises around 7:30 a.m.. The streetlights were still on when I reached the river path, as the city was just beginning to come to life. I spotted a trail alongside the Saône river, and trotted down the stairs to check it out. I’m so glad I did. The lights reflecting from the water were breathtaking. I got so caught up in the scenery that I forgot how cold I felt when I started.
The Saône has a storied history and played an essential role in the founding of Lyon by the Romans in the 1st Century BC as Lugdunum. You can still see Roman relics along Fourvière (the large hill west of the city center). The river is the main tributary of the Rhône and has long been considered the most navigable river in Europe.
I ran four times in Lyon and found myself drawn to the river trail each time. One afternoon, the sky was clear, and the sun’s reflection from the river made the area seem magical. It appeared the city’s residents agreed, as many people were walking and sitting along the trail. I even saw three men who had caught a large fish (I missed the photo-op 🙄). From what I could tell, they seemed pretty excited.
Lyon is a terrific city for runners. A running festival, Run’in Lyon, is held each October and draws thousands of participants. Who knows, maybe I’ll come back here and participate some day.
Check out the river paths if you ever travel to Lyon and enjoy running. You’ll be happy you did!