Parc Jean-Moulin

After hiking up what felt like miles of stairs, we bent over, hands on our knees, and struggled to catch our breath. We had decided to check out the neighborhood park, and I was now hoping it was worth the climb. (Living off of wine and cheese doesn’t do much for endurance.) After watching a few runners whiz by us, we pulled ourselves together and began to make our way through the park.

We chose the path to the left, which took us up a small hill to an expansive lawn of grass. As we walked across it, it became clear why there were people parked along the edge: It overlooks all of Paris, including la Tour Eiffel herself.

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Behold, Parc Jean-Moulin les Guilands. It is surprisingly hidden from the street given how big it is, but we saw it on Google Maps last week and decided to check it out – mostly because we were looking for a place to work out – something that is difficult to find in Paris, where the streets are crowded and narrow and many of the parks don’t even allow you to stand on the grass (because it’s resting… not kidding).

Parc Jean-Moulin, however, offers a different scene. It is completely unpretentious and inviting. It seems to be a place for the people – all of them. Every time we visit, there are groups of friends picnicking in the grass, parents chasing their kids around the park’s many playgrounds, and people of all ages getting their sweat on in various fashions. Yesterday, we saw both a birthday party complete with rainbow streamers and two guys practicing MMA.

Among the park’s other amenities are giant sculptures, a snack stand and an educational garden displaying local flora. For working out, it has a track, paved and unpaved trails, and that giant set of stairs I mentioned, which we ran three times the other day. (We’re still patting ourselves on the back for it.)

As we start to ease ourselves out of vacation mode — and attempt to counteract the effects of new French diet — we plan to make trips to Parc Jean-Moulin a morning ritual. Today, however, is Sunday. And it’s hot. So a slow walk to the market and carrying carafes of wine from the kitchen to the patio is about as much as I can manage.

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