As the city that witnessed the birth of Parkour, Paris is considered the number one pilgrimage destination for many parkour travellers. Traverse through the Parisian “districts” in the footsteps of David Belle, or if you’re searching for something more high-end, then head central for the bourgeois rooftops of Assassin’s Creed Unity (note: the clotheslines don’t hold). Many of the French traceurs you will meet still train with the rigor and humility of the original Yamakasi. Much of their strict ethos was lost in translation; there is still a lot we can learn from them.
Facebook Contact group: Traceur qui mouv sur Paris.
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A hotspot for local and international traceurs. Suitable for all levels; beginner cat-pres and some meaty arm jumps for the veterans. Just watch out for people hurling bottles at you from top floor flats. Walk 200 metres north of this spot towards ‘Rue de Tolbiac’ and you will find some curvy roofs that look like sombreros. Throw yourself from hat to hat like a maniac, or else work some flow on the more serene ground-level blocks below. See in Google Maps.
This small but interesting spot is sure to add that contemporary, post-modern flourish to any hipster parkour video. It is also the closest you will get to parkouring on Mars. In fact, the whole neighbourhood is pretty desolate so buy yourself a cheese baguette beforehand if you plan on staying for lunch. A steep climb up to the top of the adjacent stadium makes a great picnic spot and view of the city. See in Google Maps.
Set in Paris’ well-polished business district, the average track-panted traceur may feel out of place here amongst the sparkling skyscrapers and shining business types. However, this spot proves to be another popular traceur hang-out so head here if you’re feeling lonely. The numerous descending parallel walls also make it perfect for a solo leg-day. See in Google Maps.
ÉVRY AND LISSES
We believe Évry and Lisses to be the Mecca equivalent for all holy parkour pilgrims. Not only is it considered by many to be the starting point of parkour beginnings, all those 20 or so years ago. It is also claimed by many Frenchmen to be the crème de la crème of training spots, making it well worth the trek out of central Paris. The grounds of Évry cathedral (picture bottom right) is a renowned spot near-ish the station. Across the Autoroute, du Soleil lies another cluster of spots including the “world’s most famous” Parkour jump (aka. ‘Manpower Gap’, pictured left) – first conquered by David Belle in the movie District 13 (See clip @ 2.41 minutes). Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to clamber around the emblematic vulva of the iconic Dame du Lac (‘Lady of the Lake’, picture bottom right). See in Google Maps.
A few national treasures lie tucked away in Paris’ North-East. A hop across from the metro station ‘Bobigny Pablo Picasso’ and you will find yourself in the majestic Esplanade de Jean Moulin (picture bottom left). Continue the tour across the carpark and through the adjacent estate to get your hands on those big fat concrete walls and a world of route opportunities (pictured top). For those ready to take it up a level, this is also a sick roof spot. If you fancy a detour, head to Fédération de Parkour (FPK)’s ‘Bondy park’ (bottom right), prone to mixed reviews and flooding but well-lit for night-training. See in Google Maps.
Another Northern gem, this wonder of walls is a great spot for practicing all the moves for various abilities. To access, just jump out at the metro stop Carrefour Pleyel – you really can’t miss it. See in Google Maps.
ASSASSIN’S CREED ROOFTOPS
Assassins Creed-style rooftops can be found all over central Paris. Entrances are being unblocked, blocked and re-unblocked all the time- your best bet is to try sneaking through the open door of an old building with a promising roof. Whilst these older buildings are less likely to be fitted with alarms, they are also less likely to be fitted with elevators so be prepared for long stair climbs to reach the trapdoor on the top floor. Note: We do not encourage roof training for beginner traceurs.
A short trip out of France’s bustling metropolis to this magical forest is like being transported into Narnia. A long tale of sea and river erosion has left this forest with giant, warped, stone formations and pockets of flip-friendly sand. This site has been frequented by rock climbers since the 19th century, but for the city-dwelling traceur, this nature-style parkour may take some getting used to. But in Parkour we adapt; you will soon find that swapping poles for branches and walls for rocky crags is not so difficult after all. Release your inner monkey!
See all Fontainebleau spots on this alternative map.This map is very comprehensive; if you don’t have all year, the most popular spot for traceurs is the Elephant (named after a rock shaped remarkably like an elephant, see picture). If you can’t organise yourself, look out for the annual German jam called Onetainebleau and follow whatever they’re doing.
Access: Fontainebleau is 75km South of Paris. The forest is extremely large and thus walking between spots is a massive trek – for this reason you will need a car if you plan to move between spots or stay in a hostel/campsite. A train out of Paris will cost you ~€15, note that there are different train stations to access different parts of the forest. Camping in the forest is technically illegal but realistically no one will find you. A campsite popular with traceur groups is ‘Camping Les Pres’ (closest station: Bourron-Marlotte Grez). Shops are few in number and have bizarre opening hours (like the rest of France); your best bet is the massive Carrefour supermarket in Villers-en-Bière (travel by car).
A typical Parisian traceur’s paradise is on the rooftops with the birds; however, there is another type of urban explorer who prefers the company of furrier vermin in the shadowy paradise that lies beneath the city. What the average Paris tourist doesn’t know is that under their feet scurry a number of ‘cataphiles’, (aka. catacomb explorers), tracing a way through a maze of passages filled with bones. These remains are what is left of Paris’ former inhabitants, whose corpses were dumped in this converted quarry when the city’s graveyards started overflowing in the 18th century.
It is now possible to have an official guided tour of a section of the catacombs. Yawn. More interestingly, there are secret entrances that open up to forgotten tunnels, hidden away in Paris’ equally forgotten ‘districts’. Be warned, you will need to find yourself an experienced friend to guide you- there are people known to have gotten lost and have died down there in the darkness. Due to the clandestine nature of this spot, we cannot share any more information here – it is now up to you if you dare!
Flying will most likely be your quickest and easiest way of getting to Paris. If you don’t have a horror of Ryanair, check Skyscanner for the latest deals (if you are flexible with time, select ‘whole month’ to find the cheapest dates to travel). If you are travelling from the UK, consider checking Eurostar Snap for cheap Eurostar deals – note that for these deals you can select morning/afternoon but you cannot select the exact time of your departure date – you will be notified of this on the day prior to your departure. Being an economic hotspot, it is never difficult hitchhiking into Paris from mainland Europe, (hitching out is a different story). For more information on hitchhiking to/from Paris visit the site http://hitchwiki.org/en/Paris. (It is also possible to hitch the English Channel, though the success rate is variable). Another cheap and popular option in France is carsharing, using the app BlablaCar.
If you are one of those traceurs who prefers jumping on walls to getting a real job, this is a great site with heaps of information regarding cheap options for transport, accommodation, food, and internet in Paris: http://nomadwiki.org/en/Paris.
- Image Olympiades 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LJZaDQZGxQ
- Image Olympiades 2: https://www.pictaram.org/post/BNWfit8gpTD
- Image Bercy: http://travelask.ru/questions/961632-parc-de-bercy
- Image La Defense: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EncEZL7Y9Zc
- Image Manpower Gap: http://parkour-yamakasi.skyrock.com/
- Image Assassins Creed: http://www.lurulagu.com/assassins-creed-parkour-securi-rvpCwfo5maXw.html
- Image Fontainebleau: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/368802656961800984/
- Bouldering map: https://bleau.info/map
- Image Catacombs 1: https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/paris-catacombs-jan-09.36969/
- Image Catacombs 2: https://welcometocavelandblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/catacombes/
©World of Parkour 2018