At first glance, the Île-de-France region is associated with Paris and urban landscapes. However, nature is still very much present. As such, trail running is becoming increasingly popular among people who live in the area. Emblematic races, such as the EcoTrail or the Impérial Trail, now take place here. For serious training, runners go to the 25 moguls circuit in the Fontainebleau forest or to the trails of Bures-sur-Yvette in the Chevreuse Valley.
In this Collection, I introduce the latter. There are seven courses, ranging from 7 to 32 kilometres (4 to 20 mi), that start from the base of the trail station. While they are obviously far from the mountains, the routes are rolling in character, so you’ll accumulate more than 2,000 metres (6,560 ft) of elevation gain.
On the different routes, you discover the surrounding forests, such as those of Bures-sur-Yvette, Gif-sur-Yvette, Méridon or Port-Royal. You’ll be guided by beautiful watercourses, notably the Yvette, but also the Mérantaise or the Châteaufort stream. Your steps will guide you to magnificent architecture, such as the Madeleine castle and the Fauvettes viaduct. It’s not all about getting the training in, there’s plenty to see here too.
The routes are marked out from one to seven, which corresponds to the Tours in this Collection. Only the eighth one, the Christmas trail, is not marked. This is an annual run from the trail station and you can practise the route ahead of the event.
The base provides showers and changing rooms from 8 am to 8 pm every day of the year, except on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. By train, the Bures-sur-Yvette station is only 500 metres (1,640 ft) away and there’s also a car park. You access the trails from Paris by the RER B or stay a few days in the town to explore the Chevreuse Valley.
The good thing about the Ile-de-France is that it’s possible to practise running all year round. However, beware of muddy terrain in winter or after periods of heavy rain, when you’ll want trail shoes with aggressive lugs. In the summer, the trails are protected from the worst of the heat by their wooded canopy.
For runs of less than around 10 kilometres (6 mi), you shouldn’t need to bring water or food. But for the longer runs, it’s worth wearing a hydration pack with flasks and gels or energy bars.
I wish you a lot of fun on the trails of Bures-sur-Yvette and its surroundings. If the Chevreuse Valley has been classified as a natural park, it's because it has many treasures. It's up to you to discover them while running.
With its seven kilometers and its hundred meters of vertical drop, the first route serves as an appetizer. You can finish it in less than an hour without straining too much. You have two options: set off slowly to familiarize yourself with the landscapes of Bures-sur-Yvette or go all out to complete…
Course 2 shares similar kilometers and elevation as the first. But this time, it is the south of Bures-sur-Yvette that you discover. You first pass through the pretty park of the Grande Maison. Its crossing can serve as a warm-up. Appreciate its bourgeois building, its basin and its stream, then head…
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After two short courses, the third increases the distance by doubling the mileage. You leave again through the park of the Grande Maison. But this time, you turn west towards Gif-sur-Yvette and its forest. To get there, you climb steps for about a hundred meters at the second kilometer. This is the steepest…
With 16 kilometers and nearly 300 meters of elevation gain, this medium-difficulty route begins with a rather hilly route and ends flat. As soon as you leave, you cross the Yvette to the west to take the Chemin du Bras Mort. You walk along one of the three reservoirs of Gif-sur-Yvette then turn north…
More urban, this course allows you to run throughout the 17 kilometres. You first reach the Guyonnerie and Rames woods to the north. The start of the route is the same as route 1, the markings of which you see for the first 3.5 kilometres.
Then you go north towards Palaiseau and Eugène Chanlon Park, where…
If you are a fan of long outings, this 32 kilometer course is for you. Its 500 meters of vertical drop are not insurmountable, but your legs will feel the accumulation of climbs if you run from start to finish.
The route begins with the park of the Grande Maison and the forest of Gif-sur-Yvette, as for…
Never flat but never really steep, this course is very pleasant to run. The sequence of slightly steep ascents and descents allows you to alternate between the different muscle groups mobilized in running. The effort is thus easier to manage. However, be careful with the distance, the intensity should…
Every year, a night trail is organized in December on the routes of the Bures-sur-Yvette trail station. If you wish to participate, you will therefore not discover new routes in the Chevreuse valley. However, you will have the pleasure of putting your training sessions into practice in competition.
Running Collection by Fred Urrutia
Running Collection by Suunto
Mountain Biking Collection by Martin Donat
Mountain Biking Collection by Totosupertramp (Thomas Boury)