Where to practice sports outside of campus?
Some of us don't need any sports facilities. Fortunately, Polytechnique is no longer in the middle of Paris and we can enjoy the forest and nice roads to go biking or running.
If you like to practice individual sports to keep your body in shape or if you are someone with fight, resiliency and you need to prove something to yourself, you will find in this article where to train for all levels!
Run and trail
The "tour du lac" is short and flat, a nice 3.3 km loop than you can run once, twice or more. Especially pleasant at the sun set with the willows.
From the 103 building, go the ENSTA parking and then join the main entrance of the campus, you will then go the rugby field. Then, you will find a path that will lead you to "Cour Vaneau" and finally come back by the Drahi center.
The must-do on campus is the Carrefour 5km loop. Completely flat, you will follow the bikeway from the campus entrance in front of ENSTA to the main entrance passing by Carrefour. It is the perfect routine for any intermediate runner.
More challenging, the 10km uses the previous route and diverges at Camille Claudel school (or swimming pool La Vague) and then continues in the fields. You can then turn left to directly join Franprix and come back or go a bit further (more than 10km then) in the fields.
The following route is more difficult. The distance is close, about 11km but this trail. On your way, you will see the famous "Polytechnique beach", a nice place to chill on the sand or to climb. The path is in the forest with a nice hill. You might need good shoes with enough grip. In the summer, the forest is covered by purple flowers, how poetic! 🌸🌸🌸
Last but not least, a semi-marathon with 230m of uphill climb! It sounds reasonable but be careful, you will encounter up to 25% slope and this is a lot. All the path is in the forest and this won't be your easiest 21km.
This route is 30 km long and is the perfect routine. On your way to Gif-Sur-Yvette you will go by the nice "descente de la belle image" which can be challenging for a beginner uphill but definitely very fun downhill!
Twice longer, you will discover some beautiful places of the Vallee de Chevreuse: the Chateau de Dampierre, national museum of Port Royal or the Chateau de la Madeleine. The "route des 17 tournants" is super nice (especially downhill) and is famous: the Tour de France passes there almost every year.
The road from Saint-Lambert to Milon-la-Chapelle might be one of the nicest. Not flat and with many twistes in the forest, it is definitely very fun but you will very quickly reach Saint-Remy and have to go back. However, one of the road, called on Strava "le mur de Milon - partie bestiale" (the wall - savage part) is a 250m long segment, 15% average and is very fun. You will be then be on top of the hill and will directly join the old "Chateau de la Madeleine".
For longer routes, you should definitely try to go to Rambouillet and you can easily do 100km or more.
Mountain biking is pretty nice if you go a bit further. On the semi-marathon route, you will find some very technical path. (check the Bike park pin on the map). You will need a specific bike for those of those paths. You can also go up to Port Royal, it is pretty flat but people built some bike facilities (some ramps are up to 2 meters high). Be careful!
If you feel like it, the following route is very long but it is really nice. You will bike on dirt and even on sand. There is 1000 of uphill climb for 75km and you will see a few castles of the way, nothing too technical but it is still for enduro bikes!
It is the closest swimming pool and you can easily go there by bike. However, the pool is only 25m long.
Stade nautique d'Orsay
A bit further, 4km away, it offers an outside Olympic pool (50m) and an inside 25m. The building itself is very old but the place is nice when it is sunny.†