Sunday is a slow day in Paris. The cinema, antiques fairs and food markets are open, but not much else. Having already stuffed my little flat full of obscure second-hand treasures, I’ve had to self-impose a ban on markets, and my inability to be stationary for over half an hour means that the cinema and I tend to fall out*.
So what to do on a Sunday?
By George I’ve got it! Let’s go to the races!
The Hippodrome Auteuil is situated at the edge of the Bois de Boulogne in the 16th arrondissement, a racecourse where Eliza Doolittle would have felt at home. I always forget how the races bring together a mix of people from each rung of the societal ladder. From the serious gamblers who stand fixated in front of the odds board to the clueless young lady who puts down 2 euros on her favourite number (I won both times!), there are rich pickings for any people-watcher.
The grounds stretch over 33 hectares, and is right next to the metro Porte D’Auteuil (line 10). Totaly capacity is 40,000, of which 4,800 are seated. Parking is only 2 euros on Sunday and bank holidays, and 1 euro during the week. The hippodrome also has a panoramic 450m² restaurant, as well as some snack bars.
It’s a great idea for a day out, doing something different and exciting on a day of the week where there isn’t a huge amount on. The last race is normally around half four/five which means that arriving at 3 gives you easily enough time to get involved.
I went there on a whim with the petit-ami, but I imagine it would be a great place to bring friends for the afternoon, even if the weather wasn’t great. Wrap up warm, bring a flask, and feel the adrenaline pumping as number 4 noses ahead at the final post….!
*plus the French get huffy about munching on popcorn and toilet breaks. I ask you, what is the cinematic experience without scoffing a box of popcorn/m&ms (why do cinemas provide exclusively crunchy snacks?), slurping a litre of diet coke, and then having to hop over everyone every hour to go to the loo?