Parkour in Paris, where can I see it?

May 16th, 2006, 05:29 AM
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Parkour in Paris, where can I see it?

I just saw a brief television piece on the Today show this morning about Parkour, Urban Freeflow. Is this really done in Paris?

Is this an activity/sport that you can find on the streets in any particular neighborhood? Does it just happen spontaneously like the inline skaters around the Trocadero?

I know the young adults I am traveling with in Paris would enjoy seeing Parkour. I would classify it as "extreme people watching"

Thanks for any information you can give me, Deborah
DeborahAnn is offline  
May 16th, 2006, 06:26 AM
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Hi Deborah,
Unlike the urban freeflow groups in the U.K. and the States, the french collectives are far less interested in publicity than the enjoyment factor of Parkours. Unless you're part of the group, it's very hard to know when and where the next meet will be.

Also, as parkours began in the 'cites' most of the meets take place in some of the less salubrious areas of Paris, and some of the locals might not take too kindly to groups of visitors hanging around on street corners. Even if your intentions are purely honourable.

The best place to look (depending on your level of French) are french forums about Parkours, but as it is an illegal activity, they tend to disappear as quickly as they arrive. Good luck with your search!
Jay_G is offline  
May 16th, 2006, 06:37 AM
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Jay, thank you so much for your enlightening comments. Obviously what I saw on TV didn't give me a complete picture of Parkour. I was thinking along the lines of inline skaters at the Trocadero or just happening upon an exhibition on the streets of Paris. Thanks, Deborah
DeborahAnn is offline  
May 16th, 2006, 07:19 AM
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No problem Deborah. If at any point in your trip you and your group will be going to London, the Parkours 'crews' often practice on the South Bank, where it's much more (I imagine!)like the inline skaters at the Trocadero in Paris. Hope you enjoy your trip!

Jay_G is offline  
May 16th, 2006, 07:24 AM
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This is very much tamer than the parkour craze, but don't forget the rollerblade parade on Friday nights, which is legal and facilitated by the police: (use the link "parcours" to see the route for each week as it comes around).

PatrickLondon is offline  
May 16th, 2006, 12:13 PM
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Thanks, Jay and Patrick. The TV show made the body gymnastics of Parkour seem so effortless; something I am sure it is not.

My daugher is very much a "girlie" girl and has already vetoed my suggestion for an evening bike ride in Paris. She would much rather sit and people watch at a cafe.

Thanks for giving me a better idea about Parkour . Deborah
DeborahAnn is offline  
May 17th, 2006, 06:27 AM
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Then the roller-blade parade should suit both of you. It'll pass any one spot in about ten minutes, most of the corners it passes will have plenty of cafés to sit in, and the whole thing is about people-watching
PatrickLondon is offline  
Jun 9th, 2012, 10:32 AM
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Hopefully I'm not too late for input, but looking at Jay_G's post I would like to correct some information, as both a practitioner of Parkour (Known as a Tracer (plural) Traceur (Male) or Traceuse (Female) )and Free Running. Parkour has always existed as long as homo-sapiens have been required to move, from our ancient ancestors to the native tribes of Africa. Brought to modern day civilisation by French soldier and later Physical Educator Georges Hébert, who incorporated Parkour into Military training and later the French fire brigade. Raymond Belle, father of the famed and well know David Belle (Pioneer of modern day Parkour) brought the activity into modern day life and taught his son, David, the movement. It is speculated and known that parkour, or as it was known to David and the Yamakasi (the French Parkour team who first brought Parkour to the streets) as Parcours, literally meaning the path, course or route (Direct translation is course) A friend of David later suggested changing the C to a K and dropping the S to make the pronunciation of the word stronger "Parkour" (Not Parkours as Jay_G stated).

Parkour and Free Running are known as "L'art Du Deplacement" The Art of Displacement. Alternately, The Art of Movement.

Parkour is a non-competitive activity, as it is an art form, not a sport as many refer to it as. Parkour is about getting from 'Point A' to 'Point B' as fast and as efficiently as possible using a series of moves (listed but not limited to: Running, Vaulting, Jumping, Climbing and Quadruple Movement. Other basics include Stealth, balance and touch/sensitivity)

Free Running, founded by Sebastian Foucan, the man who made Parkour more popular worldwide after his short chase scene in 'James Bond' Casino Royal. Free Running was the name suggested (and adopted by Sebastian) by Guillaume Pelletier in the documentary 'Jump London'. Free Running is defined as the "Art of Movement" a discipline of self development, to follow your own way. Incorporating aesthetic movement such as flips and cartwheels into Parkour, Free Running was born. Unlike Parkour which focuses on speed and efficiency, Free Running incorporates moves and ideals from various martial arts (Kick boxing, Kung Fu, Capoeira), gymnastics and tumbling, breakdance, dance and various over forms of movement.

Practitioners of both Parkour and Free Running train where-ever they deem fit to train. In public, or more secluded areas but follow a strict guideline in an unwritten rule book and philosophy. Traceurs and Free Runners do not train where they may be seen as vandals, or are a pest to the public, though they will often train in public until asked to move on by figures of authority. To my best knowledge, neither activity is illegal in France, seeing as Modern Parkour was founded officially is Lisses.

I have seen and participated in Parkour and Free Running being done in and on public areas and encountered minimal to no problems, as long as we are respectful of property and to other people and move on when we are told then everything flows nicely. However there have been cases where people have been disrespectful and it has shamed the Parkour and Free Running communities.

Urban Free Flow on the other hand is an organisation that promotes the wrong image, definition, philosophy, ethos and ideology or the movements, they are a disgrace who are in it for the money. France is full of 'Pure' practitioners and is one of the best places to observe. Keep your eyes open and you'll see it.

Despite Jay_G's comment making us seem like crooks, most practitioners are highly respectful, when I first started out, one of the Traceurs in the London training area helped my find my feet in the basic movements. We are trying to promote a good image for ourselves although there are the few that believe they are above everyone else.

Parkour is easy, given the correct training but understand we go through countless days of body conditioning to be able to jump, vault, climb etc. The human body was never meant to move like such, unlike monkeys and cats who are smaller, it is more of an effort and due to modern day, our bodies are less like that of our ancestors. If you'd like to attempt, don't jump in, warming up and taking it slow is essential otherwise
you'll do serious damage to your body.

In areas where Parkour and Free Running is big, France/Paris for example, you may bump into a 'Jam' (Gathering of practitioners)

Also, as I have stated we are non-competitive, despite major corporations such as RedBull (who sponsors various athletes) turning it into competition (Redbull Art of Motion), so we do not call our groups 'Crews', there are either Teams (Organised and established, usually for competitions) Jams (Large group of random practitioners not associated with any team, turning up to participate)

Sorry it's an essay but as a representative I feel the need to set people on the right path to promote the correct image for my fellow Traceurs and Free Runners.

Hope this was useful
BornTraceur is offline  
Jun 9th, 2012, 11:44 AM
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This is one of the more informative posts in the category of "replying 6 years after the subject was posted." Thanks, ash.
kerouac is online now  
Jun 9th, 2012, 05:00 PM
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WOW...does anyone ever check the dates of the original posts???
Anyway....most informative !!!!!
Nottingham is offline  
Jun 9th, 2012, 05:18 PM
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I agree. Despite the date of the original post, your post was enlightening and informative, Ash.
Thanks for posting. I'm in awe of you and anyone I see performing this extreme sport.

I just recently discovered that the son of a woman who was a classmate 30 years ago, and who now lives in London (Islington), is a talented tracer. He has a few vids on YT and they are quite amazing.
Mathieu is offline  

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