I Know I Look Like a Crazy American…and Guess What? I Don’t Give AF

Yesterday I did what I had been hesitating to do since I arrived in France: I worked out outside, like the crazy American I am.

working out at a park in Paris

I did not do this by choice. No, I did this out of necessity. Because I was chased out of my routine by a grumpy Frenchwoman, and I need my daily workouts to keep my sanity…especially now when I’m feeling more vulnerable.

Let me explain. For the three weeks since I’ve moved to Paris with the hubs, I was working out. But because there are NO GYMS anywhere remotely in the vicinity of our apartment, I did it in one of two ways:

  • I ran. Sometimes I still get comments (usually from old men playing board games in the park), but it’s nowhere near as bad as when I first lived in Paris 10 years ago. At that time, NO ONE but crazy American tourists ran, and I couldn’t make it more than 10 steps without a snide comment from a cigarette-puffing Frenchman. Yes, usually a man. These days, lots of people do “le running”—but along with yoga and some (really tame) Pilates, it’s still pretty much the only acceptable way to be seen sweating in Paris.
  • I exercised at home. Otherwise, I had my routines. Yoga, or a self-taught barre class, or, a couple of times a week, a Sweat with Kayla workout.
home gym equipment in our Paris apartment

My growing collection of gym toys in the spare room of our apartment

That’s right, I’m a #bbg Sweat with Kayla girl. I don’t always enjoy the workouts; sometimes they are utterly repetitive and far too high-impact. But they do hold up their promise to make me sweat. And since HIIT hasn’t yet (and may never) hit France, it’s my only option to fit in a super-effective yet quick workout.

That was…until about my fifth attempt. It was a day when I really needed a workout, when I was having a minor (OK, slightly hormone-induced) breakdown about what the heck I was going to do for work in Paris. I was pounding away, jumping up and down at 4 pm on a weekday afternoon. No one around to bother, I figured! Until the neighbor downstairs—an older woman, of course (not that many people are at home at 4pm on a work day besides the elderly and the sadly unemployed!!)—knocked on our door and asked me to stop. She was polite, alright. But I was humiliated.

It was all the worse because that very same day, before I started my workout, I debated heading to the park. But I told my husband Olivier, literally: I can’t workout outside. People will think I’m crazy. He nodded in agreement.

So now that I was banned from #bbg-ing in the apartment, what was I going to do?

For a while, I avoided it altogether. Then this morning, I decided: I don’t give AF if I look crazy. I am! We all are! So I’m going to bring my weights up to Sacre Coeur—the #2 most-visited tourist destination in Paris, itself the #1 most-visited city in the world—and I’m going to do my stupid workout. Damn the gawking Parisians.

So I put 30 kilos (that’s the size of a large 6-year-old child, or about 66 pounds) in my bag and tossed it over my shoulder and walked up the side of the Montmartre, to park myself at the only green space within walking distance of my apartment.


The 66 lbs I lugged up Montmartre

I was terrified, looking around for a quiet area without too many people. That was pretty much impossible, so I settled on a spot just next to a stairway, where a group of tourists only passed by maybe every 3 minutes or so. They’re just tourists, I thought to myself—not real Frenchies.

tourists at a lookout spot in Montmartre

Tourists at the lookout right by me

And you know what? It was actually totally, completely fine. There were a couple of Frenchman who ran by; they barely noticed me. There was a Japanese guy in all white walking backwards doing arm circles (so I wasn’t the only crazy out there). And there were lots of tourists, most of whom barely even seemed to notice I was there.
working out in MontmartreSo there you have it. Little introvert me got up the courage to just DO IT. In fact I think I will probably go do it again next week…though maybe this time with a lighter set of weights on my back.

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