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Running in London: the World-city

Home of Shakespeare, Dickens, the Beatles and Harry Potter, England no longer has a reputation to build. But what about its capital? Europe's largest metropolis, shaped by centuries of history, has a unique personality. It's the pulsating heart of the nation, the place where everyone converges; in short, a world-city.

En marchant ou en courant le long de la Tamise, jetez un coup d'œil au Palais de Westminster et à Big Ben.
Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster seen from Southbank

"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for in London one finds all that life can afford," wrote the 18th-century man of letters Samuel Johnson.

Today, London has lost none of its vitality. The capital, with its bubbling energy, is still the talk of the town.

And with good reason: it's considered one of the world's most important cities, thanks to its impact on the economy, the arts, the media, fashion and education. With a population of 8 million, the city is home to 270 different nationalities, and nearly 300 languages are spoken here every day.

Along the Thames

Located in the south-east of England, London is bordered by the River Thames, with which it became inseparable early on. As the city's main artery and a major trade route thanks to the Port of London, the river dominates the city. Many painters have taken pleasure in immortalizing these iconic waters, but none better than the Englishman William Turner. On your journey along the river, you may pass the Tate Britain gallery, home to some of his greatest masterpieces.

From its very beginnings, the city has been built around the river and its commercial activities, as evidenced by its thirty-three bridges. The most famous of these, Tower Bridge, boasts striking neo-Gothic architecture and an ingenious mechanism that allows it to tilt to let boats pass. It is often confused with London Bridge, one of the first bridges to be built over the river. The latter links the City of London business district with Southwark, famous for its theaters, notably the Globe, which hosted numerous performances of Shakespeare's plays before being burnt down.

Palace of Westminster, Tower of London, Big Ben, London Eye: the monuments lining the Thames are numerous and their history fascinating. As you run along, you can learn more about their origins. Did you know, for example, that the hands on Big Ben's clock were the size of a bus? The famous clock has recently been restored and will be as good as new!

n incontournable à Londres : traverser la Tamise au Tower Bridge.
View of the Thames and Tower Bridge

Unesco World Heritage

London is home to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and Palace, Kew Gardens and Greenwich Village.

Courez dans les jardins botaniques de Kew avec tous vos sens !
Rose archway, Kew Gardens.

The site of Westminster, the seat of the British Parliament, will delight history buffs who may already have seen its majestic architecture in Tom Hooper's feature film The King's Speech.

A must-see tourist attraction, the imposing Tower of London was originally a fortress built by William the Conqueror to defend the city. The Greenwich district is famous for its collection of buildings reflecting the artistic and scientific projects of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Take advantage of a clear day to visit the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, a 121-hectare park emblematic of the Victorian era!

London, a cosmopolitan city

London's influence is not limited to its monuments, or even to its leading financial center. The city also shines through its multitude of neighborhoods, whose diversity mirrors that of the communities that make it up, giving each its own identity.

London has been designated the gastronomic capital of the world and is the ideal place for those wishing to broaden their culinary horizons. So, if racing whets your appetite, the terraces of Covent Garden or Chinatown are the place to be. For more local fare, the city abounds in fish and chips and pubs where you can sample some of the country's finest beers. Whether you're in the mood for Jamaican, Indian, Chinese, vegetarian or British food, there's something for every taste and every price!

At night, London is full of life. The hustle and bustle of Camden Town will appeal to the most avant-garde, while others will prefer the intimacy of trendy Soho. To dance to the rhythm of drum and bass, head to Brixton, the Caribbean district.

Ne manquez pas Camden Market et ses façades de magasins éclectiques lors de votre promenade.
Camden Town, main street.

If London has become so iconic, it's because so many literary and cinematic works have chosen it as the setting for their stories. Cult films set in London include James Bond, Clockwork Orange, Mary Poppins and Harry Potter. So maybe you'll bump into Hugh Grant as you stroll through Notting Hill... And if you decide to run near King's Cross station, try to catch a glimpse of Platform 9¾ and its Hogwarts Express before heading towards Charing Cross Road, the street of bookshops where J.K Rowling set up the Leaky Cauldron pub.

Run, walk or cycle with JOOKS from King's Cross to Covent Garden!

Discover the London routes and over 1300 others on the JOOKS app!

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