A visit to Paris is often associated with guilty pleasures; there’s something about those delicate, pastel-coloured macaroons, rich, red Bordeaux wine and even pure silk lingerie that would be foolish to resist. So why stop at shopping and eating? While you’re at it, indulge your body and mind at one of the city’s top spas or saunas.
Le Spa Nuxe (32 rue Montorgueil, www.nuxe.com).
Exposed brick walls and natural wood combined with contemporary furniture in earth tones set the scene for this popular urban spa that offers both Western and Eastern styles of treatments and massages. Nuxe skincare products, which are produced under the principles of phytotherapy and aromatherapy, are used exclusively. La Bulle Kenzo (1 rue du Pont-Neuf, www.labullekenzo.com), Anything that carries the name of French- Japanese designer Kenzo Takada you expect to be unconventional, and this futuristic spa is no exception. In a quirky décor featuring the designer’s signature vivid colours, you can lie in on a bright pink massage matress (you didn’t presume to see a regular massage table did you?) where you will receive a ‘choreographic massage’ accompanied to music whilst watching the abstract projections on the walls around you unfold. Later on, you will be served tea in spa’s lounge, where a complete range of Kenzo products and perfumes are sold.
The Vendôme Spa (4 rue du Mont Thabor, www.spa-renaissance-paris-vendome.com) Located inside the Hotel Renaissance Vendôme Hotel, and very close to the Louvre Museum, the Vendôme Spa’s treatments are heavily inspired by Eastern philosophies of wellness and include Thai massage, reflexology and body scrubs. A sauna, hamman and tranquil pool complete the experience. Saint James and Albany Spa (202 rue de Rivoli, www.saintjamesalbany.com). The name of this spa may be terribly Anglo-Saxon, but the treatments inside are pure Eastern with a list of products that read like a spice market. Holistic massages are given with black pepper or lemon-based exotic balms and oils mixed with mint, cardamon, camomille or green tea. Afterwards, relax in the Turkish bath or crystalline, ozone-treated pool and return to the busy streets of Paris with your groove back.
Les Bains du Marais (31-33 rue des Blancs Manteaux, www.lesbainsdumarais.fr) is not the only hamman (Arabic sauna and wet room) in Paris, but it’s certainly the most reasonably priced and accessible. The must-have treatment here is a traditional gommage, which consists of a vigorous scrub down with a rough mitt and olive oil-based soap, removing dead skin and leaving you glowing all over. Note that the hamman has designated ‘men’ and ‘women’ days, much the same way as they operarate in the Arab world where hammans are public baths.
Photo Credit: Spa Renaissance Paris Vendome