France is famous for its indulgences: cheese, wine, viennoiseries.
And yet, the French are a notoriously healthy populace. Wellness is everywhere in Paris, from its luxurious studios to plant-based restaurants set amidst surroundings that make walking a much more desirable mode of transport than the metro.
Here are some highlights to help you make the most of your visit.
The Parisian answer to SoulCycle. Expect to find candlelit classes led to contemporary music inside the Dynamo Cycling studios. The amenities are luxurious and instructors place emphasis on mental wellbeing as much as they do physical, often encouraging mindful cycling and visualisation. Though most classes are conducted in French, non-French speakers can easily take a bike at the back and copy the seasoned spinners. Think of it as your sweaty solution to overindulgence.
TIHHY (Trés Intense Hip Hop Yoga)
Très Intense Hip Hop Yoga puts a big a twist (or headspin) on traditional styles of yoga. Led in a basement lit only by candles, this unique Vinyasa class is conducted to the best in hip-hop music. Zen yogis be warned, “Très Intense” is not to be taken lightly – expect to get very sweaty during a challenging and fast-paced flow.
For those up to the challenge, the Fly Yoga studio offers classes ranging from aerial yoga to ballet and circus skills. Try your hand at a flow whilst suspended from the ceiling – not only is it a test in upper body strength but also a form of exercise that doesn’t feel in any way like a routine workout… At least, until the next morning when muscles that you didn’t even know you had are aching.
La Recyclerie is a restaurant in the north of Paris specialising in vegan and vegetarian cuisine. With an emphasis on sustainable living, its aim is to reduce waste in order to better care for the planet. Just outside the restaurant is an “urban farm” that is composted using food waste, and the majority of products are locally sourced. To top it off, as you walk in you’ll see a selection of used books to choose from, adding to a convivial atmosphere that’s hard to beat in the city.
Just a short walk from Canal Saint-Martin is Le Bichat, offering delicious bowls filled with rice, vegetables and your choice of protein. Though there are non-vegetarian options available, the vegan bowl is by far the best on the menu (no bias here). All ingredients are seasonal and the majority, locally-sourced, disrupting fast-food culture by offering nutritious, healthy food on the go. Oh, and anyone with a sweet tooth is forbidden from leaving without trying their chocolate succulents.
Bol Porridge Bar
Nestled in the 10th arrondissement, Bol Porridge Bar is all the proof you need that porridge is not just for breakfast. In much the same way that you might be accustomed to choosing your ingredients at your preferred smoothie bar, Bol is all about customisation. For the uninspired, they have savoury and sweet specials and nearly every bowl can be made vegan or gluten-free.
Le Jardin des Tuileries
Weekends in Paris are often quiet; the boulangeries are closed and tourists are rampant. It’s no wonder Parisians retreat. This makes it all the more remarkable, then, that parks across the city are brimming with life. There is truly no better way to spend a Parisian weekend than a walk through the Tuileries (followed by a well-deserved brunch).
Château de Versailles
What is a trip to Paris without visiting a château? Once the royal residence of France, the Palace of Versailles is an iconic architectural feat, brimming with centuries of history. The opportunity to wander around pretending to be royalty is incentive alone, especially in the opulent Hall of Mirrors. For visitors who prefer to skip the culture, the gardens are a great place to picnic in summer.
Les Bains du Marais
North African influences on French culture have made it just as easy to find a hammam in Paris as it is in Morocco. In fact, the steam room and accompanying massage are integral to the Parisian’s wellness regimen. Les Bains du Marais host a decadent experience that will leave you feeling completely relaxed and refreshed (with softer skin than a French noble).
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