After a long day traipsing around the myriad streets, shops and museums of
Paris, a bit of relaxation is in order – especially in the run up to Christmas
when tourist sites are busier than usual and festive shopping can be frenetic.
So do as the locals do, and indulge in a bit of pampering at one of these
four spas -- each uniquely Parisian in their own way-- that
cater to both men and women and all tastes and budgets.
On the luxury end of the scale, next to the ultra-chic Place Vendôme
in the 1st arrondissement, is the Six
Senses spa. At the entrance, a wall covered in lush green plants creates a
barrier between the bustle outside and the calm inside, and the six treatment
rooms, located in individual cocoon-like wooden huts, have screens onto which
live images of nearby Tuileries Garden
are projected. Try the Paris Honey Facial (140 euros), a nourishing skin
treatment using honey harvested from the beehives on the building’s roof.
L’Echapée, an urban spa off the busy rue Oberkampf in the
11th arrondissement, is a vast, three-level loft-like space that
houses four treatment rooms, a swimming pool, a steam room, two yoga rooms and
a restaurant. Facial treatments use the organic, Paris-based Absolution skincare brand; try
the hour-long personalised Absolution skincare treatment, adapted to suit the
client’s individual needs (85 euros). Californian, hot stone and shiatsu massages
are also highly recommended (starting at 70 euros), as is a day relaxing by the
indoor pool (35 euros).
For high-quality French skincare, the Institut Sothys is a serious –
and chic – destination on the moneyed rue Faubourg St Honoré in the 8th
arrondissement. Treatments here use the brand’s scientifically developed
products, such as the Digi-Esthétique omega-H2CR balm, an intensive treatment that
plumps up wrinkles for a more youthful appearance. Seasonally changing facials provide
the skin with specialised treatments -- for example, this winter’s Blackberry-Apple
Oxygenising Facial contains minerals to boost skin’s defences against the cold
weather (90 euros).
For a less rarefied but still magical experience, the hammam –
traditional Turkish baths – at the Paris Mosque in the
5th arrondissement is an affordable and convivial way to give your body a treat.
For 18 euros, you can spend as long as you like in the marble-floored steam
rooms attached to the beautiful mosque, with the three rooms becoming
progressively hotter as you advance. Scrubs and massages are available in the communal
spaces at an additional cost, or you can purchase the famous savon noir (a Moroccan soap made from
olive oil) and an exfoliating mitt at the entrance to appreciate the benefits
of the steam yourself. Enjoy a mint tea in the cafe afterwards to round off the
Kim Laidlaw Adrey is the Paris Localite for BBC
Travel. She also writes www.unlockparis.com.