Fit and Fab in Paris | Part 1: Gyms in Paris
As summer rolls around everyone starts thinking about getting in shape and working on their “summer body.” While we think every body is summer ready, regardless of shape or size, for those looking to make the most of summer and get fit, we’re thrilled to introduce you to our fitness partner, Kristin Merryman of Paris International Fitness. PinFit will be doing a 3-part blog series over the summer to talk about fitness, health, and wellbeing in Paris. If you’re interested in working with her just shoot us an email!
As a personal trainer and entrepreneur in the fitness and well-being industry, and founder of Paris International Fitness, I’ve spoken with many expats in Paris who say they find it more challenging to stay fit living here than where they come from.
For the first of our 3-part series about how to stay fit and healthy in Paris, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite spots and ways to workout in the City of Light.
There is a wide variety of gyms from which to choose. At some you can pay monthly, without an obligation to take a full year membership, at others a year-long commitment is required with monthly, trimestrial, or one-shot payment plans available.
This is a high-end club, home to fashionistas and serious fitness fans. It’s well worth the luxury price tag, if you plan to go often and enjoy pampering yourself. Klay requires a year-long commitment and offers several payment plans.
Imagine doing a kick-butt workout and then relaxing in the spa. You will leave feeling like a king or queen!
As far as gyms with month-to-month membership policies, I recommend Neoness. The monthly membership fee is low enough that you’ll be able to justify trying out other fitness options around town in addition to your gym membership.
Along the Quai
Exercising by the Seine, watching the sunlight sparkle on the water, the seagulls playing and diving, and the lush green trees lining the quais is such a treat! The city of Paris continues to install more and more exercise and play equipment on the right and left bank along the quais, in east and west Paris. For example, if you go down to the quai from Bastille, following the canal, you will come to an area with lots of boats. Running along this section is beautiful, although you will be on cobblestone for a while-good for agility and mindfulness! On the left bank just across you may hear latin music booming from large outdoor speakers-tango and salsa dancers! As you continue, you’ll come to pavement and sidewalks, and all along the way you’ll discover newly installed workout equipment, mostly made of wood, for adults and kids, great for a parcours/running workout. There are pegs and beams to practice balance, a climbing wall for kids, and a soccer rink surrounded by net and wood. Further down the quai on the right bank, closer to Châtelet, there are ladders for climbing and wooden structures you can use to work your core. There are plenty of spots to do your own HIIT style workout as well. Or bring elastics and use the wooden poles.
If you’re looking to exercise outside and you’re closer to the west side of Paris, try going to the Bois de Boulogne. This forest/park is plentiful with running paths, lakes, many types of birds, including swans, peacocks, and ducks, and lots of greenery. It’s a nice nature fix and as close to a trail running as you’ll get in Paris. Throughout the trails there are spots with exercise equipment, so you can do some strength training as well. You’ll also find playgrounds and never ending opportunities for your kids to feed the ducks. Just be sure to bring some bread!
The number of fitness hybrid offerings, through creative teachers who are taking working out to new and trendy places, are continually increasing. You can find most any type of yoga class you ever thought of and new ones you didn’t know exist. There is also a wide range of Pilates style workouts, and although it seems less popular in Paris, there are studios dedicated to intense training, such as Crossfit. Here are some of my favorites in each category:
You may already know about Bikram Yoga– 40 degree celsius, 90 minute intense yoga sessions. There are two studios in Paris. This is not for everyone. It is for those of you who desire an intense, practically out of body workout that will get you flexible like Gumby, release even the most intense stress, and make you feel like a million bucks afterwards. It’s like combining a workout and hammam in one. Just make sure sweat and practically naked bodies in close proximity doesn’t bother you.
Fly Yoga may be on the opposite end of the yoga spectrum of Bikram. It’s playful yoga in suspension. There are classes for beginners to advanced students, and those who want to learn circus tricks. The class is based around a fly yoga hammock, which hangs from the ceiling- yoga in suspension. The feeling of being supported by this simple piece of fabric will bring you back to childhood. It’s soothing, fun, and depending on your flexibility and level of fitness, it can be low to very challenging. You can also try fly Pilates.
They are many dance studios in Paris. I can confidently say that Parisians in general are better dancers than they are fitness adherents. I’ve seen their step classes. Yes, step. Remember that 90’s phenomena in the U.S.? Well, it still happens here, and you’ve never seen it like this. The French routines are very complex and fast. I’m a fitness junkie, and I gave up! I had never seen step taken to such a high level of dance.
Centre de Dance du Marais. They offer one the largest selection of styles in Paris, with every level and an international group of teachers. NIA, which is a free flowing, get in touch with your deeper self kind of dance from the U.S., is also available here. They have Flamenco, tap, modern jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and much much more. The studios are in a beautiful and old Parisian building in the city’s historical center. It’s worth trying a class there just for the experience. Be advised: When the class is labeled niveau moyen (middle level), it’s probably the most advanced middle level you’ve tried. Like I said, Parisians know what’s up when it comes to dance. Don’t be intimidated though. The instructors are generally kind and willing to work with you from where you are. Their are also fantastic classes for children and adolescents, all week long.
July 23, 2018
June 26, 2018