Paris for the Active Travelers
October 24, 2013
So you’re heading to Paris on vacation, but you don’t want to give up the active lifestyle you have at home. And all that pastry, foie gras and cheese that you’re planning to try will undoubtably make your pants more than a lttle bit tight. But don’t despair! Going to Paris doesn’t mean piling on the pounds, or giving up exercise. There are lots of sporty activities in the City of Light that will get your blood pumping!
Going to the pool (or “piscine”) is a really popular after-work activity here in Paris. It’s a great way to unwind, and compared to other sports, it’s not very expensive.
The famous Piscine Joséphine Barker is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. It sits on the banks on the Seine and, alongside the solarium, jacuzzi, sauna and hammam, there is a 50m² pool for the kids to paddle in. But be warned, it’s become a real ‘place to be seen’, so you’d do best to avoid it during peak hours.
If you like swimming and art deco (yes it’s niche, but I’m sure there are some of you out there) the Piscine Pontoise Quartier Latin is waiting for your visit. It’s been registered as a historic monument since 1981, and the glass ceiling and mosaics easily make it one of the most breathtaking places to hold your breath in.
There are hundreds of exercise classes that take place in Paris if you prefer aerobic to anaerobic exercise. One of the most popular is the Gym Suédoise. In exchange for ten euro (for a “trial” class) you dance, jump and sweat for a hour to great music. There are Gym Suédoise classes all over the city, so there’s really no excuse. The American Church also organizes different classes, such as karate, stretching and yoga, throughout the week.
Add wheels to your workout and check out the twice-weekly “rando roller” rollerskating tours through Paris. Thousands of people pull on their skates and head to either Montparnasse (Friday night) or Bastille (Sunday afternoons). Fridays are quite fast-paced, whereas Sunday is more of a family affair. Many of the roads are closed to cars (to avoid accidents), and there is a well-trained team of roller-police who are there to guide people in the right direction and generally keep things rolling smoothly!
Of course, if you like the idea of discovering Paris on wheels, you might want to think about renting a “Velib” (the -almost- free metropolitan bicycles), or going on a bike tour. Some of the streets aren’t great for cyclists, but if you go with a guide s/he will know where the safest routes are. Too tired to pedal? Hop on a Segway and roll around Paris without even moving your feet!