Touring the city a mile a minute and ticking off sites on your checklist is satisfying enough while traveling, but there’s something to be said about using your vacation to truly relax. Even in the hustle and bustle of this big city, Paris offers plenty of options to help you chill out and unwind, so you return home rejuvenated.
Bois de Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne
The constant rush of traffic and the steady stream of tourists in Paris can feel oppressive after a while. While there exist a few relaxing parks within the city (like the parks at Buttes Chaumont and Belleville), to truly get away from the excitement, you’ll need to leave the city limits. But never fear: the Bois de Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne, which touch the border of Paris, are easily accessible and don’t demand a day-long venture to enjoy their charms. With Vincennes to the east and Boulogne to the west, you can choose your poison based on which location suits you best. When you get there, you’ll have bike lanes, walking paths, babbling brooks and sprawls of green grass at your disposal. These are the two largest public parks in Paris and are sure to offer a much-needed respite from your power touring.
Bois de Vincennes: Métro Chateau de Vincennes
Bois de Boulogne: Porte Dauphine or Porte d’Auteuil
Hammam Pancha and Hammam Medina Center
If you’re looking to truly pamper yourself while in Paris, check out one of the many hammams available for men and women. At Pancha, turquoise mosaics beckon you into the inner sanctuary, where heavy steam and cool pools will relax and revive you. There are different packages available here, so you can also opt for a body scrub, facial or massage. When you come out, all slippery and smooth, you’ll be handed a piping hot mint tea. And you’ll get to take home your very own black soap and loofah. Pancha is for women only, but if you men want to get in on the deal, check out Medina Center, which is for men and women, with one of the best cost-for-service deals of any hammam in Paris. For less than 40 euro, you can enjoy a steam bath, sauna and pool, plus tea and oriental pastries when you finish. There’s no time limit here, so you can lounge around in bliss for hours.
Hammam Pancha: 17 Rue Mayet, 75006
01 43 06 55 55
Hammam Medina Center: 43-45 rue Petit, 75019
01 42 02 31 05
Zen – Nap Bar
Why take a boring nap in your hotel room when you can come here and be pampered while taking a mid-afternoon sleep? This nap bar – a new concept in France – offers plush massage chairs and tables, and vibrating cushions to assure that you’ll have a nap like no other. After you finish your nap, you can head down to the bottom floor for a pedicure or dunk your feet in one of the fish spas, where tiny fish nibble off your dead skin.
29 passage Choiseul, 75002
Métro: Quatre Septembre or Pyramides
There’s something eternally soothing about water, and Paris offers plenty of it. While the Seine River can be quite boisterous around the tourist hubs at Notre Dame Cathdral and Hôtel de Ville, there are ways to enjoy the water and find calm. Near France’s national library is the Bercy neighborhood in the south of the city, where you’ll find not only an enormous tranquil park and outdoor shopping center, but also plenty of space to walk along the Seine. Plan a picnic and laze the day away.
Métro: Cours St-Emilion
Get out of the city, unwind and visit one of the most impressive palaces in France. A day trip to the Palace of Versailles is a relaxing and fun experience you’ll never forget.