A Healthy Tour of Paris
Don’t get lost in translation. Here are BWB’s favorite spots to lighten up in the City of Lights and kick off the year in style!
Liberté, Egalité…. Kale? Oui oui, there’s a health revolution happening in Paris at the moment. Au revoir, monarchy of bread, cheese and cigarettes, and bonjour to a new generation of a city filled with juice bars, yoga studios, avant-garde gyms and environmentally-friendly initiatives. Don’t get lost in translation; here are my favorite spots to lighten up in the City of Lights and kick off the year in style!
Add some French-chic to your workout routine with designer gym Le Klay, and its new sister spot, 21 Blanche. Be prepared to sweat next to French movie stars and fit locals with innovative classes like TRK, cycling, and Adele Van Damme’s famous Pilates Fusion–a blend of yoga, pilates and barre. The hotspot boasts a pool and spa, while 21 Blanche has a rooftop restaurant. There, enjoy a healthy gourmet menu from famed chef Jean Imbert with a side of a panoramic view of Paris, post-sweat sesh. Brand new to the gym game is La Montgolfière, a social sport club housed in a former hot air balloon factory, blending music, art, fitness and food. This large, open, skylit space is complete with a sauna, hammam and massage cabins. Local healthy hotspot Season offers unique classes like Rope Anystyle or Hand Stand–a hand-balancing class mixing hip hop, yoga and cross-training.
For some Zen & The City, yoga is becoming increasingly ubiquitous in Paris. There are more and more studios popping up all over the city. Some of my favorite spots to get my zen on include: Omm Studio, Le Tigre Yoga, Yoga Village, and newer spots like Wize Monkey Yoga Shala and Kshanti. Classes with @Frenchyogagirl, @Nicolemartyyoga, @yoga_with_paola, @charlottebentz, @daria.v.romanova or @klarapuski are also a fun way to embrace your inner yogi.
Lululemon has finally taken over Paris with locations all over the city, including a lovely, très chic space right at St. Sulpice. I love the new brand Ernest Leoty, the perfect blend of athleisure and French couture. Kind Leggings is also new to the yoga fashion game. This brand with a purpose gives 50 percent of its profits to charity to empower women in a sustainable way. I love BAYA’s beautiful, organic and French-made yoga mats.
Additionally, the city of Paris is becoming increasingly biking and running-friendly! Go for a jog along the Quais de Seine or in the Luxembourg Gardens, and take in the flora and the fauna at the Jardin des Plantes. Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, has taken big steps to make Paris greener; you’ll notice plants all over town and more spots to enjoy the outdoors.
Sure, Paris is known for its fromage, steak frites and le vin, but times are changing! More and more vegetarian and healthy cooking speciality restaurants have opened, but perhaps even more exciting, traditional cafés are now offering veggie-friendly or gluten-free options.
Leading the Vegolution is WILD & THE MOON— “Wild thing, you make my heart sing, you make everything…” vegan! What was originally a cozy juice bar in Paris’ Marais district has now become a plant-based empire. This hippie-chic hotspot now boasts locations all across the city, including a new HQ at the Place du Marché St. Honoré, complete with juices, smoothies, breakfast, lunch and dinner menus–even organic wines! Wild just launched its own collection of superfoods and superfood combos, plus a limited edition collection with Virgil Abloh’s Off-White. If you still need that juice love, though, grab a quickie from Bojus and sip up all of the nutritional goodness from their mighty range of juices and shots, cold-pressed from 100 percent organic fruits and vegetables.
Don’t miss Chambelland’s life-changing loaves of bread made with home-milled, gluten-free rice and buckwheat flours, plus tons of other “sans gluten” dishes at their adorable spot in Paris’ 11th arrondissement. And on the Left Bank, don’t miss a trip to the lovely Judy that serves “qualitarian” cuisine. Everything is homemade, seasonal, locally sourced, organic, biodynamic, and gluten, sugar and lactose-free. Enjoy an energy bowl or avocado toast in this adorable spot on the south side of the Seine. You can also enjoy a balanced plate of veggie-friendly fare at the café in concept store MERCI.
For a fancier fare, visit the King of Vegetables, Alain Passard, at his Michelin-starred L’Arpège. Passard grows his own fruits and vegetables that he ships to Paris to transform into culinary masterpieces. Alain Ducasse is the original farm-to-table gourmet chef. His namesake restaurant at the très chic Plaza Athenée was the first to announce it wouldn’t serve meat, but offers a varied spectrum of the chef’s famed fish-vegetable-grain trio, focusing on the quality of the ingredients and simple, yet elegant preparation.
Celebrity chef Thierry Marx has brought his ebullient personality (he’s the star of several French TV cooking shows) and culinary prowess to the Mandarin Oriental. Splurge on his Michelin-starred, French cuisine (highly influenced by his travels in Asia) at Le Sur Mesure, or enjoy a delicious quinoa dish at the new, even healthier spot, L’Honoré (Note: Don’t miss a trip to the hotel’s amazing spa!). For modern French cuisine with an Asian-fusion accent, head to Ze Kitchen Galerie, where William Ledeuil will wow your palate with esoteric herbs and spices to create an eclectic mix of flavors.
French pastry is also getting a healthy makeover. Sebastien Gaudard, one of Paris’ most renowned pastry chefs, has offered vegan, sugar-free and gluten-free Christmas logs, in addition to special pastries for Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day. Stay tuned for his next healthy collab or swing by for a lovely tea in his Tuileries tea room and splurge on his traditional pastries (it’s worth every bite!). Foucade Paris offers “positive pastries” – lighter, with less or alternative sugars and without gluten. Les Petites Pâtisseries offers only raw and vegan gourmet desserts and Les Belles Envies is known for their sugar-free treats low on the glycemic index. Now you can have your raw, vegan, gluten-free or sugar-free cake and eat it, too.
Cooking at home or looking for healthy snacks to fuel your day? The Biocoop boutiques stock the best of organic food in the city, particularly my favorite Welcome Bio. Enjoy top quality local fruits and vegetables at Les Terroirs de L’Avenir or take a tour of the Marché Raspail organic market every Sunday morning.
And what would a trip to Paris be without some wine? Frenchie Wine Bar serves up an incredible selection of natural wines, which they also sell across the street at their own wine shop. At trendy hotel The Hoxton’s brand new wine bar, La Planche, choose from an impressive array of organic vins au naturel. Don’t miss their outdoor terrace and veggie-friendly restaurant, Rivié, too. When the weather is nice, don’t miss drinks on the rooftop of the Hôtel National!
Now that you’re fully fueled, time to–
In particular, French brands that make a difference. My favorite? Sézane, whose DEMAIN program supports education initiatives in developing countries. I can’t resist their ever-changing, affordable fashion with le French touch and a vintage, romantic feel.
Get your crystal fix at La Roche Mère, where you’ll find healing stones for every chakra.
The New Cool offers crystals infused in essential oils for “love,” “energy” or a “wild” boost anywhere you go. Oh My Cream is a one-stop shop for beauty au naturel selling the best of brands from Europe, the US and beyond–all in one place. Prescription Lab is an amazing source for all natural beauty products. I adore bags handmade from vintage jeans at Matières et Reflexions, an adorable boutique in le Marais. The most chic way to recycle!
Wear your heart on your sleeve with some of my favorite French jewelry brands. At Delphine Pariente’s Nouvel Amour, you can engrave your own unique message of love on a piece of jewelry of your choice, or, select from an array of ring designs that spell out “a-m-o-u-r,” necklaces with the very necessary reminder: “all you need is love,” or classic diamond-encrusted earrings.
Still in the mood for love? Head to Mimi L’Amour for more artisanal, l’amour jewels. I also adore Anna Rivka’s colorful, whimsical creations–particularly her bejeweled headbands, rings, bracelets and necklaces–all made by hand, with love!
Give your hair the royal treatment at L’Institut Leonor Greyl. Famous for their hair products consisting of natural ingredients, Leonor Greyl has seduced celebrities all over the world. Their unique hair treatments are part-massage for your head and neck, and part-nourishment for your hair. Oils and plant extracts bring spectacular shine and vitality, and you’ll leave feeling extra relaxed and rejuvenated. Enjoy a sugaring treatment, exfoliation or Hammam at the très zen Sultane de Saba.
The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental Paris Hôtel is heaven on earth. Don’t miss one of their signature treatments at this sanctuary for the senses in the center of Paris, complete with a vitality pool and oriental herbal steam room. Head to one of the suites for a truly life-changing experience, including personalized massages and facial treatments that are based on Chinese medicine and aromatherapy. Highly recommended upon arrival: The “Jet Lag Comforter” or “Digital Wellness Escape”!
Get a manicure with Kure Bazaar’s non-toxic nail polishes in vibrant colors. Find them at Le Bon Marché or the Park Hyatt for a luxurious beauty break.
Rebecca Leffler is a Paris-based writer and journalist who, after a career as the French correspondent for The Hollywood Reporter and as a film critic on Canal+, traded red carpets for green smoothies. She’s written five books about healthy lifestyle from Paris to NYC and beyond, including Très Green, Très Clean, Très Chic: Eat (and Live!) the New French way with plant-based, gluten-free recipes for every season, and most recently Le Nouveau Manuel de la Cuisine Végétale. Rebecca has pioneered the “vegolution” in Paris, where she continues to organize events focusing on healthy eating, yoga and la vie en rose… And green! You can keep up with Rebecca on Instagram!