Paris Pampering

Pictured: The Guerlain Spa has wood-paneled walls with soft, muted colors amidst carefully preserved heritage-listed touches by Jean-Michel Frank.

THE GUERLAIN SPA has wood-paneled walls with soft, muted colors amidst carefully preserved heritage-listed touches by Jean-Michel Frank.Pictured: The Guerlain Spa has wood-paneled walls with soft, muted colors amidst carefully preserved heritage-listed touches by Jean-Michel Frank.

After a day of pounding the cobblestones in Paris, you may feel the need for a spa pick-me-up. You’ll be in good company. Parisians have a long-time tradition of pampering and preening—from Marie-Antoinette, who hoarded lotions and potions, to the très belle models on the Chanel catwalk. The French capital is home to some of the world’s most renowned beauty brands, and its urban spas promise chic escapism. Voici, some addresses from our little black book.

First stop: the Marais neighborhood, where cult favorite Caudalie opened its first French boutique last year. The brand was originally launched at Chateau Smith Haut-Lafitte (Bordeaux) in 1995, based on a pharmaceutical professor’s research of the anti-oxidant-rich polyphenols found in grape seeds. The destination spa, Les Sources de Caudalie, then debuted in 1999 as a vinotherapy pioneer with signatures like wine barrel baths and crushed cabernet scrubs. Caudalie spas can now be found around the world—from The Plaza New York to L’And Vineyards resort in Portugal. But until recently, Caudalie did not have its own digs in Paris (shoppers would pick up their favorite products at pharmacies).

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Decorated with oak and marble, the bijou of a boutique showcases the brand’s origins with a wall-size video projection of the Bordeaux vineyards. By popular request, a spa room was added in the space above the boutique in March. Two aestheticians, trained at Les Sources de Caudalie, provide a range of treatments that have been adapted for the busy urbanite. Whether you need an energizing boost for an evening soirée or an exfoliating body scrub, the treatments are designed to go more than skin deep. Each is available for 30 minutes (50 euros) or 50 minutes (80 euros). We highly recommend the Anti-Oxidant Polyphenol C15 facial—a five-step indulgence that starts with exfoliation by a Clarisonic face brush and concludes with a generous slathering of Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum. Nice touch: After the face mask is applied, you’re treated to a hand or foot massage. The newest product in the Caudalie line, Polyphenol C15 is a veritable elixir of youth, blocking free radicals and erasing wrinkles. Tip: Book five days in advance; Anne is a skilled aesthetician (Tel: 011-33-0144-78-1161; [email protected]). Open Tuesday-Sunday.

The Park Hyatt vendome has a spa that also offers a hammam, sauna and whirlpool to customers.Pictured: The Park Hyatt vendome has a spa that also offers a hammam, sauna and whirlpool to customers.

Across town, 68 avenue des Champs-Elysées is a legendary address. Every morning, a curious crowd gathers before the Guerlain flagship opens its doors, peering through the windows at this temple to luxury. Built by the same architect who built the Hotel Ritz, “68” has commanded this prestigious location since 1914. (The “perfumer to royalty” has been in existence since 1828, creating custom scents for the likes of the Empress Eugénie and Napoleon.) “68” is classified as a French historic monument, decked out with 16 different kinds of marble and Baccarat chandeliers. In late 2013, Guerlain unveiled an expansion overseen by renowned architect Peter Marino, who created a feast of glittering artwork. Shoppers can choose their own perfume bottle for a custom gift, splurge on scented leather gloves and scarves, send a perfume-splashed vintage postcard, and lunch in a restaurant whose menu features exotic spices and plants found in the perfumes.

Upstairs, L’Institut is the go-to beauty spa for in-the-know Parisians. In addition to innovating with perfumes and make-up (like the world’s first lipstick and bronzing powder), Guerlain has focused on luxury skincare since the early days. First opened in 1939 as one of the first such beauty institutes in the world, L’Institut occupies the former apartments of the Guerlain family. The wood-paneled walls and fireplace create the ambience of an opulent pied-à-terre with soft, muted colors. Original touches by Jean-Michel Frank, one of the leading designers of the Art Deco period, are heritage-listed, and have been carefully preserved. There are nine treatment rooms, each named for a different Guerlain perfume, and the beds are swathed in sublimely soft fabrics. Particularly striking are the walls of marble and onyx from the Pietrasanta quarries in Italy. Tip: The largest room, called Le Secret de la Reine, overlooks the Champs-Elysées.

The Park Hyatt Vendome (top) offers six different treatments in partnership with Creme de la Mer.Pictured: The Park Hyatt Vendome offers six different treatments in partnership with Creme de la Mer.

Guerlain spas can be found in global locations like the Waldorf-Astoria New York, but what is unique about L’Institut are the made-to-measure treatments. Upon arrival, each client has a consultation with a Beauty Expert, trained in diverse disciplines like biology, nutrition, physiotherapy, and 300 different massage techniques. On the menu you’ll find the anti-ageing Guerlain Massage, slimming rituals, and a remodeling massage with Eau de Cologne Impériale, but these offerings are really just inspiration for your bespoke treatment. Made-to-Measure Treatments are priced at 300 euros (1.5 hours) for Face or Body. Hands or feet are 160 euros for one hour and 15 minutes. A two-hour Face and Body treatment is 400 euros. Note that there are no wet facilities. Book a week in advance (Tel: 011-33-0145-62-1121; [email protected]). Open every day but Sunday.

Boutique Caudalie (above left) has a wall-sized video projection of the Bordeaux vineyards.Pictured: Boutique Caudalie has a wall-sized video projection of the Bordeaux vineyards.

Some of the city’s most sumptuous spas can be found at the Palace hotels—from La Prairie at Le Bristol, to Valmont at Le Meurice. Buzzworthy among these is the Park Hyatt Vendôme because of its new partnership with Crème de la Mer, the “Rolls Royce of skin creams.” At the root of the miracle cream was the discovery of the regenerative qualities of sea kelp by NASA physicist Max Huber, after a laboratory accident left him with severe burns in the 1960s. In searching for a remedy, Huber’s experiments led him to discover the “Miracle Broth.” Now owned by Estée Lauder, the cosmetics line is the top choice of stars.

L’institut (left), a Guerlain spa, is known for its made-to-measure treatments.Pictured: L’institut, a Guerlain spa, is known for its made-to-measure treatments.

The Park Hyatt offers six different Crème de la Mer treatments (four facials—including the signature Miracle Broth facial—and two body treatments)—all promising transformative results. Talk about regal R&R. Other decadent treatments include the Haute Couture massage and the exfoliating scrub. The spa itself is a calming cocoon of gold mosaic, Paris sandstone, mahogany, and onyx water walls. There is a hammam, sauna, and whirlpool, so allow ample time before your treatment to take advantage. (Note: Swimsuits are required for the whirlpool.)

Spa Manager Sandrine Josse ([email protected]; 011-33-1-5871-1009) has assembled a dream team of highly-trained therapists who have worked together for years. Tip: Massages are divine, as Sandrine is one of the most sought-after therapists in town, so be sure to book in advance.

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