Top Spas in Paris

Paris and Eiffel Tower
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My Blend by Clarins Spa at Le Royal Monceau-Raffles Paris has a 23-meter pool  bathed in natural light and decorated with eye-catching objects by Philippe Starck.
My Blend by Clarins Spa at Le Royal Monceau-Raffles Paris has a 23-meter pool bathed in natural light and decorated with eye-catching objects by Philippe Starck.

Jetsetters are increasingly opting for a dose of wellness and health while on the road. If you’re in need of a little pampering while in Paris, you’ll find some of the world’s finest spas at your doorstep. The best are situated in the city’s luxury hotels — as sparklingly opulent as the palaces that house them. Some are unique in the world — like the first-ever Chanel spa which will open in the newly renovated Hotel Ritz at the end of 2015.

Beyond the restorative R&R, if you’re looking for results-oriented beauty treatments, Paris is your place. France has a long history of pioneering and perfecting products, and today these brands are coveted around the world. In fact, the Paris pharmacies have become must-stop shopping destinations for international travelers on quests for anti-aging creams, balms and other cosmetic must-haves. Needless to say, these lotions and potions steal the show at Parisian spas. Here are some of our top picks for a divine spa experience.

The Molitor is an urban resort in the truest sense of the word. The legendary pool complex was first opened in 1929 with Olympic champion Johnny Weissmuller as the lifeguard (later he starred in “Tarzan”). A popular Parisian hangout, the Piscine Molitor was where the world’s first bikini was modeled, and the topless trend got started. After the Molitor was closed in 1989 and fell into disrepair, a $100 million renovation project brought it back to life in 2014. The two gorgeous swimming pools were rebuilt, along with an MGallery hotel and a glorious spa. Located in the sportiest corner of Paris, near the Roland Garros stadium where the French Open takes place, Molitor now offers one of the most sought-after health clubs in the city. And the spa — sprawling across the basement level — is a triumphant partnership with Clarins.

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Clarins Spa at The Molitor is designed with elements that allude to the hotel’s history.
Clarins Spa at The Molitor is designed with elements that allude to the hotel’s history.

Founded in 1954, the luxury French brand is best known in the U.S. for its popular self-tanners. From its original focus on science-based cosmetics for slimming and toning, Clarins today boasts a full range of cult beauty products (like plant-based oils). There are 50 Clarins spas around the world, and the company has an aggressive expansion strategy to double this number in partnerships with prestigious luxury hotels (like the Beachcomber Royal Palm in Marrakech). Clarins therapists undertake an intensive three-month training course before they begin working with spa clients.

This Clarins spa is a gorgeous space designed with elements that allude to the Molitor’s history: Art Deco patterns on floors and walls, reproductions of mosaics of swimmers, black & white photos of the first bikini-clad models. There are 13 treatment rooms, including two enormous spa suites which are booked by block of time. We highly recommend the “Beyond the Water” treatment, which was created specifically for the pool-centric Molitor. Lasting an hour and 45 minutes, this treatment is an aquatic immersion for both face and body. It starts with a “wave dream session” — a quiet moment in a relaxation lounge where illuminated ripples from a water tank are projected on the ceiling. After a warm foot bath, you sink into water pillows (similar to a water bed) on your massage table. Even the soundtrack includes some water sounds. Tip: Arrive early to take advantage of the spa’s sauna and steam room — and why not take a dip in one of the Molitor’s glamorous pools? Contact Spa Manager Alexandra Bertin ([email protected]) for assistance with bookings. (It’s also possible to make spa bookings directly online.)

Forgot your bikini? The lobby has a corner devoted to fashion-forward swimwear, and there’s even a hair salon and a Kure nail bar where you can get your toes polished and ready to strut the pool decks. It’s also possible to get a pedicure poolside!

Not far from the Arc de Triomphe in the 8th arrondissement, Le Royal Monceau-Raffles Paris is home to another Clarins spa. There are only six My Blend by Clarins spas in the world, and this Philippe Starck-designed oasis is one of them. My Blend is Clarins’ ultra-luxe, personalized line — like haute couture for the face — and every time a new My Blend spa opens, it scores an award. The spa at Le Royal Monceau was voted Best Spa 2012 in the Virtuoso Best of the Best awards.

Dressed all in white, the spa features a dazzling swimming pool bathed in natural light and decorated with eye-catching objects by Philippe Starck (mirrors, mirrors everywhere!) Make sure to allow some time to enjoy the other wet facilities, too: there’s a hammam, sauna, ice fountain and even a sensorial shower with a soundtrack and lighting conjuring a rainforest thunderstorm.

The seven treatment rooms are accessed by corridors draped in white fabric. The signature treatment is called “The Art of Touch” and was designed exclusively by Clarins for Le Royal Monceau in 2013. The goal is not just head-to-toe pampering, but also an energy boost, so you walk out of the treatment room revived and ready to hit the cobblestone streets. This face and body treatment is completely customized in order to optimize results in the 90-minute period. Your therapist may also focus on your stomach (to release energy and also help flatten it). The spa session concludes with juice or herbal tea at the detox bar, where a plate of pretty Pierre Hermé macarons also awaits.

We highly recommend Katina as a spa therapist. For VIP requests, contact Spa Director Valerie Abreu ([email protected]).

Tip: Le Royal Monceau and Clarins have teamed up to offer a lovely spa-lunch combo called “My Royal Detox.” Along with a yoga session and spa treatment, you can enjoy a healthy lunch of a smoothie and a salad called the “My Blend by Dr Olivier Courtin-Clarins” which showcases the best seasonal produce for optimal nutritional benefits.

The Spa at Peninsula Paris has eight treatment rooms, including two spa suites (one of them is shown here), clad in wood and stone.
The Spa at Peninsula Paris has eight treatment rooms, including two spa suites (one of them is shown here), clad in wood and stone.

Another sublime spot is the sanctuary at The Peninsula Hotel, which opened in August 2014 to much fanfare and celebration. This is the first Peninsula spa in Europe, and it’s a knockout, with eight treatment rooms, including two spa suites, clad in wood and stone. The first thing you’ll notice when emerging from the elevator is the service and attention to detail. You’ll take a seat in the Asian Tea Lounge, decorated like a sumptuous apartment with Chinese paintings and objets d’art. Here you’ll complete the standard health questionnaire not with a pen and paper, but on a tablet in the blink of an eye (or shall we say, swipe of a finger?) After cleaning your hands with ice-cold towels scented with lavender essential oil, you’ll be served tea, fragrant with speculoos cookies and tonka beans, exclusively created by the hotel’s onsite pâtisserie.

This attention to detail continues in your treatment room, where your therapist (ask for Clementine) will gently ask health questions and product preferences in order to tailor the treatment to your needs. From a bowl placed beneath your massage table, fragrant steam wafts up to be inhaled. Following your treatment, you can prolong your state of bliss in the relaxation room, which is equipped with state-of-the-art massage beds, topped with big body pillows.

Note that the indoor pool is not accessible for spa clients (unless you are a hotel guest). But the spa’s stellar facilities — including a sauna, hammam, spa shower and ice fountain — shouldn’t be missed. The changing rooms are elegant and refined, featuring Oscar de la Renta bath products and a machine that’s specifically designed to wring the water out of your bathing suit.

Booking Tip: ESPA created the signature “Ying Yang” treatment, utilizing plant, marine and essential oil extracts, exclusively for The Peninsula Paris. Facials showcase cosmetics by Biologique Recherche. For VIP requests, contact Spa Manager Katia Schaffhauser ([email protected]; 011-330-158-126-682).

Note for fitness buffs: The Peninsula now offers yoga and Pilates classes at 7:30 a.m. on its rooftop terrace overlooking the Paris monuments. Combine this with the “Wellness Breakfast” and you’ll be energized and ready to take on the French capital!

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