Here’s why Paris is an underrated yet must-visit location for some much-needed down time.
It always surprises me to hear that London is classed as a 24/7 city. I’m also equally perplexed that Paris, quite often, doesn’t make the cut. I’m fortunate enough to have frequented the capital a handful of times, and my visits have always been filled with high step-count days and late-night escapades in the 9th arrondissement. In fact, I often return feeling more in need of a break than when I arrived.
Most will be surprised to learn that Paris was recently named the number one European city for wellbeing in a study by Cult Beauty, having won first place thanks to its pollution and healthcare index, as well as its number of spas. So, this time around, I ditched my heels and flocked to the capital in search of heightened wellbeing.
With over 1,600 hotels in Paris, picking the right place to stay can be a tough decision. However, if relaxation is a top priority, one choice stands out from the rest. InterContinental Paris Le Grand, part of IHG Hotels and Resorts, is a five-star hotel overlooking the stunning Palais Garnier.
Here, you’ll find all the ingredients needed for a restful escape, while still being close enough to the heart of the action – the Champs Elysées is just a twenty-minute walk away, as is the buzzing nightlife of the Pigalle.
The guest rooms have been designed so that you can experience the French l’art de vivre, with spectacular views, fluffy robes, a pillow menu and Balmain toiletries. For those who want to elevate their stay even further, the Ambassador, Royal or Presidential suites offer towering views over the Eiffel Tower or Opera Garnier from your very own private balcony.
For dinner, it’s down to Café De La Paix, overseen by Chef Laurent André. Here, you can sample your way through seasonal cheeses, oyster platters or truffle-infused dishes in typical French style.
The gym, complete with world-class equipment, is open around the clock for those who want to continue their regime away from home. Elsewhere, the ANJ Wellness Spa is at the forefront of Paris’s wellness scene, offering scientifically backed treatments courtesy of Cellcosmet, a Swiss wellbeing brand. Choose from a Red-Carpet Signature facial, loved by celebrities for its instant glow-delivering results, or the Kobido Signature, an ancient Japanese ritual combining massage with facial lifting techniques.
Like a local
Living in a city such as Paris, although exciting, can be somewhat overwhelming, too. “I’ve lived in Paris for five years,” says Morgan Hizar, otherwise known as @bisoumorgan on TikTok. “I originally only intended to stay for one year, but fast forward to five years later and I have no plans to leave. You can never go wrong with a walk along the Seine. With such a gorgeous backdrop, it can be a great way to clear the mind.”
Timon Van Basten, who worked as a tour guide in Paris for several years, shares his own favourite ways to unwind in the city. “Early birds like me love starting their days with a run around the city. Not only do you get to see iconic spots like Notre Dame in a rosy morning light, but refuelling with coffee and pastry afterwards feels incredibly indulgent, considering the workout you just got in.”
If you’re in need of a bit of rejuvenation, you’ll want to visit the newly opened 48 Collagen Cafe on Rue Lafayette. Here, you’ll find red light therapy masks that are available for visitors to use whilst sipping on a range of collagen based drinks and coffees, including the Joy Happiness Pure Élixir Aphrodisaque, made with ashwagandha, ginger, figs and cinnamon.
Finally, if you’re in need of an all-out day of pampering, you’re in luck. There’s a slew of top-rated spas in Paris, whether you’re looking for a menu of high-tech treatments or somewhere you can check in for a few hours of relaxation. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but a few of our favourites are the Spa Charme d’Orient Paris, with its spacious hammam and alternative treatment list (chickpea scrub, anyone?), and Le Spa 28, a hidden, yet affordable gem. Tempted, anyone?