Unlike most major US or Brazilian cities, where gyms can be found in almost every strip mall and luxury apartment complex, Paris has a considerable lack of gyms. In fact, most of us get our exercises from the stairs and apartments sans ascenseur. Although this is starting to change, health clubs here tend to be smaller and a bit pricier.
Other paths to the Mountain
Here is a site that gives a list of gyms by arrondissement and for neighboring suburbs. Below are a few chains, but this list is more exhaustive.
In case you didn’t know, Club Med is more than just vacations where you use beads instead of money and dance on tables during communal meals - it’s also a chain of high-end gyms. The great advantage of the Club Med chain is that they are located throughout Paris and the surrounding suburbs. This gym also creates converts. Thanks to their trademarked classes, peppy instructors, and various promotions, some of your friends will doubtless fall prey. You may very well find yourself surrounded by friends-turned-acolytes extolling the virtues of mysterious séances called Body Pump, Body Sculpt and Aqua Bike.
Membership costs vary depending on the offer and depending on whether youre a student or not. Generally, membership ranges from about 60 per month to 110 per month. However, if youre working in Paris, check with your Comité dEntreprise or CE. Often, they pay for a certain percentage of gym membership for Club Med gyms.
For more information on Club Med Gym, click here.
This private gym chain has only 7 locations in Paris but boasts machines, personal trainers and a wide range of classes in areas such as dance, martial arts, and pilates. All gyms are equipped with Saunas and also offer specialized classes for children and adolescents.
Membership fees for adults begin at 625 for one year, and go up according to amenities. There is also a separate membership for the martial arts studio only, that begins at 225 per year.
For more information on Cerles de La Forme, click here.
Yes, Curves, the special gym for women with their 30-minute workout, has come to France. There are about three such gyms in Paris, but it will doubtless grow in size.
For more information on Curves, click here.
Brenna discovered Montana Club, formerly known as Fitness Parc, via Google Maps, searching for the gym closest to her place in the third arrondissement. There are three Montana Clubs in Paris region (Place Clichy, République, Porte d’Orléans, Issy les Moulineaux), with plans to expand to a fifth one. Not only was it a gym within walking distance, increasing her likelihood of going, but it is also one of the cheapest options she’s found in Paris at 30 EUR a month, AND it’s open (nearly) 24/7 – 5am-12:30am. They keep prices low with low overhead – no live trainers (all is via programmed videos on big screens or self-employed private coaches) and few staff. The machines are all top of the line, modern, and they have a great system for repair.
Gyms are just one part of the fitness equation. Here are a few other options for exercise.
These group workout classes of Swedish origin offer a full body workout in about an hour, with no necessary equipment. The magic ingredient? You work your ass off. These classes are essentially a combination of aerobics, dance, cardio and stretching. The classes are usually held in large gymnasiums and are meant to accommodate all ages and fitness levels. Gym Suédoise classes happen at all times in every arrondissement in Paris and surrounding suburbs. There are 3 different annual rates that give members varying degrees of access to classes. The prices range from 225 to 375. A word of caution: these classes are known to be highly addictive. For more information on Gym Suédoise, click here.
Machines bore you? Cant stand doing step to Get into the Groove? Maybe you want something more relaxing, or something that makes your core muscles ache. If so, then you should check out any number of yoga or pilates studios in Paris. Here are a few that we know of:
Quee Located in the 9th arrondissement, this small space offers various classes in yoga, pilates (with and without the reformer) and Qi Gong. Rates are around 20 for a single class, but buy them in packs and the rates go down significantly.
Bikram Yoga — Do you love doing your yoga in conditions that reproduce Calcuttas temperatures? If yes, then Bikram is for you. These studios often have bilingual English and French speaking staff so its a plus if youre not sure about your French. The practice has caught on, and more and more studios are popping up. Our preferred
Espace St-Louis A small chain of studios offering courses in pilates, yoga, dance and fitness. Locations are in Paris and Boulogne.
Paris has over 30 municipal tennis courts, some open air, others indoor. To reserve a court, go online to www.paris.fr/tennis you can only reserve a court up to a week in advance. When the weather is nice, courts fill up fast, so try and log on in the early hours to get a good time and a good court. Prices vary on whether the court is indoors or outdoors. You can also get a discounted rate if you live in Paris and are under 26 years old.
To learn more about public tennis courts, click here.
Swimming pools are fairly abundant in Paris, and unlike tennis courts, the pools cost even less money to use (around 3 in most cases). A few pointers: all swimming pools require swim caps, and for the gentlemen, note that speedos are often required (for reasons we cant quite comprehend). Not to worry: if you are cap-less (or speedo-less) most swimming pools have vending machines that sell swim caps and speedos. So you really have no excuses.
If these options are a little expensive for you, then you can always do the classic, cheap fitness solution: running and walking in one of Pariss many beautiful parks.
Also, if youre into Qi Gong and Tai Chi but cant cough up the cash to go to a fancy studio another great solution is in the Buttes Chaumont Park, where every day from 9 to 10 am, an instructor gives free lessons to the general public.