Gyms

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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.

Gyms

Other paths to the Mountain

Gyms

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.

Club Med Gym

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 you’re a student or not.  Generally, membership ranges from about 60€ per month to 110€ per month.  However, if you’re working in Paris, check with your Comité d’Entreprise 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.

Cerles de la Forme

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.

Curves

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.

Montana Club (Formerly Fitness Parc)

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.

Other paths to the Mountain

Gyms are just one part of the fitness equation. Here are a few other options for exercise.

La Gym Suédoise

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.

Yoga & Pilates Studios

Machines bore you? Can’t 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 Calcutta’s temperatures?  If yes, then Bikram is for you.  These studios often have bilingual English and French speaking staff so it’s a plus if you’re 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.

Public Tennis Courts

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. 

Public Swimming Pools

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 can’t 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.

To check out the pools, click here.

Free Exercise

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 Paris’s many beautiful parks.

Also, if you’re into Qi Gong and Tai Chi but can’t 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.

More information can be found here.

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About Author

Brenna

I've lived in France since August 2006 with a stint back in Washington, DC for a year. Ten months of my time in France were spent in Rouen - the Normandy town known for, among other things, Joan of Arc's death and Monet's study of light. With the years that pass, Paris is constantly transformed by the interesting people I meet who open up new doors in this amazing city.

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