Winter in Paris alternates between skies of freezing blues, rainy grays and occasional scenes of snowy white. Where better to warm up than in a hammam? A centuries old tradition stemming from France’s former North African colonies, a luxurious Parisian hammam will transport you into another world, one of rejuvenation and bliss. Splurge on the full treatment which includes a scrubbing, or gommage to deep clean your body, followed by an exfoliating facial or relaxing massage. An hour or two of lounging in the soothing heat of the hammam will awaken all your senses. Where are the top spots this side of Morocco?
Immediately upon entering this sensory haven, you leave all your worries behind. Reminiscent of the splendor of this east, with ceilings adorned in ancient lanterns and floors composed of Moroccan mosaics, no detail is spared in this living hymn to oriental beauty. The central Paris location boasts a 200m2 hammam including sauna and pool, while in Boulogne the space is even more ample. Translated to ‘a hundred skies’, a luxurious gommage and massage at Les Cent Ciels will leave you feeling like you’re a celestial being. This sensation is captured in their own custom fragrance. In case you venture beyond Paris, the same heavenly experience can be found in Strasbourg, Lille and soon, Bordeaux.
Parisienne with Algerian roots, Karima views the hammam as an art of living, a ritual dedicated to the harmony and beauty of the body. She opened O’Kari to share the traditions she grew up with, combining her family heritage with modern luxuries. It’s clear that once you enter Karima’s world, set within a stunning Parisian courtyard, your well-being is her only interest. You’ll quickly discover this as she advises you on exactly the right treatment for your bien–être. What better urban escape than an afternoon spent relaxing in the steam room and soaking in the hot tub? With essential oils imported from the famous Mitidja distillery in Algiers, don’t leave without a luxurious massage.
O’Kari // 22 rue Dussoubs, 75002 // +33 (0)1 42 36 94 66 // women only
Once only frequented by Moroccan royalty, this clandestine hammam and spa located in the heart of Paris opened to the public in 2004. Before the recent creation of a website, it was discovered solely through word of mouth, or perhaps by happy accident. Within this intimate space filled with traditional music floating through the eucalyptus and orange blossom scented air, prepare for a treatment using only natural ingredients, made on premises. I recommend an exfoliating facial using cinnamon, honey and sugar, followed by a sesame and honey mask. You’ll look as good as it tastes! It’s no wonder this address was kept a secret for so long.
Aux Bains Montorgeuil // 55 rue Montorgeuil, 75002 // +33 (0)1 44 88 01 78
For my favorite Paris spas, have a look here.