EXCLUSIVE | Paris: What to See & Do Part Four
By Joe Okonkwo | AN OUTTRAVELER.COM EXCLUSIVE
GYMS AND SAUNAS
If you are a fitness addict, we suggest Paris' best full-service gym, the ClubMed Gyms, with numerous locations all over the city and a mixed clientele.
Espace Vit'Halles (48 Rue Rambuteau, 3rd, +33-1-42-77-21-71; one-day membership: 15 EUR) has more, and more difficult, aerobics than anywhere in Paris and weights, of course. It's right across from the Pompidou Center. Three of the popular gay saunas have decent gym facilities:
Gym Louvre (7 rue du Louvre, 1e; +33-1-40-39-95-01) is a serious gym populated by muscle queens who aren't there to joke around. Only post-workout do people get relaxed and take a dip in the Jacuzzis, or perhaps a cabin or two. IDM (4, rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 9e; +33-1-45-23-10-03) is a typical sauna, fairly clean with a youngish clientele and access to good gym facilities.
The massive sauna Sun City (62 blvd de S?bastopol, 3e; +33-1-42-74-31-41) has a high quality gym room. Run by the people who own Le Depot, Sun City is full of gay-themed Mughal court-style paintings, Ganesh statues, a pool with a fountain surrounded by arabesque trellises. The patrons are all ages and it stays open all night, a good thing because to discover every corner of this well designed and maintained sauna would take at least 40 minutes.
Popular Le Til't (41 rue Sainte-Anne, 1e; +33-1-42-96-07-43; entry 16 EUR, 10 EUR if under 26) is open all night. Atlantide (13 rue Parrot, 12e; +33-1-43-42-22-43) is unique in that it was created so that people of all genders and sexualities could meet; as they say "tolerant to heterosexuals, bisexuals, gays, transsexuals, and transvestites." The atmosphere is lighthearted and fun. Les Bains d'Odessa (5 rue d'Odessa, 14e; +33-1-40-47-83-43) is one of the oldest remaining baths of Paris, the fa?ade dating back to 1895. The interior was renovated to make it into a gay sauna, and it's a rather hard-core one at that. Most of the men are in their 40s, but the atmosphere is very hot.
Les Bains du Marais (31-33, rue des Blancs Manteaux, 4e; +33-1-44-61-02-02) is a luxurious day spa in the Marais offering luxurious treatments, including traditional steam baths, massage, and manicures/pedicures. Prices range from 35-330 euros. Three days a week are reserved each for men and women. Note: This sauna is not a cruising spot.
The Grande Mosqu?e de Paris (2, bis place de Puits de l'Ermite, across from the Jardin des Plantes; +33-1-45-35-97-33) has a hammam that is open to men on Sundays and Tuesdays and to women the rest of the week. For 45 EUR, you receive a locker, soap, wrap, and towel, a "Gommage" or skin scrubbing to remove dead skin, and a 30-minute massage with mint oil. You also may spend as much time as you wish in the progressively hotter steam rooms in the hammam. It is an interesting immersion into the Arab culture of Paris. While the atmosphere can be sexually charged, it is not the purpose of the sauna and is a comfortable place to relax if you are not looking for the open sexuality of the gay saunas.