Friday, May 08, 2009
There's nothing like a massage to relieve aching muscles and the fatigued spirit after a long transatlantic flight to Paris. If I'm staying at least a week, I like to schedule a massage for the day after arrival and another one for the day just before departure.
Paris offers a variety of options for massage. Treat yourself to one of them!
Founded in Paris by master masseuse Micky Suwanachoti, Espace France-Asie (France-Asia Space)is a center for Thai massage just around the corner from the Madeleine. The EFA center offers a range of options, from traditional Thai massage to Swedish massage and aromatic herbal treatments.
Micky and her staff are bilingual (actually trilingual, since most of the staff is from Thailand), and all of them have been trained by Micky. She also offers regular courses in the techniques of Thai massage to the general public.
When you arrive for your massage, you are invited to relax on wooden chairs in the lobby and to sip a cup of tea amid flowering orchids. The massages take place on futons in small, wooden "cabines" (private rooms) as soft instrumental music floats over the sound system. The atmosphere is quiet, relaxed, and gentle.
My father and I have been to EFA so many times that we now get the "bise" (cheek kisses) from Micky when we arrive. Check out the website for more information. You'll want to go back too!
Hammams in Paris
Another fabulous way to relax is to treat yourself to a massage and steam bath at one of the many hammams (Turkish-style steam baths) in Paris. This can be a much less expensive way to enjoy a massage, and it's a wonderful opportunity to try something that's not so easily available at home.
For example, the hammam at the Grande Mosquee de Paris (Grand Mosque of Paris, photo above) is very close to the Jardin des Plantes (conservatory) in the 5th. The entrance fee is 38 euros, which includes a 10-minute massage, a scrub, all the time you want in the steam bath, and tea. Women's days are Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Men go on Tuesdays and Sundays.
Check out this article for more information about hammams throughout the city.