Sport and relaxation

Sport and relaxation : you can practice your favourite sport all year long

Get fit in green spaces

Sport en plein air © Fotolia

Every Sunday morning, you can register for free classes in several of the city’s parks and gardens, given by qualified instructors.

They offer a variety of activities to help you stay in shape: muscle building at the Jardin du Luxembourg, Nordic walking at the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, stretching exercises at the Parc André-Citroën, walks at the Parc Georges-Brassens, etc.
Note that classes are open to a limited number of participants, and Parisians are given priority.

More information here: www.sport.paris.fr

Mind and body

Yoga © Thinkstock

Yoga, Tai Chi Chuan and Qi Gong, three disciplines originating in India and China, are known to strengthen the mind-body connection. Each discipline has its own strengths. Yoga is perfect for reducing stress. Tai Chi Chuan helps you channel your energy, and Qi Gong boosts vitality.

To give them a try, go to the Centre Tao Paris, which offers classes and organizes workshops and sessions for people of all ages. On some weekends, the 104 in the 19th arrondissement hosts free introductions to Qi Gong and Wutao (a blend of Qi Gong, yoga and Tai Chi). For yoga enthusiasts, the Wanderlust has free yoga classes every Sunday – no need to register. And, at the ‘Zen’ platform on the Berges de Seine, fans of low-impact workouts can take free Tai Chi and yoga classes.

A number of other free classes are also held in some Paris green spaces: Qi Gong workshops at 9 o’ clock every morning at the Buttes-Chaumont, and every Saturday morning at the Parc de la Villette. Falun Dafa (a combination of meditation and Qi Gong) is also offered during the week and at weekends in several parks in the French capital, such as the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Parc André-Citroën.

Swedish gymnastics, the cool new fitness option

France discovered Swedish gymnastics in the 1990s, and it has since become one of the trendiest sports in Paris. The principle is simple: gently building up muscle tone through carefully structured exercises, with background music. The benefit is that you get a complete workout without wearing yourself out.
Besides regular courses all year round at various gyms in Paris and the Paris area, La Gym suédoise® organizes free sessions, including open-air workouts, every summer.

More information on the website www.gymsuedoise.com : click on the ‘Planning’ section and select ‘Gratuit’ from the ‘Tous les forfaits’ drop-down menu under ‘Horaires’.

Relax at a spa in Paris

Paris swimming pools can be good places to relax. Some of them have a fitness area, like the Piscine Joséphine-Baker and the Piscine de la Butte-aux-Cailles, both located in the 13th arrondissement. And, to get both body and mind feeling warm and relaxed, give yourself a shot of well-being at the sauna at the Piscine Keller (15th) or the Piscine Pontoise (5th).

The art of playing boules

Boules de pétanque © Fotolia

Along with the beret and the baguette, the game of petanque (or boules) is often seen as an integral part of the French way of life. The legends surrounding this variation of bowls, extremely popular in the south of France, are rife, although technical skill and a competitive spirit are essential for serious players! Most of Paris’s parks are equipped with a boulodrome so the general public can play at their leisure. Every boules court in Paris has its own style and character: romantic at the Place Dauphine, elegant at the Jardin du Palais-Royal and Gallo-Roman at the Arènes de Lutèce.

For more information, see our article Our top spots to play boules in Paris.

Table tennis in the park

Tennis de table © Thinkstock

Two small round bats in your bag and a lightweight ball in your pocket — that’s all the equipment necessary to enable table tennis devotees to make the most of fine days and play ping-pong on the tables provided in the parks and gardens of Paris.Tables are available to play game of table tennis in practically every arrondissement of the city.

Luxury settings to play sport

If you’d like to turn your workout into a really special moment, why not treat yourself to a fitness class at a luxury hotel? A state-of-the-art fitness centre is an essential part of the amenities at every five-star hotel in Paris, like the prestigious Dior Institut at the Plaza Athénée and the Spa Guerlain at the Trianon Palace Versailles.