Ask a Parisian woman what she does to stay in shape and most likely her answer will be “I walk a lot.” But, as the saying goes, French women don’t get fat, so how exactly do they keep their shape? One logical observation is that the Parisians do not eat much. This is a cafe society (meaning, you dine out a lot) and there seems to be an inverse proportion to the expense of the meal and portion size (meaning, you eat tiny portions).
There’s also nowhere to run if you are so inclined. I used to jog a lot when I was in London, but running in the Parc Monceau was like being a hamster in a cage. Gyms are few and far between. I would know: I spent months searching for an efficient way to work out, testing every fitness trend the city had to offer, when I first made the City of Lights my home eight years ago. For a time I went to Core Pilates on 76bis rue Saint Peres, where a lithe French instructor observed me with a look of pity as I tried the pregnant pilates class, but sadly after my second summer it had gone bankrupt. That’s when I kind of stopped doing sport all together and went shopping instead—which is a different kind of sport, you could say.
However, Paris seems to be changing. There are new centers popping up all over town–Pilates and Yoga, Kickboxing, Zumba and Spin. But the place everyone is buzzing about right now? Le Tigre Yoga Club, which has rapidly expanded to three locations and specializes in offering yoga, meditation and Pilates classes. As you step in to their club in St Germain or in the 16th arrondisement you feel that you could be in New York, London or LA. There is a boutique stocked with top brands and, since the Parisians like to snack after they workout, there is a little “bio” (organic) bar filled with grain cookies, gluten-free crackers, sugar-free brownies for your gouter (snack).
The owner Elodie Garamond is well aware of the strength of the Americans in terms of fitness and most teachers are American. The attitude is positive and friendly and the classes get the job done (expect to break a sweat). Plus, there’s personal training if you prefer to work one-on-one with an instructor and a spa offering heavenly massages to get out all the knots.
WHERE TO GO: LE TIGRE YOGA CLUB
WHAT IT IS: YOGA AND PILATES STUDIO WITH THREE LOCATIONS
VIBE: EFFORTLESS FRENCH GIRL COOL
TRY: DASHA’S ASHTANGA MONDAY CLASS