Paris Wellness

Where to Work Out in Paris (In French and English)

The myth that Parisians don’t work out is a thing of the past. Walk into any given gym in Paris on a weeknight after work and you’ll find every treadmill full and a line for the leg press and cable machines. Some of the most popular group classes fill up within minutes of releasing their weekly class schedules, and crowd-favorite instructors are wait-list only if  you’re not quick enough to nab a spot. While athleisure wear hasn’t taken off here, it would be an injustice to continue to say that the French are just naturally thin and don’t put in any effort. Fortunately, that means an ever-expanding repertoire of fitness studios around the capital to give both residents and visitors alike.

I used to have a tough time dragging myself to the gym and waiting around for the bulky guys sitting on the benches in the weight room to get off their phones and let me use it, or spending ages bored to tears on an elliptical or treadmill despite having an excellent workout playlist. It wasn’t until I began going to group fitness classes that I finally understood the appeal (and not just because you get charged for cancelling or skipping a class). The energy in the room, the music, and the community can make or break a workout, and I’m thankful to say I’ve found some great friends and workout partners just by striking up a conversation after class.

Where to Work Out in Paris

Here are some of the best studio options to work out in Paris for you lovers of group fitness classes. I’ve personally tried every studio/class on this list (most I now attend regularly), and can vouch for their effectiveness in giving you a great workout, the flexibility for those at different levels, and the fact that most instructors at each studio do speak some English so you won’t be completely lost. Some I book directly through the studio, others through Classpass (if you want to try it, get 40€ off your first month HERE– that means only 9€ for 45 credits for the month!) (this isn’t sponsored but I would not say no if they wanted to work together).

TIP: If you’re a student, make sure to ask if the studio has student rates!

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If you like spin: Dynamo

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Dynamo‘s two mottos are rayonnez (radiate) and créons l’étincelle (create the spark), and if you enjoy cycling, you’ll definitely feel why they use those phrases (even if the only thing you feel like you’re radiating is sweat and heat for the first few classes) This is about the closest thing you’ll find to SoulCycle in Paris, if that’s how you like to work out- 45 minutes of intense spinning, all set to music that will differ depending on the instructor.

Class structure: 45 minutes of cardio, starting with a one-song warm-up and then moving into choreography including push-ups, tapbacks, resistance work and double times. After half an hour, there’s an arm workout for one song using the weights that are on the back of the bike under the seat- check them before class begins to make sure they’re not too heavy (or too light).

Tip: Make sure the instructor knows if you don’t speak French, as the resonance occasionally makes the instructor hard to understand even for French speakers. Choose a bike at the back (or at least in the second row) so you can watch and follow the choreography via the people in front of  you. Also, if you don’t love your first class, try another with a different instructor! The music choice and energy of the instructor can make all the difference in the world.

Price: 1st introductory class is 15€, next 3 introductory classes for 45€. Prices per class after start at 27€ per class and decrease depending on the number of classes in the pack.

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If you like circuit training: Cluster

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If you’re looking for smaller classes where the instructor will come around to correct your form on moves of varying difficulty, grinning at you while you feel like you might keel over if you do one more burpee, Cluster is for you. You’ll come out of it feeling like you did much more than 21 minutes of work, though (excluding the warm-up and finisher) that’s all the time you spend actually doing the exercises.

Class structure: 7 exercises, 3 rounds, 1 minute per exercise, 10 seconds to switch. Some are more cardio based (jump rope, rowing machine, burpees), while others use weights (kettlebell swings, press ups) and others bodyweight (planks, exercise balls). Each class starts with a warm-up and ends with a finisher (group sit-ups, plank/burpee waves) and a floor stretch session. You’re assigned a partner for the class, though not all exercises are performed with a partner.

Tip: This class isn’t for newbies or someone just getting back into working out- I would recommend working out for a few weeks elsewhere or doing other classes before jumping into this. The moves are modifiable depending on level, but the 10-second breaks between exercises mean you need a decent level of cardiovascular fitness (going from burpees to jump lunges takes work!).

Price: Rates go from 23€ for a single class to 19€ per class when buying a pack of 15 classes. Cluster is also available on Classpass.

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If you like HIIT: TNL ’58

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More a fan of bodyweight workouts? Check out TNL ’58, created by trainer and musician Jess King. TNL stands for The Next Level, and during the 58 minutes of the class Jess will push you (in the kindest way possible) to give your all and find your next level.

Class structure: As Jess is a musician, the class is structured around her playlists- generally there are two alternating moves completed per song, for a total of 3 rounds during each song. Higher intensity circuits are alternated with stretching and strength  work- no muscle group is left out. In the beginning of the second half of the class, there is a guided meditation lying on the floor, which might seem a bit weird at first (why push yourself and then lay down?) but you’ll find that it’s an incredible sensation to feel your heart rate slow and the energy coursing through your body. After the meditation, there are two or three more circuits/songs before the final stretch and meditation.

Tip: Modify if you need to, push harder if you need to, but make sure to listen to your body- many of the circuits can be unexpectedly exhausting! This is a great class for you if music is a big motivator. This is the only class on the list taught predominantly in English (though Jess does also speak French).

Price: Outdoor classes either 14€ (mat provided) or 18€ (mat + water provided). Indoor classes vary depending on studio.

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If you like bootcamp: Midtown

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While Barry’s Bootcamp has now opened a studio in Paris, Midtown has a slightly different structure and vibe if you’re looking to shake things up. However, the end goal is the same: a full body workout that will leave you both exhausted and exhilarated.

Class structure: There are three stations between which you’ll rotate throughout the class- the benches for strength training, the center strip for varied bodyweight workouts, and the treadmills for running. The instructor will tell you what to do at each station- which moves to perform and how many reps, which resistance level and how long to run at it. Each station lasts a few minutes (4-5) and the circuits are continuous, meaning if you finish all the reps of all the moves on the strength training station, you start over and continue until time is up, then switch to the next station. At the end of the class, everyone will perform a finisher, usually an AMRAP (as many reps as possible), then stretch.

Tip: It’s not a bad thing to conserve your energy on certain stations- if you go at 100% on the treadmill, you may not have enough left to go straight into strength training. Pace yourself; the class is 50 minutes long and while you definitely want to push to your limits, it’s not worth risking an injury. In nearly every class I’ve attended, I’ve seen someone need to step out the room because their body was pushed too far and they had to stop.

Price: If you’re a first-timer, you can get 2 classes for 30€. After that, rates range from 30€ for a single class to 20€ per class if purchasing a pack of 50 classes. Midtown is also available on Classpass.

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If you like barre: BarreShape

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If the slow burn of barre is more your speed, BarreShape will be your Paris go-to. With 3 studios around the city and a variety of classes, from standard barre to more advanced, as well as barre-based HIIT classes, there’s something for all moods and fitness levels, while maintaining that ballet basis and the aim of sculpting a dancer’s body with each movement.

Class structure: After a solid warm-up, you’ll move into circuits using ballet movements to focus on certain muscle groups- arms, glutes, legs, abs. The class uses lightweight hand weights, resistance bands, and small exercise balls to really ensure that you’re getting a deep muscle burn- the range of motion may not be huge, but you’re definitely going to feel it tomorrow.

Tip: If  you have a tendency to sweat, you may want a towel to put over your mat for the floor work portions so you’re not sliding  around.

Price: Their introductory offer is 20€ for one class or 45€ for three. After that, rates vary from 27€ for a single class to 23€ per class for a pack of 20 classes. They also have an 8 class/month or unlimited monthly membership option. BarreShape is also available on Classpass.

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If you like having options: Episod

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If you prefer to have all your class options in one place, you’re going to love Episod. Modern studios, clean locker rooms, and an overall feeling of “wow I’m cool for working out here”. They have 4 hubs around the city, with 6 studios per hub for each type of class they offer,

Class structure: Episod offers boxing, cycling, rowing, yoga, bootcamp, and athletic training classes.

Tip: The bootcamp and athletic training classes often employ the use of a partner, so I recommend attending with a friend if you’re at a lower fitness level (like I was at the beginning). I was very glad to know my partner/friend wasn’t judging me on how fast I was running each distance in the finisher (hint: not fast)!

Price: Their introductory offer is 45€ for 3 classes. After that, rates range from 24€ for a single session to 18€ per class when purchasing a class pack of 20. They also offer monthly subscriptions with unlimited classes from 110€-170€. The Episod Nation hub is also available on Classpass.

Have you tried any of these studios? What’s your favorite place to work out in Paris?

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Where to Work Out in Paris by The Glittering Unknown

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