5 Healthy Days in Paris6 min read
This is the first in a series of posts we’re going to do on some of the most popular destinations in the world. Consider this series a travel guide for those of you who want to get an authentic experience, but who also want to do so in a healthy way. First stop: Paris.
We’re assuming you’re starting your day with a big buttery croissant. Trust us – this itinerary will help you work off that breakfast.
So, let’s visit the City of Light.
- Workout: Run along the Seine. Bring your running shoes and go for a jog at the water’s edge. The best day for this is Sunday, when the Paris Respire program prohibits vehicle traffic along the banks of the river from 9 AM to 5 PM.
- Cultural attraction: You might consider this workout, part 2; we’re going to do some walking along the most famous avenue in the world. The Champs-Elysees. We’ll start where most French parades start, at the Arc de Triomphe, Napoleon’s monument to himself. From there, leisurely make your way down the Champs towards the Louvre. No rush, there’s plenty to do and see. And, obviously, when you get to the Louvre, you’ll be spending a few hours in the most famous art museum in the world.
- Lunch: There are a couple of healthy options near the Champs. Pret A Manger, Cojean or Josephine (try the stuffed tomatoes) are just off the avenue and will give you
- Mind/body balance: Exit the Louvre and head to Place de la Concorde for a leisurely stroll through the spectacular Tuilleries Gardens. The scenery features beautiful statues, basins and ponds, and children playing.
- Dinner: It’s your first night in Paris, so we’re splurging. Try l’Arpege right near the Eiffel Tower, a place with very possibly the most delicious vegetables you’ll ever taste. The menu is very veggie-heavy, but still offers those famous French sauces and a significant reliance on butter. The daily menu uses ingredients sourced each morning from private kitchen gardens outside Paris. Heads up – dinner is 360 euros; if that’s not a number you’re comfortable spending, try to get to l’Arpege for lunch one day.
- Workout: After a day on your feet, let’s start Day 2 with some yoga to stretch out the muscles you beat up running and walking the day before. Head to the Left Bank and Rasa, a high-end yoga studio. They have classes throughout the day in a variety of styles.
- Lunch: How about a big salad? We mean a really big salad? Try Le Relais Gascon restaurant near the Sacre Coeur Basilica.
- Cultural attraction: Since we’re in the neighborhood, how about a visit to the Sacre Coeur. The Basilica was built in the late 1800s as a “national penance” for the excesses of the Second Empire. For that reason, it is considered to be both a political and religious monument. It’s also built on the highest point in Paris, the Butte Montmartre, and offers a spectacular view of the city. One heads up for sightseers – the use of cameras and video recorders is forbidden inside the Basilica.
- Mind/body balance: The Basilica complex includes a garden for meditation, with a fountain. While you’re here, we suggest stopping down for a spell to take in the beauty around you and relax.
- Dinner: One of the best high-end restaurants for vegetarian options is Maceo. The menu includes plenty of vegetable dishes. Maceo also features tasting menus themed around a single vegetable.
- Workout: The city-run Velib public bike program is the largest bike-sharing program in the world. They’re everywhere, with 750 kiosks around the city. A one-day pass is just 1 euro; a one week pass is 5 euros.
- Lunch: Bob’s Juice Bar at 15 rue Lucien Sampaix. Bob’s is an American-style juice bar that also offers muffins, as well as vegan soup and salad combos.
- Cultural attraction: The Eiffel Tower. It’s about time we finally got here, don’t you think?
- Mind/body balance: Go for a massage at the Six Senses spa on Rue Castiglione. Or maybe a foot recovery treatment after all this walking we’ve been doing?
- Dinner: Le Marais is a seafood restaurant with a heavy dose of vegetarian meals. It’s considered one of the local vegetarian community’s favorite haunts. The menu features a great selection of salads.
- Workout: Tennis, anyone? You probably can’t get onto the red clay at Stade Roland Garros, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a hitting partner. Check out the Paris Tennis Meetup to find someone to return your volleys.
- Lunch: It might seem shocking, but Paris has one of the most American of inventions – food trucks. Cantine California is one truck that serves organic meat and eggs produced locally. Try the taco with organic meat. You’ll have to head to the website to find out where the truck will be on a given day.
- Cultural attraction: Notre Dame, the famous cathedral on the Île de la Cité, the island in the River Seine. The church’s long history dates back to 1163. Spend the 7 euros to visit the towers.
- Mind/body balance: How have we not yet spent an afternoon at an outdoor café sipping wine? Oh, you have? Well, we’re doing it again here. Just remember that this is a relaxation/rejuvenation time, so try to go easy on the wine.
- Dinner: Le Grenier de Notre Dame is Paris’ oldest vegetarian restaurant. Eighty percent of the food is organic and they work closely with local farmers.
- Workout: How about swimming in Jacques Cousteau’s old stomping grounds (err… swimming grounds)? Cousteau used to be a regular at the historic Piscine Pointoise at the Club Quartier Latin. The pool features a giant skylight roof surrounded by cabanas and with windows into the Club’s gym and studios. This is not an inexpensive option – it’s 20 euros for a one day pass.
- Lunch: On your way from the Quartier Latin to our next destination, stop by Le Paradis du Fruit for a smoothie.
- Cultural attraction: Versailles. Yes, we’re cheating a little because it’s outside the city limits, but you can’t miss the historic royal château. Built in the 17th century, the Palace of Versailles served as the residence of the King and his court. It’s ridiculously huge and incredibly beautiful, and a 25 minute train ride from the center of Paris.
- Mind/body balance: Stroll through the Gardens of Versaille, almost 2,000 acres of meticulously manicured lawns, flower arrangements, sculptures and fountains before heading back to the center of the city.
- Dinner: Oh, what the hell. You’ve been so good. Eat at Le Meurice, a spectacular room filled with boldface names and delicious food. It’s one of the best restaurants in the world. Enjoy.