5 Places to Stay Active in Paris (Without Packing Extra Gear)

A visit to Paris isn’t complete without the indulgence of its lush pastries and decadent dishes.  Though there is a lot of walking involved, sometimes we need a break from the sweets and cleanse ourselves with a good sweat.  Getting active in Paris involves a little bit of travel but it also means a new experience among local Parisians. Here is the list of exercise activities in Paris where an extra pair of shoes is not required.

1. Affordable Yoga

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It is all in the name: Affordable Yoga. For only 6€ yoga classes are found all over the city on every day of the week.  These classes are taught in English and range form Beginner to Upper-Intermediate.  Some yoga centers (like StudioBleu) have extra mats but if you don’t have one you can bring a blanket or a towel to use (Decathlon also sells cheap ones for €3). This yoga experience is one of my top choices because of the multiple location options.  This way it is easy to fit in yoga on the go – whether you are on the West or the East there is a studio nearby.  Be aware, though, that they won’t take cash so you have to create an account and pay online before going to the class. This just makes it easier for everyone: come in, sit down, sun salutation, Namaste, and you are on your way. Cost: 6-8€

 2. Bouldering

A favorite of mine, bouldering is a muscle-focused sport that tires your arms and legs but not your whole body.  To me, it is better than cardio though it doesn’t feel like it.  You could go for a twenty-minute run to feel sweaty and out of breath, though not burning many calories.  Though, bouldering offers a fun tactical aspect and hours seem to fly by while trying to conquer a new route. There are many in the city but the easiest to get to is Bloc’Out because you don’t need to take a train, just the metro line 13 (stop Garibaldi). No need for gear because they can provide you with shoes and chalk is readily available.  You also have access to the gym equip with free weights and machines.  Then afterwards, relax in the sauna for a cleansing sweat. If you are hungry they have a full kitchen restaurant serving healthy meals as well as beer on tap so you can treat yourself after a hard workout.  Cost: 10-14€

3. Hiking

The best place for a hike is located just outside of Paris. Fontainebleau is a place that tourists go to see the castle and wander in the forests, but take a trail deep into the woods and you can find a hiking oasis. Make sure to stick to the marked trails, otherwise buy the maps available at the information points. While you’re in the area, check out the small village of Grez-sur-Loing, inhabited since prehistoric times and now a commune of Scandinavian Artists.

Cost: Free (train ticket is about 8€)

4. Mini Park Hikes

If you can’t find the time to spend a day at Fontainebleau there are two parks that can give you the satisfaction of a mini-hike.  Parc de Bellville offers two options: steep stairs or a zig-zag trail up to the top of the park for a beautiful view of Paris (including the Eiffle Tour). The view is also very beautiful at night, though the park is closed so you can access the view point from a side stairwell off of Rue des Couronnes that takes your to Passage Piat. For a bigger challenge, enjoy the beautiful Parc des Buttes Chaumont and walk its steep trails for a sweat. Cost: Free

5. Qi gong

This ancient Asian practice is all about breathing meditation and control.  Clear your mind without worries of getting too sweaty since the movements are meant to be slow. Surrounded by the park’s natural beauty, you will be able to escape the Paris chaos without going too far. You can find a group practicing every morning at 9 am also at the Parc des Buttes Chaumont near Rosa Bonheur by the waterfall.  Cost: Free