Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Soaking and Scrubbing While Waiting for Spring!

Paris is home to infinite delights. Among the lesser known delights are the many Hammams, traditional 'baths' where one can steam, soak, and enjoy massage and gommage (literally scrubbing away dry skin). At the grand Mosque de Paris on the edge of the Latin Quarter you can buy a 'Forfait Orientale' which is literally a package deal that includes various treatments, plus a restorative mint tea. This hammam is not a private spa, it is within a religious center, so men and women use the baths on alternating days. You can soak nude or in a bathing suit. In any event, entering the Ali Babaesque hammam is a true tonic on cool days and balm for one's soul. Metro: Censier Daubenton. The restaurant at the Mosque is a wonderful place for couscous and tagines, plus sweet nutty patisserie.

39 rue Geoffroy St. Hilaire, Paris 5. www.la-mosquee.com

If you are looking for more of an upscale spa experience, check out Omnisens in Bercy Village in the 12th. www.omnisens.fr Bercy Village is well worth exploring for shopping and nice small restaurants. The adjacent Parc de Bercy is a verdant oasis with lovely 'garden rooms' and mature trees. Metro: Cour St. Emilion

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