I've been doing a lot of yoga at home lately. It's hot out there, the studios usually don't have air conditioning ( and I'm not that into Bikram -hot- Yoga), and, oh, right, it's the summertime so lots of studios have reduced hours and substitute teachers. Plus, I can wear a wifebeater and boxer shorts and no one in my house cares. But I had heard great things about a particular teacher in Paris, so I decided to check out one of her classes, and low and behold, she was still teaching, at Yoga Village (in July). The studio is in the central and chic Madeleine / Opera area, and it is a beauty. Wood floors, white walls, an entire window facing lovely trees, super clean, sparsely but tastefully decorated. Seriously top notch.
It's hidden behind the entrance to an apparent shopping area and is on one of the larger boulevards in Paris. I passed it up the first time, as the photo above is the only signage at ground level and the numbering on the street is a bit wacky. Once I found the right stairs (B) and made it up to the first floor, the guy at the front desk was so smiley and kind and helpful and not at all Parisian that I had already blissfully forgotten that feeling of not belonging that comes with having to be buzzed in (or remembering the door code). The studio is well set up, with immediately recognizable seating to remove and store shoes, and clean bright dressing rooms separated by sex. I took a beginner Vinyasa class, and I felt right at home. Despite the heat, it was pleasant in the classroom with the windows open and a few fans going. The only complaint I have is that the room is not well made for sound absorption. Though it looks as if they purposefully built a dropped ceiling, being on a larger boulevard with the fans and a bit of background music, I still found it hard to understand from time to time. -Disclaimer, it was in French.- I'll try another class, maybe a more advanced one and let you know if my impressions change, but for now I can certainly say, if you can stomach the 23€ (30USD) individual class price (first 'intro' class is 10€) and have good hearing, it's a really lovely place to practice.
39 Boulevard des Capucines
escalier B, 1 er étage
T. +33 (0)1 72 34 58 47
Metro: Madeleine (Ligne 8, 12, 14) or Opera (Ligne 3, 7, 8)
Price: 23€ a class (reduced 5 and 10 class passes available with time restraints)
Yoga Styles: Hatha, Ashtanga, Yin, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Prana Flow, Jivamukti
Languages: English and French (check schedule for availability)
Changing Rooms: 2 (separated by sex)
Secure Lockers: included in class fee, locks available at the front desk or bring your own
Mats: included in class fee
Pros - Bright beautiful everything, central location, teacher bio's on website, excellent reception and welcome.
Cons - Background noise makes it hard to hear, 23€ a single class (wow!).
I personally think 20€, or more, is steep for a yoga class, and since everyone should do yoga, no, really, everyone should have access to yoga classes (my fellow Americans will call me socialist). I'm on a mission to find you free or less expensive classes. So, with a bit of digging, I've found that the Lolë store in Paris not only offers in store classes, but also sponsors classes at Wanderlust in Paris. I can't guarantee that you'll get in. I tried once to attend a Wanderlust event, and got a bit of flack from the 'bodyguard' at the front steps, who apparently thought that 2 well dressed thirty-somethings were not worthy of a glass of champagne on the terrace. But I guess that's the price to pay for a free class.
I can tell you that I attended a free class this past Saturday in their store, and it was a nice gentle Hatha class. Teachers and yoga styles can change every week, and they don't necessarily post the style, though do usually have a teacher bio. The class I took was a little too slow for my personal taste, but the instruction was stellar, and the atmosphere was convivial. They roll the clothes racks out of the way and can cram up to 8 students into nooks and crannies. Careful though, I had a hard time following the fourth yama, Asteya (non-stealing/coveting), I was coveting a really cute yoga top. You have to check out their facebook event page to sign up for their classes, which are usually held on weekends.
Lolë Paris (in store)
9 Rue des Blancs Manteaux
01 42 78 18 24
Metro: Rambuteau (Ligne 11) or Hotel de Ville/Saint Paul (Ligne 1)
Yoga Styles: Varies
Changing Rooms: 1
Secure Lockers: none
Wanderlust Yoga with Lolë
32 quai d'Austerlitz
01 70 74 41 74
Metro: Gare d'Austerlitz (Ligne 5, 10)
Yoga Styles: Varies
Changing Rooms: ?
Secure Lockers: ?
Mats: Bring your own
For up to date class listings in Paris, see yogateau. It's a great website!
Paris is an ever evolving city and the mayor 'le Mairie de Paris' has recently opened up a new waterfront area along the Seine called 'Les Berges'. It's a lovely space, and if you have a moment, you should certainly check it out. They are offering outdoor yoga classes and other sports and coaching classes on weekends until mid October (at the writing of this post). Click here to see my review of the class. Click here to save yourself a free spot (if you're still interested) and make sure to select the date you'd like to practice.
There are also little nooks and crannies to have a lovely picnic, climbing walls for your munchkins, if you have any, shipping containers for shopping restaurants and cafes, and even a nightclub under the bridge (coming soon).
There are hopscotch areas, a walking maze, and you can even hire, for free, pieces to play the many board games that are scattered throughout tabletops. See you at Les Berges!
Les Berges -YogaPort du Gros Caillou
Metro: Alma Marceau (Ligne 9)
Bus: 42, 63, 80, 92 / Arrêt Bosquet-RAPP -or- 63 / Arrêt Jean Nicot-Eglise Américaine -or- 83, 93, 63, 28 / Arrêt Pont des Invalides
Yoga Style: ??
Changing Rooms: None
Secure Lockers: None
Mats: Bring your own.
Toilets: Public toilets can be found along the banks of the river.
A free all levels yoga class will be offered at the Grand Palais Sunday, September 1, 2013 from 11:30am to 1pm, as part of a yoga for peace tour. Everyone is asked to wear white. The class is in French and mats are provided. Sign up here to reserve your spot!
Yoga Style: Hatha/Vinyasa
Changing Rooms: ??
Secure Lockers: None
Living in San Francisco, I had a wealth of options when looking for yoga classes. Not just in teacher choice, but in time slots too. I was super spoiled by my favorites, Pete Guinosso, Darcy Lyon (horrible website, great teacher), Jody Hahn and the woman who had me fall in love with yoga, Kate Schox, not one of the 'bigger names' in the yoga world in SF, and one of the reasons I loved her teaching. In fact, I'm not even sure she's still teaching. Yoga was just something you did in San Francisco, it wasn't for the elite and I preferred the teachers I frequented not because they had the best sequences, or were the strongest ones, but because I felt like I belonged, no matter how strong my arms were, or how flexible my legs were. There was no ego, and that's how I liked it.
After we moved to Paris, I was in search of yoga classes and the closest thing I found to a summary was from David Lebovitz, it was short and vague and originally written in 2006. He has updated it this year (2013), and done quite a lovely comprehensive job of it.
Paris, unlike San Francisco, doesn't have a yoga studio on every (other) corner, single classes start at a whopping 20€(around 26 USD), and could range from traditional Hatha (SF speak for 'Restorative') to a Vinyasa. Note, though, that I have tried a 'power yoga' class in Paris and it wasn't as tough as I remember a vigorous Vinyasa being back in SF. And, this being Paris, there are very few studios which have multiple rooms and/or locations to choose from. Now that my French is a little better, I've started to uncover the world of Yoga in Paris, so, stay tuned, while I demystify Paris yoga with reviews of the studios, the teachers, and up to date events here in the city of lights.
Former San Francisco DNA wrangler and current Paris yoga teacher and mom. Sharing. Caution: Possibly too much.