In Paris, it’s not just hotels touting treatments. There are spas and beauty salons crowding every street. If you would like to learn more about them, you need to consult Pampered In Paris: A Guide To The Best Spas, Salons And Beauty Boutiques. It provides an arrondissement-by-arrondissement guide to who offers what and where.
The Mail on Sunday (London)
Levesque details the city’s standout perfume and cosmetics boutiques, too, but the best part may be her short list of French pharmacie go-tos—the sort a Parisian mother might recommend to her daughter. You’ll soon know all the native secrets.
I had my first-ever manicure at an institut just outside Paris. This spa was aligned with a well-known beauty brand, and every treatment—manicures included—was a studied, intimate experience. Yet, unaccustomed to the rituals of Parisian beauty, I was shocked at the setup. I had expected a nail salon akin to those seen in New York. Instead, I found myself being filed, buffed, and painted while sitting atop a soft white reclining chair. Perhaps I would have been better prepared had I been carrying a copy of Kim Horton Levesque’s new Pampered in Paris (The Little Bookroom). The tiny guide arrives this month, filled with cross-cultural wisdom and profiles of the best salons, spas, and beauty boutiques—arranged by arrondissement—in and around the City of Light. In her curated listing, Levesque includes the legends, of course—from star facialist Joëlle Ciocco to La Maison de Beauté Carita (once upon a time, the Carita sisters were also the hairdressers behind the coifs of Brigitte Bardot and Jean Seberg). Other entries are less expected. Aux Bains Montorgueil is the hammam with a cult following, once a private retreat visited by the Moroccan royal family. Tellement Zen and Mon Petit Spa are smaller gems offering intimate solo experiences, while Sensation Spa is a tucked-away haven.
Looking for a swimming pool? There’s one at L’Espace Payot, just off the Champs-Élysées, or U Spa Barrière in the Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière, both in the Eighth; Villa Thalgo Trocadéro in the Sixteenth even includes projections. Gyrotonics? (Centre Uma.) Yoga? (Rasa Yoga.) Or did you just want to whisper to your masseuse, “Lighter pressure, please”? That’s “Plus douce, s’il vous plaît.” At the close of certain entries there are also notes on nearby food, an essential come Paris Fashion Week, when it’s hard to find that self-service organic eatery (Bioboa, near L’Appartement 217 spa in the First). Levesque details the city’s standout perfume and cosmetics boutiques, too, but the best part may be her short list of French pharmacie go-tos—the sort a Parisian mother might recommend to her daughter. You’ll soon know all the native secrets.
Stephanie LaCava, Vogue
As if Paris needed anything more to recommend it, Kim Horton Levesque’s new book Pampered In Paris: A Guide to the Best Spas, Salons, and Beauty Boutiques ($17) covers more than 50 places to get fussed over in the grand French tradition—or in the Thai, Chinese, or Indian traditions, if you choose. Spa etiquette, recommended treatments, useful terms (memorize this: plus douce means “softer”) price ranges, and practical tips (don’t save your spa day for Sunday, when most salons close) are all included. Spas are divided by arrondissement, and super-specialized spots for chromotherapy, thalassotherapy, and hammams get their own sections toward the back of the book. (Note to self: Pitching a Parisian spa-review book to a publishing house = a brilliant move. Just imagine the research!) The book also provides beauty-product shopping guides, from old-school recommendations (try the moisturizing Baume Automobile from century-old shop Detaille) to the best local-secret drugstore potions.
Valerie Rains, Budget Travel-Newsweek
To be pampered in the City of Light must be among the most decadent and indulgent activities imaginable. With that in mind, author Kim Horton Levesque assembled a list of the best spas and manicure, perfume and makeup boutiques in Paris for women and men. Some are in luxurious hotels, others in more humble settings. But no matter the location, all have this in common, according to Levesque: “Each place provides extraordinary service from true professionals.” And for anyone who might be intimidated about visiting a spa in Paris, Levesque says not to worry. All the places that she has chosen welcome visitors from abroad “whether or not they are fluent in French or familiar with European practices.” In addition to the traditional French treatments, some boutiques offer therapies from the Thai, Chinese and Indian traditions as well as such modern treatments as chromotherapy, an alternative therapy that uses color and light “to balance a person’s energy.” Levesque also explains the cultural nuances of spa etiquette in France (most spas, for example, include a light chest massage) and includes a glossary of terms that she hopes will help clarify differences in French spa and salon terminology while listing the best products from French pharmacies. No time for the full spa treatment? No bother. She concludes this lovely guide with a description of the “well-being” services available at both of Paris’ two major airports.
June Sawyers, Chicago Tribune
Author Kim Horton Levesque researched more than 50 establishments whose makeup, perfume and skin treatments are dear to the heart of fashionable Parisian women. Naturally, such experiences can be intimidating — think going to the fragrances counter at your local upscale department store and multiply by 100 — so Levesque offers advice on spa etiquette. She also provides a glossary of useful terms so travelers will know the French for shimmer or anti-aging facial.
Pittsburgh Tribune Review