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