If you’re visiting the city, a Thai massage might not be top of your list, but if you live here, then you’ll probably be on the look out for the best places to relax and unwind away from the city bustle. And while thousands of massage parlours line the streets, most aren’t quite the upholding establishments you might want to believe. Tell-tale signs of fully curtained windows and flashing neons signs usually mean these places posing as massage parlours will give you a lot more than your bargained for (especially true for men) – a thriving industry in Paris, it seems. So, don’t risk it and book a massage at one of our tried and tested venues below.
Espace France Asie, Madeleine
Modelled on a traditional Thai home, the entirely carved wooden interiors complete with a buddha shrine enveloped in ribbons of incense smoke, will transport you right to the heart of Chiang Rai. Inside a residential block just off busy Madeleine, opt for a traditional Nuad Bo Rarn Thai massage. Each massage is done in a separate room. There is also a hammam (steam room) used for beauty treatments. Usually 80 euros for an hour, the traditional massage costs 65 euros on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 11am and 2pm.
Espace France Asie – 11 Rue du Chevalier de Saint-George, 75008 Paris (open 11am to 7.30pm Mon-Sat).
Tel: 01 49 26 08 88 (book at least 24 hours ahead)
Lai Thai, Bastille
Tucked in a side-street away from the Bastille bustle, this little salon is one of the oldest in the city. Massages are done on a mattress on the floor as per Thai tradition and are separated by curtains. A traditional Thai massage costs 75 euros for an hour and between 11am and 2pm Monday to Friday there’s 10% off all massages if you book through the institute itself.
– 20 Passage de la Bonne Graine, 75011 Paris (open everyday 11am to 8pm).
Tel: 01 45 77 72 06
If you’re around the Sentier or Les Halles neighbourhood, then Benjalong is a good place to stop to unwind. There are separate rooms as well as an area with rows of mattresses separated by curtains – for the most peaceful experience ask for the stone arched basement space with two mattresses which is quieter. Decorated with Thai artefacts and bright printed silk sheets, you feel like you’ll feel like you’ve travelled to the heart of Bangkok. A traditional Thai massage costs 70 euros for an hour but check the site for special offers.
– 27 Rue Saint-Sauveur, 75002 Paris (open 11am to 8pm Mon-Sat; 2pm to 8pm Sun).
Tel: 01 42 33 45 35
Urban Thai Spa, Ternes
Open late everyday, the institute is steps from the Champs-Elysées and despite its urban name, it’s a peaceful spot tucked away from the streams of traffic. Massages are done on mattresses on the floor separated by curtains. There are also several beauty treatments like body steam wraps to choose from. A traditional hour-long Thai massage here costs 85 euros but get 20% off, making it 68 euros, when you book between 11am and 2pm Monday to Friday.
Urban Thai Spa
– 20 Avenue Mac Mahon, 75017 Paris (open 11am to 9pm everyday).
Tel: 01 45 74 79 60
La Maison du Tui Na, Marais
Although La Maison du Tui Na isn’t Thai but Chinese, treatments are absolutely worth dropping in for. In the Marais, steps from the famed Polka photography gallery, La Maison du Tui Na is one of the top spots in Paris recommended by a number of magazines and sites, so book early to be sure of getting a slot. A traditional hour-long massage costs 60 euros. There is a range of massages including effective slimming and draining treatments which very work well.
La Maison du Tui Na
– 13 Rue Saint-Gilles, 75003 Paris (open 10.30am to 8.30pm Mon-Sun. There are several branches – check the site for more information).
Tel: 01 42 77 70 38