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What to Do in Paris – A Health Editor’s Guide

What would a health editor do in Paris? Find out with our list of favourite healthy spots to eat, shop and play.

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Your Healthy Travel Guide to Paris

You might think of Paris as a city of indulgences, from their dairy (oh, the fromage!), to the wine (merci, I would love another glass) and the shopping (not exactly the most physical of activities). But the City of Light has lots to offer healthy tourists–even a health editor. Make no mistake, the great things about Paris are the bakeries, patisseries, cafés, department stores and more. And we all know that French women don’t get fat, thanks to countless books about the French lifestyle of walking (we hit almost 30 kilometres in one day just by sightseeing and shopping), proper portion sizes, whole-food diet and good fats. But there is a health movement in France, and your healthy options extend beyond steak-frites. In fact, here are five health editor-approved spots to add to your Paris itinerary.

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Best Vegan Spot : Wild and The Moon

Wild and The Moon is all over Instagram, and Insta celebs love it. The white tiled walls, the greenery and cute signs (Order at the counter, and chill!) are all just begging to be snapped by your phone and posted online – no filter required. The “organic, cold-pressed, plant-based, gluten-free, zero-additives” menu is super healthy, offering vitality shots, smoothies, veggie milks, energy bars, dehydrated snacks, sprouted bowls and organic coffee. It’s also a hot spot for special events and we had to leave because it was booked for a big fete. (This is not your typical juice bar). Order the Açai Bowl and the Burn It Up Fat Killer Elixir. The drink is made with lemon, ginger, cayenne, maca, cucumber, dates and water (listed as H20 on the menu). While a health editor would suspect that this drink isn’t a fat-burning miracle, it’s certainly healthier than a handful of macarons.

Wild and The Moon – 3rd arrondissement
55 Rue Charlot 75003

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Best Healthy Fast Food: Jour

Fast food chains aren’t usually a health editor’s thing, but leave it to Paris to change that. Unlike at other lunch spots in Paris, you won’t be tempted by pastries at Jour. The perfectly portioned tartes (eggs, veggies, cheese, pastry crust with a side green salad) are hearty but healthy and the salad bowls are really pretty (of course, because France!). The bowl’s colourful toppings are sectioned over greens, from fanned out apple slices to feathered shredded purple cabbage. The restaurant also offers a coding legend, so you’ll know if your dish is veggie, gluten-free and/or lactose-free. The menu changes seasonally (yes, at a fast food chain!), though, so have an open mind when you stop in for lunch.

Jour – a cute little chain with spots all over the Right Bank

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Best stretching class: Éléphant Paname

While a fitness class might not be the first thing on your list of must-dos in Paris, a stretching class should be. After a stuffy eight hours on a flight, random naps to deal with jet lag, and energy levels with more ups and downs than a set of squats, a stretching class led by instructor Isabelle Renouf will feel like a dream. And your body will thank you for getting rid of physical kinks. Renouf is a Sorbonne-trained dancer and sports educator. She leads students through elegant stretching postures in her classes at Éléphant Paname, a gorgeous fitness and dance studio where Parisian dancers train. Don’t be intimidated, though, as many of the students are regular Parisians (including French health editors) who love dance. Back to the stretching. The structured class is part stretching and part active stretching (meaning it’ll feel like a workout and you will have to hold a few squats). The class is very visual, as Renouf demonstrates each move. So even if your French isn’t up to snuff, it’s still possible to follow along.

Éléphant Paname – 8th arrondissement
10 Rue Volney, 75002 Paris, France

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Best Vegetarian Restaurant: Arpège Restaurant

No visit to Paris should be void of a fancy dinner. And Arpège is the spot to have it. It’s renown, and celebs dine here all the time (and health editors, too). It’s a cool story actually. Three star Michelin chef Alain opened Arpège in 1986 and he became well-known for his exotic and creative meat dishes. Then suddenly in 2001 he made the restaurant vegetarian. The reason: He was bored with cooking meats. Ah, l’ennui. Vegetables reinvigorated his love for food. It’s all chronicled on his “Chef’s Table” episode on Netflix. You may have also pinned one of his creations (or a dish inspired by his) on your Pinterest page, namely rosette apple tarts. The restaurant is not cheap. It is a three-star restaurant, after all. If you can, ask to be seated in the cave for an intimate dining experience. Don’t be intimidated by the multiple course menu offerings. The plates are portioned so you can have a taste of everything. We would recommend a dish to try, but the menu changes so frequently, and daily offerings depend on the garden’s offering. Do make a reservation, although we did pop in for lunch unexpectedly and were able to get a table.

Arpège Restaurant – 7th arrondissement
84, Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris

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Best Green Beauty Store: Florame

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With the health movement going strong in Paris, green beauty products are en masse. You’ll find them at the green-signed pharmacies, as well as in sections of their dreamy department stores. Since you’re in Paris, and following along with our health editor’s guide, visit the original green beauty boutique. Florame is truly a hidden gem, tucked just off of Boulevard Saint-Germain (a street made famous by Café de Floré). Florame is an organic, natural, fair-trade brand that has been around for more than 20 years. The apothecary-like shop is cozy, with its wooden exterior and interior. The store sells its own brand of essential oils, soaps, perfumes, creams, shampoos, and more, as well as the organic cosmetics line Couleur Caramel. Florame mandates that its products are free of parabens, silicone, dyes, and other cosmetic synthetics. You can find Florame products in other retailers, but it’s worth it to visit the original store.

Florame – 6th arrondissement
8 rue Dupuytren, 75006 Paris

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Best Gluten-Free Bakery: Chambelland

Celiac disease, gluten allergy or gluten intolerance will not get in your way of enjoying pastries and bread in Paris. Chambelland is much more of a bakery than a café in décor, although there are tables to sit down at to have a sandwich or enjoy a coffee. Or a pain au chocolat, if you prefer. As soon as you walk in, the waft of fresh bread baking may distract you from the sweet offerings. But you’re in Paris, why not try both? The desserts are decadent and moist. Meringue tarts, lemon cake and brownies are hands-down the most delicious we’ve tried – out of all desserts, not just in the gluten-free category. We also love that the bakery staff don’t handle money, as a machine automatically dispenses the change. Not only are all the baked goods gluten-free, you can ensure you won’t get sick from cross-contamination. Merci, indeed.

Chambelland – 11th arrondissement
14 rue Ternaux 75011 Paris