Still on my quest to find the best spas in Paris I decided to make up for the hammam I’d missed out on at the St James Albany After the Rain Spa by going for the real deal, a traditional hammam. I have a respectable hammam habit, but I’ve been suffering from something of a Goldilocks syndrome with Paris hammams. This one was too funky, this one too trendy, this one without a soul. I was looking for something just right.
And I found it at Les Cent Ciels en Boulogne. Getting out of the metro on a freezing cold winter night, I wasn’t so sure it was a good idea as I cross the bridge over the peripherique and started looking for the number 45. A welcoming light was the sign that I was on the right path. I push opened the impressively large wooden door and the warm terra cotta walls, with a candlelit stairway assured me that I had arrived.
A smiling hostess confirmed my reservation and took me on a brief tour. I had traveled to the Middle East by metro; oriental carpets lined the floors and the dressing rooms were in authentic wood with pierced tin lights over head, bathing the room in dramatic light. Following a souk-like labyrinth led us to a small pool where they have aqua-biking courses mid-week and then we turned into the generously large hammam with tiled walls and benches, a fountain in the middle of the room, devoid of water, but bathed in candlelight. It was the perfect room for a group of girls to go and sit and chat, languishing in the heat.
In the corner, there is a second, domed hammam, barely visible through the thick mist of humidity and too hot for a long stay. I lay myself down on one of the heated benches, letting it all soak into the very marrow of my bones, as the city dirt came to the surface.
My masseur arrived and we headed into another domes room in a corner; the exfoliation room where she scrubbed away all the toxins that had been sitting there on the surface and prepped for a massage. We headed upstairs where she really got to work, rubbing and pulling and folding argan oil into every pore. It was delightfully invigorating and it felt like I was there for hours before it was over and I was invited to follow her to the rest room with deep oriental couches and a satisfying mint tea, so that I felt sweet inside and out before heading back out the door to brave the harsh winter elements.
Visits start at 40€ with treatments up to 220€
+ The warm ambience, clean, space and charming smiles.// – Better with a friend
Les Cent Ciels – 45 bis ave Edouard Vaillant – Boulogne – 0146200701