Petit Paris: Exercise

David Hockney's A Bigger Splash
I've been meaning to write a practical post about exercise for a little while now since I've actually started doing some. It took me weeks to get started. In January it was either too cold, too dark - it didn't get light in Paris til gone 9am - now it's around 8am (I think, as if I'm honest, I haven't seen 7am in a while) - or I was waking up with a headache having either drunk too much, might I say, very good red French wine the night before, or I stayed up too late browsing blogs - my new favourite past time. I finally persuaded my boyfriend to accompany me to Decathlon - Paris' mecca for all things sporty - to pick up a set of weights - I freelance from home so the idea here was that I would do a few reps in the morning before I sit down to my laptop (this has happened twice) - an exercise ball, because everyone attempting to exercise from home should have one, apparently, and a swimming costume and hat - for you can't go swimming in a public pool in Paris without one. Yes, even the men have to wear hats. So last month with hat and cosie in hand, I braved the still biting cold and ventured to our nearest pool.

Swimming in Paris is not like swimming in London. I have been kicked, slapped and splashed so many times, I've actually started to find it funny. Luckily I'm a strong swimmer so it doesn't faze me too much, but swimming here is far from relaxing. And if you think Parisian men are arrogant, just wait to you see them in the pool. They are in constant competition with each other - who can swim the fastest - cajoling each other on, and if one goes without waiting their turn, there'll be trouble. Yes, the pools here are so packed at certain hours, you have to cue in the pool to swim. Then there are older women who insist on doing back crawl, crawling along at such a pace they might as well be treading water.

Anyway, if I haven't put you off swimming (it's really not that bad, you get used to it, and it's good exercise) or any other exercise for that matter, here are a few top tips.

+ Nageurs - this website has everything you need to know about swimming pools in Paris and France, from where they are - there are around two in each arrondissement and how big they are to their opening hours. If you get really into it, you can even post how many metres you swim. 
+ Decathlon - as I said before this is Paris' mecca for all things sporty. They sell everything here and it's cheap
+ Good old-fashioned gyms - gyms are quite expensive in Paris, so make sure you're going to use it before you sign up. Club Med is one of the most popular and they have them everywhere, and Fitness Price is also good, and they usually do deals in the new year. 
+ Yoga - most gyms offer yoga classes, but there are also yoga studios dotted about. Try Le Centre Uma.
+ Bikram Yoga - this is another thing I've been meaning to try. It's pricey, but most studios offer a deal of 10 days straight (of course you need the time to do it every day) for just €35 - the only problem is you'll probably be hooked by the end of it, and that's when they get your money. Try Bikram Yoga Paris.
+ Dance Studios - I've danced on and off for years, mainly ballet, so will probably take up some more dance classes soon. From what I've found, Le Studio de Lea looks like a good option and they have lots of choices.
+ You can also play tennis - here's a good list of where all the courts are, and here's the website to book them.