These days in Paris, wellness and cleansing is the new wine and cheese. Leaving one's hotel or Airbnb dwelling wearing sneakers - whether for a picturesque run along the quai or to withstand hours at the Louvre - is finally a la mode, and vegetarians no longer have to go hungry. Nowhere is this change more evident than at Wild & the Moon, a veggie-pushing haven in the Marais and the setting for the aforementioned scene. Tables are wooden. Lightbulbs descend from the ceiling. Ferns drape over ceramic pots. Reggae plays softly, interrupted only by the occasional rumbling of the blender making the likes of spirulina smoothies.
Opened in February 2016, it quickly became the place for the healthy hipster set - both French and otherwise - to detox on juice, socialize among friends and "thrive on love and energize in sun rays," as its website says.
Now, even hotels are making it their business to offer more than a basic fitness center with a few treadmills to both guests and locals. Recently, I was the only non-French adventurer sliding my hands into boxing gloves in the lower level of Hotel Parister, which opened in October in the 9th arrondissement. The words "Mind, Body, Soul" loom large on a wall at the far end of the cavernous room where CYD (Conquer Your Day), a grass-roots fitness phenomenon that started as a Facebook group, is heading up the hotel's workout program that is accessible to both Parisians and hotel visitors. About six classes are offered daily, including yoga, core strengthening, swimming and trigger point, a DIY targeted muscle massage.
"We believe in the benefits of practicing wellness on a regular basis," says Grégory Mollet-Viéville, co-founder of CYD, who credits this increased interest in "bien-être" (well-being) to generational changes. Romain Rainaut, his business partner, adds: "You can take care of yourself without restricting yourself. The French don't want to be told to stop doing something, but to change or add something - that can be okay."
In "The New Paris: The People, Places and Ideas Fueling a Movement," which was published in April, author and journalist Lindsey Tramuta writes: "You can't change their almost genetic predisposition to carbing, but Parisians are open to new things once they see they can be done well. The difference between the way in which Parisians now approach veggie-centric diets and the way most Americans do is that they come from an intrinsically more balanced background with food. It's less radical (cut out everything!), more sound (give it a try; learn something new)."
Julie Aubert, one of two 30-year-old co-founders of the year-old workout studio-cafe hybrid Chez Simone, also feels that she is on the forefront of a movement in which the French are following what the Americans, British and Australians have known for years: Athleticism paired with avocado whole-grain toasts, with a side salad of chou kale and maybe a detox cold press juice, is trés trendy.
After my hour-long California barre class in the light-filled studio, I retreated to the locker room where, post-shower, I accidentally moisturized my body with makeup remover. I suppose I was just shocked that either one was available for free use - and from a chic brand like Fresh, no less!
Once I was properly primped, I gathered around the juice bar with fellow exercisers to discuss the merits of energy balls, which the house sells for one euro a pop.
"There has always been an appreciation for a life balance in France," says yoga teacher Cole Zaccaria, a New Yorker who now teaches in Paris with CYD at Hotel Parister, "and we are now entering a time where this includes moments of staying present, slowing down and being mindful."