I had an interesting experience this weekend. The hammam at the Mosquèe de Paris. It had been on my Paris to do list for about a year now but I had never made it over there… and I had been slightly avoiding it. I was interested in it because for one the mosque is gorgeous and for two I am all about experiences. So although getting scrubbed by a large, topless woman or lounging around in steamy rooms with a bunch of naked chicks didn’t really sound up my alley, I had to check it out. Sadly, there were no pictures allowed to be taken inside so you have to use your imagination… Enjoy because I am sure it is better than actually what was happening.
The outside of the mosque is pretty and instead of being in Paris, you all the sudden feel like you have been transported somewhere else. Because it has been cold, the fountains were turned off so I was disappointed I couldn’t see the gardens with them on but they were still beautiful. To visit the mosque, you have to pay 3€ or you can peek inside for free like I did. Up to you.
In order to get to the Hammam, you have to go through the restaurant part of the mosque. There is a door hidden on the left of the pastry case with a written sign, “HAMMAM.” Awkwardly, I walked behind the display case and pushed open the door. The second I walked in it was like secret world that every woman knew about but me. On one side there was the cash desk where you ordered up your menu of how many different ways you want another woman to touch you. I went for the basic which included: entrance, special black soap, exfoliation, a 10 min massage, and a glass of mint tea. After paying, I tried asking around 3 times how this whole thing works. Somehow I gathered I needed to go through a pile of random used sandals to find some that fit, then shower, and then… I lost her. So, I put my stuff in the locker and headed to the steam room holding my black soap and tokens for the scrub and massage.
I had kind of gathered that I need my skin to be moist from sitting in the steam for at least 10 minutes. What I missed was that I need to put the black soap on. So when I tried to go get scrubbed by this large, topless African woman, she turned me right back to the steam rooms. Another 10 minutes for me. After completely the proper way of doing it, I came back for my gommage. The woman pointed at my top and told me to take it off. Well ok then. Getting me undressed is just that easy apparently. I laid down on the wet, plastic table and she began to viciously scrub my entire body. It was kind of nice in a really strange way. I mean all weirdness aside, it was nice to be getting rid of all my dead skin and such. Anyway, I rinsed off and proceed to the massage room.
I had good timing because no one was waiting. I laid down and… oh. my. goodness. The massage was heavenly. Super duper oily, but amazing. It is a full body massage and they know what they are doing. I am considering going back just so I can partake in this part of an awesome experience again.
So am I happy I went to the Hammam? Yes. Will I be a regular? Not so much. There are only so many times I allow myself to hang out with topless women in a questionably sanitary environment. I think it is definitely an interesting experience but not for the timid.
Here are some tips for the hammam for you brave ones:
- Check the schedule because days are reserved for men only and women only
- Bring sandals, a towel, and stuff to take a shower after your oily massage
- Wear a bathing suit
- Pick your forfait
- Pay. Bring a 1 euro coin for the locker
- Check the list for the massage and if it is long add your name
- Rinse off
- Go into the steam room and rub the black soap all over your body except your face
- Sit and relax in there for at least 10 minutes. There are buckets you can fill up with the faucets on the walls in order to cool yourself off if needed
- Go to the gommage area and give the one of the ladies behind the table your green token. Be prepared to remove your top
- Get scrubbed down
- Rinse off again
- Go to the massage room and check the list. If no one is waiting, tell one of the ladies who you are and she will take you
- Get a heavenly massage
- You will be super oily after the massage so now is the time to shower.
- Now you can either enjoy your mint tea in the hammam or at the restaurant outside
- Volia! C’est fini!!
Side note: so excited to see the search results led to my blog after the mention of topless women so many times…
Hammam at the Mosquèe de Paris
39 rue Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire
75 005 PARIS
Tél. : 01 43 31 38 20
Have you ever been to a hammam? What was your experience like?