InvestigationNew kind of gyms, for well-off and relaxed thirties, are thriving in big cities. In these hybrid and opulent spaces, sport is often only a gateway to integrating a community, and cultivating interpersonal skills.
For her professional meetings, Clarisse has a new address. A private mansion classified as a historic monument in the 9e district of Paris. The Hungarian point parquet and the ornate staircase of the vast residence are impressive, as is the immense entrance hall. On the first floor, the restaurant installed in the adjoining lounges of the former dining room of the home of Paul de Choudens, librettist and music publisher of Berlioz and Bizet, facing a large garden terrace, has the standing of a five star place.
But what the hosts of the young director of digital communication may not be aware of, tasting their back of sea bass with sage and thyme, is that, as early as dawn, on this same floor, she was pedaling at high speed. speed in leggings during an “indoor cycling” session. That in this Art Nouveau decor from the turn of the century, she can take “AntiGravity” classes, yoga and fitness sequences, in a hammock, suspended above the ground, or take a dip in the infinity pool of 20 meters set in a granite box in the basement, after putting down his Mac and reading his emails under the rococo gilding of the bar. In the evening, she may even have had the time and the inclination to attend a cinema session in the private room with thirty seats posed as if levitating on the roof of this mansion which, from the 1940s to the 1990s, hosted the famous rue Blanche drama class before ending up in a squat.
On 3,000 tasteful square meters and six levels, the Blanche club is a new kind of sports hall. A private club opened in June 2018 after four years of renovation, by Arthur and Franck-Elie Benzaquen, pioneers in France of chic fitness and already owners of the very posh Ken Club and Klay, in the 16e and 2e arrondissements of Paris.
Their establishments, like the handful of other premium gyms that essentially thrive in the capital (for now), offer a lot more than cardio, strength training, or yoga. These new addresses offer real living spaces where you stay to work and deal with your business relationships over lunch, where you meet over a drink to network or simply relax with friends. Social fitness clubs, where sport is often only the key to joining a community, and cultivating a sense of self.
Pay the price
The vast majority of French people love sports halls, even if they have suffered from the health crisis. In 2019 (study by Deloitte and EuropeActive), six million people subscribed to one of the country’s 4,370 fitness rooms.
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