It’s a trope we all know well: French women as the definition of effortless, chic beauty — the kind of sophisticated glamour embodied by Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve and, of course, Coco Chanel.
Whether it’s fact or clickbait is debatable, but when walking the streets of Paris, it’s easy to guess where its stylish denizens get their je ne sais quoi; the same designer brands that line the Champs-Élysées can also be found in the city’s best spas.
From Dior to Chanel, top-shelf beauty treatments are the season’s best accessory, and we’re tipping you off to five of the best.
Dior Microabrasion with Sapphire Crystals at Dior Institut
Each month, the luxurious Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star spa within Five-Star Hôtel Plaza Athénée Paris highlights a new couture treatment, and August’s service is a gem. (At press time, September’s offering hadn’t been announced.) Sit back and relax as a specialized microabrasion and photostimulation tool tipped with fine sapphire particles exfoliates your skin and stimulates cellular regeneration.
The result is smooth skin as radiant as a fine gemstone. A bonus: post-service skin is more responsive to applied products, so it’s a great time to soak up Dior’s new Dreamskin Advanced line.
Liquid Gold Organic Face Massage by Tata Harper at Spa Le Bristol by La Prairie
The serene spa inside Five-Star Le Bristol Paris is so dedicated to its partnership with natural beauty brand Tata Harper that it created a treatment room just for services that use the vaunted label.
The bespoke space plays host to the luxurious Liquid Gold Organic Face Massage, which employs special techniques and products infused with herbs grown on Tata Harper’s organic farm in Vermont. The microcirculation results in firmer, more sculpted skin — dare we say a facelift without the recovery time.
Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Prestige Treatment at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Paris
Famed Parisian perfume and skincare house Guerlain has almost 200 years of experience in French beauty, and its Orchidée Impériale Prestige Treatment at Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, Paris’ Four-Star spa reflects that history.
Using the brand’s signature Orchidée Impériale anti-aging products, the service begins with a massage of the upper back, neck and décolleté, then moves into a facial that uses Longevity Concentrate serum to metaphorically roll back time. Afterward, you’ll have supple, hydrated and youthful skin; expect to be mistaken for a Breathless-era Jean Seberg.
Californien Massage at Spa Nuxe Montorgueil
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse is the closest thing France has to a national beauty product. The cult favorite, multi-purpose dry oil is a staple in every Parisian woman’s vanity, and the brand’s spas make liberal use of the popular commodity in its numerous offerings.
One of the best is the Montorgueil location’s Californien massage, which marries the signature, softly scented French oil with California-style fluid strokes of increasing pressure — think beach girl meets bobo (bourgeois-bohemian) Parisian.
Le Grand Soin at Ritz Club Paris
Chanel called famed Five-Star The Ritz Paris home for more than 30 years, and today it plays host to the only Chanel spa in the world. The glamorous designer declared that, “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous,” and there is no better way to achieve both than with the Five-Star spot’s Le Grand Soin service.
The fully customized face and body experience begins with an in-depth discussion with your “treatment designer” so your needs can be properly assessed. Then your skin is cleansed, exfoliated and indulged in Le Massage de Chanel before a collagen mask is applied for maximum plumping.
To complete your transformation, consider adding a 20-minute Touch of Beauty Chanel makeup application to ensure you look runway ready before departing.