For those of you have never had the chance to experience a hammam (Turkish bathhouse) before, within the Mosquee de Paris lies an authentic public hammam in Paris. Hammams are usually always divided in female only and male only days, with women generally topless and required to wear underwear and or bathers; so if you aren’t used to getting up close and personal with hundreds of nude Parisians, don’t go! The environment of the hammam is very much a social place of gathering, where women usually go with their friends and have a good old gossip session whilst they get their ritual bathing done.
Inside the mosque there is a bakery and cafe
The hammam offers the typical menu of sauna and massage, and of course the most important — the gommage. The gommage is possibly the most intimidating and invasive experience you will have in terms of personal hygiene or some would say ‘pampering’, as you lie there naked on a table with an older Arabic woman scrubbing your skin raw with the most coarse-sandpaper like exfoliating glove you have ever felt! And depending how busy the hammam is (weekends are generally very busy) you will usually have an audience of women waiting in line for their turn, watching you get scrubbed like a baby! It may sound like hard work, but you are greatly rewarded towards the end with a full body massage using argan and eucalyptus oils and delicious Moroccan peppermint tea.
Entrance into the hammam starts from 15 euro but if this is your first time We would recommend the ‘Forfait’ for 38 euro which gives you entry to the hammam, a gommage glove to keep, savon noir (black soap), gommage, a 10 minute massage and tea. And just a tip, to avoid embarrassment remember the order otherwise you will get in trouble by one of the gommage ladies — shower first – then sauna and leave the savon noir on for 15 minutes — get your girlfriend to throw a few buckets of water on you — shower again — gommage — shower —massage — tea — and feel like a brand new person.
The hammam is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday for women, and Tuesday and Sunday for men.
39, rue Saint-Hilaire 75005 Paris
Metro: 7 to Jussieu, Place Monge or Censier-Daubenton
Check out Untapped Paris’ coverage of the mosque for more information and photographs about the historic building.