You never really know which of the mom-and-pop massage spas in Paris are really just massage parlors. I had been frequenting one in the 18th—next to a police station, no less—that I came to be convinced was the latter after the boss (or should I say madame?) took phone calls when she gave me a so-so rub-down. Open to trying a new place. I dropped into Institut Baan Siam on a stroll through the 6th. Very pleasantly surprised, I enjoyed an expert treatment with nary a worry about cooties or overheard gasps of pleasure.
Baan Siam’s two upstairs spots have floor-level mats, since that is how traditional Thai massage is done (the masseuse stands above and behind you at times, and also executes a few twists and stretches that require a bit of yogic flexibility). There are also a couple of leather upholstered chairs for customers receiving feet-only treatments. For a hot-oil massage, I was led downstairs to one of two areas with proper massage tables. Thai music tinkled on the speaker, and none of the traffic outside on the Blvd. St Germain was audible.
I was delighted with my treatment, which worked out shoulder knots and revitalized circulation in my dog-tired legs. So delighted, in fact, that I signed up for an abonnement of 5 sessions. This reduced the cost from 90 euros per hour to 50. A series at Baan Siam does not expire, and you can treat a friend to one of your sessions, as I did last week. We giggled a bit as we enjoyed our massages across from each other, but didn’t opt for the open-curtain that people who comes for tandem massages often do.
After the massages, tea and biscuits were served, and we felt no pressure to leave right away. My only hurry was to tell Paris Blog readers about this serene spot well worth a visit.