Whether it's the post-Christmas health kick, a September resolution or the big push before summer, there's never a bad time to start investing in your workout gear. And Paris, with its abundant pools and parks, is the ideal city for smashing your chosen sport. From pedometers to push-bikes, our list of the best sports shops has it all.
26 rue Léon Jost, 17eme
Set up in 1979 by Raymond Cornou, marathon champion of the eighties, this boutique has all the running gear imaginable: Nike, Asics, New Balance or Puma for trainers (€60-180), and clothes by Adidas, Salomon, Raidlight, Mizuno or Ronhill. Not to mention the huge range of accessories – gloves, sports watches and even headphones. A must visit for anyone about to tread the honoured 26 miles.
34 rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, 5eme
For anyone who likes to wander, the 5th arrondissement is full of little surprises. Behind this elegant double door at 34 rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, is a famous haunt among martial arts aficionados: Budo Store. It also happens to be the birthplace of French karate, which developed under the masterful eye of Henry Plée, the famous 'mountain'.
7 rue Beaurepaire, 10eme
There are very few spaces in Paris dedicated purely to combat sports. At Boxing Shop, it’s nothing but combat sports; Krav Maga, Thai, English, French boxing – among others. There's a staggering range of equipment and clothing for novices and professionals, including hanging and inflatable punch bags. And because this sort of thing involves a fair bit of protection, they all sell shields and padding for both men and women.
9 rue des Blancs-Manteaux, 4eme
The Canadian ready-to-wear brand Lolë (founded by Bernard Mariette, formerly of Quicksilver) makes chic, environmentally responsible sportswear for women. The light-filled wooden space showcases collections made from breathable materials with sustainable origins – organic cotton, bamboo fibre, recycled plastic. While the prices aren’t exactly Sports Direct (€45 for a pair of shorts, €60 for a yoga top), the pieces are elegant and durable. They also organise meet-ups and free sports classes (yoga, Pilates, tai chi etc.) several times a week.
82 rue des Haies, 20eme
If the words ‘roller derby’ still mean nothing to you, get your skates on and catch up. A recent addition to the Buzenval area, niche boutique Passage des étoiles is a shrine to this increasingly popular sport-on-wheels. On its freshly painted shelves you’ll find the all-important component: ‘quad’ rollerskates, specially designed with eight small wheels to keep you perpetually upright (pretty essential for a sport like this).
12 rue des Hospitalières Saint-Gervais, 4eme
They’ve taken Tokyo and conquered New York – now, Nike Lab’s first European outpost has landed in Paris. Located in a former Marais book shop, the store offers a range of beautiful, specialised sportswear, like the Gyakusou line for runners (€80-€300), as well as a wide choice of sports trainers – the light and feminine Flynit model for example (€170). And bonus feature – all 40m2 of the first floor is dedicated to the innovative ‘NikeID’ concept, allowing you to create and customise your own Air Force 1 or Air Max 1 trainers.
37 boulevard Bourdon, 4eme
Nomade Shop has been Paris’s temple to roller-skating, skateboarding and scootering for several years now. Located in Bastille – right by the starting point of weekly rollerblading excursion ‘Rollers & Coquillages’ - the store offers a very handy ‘skate-hiring service as well as a superb range of accessories and protective gear, from helmets (€35) to ‘anti-vibration soles’ (€20). Get your elbow pads, wrist pads and kneepads here too – they’re all of a much better quality than you’ll find in mainstream sportswear chains.
40 rue Tiquetonne, 2eme
You can grow a moustache, get a topknot and buy all the flannel shirts in the world, but you won’t be a true Parisian hipster without your own trendy bicycle. Head to En selle Marcel for the latest must-have models, from the classic Peugeot 1981 to the more recent – and completely foldable – ‘Brompton’.
30 shops around 48 rue des Ecoles, 5eme
This Aladdin’s cave for lovers of the outdoors is perfect for fearless explorers and casual weekend walkers alike. From walking shoes and swimming costumes to spear-fishing equipment and caving apparatus, Au Vieux Campeur has everything you need to survive on land, in snow and underwater. It’s spread out around a ‘village’ comprising of thirty-odd shops so check out their website to make sure of where you’re going, or be prepared to spend the entire afternoon wandering Maubert-Mutualité…