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Monday, 8 January, 2001, 21:56 GMT
Metro massage eases 'le stress'
Paris Metro sign
Parisians are invited to chill out with a touch of Zen
By James Coomarasamy in Paris

Paris Metro travellers are being given an unusual opportunity to relax this week - with a healthy snack and a massage.

Four stations on the network have been earmarked as islands of calm in a sea of stressed commuters.

Train interior, Paris Metro
The Paris Metro carries about four million passengers every day

To the relaxing sounds of New Age music, passengers are being encouraged to sip cups of green tea and munch on seaweed crackers.

Smiling Metro officials assure them that these are good for their general well-being.

Choice of massage

But the star attraction, and the reason for the queues around the specially-constructed booths, is the chance to have a free six-minute massage.

Professional masseurs offer commuters one of a range of massages, depending on the levels of stress they believe they are experiencing.

They begin with a basic neck massage for those who describe their day as being "fairly tiring," and end with the intriguingly-entitled Carte Blanche massage for the more weary - or the more adventurous.

The massage service is available from noon to 1800 at the Miromesnil, Republique, Gare-de-Lyon and Massy-Palaiseau stations.

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