For travelers on anything less than a luxury budget, hotel swimming pools can prove few and very far between in the City of Light. But fear not, because with 39 public swimming pools in Paris alone, traveling on a beer budget does not have to mean forgoing a taste of Champagne swimming style. Want to enjoy a leisurely dip, swim with the kids, or get in some pulse-racing laps? You’ll love these summer-ready pools all set in historical, interesting and altogether picturesque surroundings.
Cool is as cool does at the elegant 1924 pool Butte Aux Cailles, because not only can you swim in the complex’s original indoor pool, you can also enjoy two other outdoor pools, including one a designed as a dedicated bassin nordique which remains open in winter as well as summer. Design lovers will enjoy swimming beneath large vaulted art deco arches inside, while green tech fans will enjoy the sustainable way in which the pool is heated via recycled internet server heat.
– 5 place Paul Verlaine, 75013; entrance 3€; website
First built in 1884, making it the oldest public swimming pool in the capital, Paris’ Château Landon pool is designed in sleek, 1930s modernist cruise ship style. A wall of minimalist deco windows serves as an airy backdrop to two pools (one a 25-meter and the other a 15-meter) and curved white balconies filled with changing cabins above. All conveniently placed near the Gare du Nord and Gare de L’Est train stations.
– 31 rue du Château-Landon, 75010; entrance 3.50€; website
Named after one of France’s most beloved American expats, Piscine Josephine Baker floats glamorously on the Seine with all the chic befitting the celebrity herself. Designed with a retractable roof, come summertime the complex transforms into a stunning open air space ripe for sun worship. Go for the 25-meter lap pool and children’s paddling pool, then stay for the two large sun decks and unbeatable riverside views. Arrive early, or expect to wait in line.
– Quai François Mauriac, 75013; entrance 6.20€ during summer or 3.60€ off peak; website
With multiple Paris swimming pools currently undergoing important renovation work, this 2017 addition to the Paris pool line-up was built to provide temporary relief from overcrowding. But thanks to its location close to the Eiffel Tower, the Emile Anthoine pool is set to garner more than a few permanent fans. After all, not only does this pristine pop-up pool feature a 25-meter pool, a 12.5-meter pool and a sun deck, it also benefits from a unique view of the iron lady. Stylish swim motivation indeed. To find this gem, head to the Emile Anthoine sports center near the Eiffel Tower.
– 2 avenue de Suffren, 75015; entrance 3.50€; website
If taking in a familiar dip piques your interest, then a look no further than the 18th arrondissement’s Piscine des Amiraux. Reopened at the end of 2017 after 2 years and 10 million euros’ worth of maintenance work, this 1930’s gem was featured in the 2001 movie Amélie. Now listed as a historic monument, this sleek piece of art deco history has been brought back to its former glory with new reproduction tile work and windows which all revive what architect Henri Sauvage — who also designed the now empty La Samaritaine department store — had designed 90 years ago.
– 12 rue des Amiraux, 75018; entrance 3.50€; website
Larger than piscine des Amiraux but boasting just as much history is the 1933-built Piscine Pontoise located in the Latin quarter. Not only is this swimming pool said to have hosted Jacques Cousteau as he undertook scuba trials, but original Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmuller is thought to have practiced his famous call there. Situated just steps from the bustle of Boulevard Saint Germain, Pontoise stays open until 11:45pm Monday through Friday, making it perfect place for a late night dip.
– 19 rue de Pontoise, 75005; 4.80€ or 11.10€ after 8pm; website
For all the fun of an open air swimming experience with plenty of urban convenience, look no further than the Bassin de la Villette canal’s three open-air pools. Now reopened for the summer season, these three pools have been ingeniously carved out of the canal using special submergible pontoons. On site shower and changing room facilities are available and water quality is monitored daily, all meaning you can enjoy this 4ft-deep swimming pool, 6.5ft-deep lap pool and 1.3ft-deep children’s paddling pool with ease.
– Quai de la Loire, 75019; entrance is free; website
Top Parisian swim tips:
For hygiene and safety purposes, most French public pools mandate the wearing of swimming caps, which can often be purchased in vending machines on location, and for men, sport-style swim suits (i.e., a speedo). So leave the trunks and longboard shorts at home and be prepared. Bring a towel and goggles, and flip flops for the changing rooms. There are foot baths and showers for swimmers so as to keep the pool clean.