A swimming pool in Aix-les-Bains will review its policies after it was criticized for closing its doors to the public so that pupils from a Jewish school could swim uninterrupted.

"/> A swimming pool in Aix-les-Bains will review its policies after it was criticized for closing its doors to the public so that pupils from a Jewish school could swim uninterrupted.

" />
SHARE
COPY LINK

SWIMMING POOL

Pool shuts so Jewish pupils can swim alone

A swimming pool in Aix-les-Bains will review its policies after it was criticized for closing its doors to the public so that pupils from a Jewish school could swim uninterrupted.

Aix-les-Bains sits on the edge of Lake Bourget in the south-east Rhône-Alpes region and is known for its hot sulphur springs. 

Local newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré reported that a swimmer arrived last Friday at the town’s public swimming pool and was told it was closed to the public.

The newspaper reported that the pool has agreed to close at certain times so that male and female pupils from the Tomer-Debora Jewish school can swim at separate times and without members of the public being present. 

Under the religious rules the school follows, girls and boys should not swim together.

The pool’s policy risks contravening the French principle of secularism, which creates a clear separation of church and state. It is the same principle that has seen headscarves and other religious symbols being banned in schools. 

The mayor of the town, Dominique Dord, told the newspaper he was “embarrassed” by the incident, but that the system has been in place since 1977.

“This system has been in operation for 35 years and no other mayor has changed it,” he said. “Today, this story is now in the spotlight and I can understand why it’s causing a debate.”

The mayor said the school pays for the pool to be shut. Other schools are able to use the pool for free but do not request that it is shut to the public while its pupils are in the water.

“This arrangement only applies to ten sessions a year,” he said. 

The mayor plans to check the legality of the arrangement.

“I am going to ask for legal advice to see whether we are infringing the principle of secularism in the eyes of the law,” he said. “If so, then we’ll act, but in a cooperative manner. We do not want to stigmatize a community.”

twitter.com/matthew_warren

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

FILM

Stunning Paris pool immortalised in film ‘Amélie’ about to reopen

The Piscine des Amiraux, the stunning art deco swimming pool immortalised in the classic Paris film "Amélie", is to reopen to the public this month after a two-year, 10-million-euro makeover.

Stunning Paris pool immortalised in film 'Amélie' about to reopen
Remi Mathis/WikiCommons
The municipal pool, situated in a backstreet in a very untouristy part of the 18th arrondissement of the capital, was built by the architect Henri Sauvage and first opened its doors in 1930.
 
It lies in the bowels of an eight-storey apartment building that features stepped balcony terraces and facades covered in the same white tiles used in the Paris metro.
 
Sauvage, who also designed the La Samaritaine department store building on rue de Rivoli, initially wanted a cinema to be built where the pool is but was overruled by the city hall, which had commissioned the building for social housing.
 
READ ALSO:
Piscine Amiraux. AFP. 
 
The pool has featured in several movies, most notably in the 2001 film “Amélie,” by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, a whimsical tale of a young Parisian woman, played by Audrey Tautou, who sets out to improve the lives of those around her.
 
But in recent years the ageing pool, officially listed as an historic monument since 1991, had fallen into disrepair and needed major renovation and modernising.
 
The 33-metre pool has now been demolished and rebuilt exactly as its architect had originally conceived it.
 
The exact date that the Piscine des Amiraux will throw open its doors to the public has not yet been announced, but it is set to happen before the end of the month.