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Are these the 10 best swimming pools in Paris?

Where is the best public swimming pool in Paris? Well a new book may have the answer. If you are keen swimmer then read on.

Are these the 10 best swimming pools in Paris?
Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Unsplash

As warm weather flows into France, taking a dip is becoming more and more appealing. If you’re wondering where to go this summer, look no further than the comprehensive guide: “Paris à la nage : Guide des piscines parisiennes” by authors Colombe and Marine Schneck. Together, they tested all of Paris’ 42 pools, rating them on criteria such as: the length, width and depth of the pool, number of swimming lanes, the water temperature, presence of a sunroof, access to outdoor space, cleanliness, disability access, locker rooms, and showers.

They also took note of the architectural history of the buildings, as many fall into beautiful 1920s art deco style.

Explaining her key takeaways from spending a year testing Paris’ pools, author Colombe Schneck said, “They are really clean. The municipality is often criticised, but the lifeguards are great, the entrance workers are always friendly and the rates (3.50 euros, 2 euros for those under 26, free for the unemployed) are very affordable.”

Here are each of the authors’ top five pools based on the criteria outlined above:

Colombe Schneck’s Top Five

1. The Butte-aux-Cailles (5 Pl. Paul Verlaine, 75013 Paris)

Listed as a historical monument, the Butte-aux-Cailles swimming pool bears witness to “the modernity of the architecture of the 1920s,” says Colombe Schneck. In addition to the indoor pool of 33m, the establishment also boasts an outdoor pool of 25m.

2. Blomet (17 rue Blomet – 75015 Paris)

Located in Paris’ 15th arrondissement, the Blomet pool is 50m large, which is “rare enough to be noted.” The building has a “pure 1925 style” with large concrete arches were replaced by a glass roof in the 1960s, making the establishment all the sunnier.

3. Keller (14 rue de l’Ingénieur Robert Keller – 75015 Paris)

Also located in the 15th arrondissement, this pool was built at the end of the 1960s for postal workers. It was bought by the city in 2002 and renovated in 2006. It is a 50m pool with an opening roof, which is a huge plus during summer! “Swimming in the sun, looking at the sky, is quite unexpected in Paris,” said Colombe Schneck, in her book.

4. Georges-Hermant (15 rue David d’Angers – 75019 Paris)

This time found in the 19th arrondissement, located near Buttes Chaumont, the piscine Georges-Hermant is “worth the trip for the beauty of its 50m pool, which is almost outdoors because the canvas roof opens in the summer,” said Colombe Schneck.

5. La Plaine (13 Rue du Général Guillaumat, 75015 Paris)

Built in 1967 by architect Jean-Pierre Sevaistre near the Parc des Expositions, this pool has very large windows. To Colombe, it offers “an almost Californian luminosity. It’s like being in Los Angeles in the 1960s.”

Marine Schneck’s Top Five

1. Édouard-Pailleron (32, rue Edouard Pailleron, 75019 PARIS)

“It’s the pool of the 21st century,” said Marine Schneck, who praised it as the perfect mix between a 33m Art Deco pool from the 1930s and now part of a contemporary building (2006). The pool is luminous, with a paddling pool, a large, round children’s pool and a Jacuzzi.

2. Roger-Le Gall (34 Bd Carnot, 75012 Paris)

A beautiful swimming pool that in the summer becomes open air, the Roger-Le Gall pool is complete with a waterside cafeteria, lawn, and deckchairs, this pool is located right near to Porte de Vincennes. “It gives you the impression of being on vacation in the countryside!” says Marine Schneck.

3. Jacqueline-Auriol (7 All. Louis de Funès, 75008 Paris)

Inaugurated in 2014, the pool at the Beaujon sports centre, with its large bay windows, offers a 25m stainless steel pool and a smaller one for children. Beware however, “the showers [were] installed facing the pool, without walls and without modesty!” notes Schneck.

4. Les Amiraux (6, rue Hermann Lachapelle, 75018 PARIS)

Built in 1927 by the architect Henri Sauvage, the 33m pool of Les Amiraux, is classified as a historical monument. It almost resembles an ocean liner with two-story hallways above the pool! It was recently renovated in 2017.

5. Thérèse-et-Jeanne-Brulé (1, place Edith Thomas, 75014 PARIS)

Opened in February 2020, this swimming pool is brand new with large bay windows that allow the sun to reflect off of the aluminium pool (25m-long). On sunny days, you can visit the lovely solarium and enjoy its deckchairs!

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PARIS

Paris pétanque club under threat from luxury hotel plans

A community pétanque club in the chic Paris neighbourhood of Montmartre is battling for survival after a luxury hotel filed plans for the walled garden that hosts its exclusive games.

Paris pétanque club under threat from luxury hotel plans

For 50 years, the walled garden on the ultra-chic Rue Lepic has resonated with the metal clacks of pétanque, the French national bowling pastime, defying the gentrification that drew envious eyes.

Montmartre in the north of Paris is one of the few elevated areas in the relatively flat French capital and “the butte”, as it is known, had for many years a rural feel that captivated artists.

Even now, with the area absorbed into the urban sprawl of central Paris, most residents still call it a village.

The garden is maintained by the non-profit organisation Club Lepic-Abbesses Pétanque (CLAP) and its 257 members, who say nothing less than the neighbourhood’s soul is at stake as City Hall considers rival commercial projects for the site.

“You have job-seekers, pensioner and CEOs, a chef, a teacher. A 16-year-old can play with someone who’s 80. Here you find all types, and it’s this incredible social fabric that makes us what we are,” said Maxime Liogier, the club’s communications manager.

The players took over the 765 square metres of playing grounds, a rare remnant of the vegetation that once covered the butte, after the city bought the land from a daughter of a resident painter in 1972.

No formal contracts were signed but the city gave its tacit approval, connecting water and electricity for the clubhouse and letting the club reserve entry to members only.

The status quo prevailed until a few months ago, when the luxury boutique hotel next door filed a plan to turn the site into a for-profit affair. What better setting for lush wedding receptions or cocktail parties?

READ ALSO 10 things you probably didn’t know about pétanque

Under a 2017 law, the city had to publish the proposal for use of public land and invite competing offers that are due by November 28th.

The move caught the CLAP off guard, especially since it had been trying to regularise its situation with local officials.

“Two months isn’t a lot of time for us to come up with a project!” Liogier said.

An online petition to save the club has garnered around 4,300 signatures, though members seem to accept that their days of exclusive access are numbered.

“We want to keep the site in its current state, while opening it up as much as possible to the neighbourhood,” Liogier said.

To that end, the club held an open house on Saturday, with members suggesting that schools would soon be invited so children could learn an activity more often associated with pensioners enjoying a game between glasses of beer or pastis.

“When a unique place like this is in danger, it breaks your heart,” French tennis great and neighbour Yannick Noah told AFP.

“It’s good to have commercial projects but maybe there’s something more important — this bond between people.”

But not everyone will be sad to see the club go. Alain Coquard, the influential president of the “Republic of Montmartre” preservation society, calls the CLAP an unaccountable clique that claims dominion over a “magical site” that should be open to everyone.

The stakes are high for the butte as it seeks to join UNESCO’s ranks of protected World Heritage Sites.

“Can we leave a city’s heritage, which belongs to all Parisian taxpayers, abandoned like this? Just give it to people who have turned it into the most exclusive club in Paris?” he said.

According to Coquard — who says he was refused entry the one time he was invited to play — private event operators are also preparing lucrative proposals for the city, which could be temping as the municipal debt load soars.

But his Republic is backing the bid by the Hotel Particulier next door, whose director Oscar Comtet declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

“We sided with him to ensure this corner of Montmartre is opened up,” Coquard said, conjuring up a range of open-door events, maybe even an ice-skating rink, on the petanque grounds in winter.

But the CLAP is digging in. Older members recall a years-long battle in the 1980s to prevent the construction of a multi-storey carpark on the site.

Prominent neighbours including Jean-Pierre Cassel, father of star actor Vincent Cassel, chained themselves to the trees to scupper the project, and in 1991 the site was designated a protected landscape.

“If we have to, we’ll do the same,” Liogier said, though he remains confident that 50 years of taking care of the garden have not been in vain.

“We trust that the planning commission will pick the best project, which is us.”

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