The 5 Best Indoor Swimming Pools in Paris
Swimming is one of the best types of exercise: It’s cardio without the sweat, an all round workout that puts no strain on your joints, the repetitive strokes calm and soothe stress.
Are you looking for the best indoor swimming pools to either train or simply chill out during your stay in Paris? Read on.
Paris is equipped with plenty of pools (not all private or exclusive to guests of several swanky hotels).
You’ll just need a little local insight and the volonté or desire to change neighbourhood on your quest for the perfect pool!
1. Piscine de la Butte aux Cailles
This is one of my absolute favourite finds – one of the oldest pools in Paris, built by the architect Louis Bonnier between 1922-1924.
It is a listed building “classé” by the Ministre de la Culture. The red brick façade is charming and evokes an ‘art noveau’ style. Inside, the vaulted ceiling is impressively ecclesiastical in appearance.
I include it with enthusiasm in this list as it’s off the tourist trail, a little out of central Paris in the depths of the Rive Gauche.
The Butte aux Cailles neighbourhood is a micro market, as Parisian estate agents would say. Despite it’s location in the 13th arrondissement, an area not famed for its beauty or monuments, it has an undeniably charming village feel.
It is this intimate feeling of having found “la provence à Paris” that attracts many young families to this area. I thoroughly enjoyed playing “la fête de la musique” in the heart of the village here last June.
The first practical advantage is that the pool is open from 7am on weekdays, except Monday. In Paris on business and want a morning swim to start your day right? It couldn’t be easier!
Take the line 7 to Tolbiac or the 6 coming into Corvisart. It’s a little longer from Place d’Italie (a ten minute walk), but there you have a choice of both lines, as well as the line 5.
Entrance will set you back just €3.50 for a full price adult. Take an extra euro for your locker.
I would recommend avoiding Wednesday afternoon swims if you can, as the pool welcomes groups of school children for lessons.
2. Piscine Henry de Montherlant
This pool has a great location on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne, which perhaps accounts for the friendly welcome I receive.
In terms of the space, layout and effort invested, this is probably one of the better addresses in Paris for people with disabilities. Full price entrance remains standard at €3.50. You’ll want to arrive by métro Rue de la Pompe or Porte Dauphine.
It’s also a good spot for diving as the main pool’s maximum depth is 3m70. In anticipation, nose clips, as well as swimming hats and armbands are on sale. In fact we struggled to find swimming related accessories that they don’t sell here!
Now is probably as good a time as any to mention that swimming hats are obligatory in public pools, and even most private pools, in Paris.
3. Piscine ‘le club privé’ at the Ritz
This is undoubtedly the most luxurious offer on our list. The stunning indoor swimming pool at the Ritz is part of their ‘Club Privé’, which includes sauna, hammam and fitness areas with cutting edge technology.
There is also a bar which overlooks the pool, where you can enjoy a cocktail with a view, watching guests lapping their lengths or relaxing.
The price tag attached to this experience is unfortunately not the three euros fifty, which gets you into most municipal pools.
Full day visits (from 6h30-10pm) are charged at 200€ per person. This includes use of the gym, sauna, hammam, fitness and all relaxation areas. For 300€ pp, an hour long massage is added to the package, to resurface entirely refreshed and revitalized from a day at the Ritz.
I won’t recommend this as an everyday address, but if you’re in Paris for a special occasion (honeymoon, anniversary, mother-daughter trip), and you’re curious to experience one of the most beautiful indoor pools in Paris for yourself, you know where to go: 15 Place Vêndome, the Ritz Paris.
And if you’d rather just enjoy this luxurious neighbourhood, here are some tips!
4. Piscine Joséphine Baker
If you’re reading this article hot off the press the Joséphine Baker pool might not be open for your stay.
They closed just eleven days ago and will definitely have their doors shut to the public until February 18th – if they then open on the 19th, or later in the month or March, waits to be seen.
Even so they certainly deserve a place in the top five, as the piscine Joséphine baker is a floating, heated glass-roofed swimming pool on the Seine!
The members of staff are friendly and helpful. They are used to large numbers of visitors, including tourists (this is especially true in the summer).
Joséphine Baker charges just a few centimes more than other public Parisian pools in low season, €3.80. However, in high season this rises to €6.50 for a regular priced entrance.
Excluding refurbishment, unforeseen closure and bank holidays, the pool is normally open every day of the week, with hours changing to allow for low season, high season (where it stays open until 11pm!) and school holidays.
The pool’s incredible location on the left bank of the Seine, Quai François Mauriac, is easily accessible by metro. It’s just four minutes walking from Quai de la Gare, on the line 6, or a ten-minute walk from the line 14 at Bibliothèque François Mitterand.
5. Piscine des Amiraux
Admirals and others are all welcome at this municipal indoor pool in the far north of Paris and the 18th arrondissement. The pool’s located up near the boulevard périphérique (6 rue Herman Lachapelle).
While it may take a little planning and venturing out of your central Paris comfort zone to get there, you will be richly awarded on arrival by the space on offer.
Here you can enjoy doing lengths of a pool that measures 33 metres in length, surrounded by beautiful tiles and an incredibly high ceiling.
The atmosphere is informal, but the building, like the piscine de la Butte aux Cailles, has enjoyed the status of a listed building since 2003.
Built in the inter-war years between 1922-1927 by Henri Sauvage, les Amiraux is a treasure of Art noveau architecture.
6. Piscine Molitor
The Piscine Molitor didn’t make my list for a couple of reasons; it’s principally an outdoor pool and it’s fairly hard to get in, if you are not staying at their hotel.
That said, it would be mad to write a detailed article on Parisian pools (chosen in part for their looks) and leave out this stunner altogether.
The piscine Molitor holds a rather mythical place in Parisian history.
It has been described as ‘quite simply the most beautiful swimming pool in Paris’.
The Art deco masterpiece was frequented by glamourous crowds in its heyday. Dubbed ‘the birthplace of the bikini’, as it was there in 1946 that Louis Réard presented this creation worn by a Casino de Paris danser.
Closed and practically condemned during summer 1989, neighbourhood locals and longstanding fans of the pool set up the lobbying group ‘SOS Molitor’ in a bid to save it. Their project worked and it was listed as a protected monument the following year.
Abandoned Molitor, sourced from Molitor website
Not until 2008 until the city of Paris accept a renovation project from the Colony Capital-Accor-Bouygues group. The initial quote was a little under 65 million euros and they ended up spending closer to 80.
The glamourous spot, restored to her former glory reopened in 2014. Guests of the hotel and members of le Club de Molitor can enjoy this exquisite pool.
The PSG footballers are rumoured to squat the sun loungers come the summer.
Renovated Molitor, sourced from Molitor website
7. Piscine Pontoise
The Piscine Pontoise is a beautiful pool located in the 5th. But sadly closed for renovation until December 2019. So if you’re visit to Paris is planned for this year, it shouldn’t make your list.
However, from 2020 this is by far one of the prettiest public pools. It’s quite centrally located in the beautiful 5th arrondissement just behind Île-saint-Louis and the banks of the Seine.
Here’s a photo to give you an idea of the agreeable space on offer there.
A public pool, there should be no problems accessing it following reopening.
If you are wanting more inspiration about where to enjoy the water in Paris, click here for another article on the subject! Allez hop! Tout le monde à l’eau!