How to Cool Off at the Coolest Paris Pools on a Budget

How to Cool Off at the Coolest Paris Pools on a Budget

All information and links have been updated in this article, which originally appeared on INSPIRELLE July 5, 2018.

The recently renovated Piscine Pontoise. Photo: Maire de Paris

Finding great things to do in Paris during the summer isn’t easy. Parisians abandon the city, leaving it to the tourists (especially this Olympic year), and it seems like all the best spots are closed — or are they?

For the past 15 years, the mayor has turned some areas along the Seine into pop up beaches, literally, with 5000 tons of sand, sunbrellas, and volleyball tournaments. Paris Plages runs every summer from July to September, and organizers have planned even more festival activities than usual.

But I’m in the mood for something… different. One of my friends always comes up with amazing ideas for things to do when she has family and friends in town. She kindly told me her secret. She relies on the coveted and confidential Paris expert Anne Muraro.

Anne Muraro
Anne Muraro at Hotel Ritz in Paris © Margaït Prigent

Anne Muraro is a French tour guide for celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Robert Downey Junior. When asked what she likes to do here in the summer, she laughs. “All my best bistros, all my favorite cafes, the major exhibits — all closed. Even the sorbetier Berthillon is closed in August! Imagine, you can’t even get good ice cream! For me it’s depressing.”

But when Anne stops laughing, she gives a thoughtful pause, and then suggestions spill from her like sprinkles from a cone of soft serve. “In the summer, it’s all about staying cool, and gardens, and rooftops,” she says.

Molitor Pool in Paris
Molitor Pool in Paris. Photo courtesy of author

The Coolest Pools to Stay Cool

Anne starts with a classic, Le Molitor (16th). This landmark, art deco hotel in the 16th arrondissement was built around two swanky swimming pools. Her idea to rent a room and hang out poolside all day sounds amazing, but maybe I forgot to mention the whole reason I’m stuck in the city is I’m (temporarily) BROKE!

So I do some checking. There is another, less expensive, way you can enjoy l’été at Le Molitor. If you book a one-hour appointment at their Clarins spa, you can add on the option of an hour or full day use of their facilities, including the pools. Score! (Be sure to confirm the details when making your RDV!)

But if I really want to stick to my minuscule budget, I do have some much cheaper choices. The city of Paris has dozens of public pools that cost less than the cost of a cappuccino in Trocadéro to use.

There’s the Piscine de la Butte aux Cailles (13th) in a 1920s building, fed by an underground spring, and more art deco gems like Piscine Pontoise and the Piscine Pailleron. For those days when I need more modern facilities, Piscine Les Halles-Suzanne Berlioux (1st), located in the shopping mall in the center of Paris is a great option. The popular Josephine Baker (13th) pool lets you swim and lounge right on the Seine River.

And when I’m a bit more serious about swimming rather than relaxing, I can always head over to the Eiffel Tower and the nearby Piscine Keller (15th). With 50-meter lanes and a retractable roof, I should be able to swim like I’m in the ocean.

Paris pools - Neuilly
Centre Aquatique Neuilly-sur-Seine

The Coolest Pools Just Outside of Paris

Although the impressive Centre Aquatique in Neuilly-sur-Seine is closed for renovations, just outside of Paris, there’s the environmentally-friendly Piscine des Murs à Pêches in Montreuil. The complex features a large indoor pool, a seasonal outdoor pool, family-friendly water slides, a sauna, hammam, and green areas for picnics and sunbathing. The outdoor pool is the first municipal pool in France to treat its water naturally with plants and micro-organisms instead of chemicals.

As always with Paris pools, you’ll want to avoid the lunchtime and evening rush, and be sure to bring your own towel, goggles, swim cap, and shower shoes. It’s a good idea to check the hours online before you go and plan a recon visit to scope out the facilities and make sure you’re clear on the rules for usage, which can seem weird to non-locals (like the no-swim-trunks-allowed interdiction).

Pool at the Trianon Palace in Versailles. © Photo: Trianon Palace

I should mention that Anne also had another fabulous suggestion if you’re desperate to escape the city, but can’t go far. Why not book a room at a hotel in Versailles? The bucolic Étangs de Corot features a luxury spa with a small indoor pool, while the Trianon Palace has an indoor pool and outdoor sun deck. With rates of 250€+ per night, they’re not exactly a steal, but for a break from the heat and a memorable staycation, they offer a level of beauty and comfort that’s hard to beat.

How do you beat the heat in Paris? Share some of your cool ideas with us below!



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