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10 beautiful public swimming pools to cool off in in France

The Piscine Molitor is a breathtaking Art Déco monument, but it is expensive to visit - however there are many public pools across France that are more accessible, and just as beautiful, to cool off in

The Piscine Molitor in Paris, celebrated for its Art Deco architecture Pic: Eric Isselee | Shutterstock

France has some amazing public swimming pools scattered across the country. As temperatures are (again) expected to reach the high 30s, here is our pick of the 10 most beautiful swimming pools in France, in no particular order.

Piscine Pailleron (Paris)

Pic: Espace Pailleron

Address: 32 Rue Edouard Pailleron, 75019 Paris

Why should you go?

Built by the same architect as the famous Piscine Molitor, the Piscine Pailleron has the same iconic Art Deco style. It is also situated right next to the Buttes Chaumont, perhaps one of the most beautiful parks in Paris. It has a 33m sports pool, a children’s pool, a jacuzzi, and a solarium.

Rates:

  • €4.90 in the summer for adults, €4 from September to July.
  • €3.60 for seniors over 65, €3 from September to July.
  • No rates for children, but they are allowed, with mandatory adult supervision if under the age of eight.

Opening hours:

Open from 8:30 am to 22:30 during the week in the summer, 8:30 to 20:00 during the weekend.

Piscine municipale de Biarritz

Pic: City of Biarritz

Address: Bd du Général de Gaulle, 64200 Biarritz

Why should you go?

If you somehow tire of the beautiful sandy beaches of Biarritz, then the municipal swimming pool is just a minute away. Not only is it a beautiful monument, but it is also very good value. Overlooking the Biarritz beach, this is a great place to cool off when the tide is down. Oh, and it is one of the very few indoor sea water pools in France. It has a 25m sports pool, a shallow pool, a hammam, a sauna, a jacuzzi, and a bubble pool.

Rates:

  • €3.20 for adults if you have an address in Biarritz, €3.90 if you do not.
  • €1.50 for children under 18 and adults with disabilities (with documentary evidence), and an address in Biarritz. €1.70 if you don’t live in Biarritz.

Opening hours during the summer, from July 10 to September 3:

Monday: 12:00 - 17:30.

Tuesday: 12:00 - 19:30.

Wednesday: 12:00 - 19:30.

Thursday: 12:00 - 19:30.

Friday: 12:00 - 19:30.

Saturday: 9:00 - 12:30 / 14:30 - 19:30.

Sunday: 9:00 - 12:30.

Hours during the rest of the year:

Monday: 12:00 - 17:30.

Tuesday: 11:30 - 13:30 / 16:00 - 21:00.

Wednesday: 11:15 - 17:00.

Thursday: 11:30 - 13:30.

Friday: 11:30 - 14:00 / 16:00 - 21:00.

Saturday: 14:30 - 19:30.

Sunday: 9:00 - 12:30.

Centre nautique Tony Bertrand (Lyon)

Pic: City of Lyon

Address: 8 quai Claude Bernard, 69007, Lyon.

Why should you go?

A huge, open pool with a view of Lyon and the Rhone. Reservations are recommended for this swimming pool, as you may have to wait for up to an hour to get in. The ticket may seem expensive, but all the activities listed below are included in its price. From the pools, you get a beautiful view of the Rhône river, and the city of Lyon. It features a 50x21 metre Olympic swimming pool, a shallow pool, a jacuzzi, water slides and a pool with simulated currents.

Rates: 

  • €8.00 for adults.
  • €5.50 for young people and seniors.
  • Free for children under six.

Activities (included in the ticket rate): 

  • Monday morning: Games for young children in the shallow pool.
  • Wednesdays and weekends: Inflatable bouncy obstacle course in the Olympic pool.
  • All week: Group games (football, basketball, badminton, table tennis).
  • Wednesday and Friday mornings: Aquagym.
  • Sunday morning: Fitness (Pilates, yoga, Zumba).

Summer opening hours: 

Open every day, 10:30-15:00 / 15:30-20:00, except Monday 12:00-20:00.

Piscine de Lingolsheim (Strasbourg)

Pic: City of Strasbourg

Address: 15 rue de Normandie, 67380 Lingolsheim.

Why should you go?

This swimming pool was built in the 1970s, and it shows. There are many other “Piscines Tournesol” with a similar architecture in France, but this one is our favourite. The futuristic architecture will make you feel like you’re swimming in a flying saucer. It has a sports pool of 250 m2, a leisure pool of 125 m2, a shallow pool of 55 m2, a solarium, and a space for water games.

Rates: 

  • €5.30 for adults.
  • €3.20 euros for children ages 4-17.
  • €1 euro for children under four.

Opening hours:

Monday 14:00 - 19:00.

Tuesday 08:30 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 19:00.

Wednesday 10:00 - 19:00.

Thursday 08:30 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 19:00.

Friday 10:00 - 19:00.

Saturday 09:00 - 13:00 / 14:00 - 18:30.

Sunday 09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:00.

Alfred Nakache summer pool (Toulouse)

Pic: City of Toulouse

Address: 3, allée Gabriel Biénès, 31400 Toulouse

Why should you go? 

There are two Alfred Nakache pools, right next to each other. One is open in the winter, the other is only open in the summer. It is the largest open-air swimming pool in Europe. With its waterfall, grotto and many amenities, it almost feels like a waterpark offered at swimming pool prices. This huge complex has one 150m x 50m pool, a man-made grotte (cave) with a cascading waterfall made of lava rock from Mount Vesuvius, four picnic areas, two paved beach areas for swimmers to sunbathe, and various sports activities and a 904 m² shallow pool for children.

Rates:

  • €3.40 if you live in Toulouse for adults, €4.40 if you do not.
  • €1.50 for under 25s.
  • Free for children under seven.

Opening hours:

From June 9 to June 23

Monday to Friday: 12:00 - 19:00.
Saturday and Sunday: 09:30 - 20:30.

From June 24 to August 20

Monday to Sunday: 09:30 - 20:30.

From August 21 to August 27

Monday to Sunday: 09:30 - 20:00.

L’Odyssée (Chartres)

Pic: Vert Marine / City of Chartres

Address: Rue du Médecin Général Beyne, 28000 Chartres.

Why should you go?

L’Odyssée is the biggest aquatic centre in France with 5000m2 of surface water. It has two olympic swimming pools together with a wave pool, an outdoor lagoon, a wading pool and a beach with a volleyball court. Additionally there is also a sauna, a hammam and a spa.

Rates: 

In the summer 

  • €10.30 for adults.
  • €8.90 for children under 12 or for two for children under six. 
  • €23.20 for a family of four with two children under 12 (proper documentation needed, including a livret de famille.

Opening hours:

Open everyday from 10:00 to 21:00.

The wave pool and waterslide are open from 13:00 to 19:00.

Piscine Salengro (Bruay-La-Buissière)

Pic: Agglomération Béthune-Bruay

Address: 716 Rue Augustin Caron, 62700 Bruay-la-Buissière, France

Why should you go?

This World Heritage site is the last outdoor art déco swimming pool in France. It is also right next to the Roger-Salengro park, where you can relax and walk before or after your swim.

Rates: 

  • €4.30 for adults.
  • €3 for seniors over 65.
  • €2.70 for students, children from 3 to 17, and people with disabilities.
  • €1.90 for children under three.

Opening hours

Monday: 11:30 - 13:45 / 14:30 - 17:15.

Tuesday: 11:30 - 13:45 / 14:30 - 17:15 / 17:30 - 20:15.

Wednesday: 11:30 - 13:45 / 14:30 - 17:15 / 17:30 - 20:15.

Thursday: 11:30 - 13:45 / 14:30 - 17:15.

Friday: 11:30 - 13:45 / 14:30 - 17:15 / 17:30 - 20:15.

Saturday: 10:00 - 13:45 / 14:30 - 17:45.

Sunday: 10:00 - 13:45 / 14:30 - 17:45.

Vesúbia Mountain Park (Saint-Martin-Vésubie)

Pic: Vesúbia Mountain Park

Address: Allée du Dr Fulconis, 06450 Saint-Martin-Vésubie.

Why should you go?

Saint-Martin-Vésubie is a beautiful mountain village that is worth a visit in itself. Its Vesúbia Mountain Park is a sports complex with a wide variety of activities. You can go mountain biking or climbing, but we definitely recommend their many water activities. With multiple indoor pools, and an outdoor beach, you can expect a beautiful view while you swim. You can also pay around €12 per hour to access climbing walls, a zip-line and indoor canyoning.

Rates: 

  • €5.70 for adults.
  • €5.10 for seniors over 65.
  • €3.60 for children 4 to 11.
  • Free for children under three.

Opening hours

Everyday from 10:00 to 19:00.

Piscine Olympique (Villenave D’Ornon)

The Villenave d'Ornon swimming pool Pic: City of Villenave d'Ornon

Address: 359 Rue Aristide Briand, 87100 Limoges, France.

Why should you go? 

This is an eight-lane Olympic swimming pool that claims to accommodate up to 1,072 swimmers at once. It is absolutely massive in size, so it is a good choice during heat waves when you can expect other pools to be crowded.

Rates: 

  • €5 for all non-residents, €3.40 for residents

Opening hours

Monday to Friday: 12:00 to 20:00.

Weekends: 15:00 to 19:00.

July 14 and August 15: 9:00 to 12:00.

Centre Aquatique Aquapolis (Limoges)

A huge swimming pool with water slides and games

The municipal aquacenter of Limoges Pic: Vert Marine / City of Limoges

Address: 359 Rue Aristide Briand, 87100 Limoges.

Why should you go?

This centre aquatique also feels like a waterpark with a huge range of activities for everyone. It has an Olympic pool, but also a shallow pool with a moving floor, a river, a laguna, slides, a three-level diving pit, and a gym. Entry to the gym requires an additional fee, but it also gives you access to the SPA, sauna and hammam.

Rates: 

  • €6.75 for adults.
  • €5.40 for children under 14.
  • Free for children under four.
  • €25.85 for gym, spa, sauna, hammam and swimming pool

Opening hours

Weekdays: 10:00 to 20:00.

Weekends and bank holidays: 10:00 to 19:00.

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