Piscine Molitor: Swimming in Paris’s Historic Pool

I have long been fascinated by the Piscine Molitor in the west of Paris. In 1929 this gorgeous swimming complex opened to the public in an inauguration ceremony with Olympic swimmer Aileen Riggin and Johny Weissmuller. Its Art Deco design proved Parisians do everything in style, even aquatics. Hundreds of private cabins for guests and members lined three balconied levels overlooking its two pools: the winter basin indoors and the summer basin in open air. Piscine Molitor quickly become a hot spot for sport and leisure alike. In summer the crowds flocked here to beat the heat, and in winter the pool was turned into a beloved ice rink for skating. Perhaps the most famous moment here was the day designer Louis Réard revealed the bikini to the world for the first time in 1946, making history right here at Piscine Molitor. From its opening, thirty years of splendor brought life to the Molitor year round.

Paris Rendezvous

But in the late 1980’s the pool began to fall into disrepair. The glory days were fading away, and due to budget constraints, Molitor was closed permanently in 1989. The complex stood completely abandoned for a while, but before long evolved into a squat for subculture. Its walls were covered in graffiti, the empty pools repurposed as makeshift skateparks, and the balconies as bleachers for impromptu grunge concerts. But for the most part, life at Molitor was dormant for twenty odd years as it awaited its renaissance.

At last, in 2014 Piscine Molitor was finally reborn in Paris. After a massive renovation, it has been restored to its original Art Deco glamour. Today the pool functions mostly as a private club, but offers glamorous public swim sessions to small groups topped off with breakfast or lunch from one of its delicious eateries. The surrounding Hotel Molitor also welcomes its guests to the facilities. Since its reopening last year, it has been a dream of mine to spend a day here, swimming in its waters on a hot summer day in Paris! So I finally booked myself a little staycation at the hotel this past weekend and dove right into the famous pools!

It was the ideal opportunity to play out the final days of summer, and use up the last of my Lancôme summer color collection. A few pool proof beauty necessities came in handy too, like my go to Définicils Waterproof Mascara and Le Stylo Waterproof in Marine Chic. It was the perfect Parisian day at the pool and a dream come true I wanted to share with you. I hope if you grace Paris with your presence in summer you too will consider a dip at the Piscine Molitor!

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