One of the few myths about Parisians that I’ve discovered to be true is an aversion to gyms and regulated exercise, with many opting for walks and bicycle rides around the city to lifting weights and hitting the treadmill.
That said, many engage in light sport, with swimming being a popular pick among everyone from haute couture heavyweights like Isabel Marant to your everyday city dweller.
In order to meet the demand, there is no shortage of public pools where locals can go for a dip. So if you’re in the market for a new piscine to frequent, you’ve got plenty of picks – but be sure to read the section on proper etiquette before you go!
Rules and Etiquette for Using Paris Public Pools
While each pool has specific rules that you should check out before your first visit, there are some common guidelines and etiquette that apply to every facility:
- A swimming cap must be worn. Both men and women are required to tuck their hair into a swimming cap before entering the pool. Forgot to bring your cap? Don’t worry – there are vending machines at every pool where you can buy things like caps, goggles, nose clips, ear plugs, and even swimsuits!
- Men must wear speedos. A tight-fitting speedo is required for any man who wishes to go for a swim, as the French believe it to be more hygienic. “Bermuda”-style swimming shorts are banned. Women, however, can choose between wearing a 1-piece or 2-piece – both are acceptable.
- Showers are mandatory. Everyone must take a shower and go through the mini-pool of standing water before entering the pool for sanitation purposes. Speaking of which…
- Showers are often co-ed. This can be a culture shock, depending on where you’re from! While there are private cabins to change, the majority of pools in Paris have co-ed locker rooms, which includes the showers.
Paris Public Pool Prices and Hours
While pools in hotels and private sports centers have their own prices, municipal pools in Paris have the following set prices in place:
1 entry – €3.50
10 tickets – €28.00
3-month pass – €43.00
These prices may differ slightly depending on the pool, but in my personal experience I haven’t seen a difference of more than a couple of cents or euros.
If you meet certain conditions, you can even get a reduction on the aforementioned prices. In order to qualify for a discount you must be one of the following:
- Under 26 and a resident of Paris,
- A member of a large family that holds an SNCF card,
- Accompanying a child under 8 years of age and are not entering the pool yourself,
- Age 65 and over,
- Peacekeepers and peacekeepers undergoing training,
- A holder of a disability card issued by la Maison départementale des personnes handicapées.
If you meet one of these criteria, your Paris pool prices will be brought down to:
1 entry – €2.00
10 tickets – €16.00
3-month pass – €22.00
Paris pool hours vary wildly – it entirely depends on which pool you are interested in going to. Some are closed on certain days, while others are open all week.
That said, they all seem to be similarly affected by vacation periods and summer. But don’t worry, most of the time it tends to be in a good way! Some spots will open earlier in the afternoon, while others will extend evening hours to as late as 11 PM.
Normal public pool hours in Paris tend to be as follows:
Weekdays – 7:00 AM to 8:30 AM, 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Weekends – 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
However, this should only be treated as a general guideline and not a rule. As I said before, some will be closed on certain days, while others will not. Likewise, some will be open later in the afternoon, others later in the evening, and so on. All pools have their hours posted online and outside their building, so be sure to check the hours of the one you want to go to specifically before packing up your swimsuit and heading out.
Paris Public Pools to Visit
Piscine Suzanne Berlioux
10 Place de la Rotonde
The Piscine Suzanne Berlioux is located right in the Forum des Halles, making it a perfect pick for those looking to take a dip after doing some shopping. It is over 50 meters long and has eight lanes. It offers a range of activities including aqua gym, aqua cycling, and finswimming.
5 Place Paul Verlaine
The Piscine Butte-aux-Cailles is a stunning complex in the 13th arrondissement built in art nouveau style. It offers three pools: 33 meters, 25 meters, and 12 meters. Its inside facility is covered by a high vaulted roof with concrete arches. Outside, there is a Nordic pool outside which is open year round – even in the wintertime!
Piscine Josephine Baker
Quai François Mauriac
The Piscine Josephine Baker is as unique as the famous entertainer that it’s named after. It is located in the 13th arrondissement, a floating pool on a barge on the River Seine. The main pool is 25 meters long and open to swimmers of all levels, while a wading pool is available for children. While the pool is best to visit in the summertime, when it’s open air and you can get as close as you can to swimming in the Seine, it’s also lovely in the wintertime when covered by a glass roof.
In addition to its great pool, Piscine Josephine Baker also has solariums, saunas, a hammam, a jacuzzi, and a gym on offer to its guests.
19 Rue de Pontoise
Piscine Pontoise is a stunning art deco pool located in the heart of the Latin Quarter that boasts a large glass ceiling and mosaic frescoes. In addition to its old-fashioned 33 meter pool, guests can use a sauna, squash court, cardio room, and even take fitness classes.
Fun fact? The pool and its two mezzanine levels were designed by Lucien Pollet, the same architect who built the exclusive (and expensive) Piscine Molitor. This makes Piscine Pontoise a cost-efficient option to get the experience of swimming in a gorgeous French historical monument.
14 Rue de l’Ingénieur Robert Keller
If you’re a more serious swimmer, Piscine Keller is a good option for you. A rare 50 meter pool in Paris, it is restricted to experienced lane swimmers only. While closed in the winter, in the summertime its roof opens up so you can swim under the sun. There is also water fitness, gymnastics, and a sauna on offer.
2 Rue des Fillettes
Piscine Hébert is a hidden treasure of the 18th arrondissement. The facility is bright and sunny thanks to a large glass ceiling overhead that opens in the summertime. It’s also very pretty in a nostalgic way, with a huge canopy, individual cabins, and glazed white tiles. In addition to the main pool, there are activities such as water polo, swimming lessons, and water aerobics available.
Unlike many of the other pools on this list, Piscine Hébert is typically not crowded at all, making it a good choice if you’re after a more peaceful swimming experience.
Piscine Georges Hermant
8-10 Rue David d’Angers
Piscine Georges Hermant is another good pick for more serious swimmers. A more modern municipal facility, it offers an Olympic-sized pool that’s perfect for professionals looking to take a dip before work. It also offers fun activities such as diving and water polo.
Other Options for Swimming in Paris
Pools in the Banlieues
Like central Paris, the banlieues have their fair share of swimming pools. In addition to having the standard swimming lanes, they tend to boast other great features such as jacuzzis, hammams, play pools, steam rooms, solariums, massage showers, and fitness rooms.
Health Clubs and Hotels
There are a number of health clubs and hotels in Paris that have gorgeous pools on offer for their customers. You don’t need to tend to need to be a member or guest, respectively, to go to these.
Be wary that, while beautiful, they tend to carry a hefty price tag. Case in point? Piscine Molitor of Life of Pi fame. The historical landmark was recently refurbished and transformed into a hotel and spa complex. While entry is free for guests, members of the public will have to drop over €100 to gain access!