During the summer months, the French capital can be sweltering and uncomfortable. If you're looking to cool off but aren't sure where to head, you're in luck: there are plenty of excellent places to swim in Paris. Whether you're in town during a record heat wave or are looking for a way to relax and retreat from the cold while enjoying the water, you have plenty of options.
Piscine Josephine Baker
Paris' first permanent floating pool on the Seine River offers an inexpensive, fun way to cool off and keep the kids busy. Built atop a giant barge nearby the imposing towers of the French National Library, the 82-foot-long, 33-foot-wide pool is named after legendary American dancer and activist Josephine Baker.
There are four lanes open to accommodate splashers of all levels and capacities, and a separate large wading pool for younger swimmers. During the summer months, the retractable glass roof comes down to reveal even clearer views over the river and the sights beyond. Visitors can also enjoy the solarium, jacuzzi, sauna, and gym.
During peak season, the pool stays open until 11 p.m. on weekdays. There are also late-night hours on Thursdays during most of the year. Do be aware that the pool closes down for maintenance each year starting in September; call ahead to make sure it's open. Since this is a municipal swimming pool, you can expect inexpensive entry fees and also large crowds during peak times. Try going in the early mornings or late evenings in the summer to avoid feeling like a wet sardine.
This gorgeous art-deco style swimming pool at the Hotel Molitor has a long history—and its revival can be at least partly credited to its reference in the popular novel and film adaptation, "Life of Pi." The protagonist in the book and film is named after the classic Parisian pool, which was first opened in 1929 and is rumored to have been the place where the bikini enjoyed its debut.
The original complex eventually closed, falling into disuse before becoming a favorite spot for street artists and skateboarders. But in 2014, a 65-million euro renovation project, that included the creation of a four-star hotel and spa on the site, brought the Piscine Molitor back to its original glory. Today, the renovated space offers true throwback charm, with art-deco style stained glass around the pool, wide lanes for swimming or wading, and bright yellow and blue cabin doors that replicate those of the original Olympic-sized pool. You can also head over to the adjoining Clarins spa for an afternoon of self-pampering after your swim.
Unfortunately, the pool is mostly open to hotel guests and Club members. If you wish to book a day's access to the pool, relaxation areas, and 1-hour spa treatment, you can reserve ahead with the hotel—but it will cost a pretty penny.
Piscine Butte aux Cailles
This historic pool complex in the quiet, village-like Butte aux Cailles neighborhood is one of the city's most elegant, dating to the art-deco period and offering a haven of peace of relaxation in an area most tourists never see.
Boasting three pools, including deep and shallow outdoor basins and an Olympic-style indoor pool with five lanes, the Piscine de la Butte aux Cailles first opened in 1924. The historic complex has been well-preserved and features delicate, original stained glass and decorative elements. Its distinctive high-vaulted roof regularly draws curious photographers, and it's a pool that's accessible to all visitors, offering low entry prices for a day or more.
Pool at the Royal Monceau-Raffles Hotel
The luxurious indoor pool at the Royal Monceau-Raffles isn't for everyone—after all, this a five-star hotel with Palace status—but if you're looking for one of the finest places for a relaxing swim in the city, this certainly makes the list.
Nestled within the hotel's high-end My Blend by Clarins Spa, the heated pool is an ideal place to unwind. Spa and hotel guests also have access to the hammam (steamroom), sauna, and fitness areas.
From the rooftop terrace garden area at the hotel, you can see the pool glowing through beneath the glass floor—a mesmerizing site. Try enjoying an aperitif on the terrace post-spa.
Pop-Up Pools During Paris Plages
During the annual summer beach operation known as Paris Plages, pop-up pools are installed alongside the Bassin de la Villette in northwest Paris, nearby the Jaures metro stop. Open to all ages and entirely free, these cooling basins are a genuine hit with locals and savvier visitors.
Be aware that during peak times, lines can be long to access the pools. Luckily, they open relatively early during the summer, from around 10 a.m., and close well into the night. Try arriving early to make sure you get a chance at a good dip!
This cheerful, unpretentious municipal pool in the languid 15th arrondissement (district) is off most tourists' radar but serious swimmers will want to give it a try. One of the few 50-meter (164-foot) pools in the city, the Piscine Keller offers wide, numerous lanes and a chance to really perfect your crawl or butterfly.
Situated in close reach of the Porte de Versailles convention center, the pool has a retractable glass roof that turns it into a summery, open-air delight during warmer months. There's also an on-site sauna for visitors to enjoy. And as with all the city's municipal pools, prices for a session of swimming are very reasonable.
Hammam Pacha's Indoor Pool
If you're visiting the fall or winter and are looking for a way to relax body and mind while enjoying a few relaxed, gentle laps, try the pool at the Hammam Pacha, one of the best Turkish-style baths and spas in the city.
The hammam's luxurious indoor pool isn't ideal for a serious workout, but after a cycle of steam rooms and sauna, a refreshing dip in the cool basin surrounded by tile mosaics can really fit the bill. This space is reserved for women, however, so others who'd like the full hammam experience will have to head elsewhere.