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Luxury Travel Lonely Planet Exclusive News / 5 Great Places To Take A Swim in Paris Right Now / By Vivian Song / / Editing Travel Exclusive / Sedat Karagoz / Istanbul,New York Travel,Tourism News Office / Janbolat Khanat / Almaty Travel,Tourism News Office

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Perhaps the world’s most romantic river, the Seine in Paris is adding a new dimension to its storied reputation with the revival of an old tradition: public swimming.

Starting in 2025, both locals and visitors will be able to swim and sunbathe at three points along the river. But you may be surprised to know that there are already several outdoor swimming pools across the city where you can escape the heat and cool off right this very minute. A few even have views of the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

Over the last few years, authorities have undertaken herculean efforts to clean the river in advance of the 2024 Olympic Games, with open-water swims, triathlon and paratriathlon competitions scheduled to take place in the Seine’s waters. After the games, in 2025, the city will open its first three sites to public swimming, at Bras Marie, Bras de Grenelle and Bercy.

It’s not the first time the river has been a venue for Olympic sporting events. When the French capital hosted its first summer games in 1900, swimming events took place on the Seine – only beyond the city limits, between the Asnières and Courbevoie bridges. More than a century later, the starting line will lie beneath an ornamental, extravagant and iconic bridge in the heart of the city: the Pont Alexandre III.

Swimmers enjoy the open-air floating Josephine Baker Pool in Seine, 13th arrondissement, Paris, France

Existing public facilities like the Josephine Baker pool in the 13th arrondissement, as well as public swimming areas to come, will help mitigate the effects of climate change in Paris © Liv Gaunt / Shutterstock

But the €1.4 billion overhaul isn’t just a one-off for the Olympics. The cleanup is meant to have a long afterlife, helping Parisians reclaim a waterway that had been a popular public swimming space during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Though the city officially banned swimming in 1923, locals continued to take illicit dips until the 1960s, when the degradation of water quality made swimming inadvisable, if not impossible.

The transformation of the Seine is also part of Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s battle plan against the effects of climate change. Last year, the mercury broke the 40ºC (104ºF) threshold in Paris – and by 2050, it’s estimated that the city will face temperatures as high as 50ºC. A study published in The Lancet this spring found that among all major European capitals, the risk of mortality from heat waves is greatest in Paris due to a variety of factors, including urban heat islands and air pollution. And remember: unlike the aggressive A/C found everywhere in North America, air conditioning is still relatively rare in private apartments, spotty in public buildings and available only on select metro lines here. Along with the greening of public spaces, the opening of free outdoor bathing sites is a strategy aimed at mitigating extreme urban heat in the French capital.

In the meantime, you don’t have to wait until 2025 to take a cooling swim between your visit to the Louvre and dinner at that new bistro. Which is why we’re keen to recommend shaking up your summer Paris itinerary with a dip in one of the several existing outdoor swimming holes all around town.

Here are five reasons to pack your maillot de bain for your summer getaway to Paris.

Swimmers swim back and forth in an indoor lap pool beneath white arched ceilings

The airy, light-filled interior of Butte-aux-Cailles offers an elegant environment for swimming © Emilie Chaix / Ville de Paris

1. Enjoy one of Paris’ most beautiful pools at Butte-aux-Cailles

One of the most beautiful and oldest public pools in Paris (from 1924), the Butte-aux-Cailles is classified as a historic monument thanks to its superb art nouveau architecture. The dense red-brick exterior belies its airy, light-filled interior and cathedral-like ambiance, in which swimmers perform laps under a vaulted ceiling and elegant, soaring arches.

Along with two indoor pools (one for adults, the other for kids), the venue was the first to open an outdoor Nordic pool that’s heated to 28ºC (82ºF) by reusing the heat produced by computer servers in the basement. The outdoor pool is open year-round.

Local tip: Make a day of your visit and explore the pool’s namesake neighborhood, a village-like spot in the outlying 13th arrondissement that’s home to artisans, sloping cobblestone alleyways, interesting street art, quaint bars and lively cafes.

An Olympic-sized lap pool on a sunny day

In summer, the canopy above Roger Le Gall pool comes off, letting swimmers enjoy the open air © Gerard-Sanz

2. Take a dip in the buff at Roger Le Gall pool

Named after a WWII-era hero of the French Resistance, the Roger Le Gall pool is located in the city’s eastern 12th arrondissement. The complex features two swimming areas: an Olympic-sized pool that’s open to the public for serious swimmers keen to get in a few laps and a smaller second pool reserved for sports clubs. In summer, the canopy above the bigger pool is removed, letting you swim in the open air. But take note: in partnership with the Paris Naturist Association, the pool opens up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday night to those who prefer a swim in their birthday suit over a swimsuit.

An open-air swimming pool complex floating on the edge of a river

The Josephine Baker pool floats on the Seine © irena iris szewczyk / Shutterstock

3. Swim in the Seine – almost – at the floating Josephine Baker pool

Come summer, the 13th arrondissement’s Josephine Baker pool (named after the American-born dancer-singer-phenomenon) removes its glass canopy and becomes a floating, open-air pool on the Seine, offering sweeping views of the famous river.

Want to squeeze in a workout? The pool features four 25m(82ft)-length lanes with depths ranging from 0.9 to 2.1m (3 to 7ft). If you’re less about the swimming, more about the lying out, the pool also has a 500sq-m (5400sq-ft) sundeck, where you can relax on one of the chaises and get your daily dose of vitamin D.

People swim and sit on docks on the largest artificial body of water in Paris

Head to Bassin de la Villette in northeast Paris to swim outdoors for free © Guillaume Bontemps / Ville de Paris

4. Join the locals for a swim at Bassin de la Villette (just not this year)

Since 2017, as part of its annual Paris Plages (Paris Beaches) festival, the Bassin de la Villette in the northeast part of Paris has set up a free outdoor swimming area in the city’s largest artificial body of water. The pool is divided into three distinct areas: a paddling pool for children, a small pool with a maximum depth of 1.2m (4ft), and a large pool reserved for experienced swimmers with a depth of 2.1m (7ft).

Water quality is monitored every day, with the pool wheelchair accessible and limited to just 500 daily bathers. Though Paris Plages at the Seine is the main event, the programming at the Villette edition draws more locals than tourists as it’s further out from the city center.

Other water activities here include kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding.

Note that due to the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Paris Plages program is on hiatus, due for a refreshing return in the summer of 2025.

Local tip: Another popular water activity on the Bassin de la Villette is to rent electric boats from Marin d’Eau Douce for leisurely rides up and down the canal. You don’t need a license, and you can also bring a picnic lunch or dinner on board.

 luxury swimming pool in Molitor hotel MGallery by Sofitel hotel in Paris XVI

As the birthplace of the bikini, the outdoor pool at the Hôtel Molitor Paris – MGallery deserves a mention © Eric Isselee / Shutterstock

5. Splurge on a day pass to the luxurious Hôtel Molitor Paris

Admittedly different from outdoor swimming pools geared to the public, this sensational pool is located at a luxury hotel and is normally reserved for hotel guests or members of a private club who pay some €4500 in annual membership dues. But the outdoor pool at the Hôtel Molitor Paris – MGallery in the city’s swank 16th arrondissement deserves a mention for an especially revealing reason: it was here, at a swimsuit competition in 1946, that a former automotive engineer turned fashion designer named Louis Réard chose to debut a revolutionary, teeny-weeny, two-piece bathing costume one wag called “smaller than the smallest swimsuit in the world.”

You might know it today as the bikini.

Though normally closed to the public, in summer the pool offers day passes for guests, which gives access to the sprawling art deco–style pools, rooftop restaurant and bar, hammam, sauna and fitness rooms. Know that a day here will be a true splurge: day passes for one of the most exclusive open-air pools in the city start at €310.

Luxury Travel Lonely Planet Exclusive News / 5 Great Places To Take A Swim in Paris Right Now / By Vivian Song / / Editing Travel Exclusive / Sedat Karagoz / Istanbul,New York Travel,Tourism News Office / Janbolat Khanat / Almaty Travel,Tourism News Office

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