First opened in 1929 by Olympic gold medallist and Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmuller, Paris’ Piscine Molitor has re-opened its doors to the public for the first time in quarter of a century – well sort of.
Whereas back in the 1920s it was a place where you could hang out all day for a few centimes, now that luxury will set you back over 150 Euros for a day pass as part of a visit to a modern hotel complex.
Conceived as the sort of Parisian equivalent of the Sutro Baths in San Francisco, the Art Deco designed Piscine Molitor – nicknamed the White Ship because of its distinctive design – was a place of real decadence.
Comprising a 50m outdoor pool and 33m indoor pool, it was the place to be seen in the 1930s and 1940s.
The first modern bikini was launched here in 1946, there were regular fashion shows and in the winter the outdoor pool was transformed into a distinctive ice skating rink.
According to the BBC, Johnny Weissmuller was even a lifeguard here for a time, though I can’t find any evidence to support this and it does seem somewhat unlikely given that he was well underway to becoming an international superstar having won five Olympic Golds at the Paris Olympic Games in 1924 and another two in Amsterdam four years later.
Certainly what is known about the Molitor is that after it started falling into decay in the 1980s, it was almost certainly going to be bulldozed and turned into a car park if it wasn’t for the intervention of a group of protestors called SOS Molitor who effectively ensured that it was preserved for its beautiful architecture (in much the same way as many of Britain’s finest art deco lidos have been saved).
Re-opened on May 19th, 2014, after finally shutting its doors in 1989, the Molitor still comprises the two original pools, although both will now be heated to 28 degrees centigrade and will form part of a hotel complex where the rooms look down directly onto the water.
Prices at the 124 room hotel are expected to start at around 250 Euros a night while year membership for the pool complex will set you back over 3000 Euros.
You can find out more information from here: https://www.konbini.com/en/lifestyle/piscine-molitor/
You can see some more pictures here: