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The best open-air pools in Paris

Can't make it down to the Riviera this year? Sun yourself at one of the city's awe-inspiring al fresco pools instead

© EP / Time Out Paris

In partnership with France.fr and Paris je t'aime.

Parisians might be flocking to their holiday homes during the peak summer months but there is plenty of fun to be had within the Périphérique. The city has some of the best pools for cooling off in the heat – whether you're looking for an outdoor oasis, an open roof overhead or somewhere to simply dip your toes in the water. Parisian pools are cheap, squeaky-clean and incredibly well-maintained, but that comes on one condition: you are expected to don a swimming hat and if you're a man, a pair of Speedos. Either bring your own or purchase them at pool vending machines – a small price to pay for a slice of aquatic heaven. 

Piscine Georges Vallerey

This olympic pool in the 20th arrondissement packs out during the summer months, but that's indicative of its fantastic open roof. Split into two 25m pools and kids pool, the Stalinist Georges-Vallerey might be a little timeworn but once you're in full backstroke mode, spotting planes in the sky, you won't even notice it. There's plenty of space for sunbathing around the edge of the pool and if you need an escape from the water, check out the bar on the first floor. Flanked by eighties palm trees, you'd be hard pushed to miss it. Club Tropicana via Paris. 

Entry: €3

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20e arrondissement

Piscine de la Butte-aux-Cailles

If you're a 1920s buff, this Butte-aux-Cailles oasis will be right up your street. The listed complex boasts one main indoor pool and two outdoor pools which are fully open in the summer months. And with a natural sulphurous spring running under the pool, the water is a delightfully warm 28°C. Not a goosepimple in sight here. This area of Butte-aux-Cailles is heaven for street art fans so make sure to leave time for a wander after your dip. 

Entry: €3

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Butte-aux-Cailles

Piscine Keller

Set in the chic Beaugrenelle neighbourhood, this sixties pool had a complete revamp in 2008 and now boasts plush, spotlessly clean changing rooms. The water is treated every four hours with ozone filtering rather than chlorine, so there's no chance you'll be reeking of chemicals for days afterwards. The 50m Olympic pool has a massive sliding roof which makes for the perfect sporting pool in summer. Open from 7am, it's proof that the early bird catches the rays.

Entry: €3

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Javel
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Piscine Roger Le Gall

Although we insist you dig out the Speedos for the majority of the city's public pools, Roger Le Gall is the exception. On Monday and Wednesday nights, the Naturist Association of Paris (a sporting club created in 1953 and affiliated with the Fédération Française de Natation), host naturist swimming sessions. Ooh la la! During the rest of the week, lanes are dedicated to different strokes so there's none of the frustrating bottle neck effect. Sandwiched between tower blocks in the 12th arrondissment, it might be tricky to locate but the superb outdoor space, terrace and 50m open air pool will make it worth your while. 

Entry: €3

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Bel-Air

Centre aquatique de Neuilly-sur-Seine

If the weather forecast is decent, plan to spend a full day at Neuilly's aquatic centre. You'll be spoilt for choice with three different indoor sites: one training pool, one for learning and one for fun, plus a small outdoor pool, two solariums and a ‘beach’. It also offers a spa, hammams, saunas and UV cabins. Clean, well-maintained and organised, people are drawn from far and wide, so expect it to be crowded at peak times. Our advice? Get there when it opens and nab yourself a few deckchairs before a refreshing drink from the outdoor pool bar.

Entry: €8

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Paris et sa banlieue

Piscine Joséphine Baker

Recommended

The Seine has seen a boom in floating glass structures recently (OFF Paris Seine, Rosa Bonheur etc.) but Piscine Joséphine Baker is the number one destination for summer. Facing Bercy and with the Seine on one side, architect Robert de Busni's glass-walled creation has a retractable roof which is open all summer. Stretch out next to the 25m pool to sunbathe, but don't expect much more room than that. It's a victim of its own success, however with a glorious view out over the river, sometimes it's worth the squish. 

Entry: €3.60

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13e arrondissement
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Piscine Molitor

If you feel like splashing the cash and sampling a piece of history, Piscine Molitor might be just for you. Dividing critics since it reopened in 2014,  Molitor – birthplace of the bikini, star of 'Life of Pi' – has had many faces. Once a playground for graffiti artists and ravers, it is more of a playground for playboys now. Integrated within the MGallery hotel, you have to dig for markers of its fascinating past (like the black and white images of bathers in the changing rooms), as most quirky touches have been replaced with ostentatious furniture and trendy decor. Unfortunately these hallowed waters can only be sampled if you're can cough up €180 for a day pass, or sign up for a year for an eyewatering €3,000. Hotel guests get free use of the pool though. If money is no object, then dive right in.

Entry: only as a hotel guest or €180 for a day pass

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16e arrondissement

More spots for cooling off in the heat

Jardin d'Acclimatation

This amusement park and garden might be built for children, but there's nothing to say you can't slip off your shoes and cool off in the fountains. There's animals, a Normandy-style farm, an aviary, as well as boat rides, a fun fair and a mini train. Entry to the park is a snip at €3.50 and many of the rides are free. So why not soak up some culture at the ultra-modern Fondation Louis Vuitton before a refreshing wander through the Jardin's open water features? Don't let the kids have all the fun.  

Entry: €3.50

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16e arrondissement
Paris Plages

Paris Plages

For the first time this year, Paris Plages ex-Mayor Bertrand Delanoë's expansive transformation of the Seine into a beach with sand, deckchairs, food stalls and volleyball nets – includes plunge pools. Sections along the length of the canal in Bassin de la Villette and Canal de l'Ourq have been sectioned off for your swimming pleasure until 4 September 2017. Trunks at the ready! 

Entry: free

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