The art of the swimming pool


I have never seen anything like these wonderful petunia pillars before. They are in Roubaix, which is 20-minutes or so away from the center of Lille on the excellent automated métro. Roubaix was an important textile manufacturing town in the 15th to 19th centuries

But the main reason to go there today is to visit La Piscine.


Originally an Art Deco swimming pool, it is now the Musée d’Art et d’Industrie. The old pool is a gallery of 19th and 20th century sculpture. The tiled edge of the pool is still visible behind the statues. The stretch of water in the middle is about three inches deep.

The old shower stalls and changing rooms have been turned into display cases for—among other things—the splendid displays of textiles and related items, and the wings that made up the municipal bath house and once contained bath tubs now house the fine arts collection.


To remind you of this wonderful building’s past, every so often, you hear a couple of minutes of taped shrieking and splashing.


6 Responses to The art of the swimming pool

  1. MLL says:

    Dire que je me suis éclatée dans cette piscine quand j’étais petite (il n’y a pas si longtemps que ça :)). J’aimais beaucoup son architecture art déco. Je ne suis pas encore allée voir la transformation. Cela parait beau mais je crois que je préfère comment elle était avant.

  2. Elisabeth says:

    Hey, Mll – I used to go to that pool as a kid, too.

    Passante – I am forever grateful to my wonderful uncle, Luc, who took me there two summers ago. It is absolutely gorgeous, and well worth a trip. I am glad that you got to see it too.

  3. Dr. A. says:

    Hey, this looks amazing – I must add it to my ever increasing list (thanks to MLL) of places to visit in France. What a great idea for a museum.

  4. transall says:


    Je ne connaissais pas ce musée… et la reconversion de cette piscine est tout à fait intéressante.


    Didier (photo blog)

  5. Juggerpix says:

    What a fantastic idea, this place looks fabulous! I love it when you can save an historic building and make it into something new.

    Great shots also!

  6. Marie McC says:

    How beautiful! And what fun that they have sound effects!–>

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