The gorgeous Piscine des Amiraux—a masterpiece of art deco architecture immortalized in the classic French film Amélie—has just reopened in Paris after an epic €10 million, two-year makeover.
Parisians are putting on their swimming gear and gearing up to take a dip in one of Paris’ most famous and beautiful pools, steeped in historical and cinematic significance.
Tucked away in an unsuspecting corner of the 18th arrondissement of Paris, the 33-meter pool was built by architect Henri Sauvage in 1930. These skilled hands were also behind the design of the famous Parisian department store La Samaritaine.
While Sauvage originally wanted to construct a cinema, he was overruled by Paris’ city hall, who preferred to commission a massive building for social housing. Instead, he has succeeded in creating one of the most stunning art deco masterpieces around.
Of course, you can’t shy away from the fact that the pool lies at the bottom of an eight-story apartment building (albeit surrounded by a balcony terrace), and so cannot flaunt its glamour at first impressions. But step inside and you’ll be awe-struck by the same white tiles used in the most elegant of Paris Metro stations. It has been classed as a site of historical significance since 1991.
Piscine des Amiraux has starred in several movies, but the most famous is, of course, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 heart-melting romance Amélie, the lead star being Audrey Tatou. It’s this very pool that features in a scene with Amélie’s father.
The epic €10 million makeover that began in 2015 came in an attempt to preserve its aging features. After being demolished and restored by the architect François Chatillon, the greatest challenge has been trying to ensure its historical authenticity holds up against the need to incorporate modern facilities.
And so while the features are gleaming more than they have done in decades, certain qualities have been preserved, like the ceramic coverings on the walls, making them look almost exactly like they did in the 1930s.