Lonely Planet Writer

Art-deco swimming pool from the film 'Amélie' set to reopen

Soon Parisians will be able to swim once again in a pool steeped in historical significance. The beautiful Piscine des Amiraux that was immortalised in the classic French film “Amélie” is set to reopen after a €10 million makeover.

Hidden in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, the municipal pool was built by architect Henri Sauvage. It first opened its doors in 1930. Sauvage was also the architect behind the famous Parisian department store La Samaritaine.

The interior of the swimming pool. Image by CANAL Architecture

Covered in the same white tiles that were used in the Paris Metro, the pool lies at the bottom of an eight-storey apartment building and features a balcony terrace surrounding it. Sauvage originally wanted to build a cinema but that idea was overruled by city hall which commissioned it to be a building for social housing instead.

The design of the exterior of the pool is beautiful. Image by CANAL architecture

While Piscine des Amiraux has featured in several movies, the most notable one being Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 film Amélie, its lead played by Audrey Tatou.

Amélie’s father, Raphaël, played by French-Italian actor Rufus as he steps out of the pool. Image by Bruno Delbonnel

The pool itself featured in a scene with Amélie’s father and while brief, still captured the stunning architecture and layout of the building. Sadly, in recent years, the ageing 33-metre pool has been in dire need of renovation.

It was demolished and rebuilt as Sauvage originally designed. Restored by the architect, François Chatillon, he had the challenge of trying to maintain its historical significance while incorporating modern facilities.

Work on the restoration of Piscine des Amiraux began in 2015. The ceramic coverings on the walls have been preserved to look like they did in the 1930s through extensive work that took over a year and a half for the team to complete.

It’s not entirely clear what exact date Piscine des Amiraux will reopen but it is to happen towards the end of September.