Note: This facility is presently closed for tile repair. Call to verify whether it has reopened in case they forget to notify us.
Lap swimming in a Parisian public pool is not for finicky swimmers who prefer empty lanes, perfect water temps and pristine changing areas. Most Parisian pools are crowded, disorganized and a little dirty. We're not trying to dissuade you from swimming to/fro in the City of Light, but keep your expectations in check. Fortunately, entry fees are very reasonable (currently 3.80 Euros at Des Halles) so a disappointing experience will not cost too much dough.
For our money, this is the best public lap pool in Paris. As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words," so go through the several photos we took through the glass wall. As you can see, Des Halles is a 50-meter water box with floating lines, bottom stripes, backstroke flags, and a pace-clock. Unfortunately, the bad comes with the good, the place can get really crowded (especially at open, weekends, and weekday evenings till 9pm), water runs a tad warm (83-85F), one end of the pool is too shallow for proper flip turns (2 feet?), and only 3-4 lanes are typically reserved for lap swimming. Still, with the right mindset going in, lap swimmers can enjoy a good workout here, about the best you're going to find in Paris.
Also keep in mind that Parisians do not always follow the same lane etiquette/organization as swimmers in the U.S. and U.K. Speed signs are not obeyed and circle-swimming is a foreign concept. Try to avoid the rush hours (especially weekends) and plan on swimming around others.
This facility was renovated in 2006 and the lockers/changing areas are no longer attended (1Euro coin for locker).
Note: All Paris pools require a swim cap for men and women.
Directions: Des Halles is located on the third underground floor of the Des Halles Forum Shopping Plaza. Take two flights of escalators down (there are several entrances to the underground). We entered (see photo) from the Forum Shops escalators on Rue Berger. Turn Left off the second escalator down and follow to end of hallway (see photos).
There is a small bike rental station across from the Forum entrance on Rue Berger for those who may wish to ride to/from here.