La Piscine - Roubaix

Sunday 5 April 2020 59100 Roubaix, France

Back end of 2019, husband, toddler and I went on a little French & Belgium road trip. During our trip we stopped for a day at the Roubaix town in the North of France (very close to Lille). We mainly wanted to see La Piscine which is famously known for its exquisite collection but also for their must see 1920's Swimming pool (no longer in use).

F O R  T H E  L I T T L E  S T O R Y

I was meant to write this post months ago but I lost 99% of all the pictures I took in France & in Belgium during our holiday break. (long story short; one of my memory stick got corrupted and all my pictures vanished), but lately I found few of my photo, from this beautiful museum, that were saved automatically by Facebook every time I was sharing them through the Facebook story feature. To my delight they were good enough pictures to be used for this post.


History of the museum

La piscine (French for The swimming Pool) was built between 1927-1932 and the pool was designated as a sanctuary for hygiene in response to the difficult living conditions of the working class. 
The Design: The basin's large basilica nave lit with stained glass windows symbolising the rising and setting sun hold the place of the abbatial chapel. (inspired by neo-Byzantine spirit). The cafeteria or the "swimmers dining hall", which is still being used as a dining area, was embedded into this scheme where, the apogee of luxury, a hair, manicure and pedicure salon, steam baths and industrial laundry room were also installed. 
In 1985, because of the fragile nature of its vault, the swimming pool close its door to the great regret to the Roubaix citizens.
In 2000 it was reopened to the public, but not as a swimming pool, but remodelled as a museum with a modern entrance, a garden and exhibition space,  by the architect Jean Paul Philippon. Then in 2018 it reopened again after 2 years of restauration.

T H E    C O L L E C T I O N 

The collection in Roubaix's museum is composed of works from the 19th and 20th centuries, all have an exciting singularity: assembled more in an English or American manner than French and what I absolute loved its they banned any hierarchy between the Applied Arts and the Fine Arts.

MY   E X P E R I E N C E 

Moving from one room to another room feel very unexpected and that's the first thing I will comment on. Feel and find the unexpected between each rooms. From the absolutely exquisite Piscine (le bassin) with the stained glass window reflecting on the tranquil water which somehow invite you to join into this surrealism or beauty, light beams and colour.  It will be a wow moment or at least it was for me. Then like waiting to become alive a ray of status erected on each side of La Piscine is a sight to see. Like they'd come alive at night time and bath to their heart contente while sipping champagne. Yes I do have a vivid imagination.

Then from room to room you walk through ceramic wonder, art nouveau and renaissance style staues. To then be again delighted by a modern vision of a statue of a sitting man watching you from an empty court yard and then you remember this place want you to find and see the unexpected. 
An other aspect of this fabulous museum its at every corner you'll find, sometimes hidden and sometimes in full sight, room or d├ęcor of the past. Don't forget this place used to be a swimming pool built in the early 20's so think retro tiles, quirky changing room and so on. The spirit of the swimming pool is present at all time. Also I highly recommend you to pay visit to the souvenir shop as not only  you'll find amazing posters, books, and quirky souvenirs to add to your collection but you 'll have an impressive view of the old swimming pool filter room. It is absolute massif a room fill with all sort of huge steel machinery that used to warm and filter the old swimming pool. This is an impressive sight. Go see it. 
An other room that made my imagination go wild is the Atelier room. A room full of bric a brac statues from all shapes, forms and condition. We sat there for a while looking at every corner to let our imagination go wild . My daughter very much enjoyed this room and I can safely say it was probably her favorite ones.

L' A T E L I E R  

T HE  M E E R T  B R A S S E R I E

There is also a restaurant available at La Piscine. It is a brasserie style restaurant called Meert. Unfortunately I have lost all my food pictures (below are from their website)  from this brasserie but expect gourmet food that is so good that many local people come everyday to eat there. And you know what they say: if the local come everyday, in a touristy place, you know its going to be delicious so don't hesitate to try one of their dishes or simply a coffee and a cake. You wont be disappointed.  

 I hope you enjoyed my little virtual tour of La piscine and if you get to do a tour of North of France I highly recommended this beautiful museum, you won't be disappointed.
Stay Safe and stay home.

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