I love great swimming pools. I always peruse the articles that list the top swimming pools in the world and swoon, wishing I could jump in to the water on the spot. There’s something about pools that bring up so many good feelings and emotions- sensual, exciting, seductive alluring, sexy, peaceful, inviting.
The Molitor Pool was originally opened in 1929 in the 16th arr. near Roland Garros tennis stadium and Bois de Boulogne, an Art Deco gem that was the pool of its day and continued to be one of the most beloved pools in Paris till it closed in 1989. Ironically, it was classified as an historic monument after it closed when it was in disrepair and became a haven for street artists to have free reign, who freely spray-painted their works all over the pool and surrounding area.
In August 2007, Mayor Bertrand Delanoe accepted bids from three companies for the renovation of the pool. The Accor Hotel Group won the bid and proceeded to completely rebuild the pool and add a luxury hotel, spa, and pool club.
The results are stunning! I think its now the chicest hotel in Paris, a resort right in the heart of the city but far away from the tourist attractions and hubbub of the city.
I was invited to take a tour of the hotel and to have lunch last Friday. As I approached the hotel, the intense mustard color caught me instantly along with the MOLITOR in bold black type. I actually felt I was in the Art Deco part of South Beach in Miami. (I rented an Art Deco apartment in South Beach in the winter of 1992).
When I walked into the lobby, I knew I was already in store for a special experience: the centerpiece was a shiny, new Rolls Royce covered in graffiti. WOW!
I then proceeded with the publicist to visit the two pools, the indoor one measuring 108 feet and the outdoor one measuring 150 feet. It was a sparkling summer day and the outdoor pool was dazzling with the sun hitting it just right, making me want to dive in. Unfortunately I was told that I couldn’t use the pool because the hotel and pool club were full that day. I also loved the uniformity of the white wood rails against the blue doors of the former cabanas, now the hotel room doors.
The restaurant, bar, and lobby lounge areas are sumptuously decorated by Jean Philippe Nuel in a cool mix of Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern. A room divider of milk glass panels was taken from the famed former department store Le Samaritane.There are also some beautiful reproductions of the original Art Deco stained glass panels form 1929 with depictions of bathers and sail boats.
The hotel hallways has black carpeting with words written on them like bikini 1946 and Johnny Weissmuller. The publicist told me interesting historical tidbits: the bikini was inaugurated at the pool in 1946 and Johnny Weissmuller, star of the iconic Tarzan films and Olympic athlete, officially inaugurated the hotel in 1929, a part time lifeguard at the time.
The rooms are luxuriously minimalist, done in a tasteful palate of white and gray. I was shown one of reception rooms on the lower level, which had murals done by various street artists. The hotel has a commitment to forward and display the work of street artists, retaining the spirit of the former artists that decorated the pool before it was renovated. A rooftop terrace had colorful furniture with a restaurant, lounge, and garden area with a panoramic view of the city. I was offered to have lunch on the roof terrace but opted for a table by the pool.
Yannick Alleno, one of the most sought over chefs in Paris, who was the head chef at the Le Meurice and owns the popular restaurant Le Terroir, created the menu. I had a perfect, light summer meal, a lobster tart followed by shrimp risotto with grilled shrimp, yuzu, and crunch bits of zucchini. I ordered the not too exciting sounding cheesecake with fruit, but the presentation was a work of art: colored wedges with topped delicate fruit and decorative swirls of red and yellow syrup.
As I lunched, I watched the beautiful people lounging around the pool, all tan, thin, and bikini clad, donning big, puffy, white robes when they got out of the pool, like the set of a glamorous film. At any moment I expected to see Cary Grant and Carole Lombard towel off right in front of me.
The facility also has a Clarins Spa and state of the art gym. There is limited membership available to the pool club for residents. You can obtain a guest pass for the day but it will set you back 180 euros.
The motto of the hotel is Pool, Art, Life! A spot on description.
I was sad to leave this fabulous pool oasis but discovered some interesting out of the way places near the hotel, which I will write about next week.
Molitor Hotel and Pool
8 Ave. de la Porte Molitor, 75016
Metro: Michel-Ange- Molitor
Art Deco stained glass panels
My lobster tart, there was a huge piece of lobster hidden inside the mound of spinach
My cheesecake art piece
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
Tours cost 210 euros for up to 3 people, and 70 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour