For 60 years, the Piscine Molitor -- tucked away in the leafy outskirts of Paris -- was the height of French sophistication: an Art Deco destination for chic sunbathers and sophisticated celebrities to swim. Twenty-five years ago it was closed and left to ruin -- but now it's been faithfully restored to its former glory.
The pool was closed in 1989 to make way for a housing development, only to be saved by protests from local associations -- but the building was then left unused. Over time, it became home to skate boarders, graffiti artists and illegal raves. Its future looked alternative at best, and bleak at worst.
But now the pool has been completely renovated and reopened as a luxury hotel-club. Over $US100 million of investment by French hotel group Accor has seen the pool restored to former glory, and it reopens today. While much of it has had to be rebuilt, many of the mosaics and original pieces of stained glass have been carefully restored, and its original blue-yellow colour scheme maintained.
In addition, there are now 124 sleek hotel rooms, along with a spa, gym and rooftop bar. The new development has suffered some criticism of its own over such decadence, though: while Molitor was never cheap to visit, it now costs an eye watering $US250 for a day's swimming, while an annual membership sets you back $US4500.
Pictures: Alexandre Soria/Molitor and Thomas Jorion/Molitor