Piscine Molitor: Decades of Chic

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Well, the list of things to do in Paris just keeps growing. Of course! My latest obsession is with newly renovated Molitor. Tucked away in the 16th Arrondissement, the hotel and massive Olympic-sized pool has recently reopened after years of restoration. But what’s so fabulous about this place is not the totally chic decor of the hotel rooms, or the fabulous sunbathing deck, it’s the totally amazing history of this establishment, which goes back to the early 20th century.

Bathers pose in 1932 (left); the first Bikini’s arrive in 1946 (right).

Originally opened in 1929 at the hight of art deco, the hotel and was designed by Lucien Pollet, and quickly became the go-to place for Paris elite. For years it was the place people came to see and be see. So much so that it’s rumored that the first ever Bikini debuted on these infamous decks in 1946, only to be followed by the less popular, and more scandalous sister the “monokini.” Yes, there was such a thing for a hot minute.

1946 – the first bikini, designed by Louis Reard (left); 1964- the more controversial monokini (right).

In the late 80s the pool fell into disrepair after a narrow escape from demolition. Despite it’s historic landmark status, the site became a hub of activity for graffiti artists and skateboarders, turning the massive Olympic sized pool into a skate park, canvas, and rave site.

Molitor in 1989 (photo by Thomas Jorion).

After nearly 10 years of work, the new Molitor re-opened in 2014 as a hotel. Most of the building had to be re-done, but the new owners, under the direction of designer Jean-Philippe Nue took careful measures to restore as much as possible, while updating the interiors to chic contemporary design.

The lovely new bar in Molitor (Boris Zulian).

Loving these lounge patterns! (photo by Boris Zuliani)

Today’s reincarnation bridges almost a century of history, from decadent art deco, to the free-loving 60s, to the grungy, spray-painted 80s, to create a chic new take on this historic design. The style might have changed throughout the years, but one thing hasn’t: the Molitor is, and has always been a hub of style and activity, and its new iteration certainly disappointed!





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