La Piscine Museum
© Megan Palmer, 2012
Reclaimed spaces are all the rage in the art gallery world, but few are so striking as this unique venue. La Piscine, in the Roubaix district of Lille, is a modern art gallery with a difference. Built in the late 1920s, the building (as the name suggests) was a municipal swimming pool. It closed in 1985, but reopened as an art gallery in 2000. These beautiful art deco stained glass windows provide a wonderful, warm light in the main hall, which still features a long rectangular pool at its centre. Former changing cubicles line the pool, still with their original white tiles, but now house historic artefacts. The walls are lined with 19th century oil paintings, and belle époque statues of mermaids and bathing beauties line the shimmering water.