As said before in my blog about Lille, we planned to visit Lille again for some shopping. ( https://mychefmaison.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/lille-pearl-of-the-north/) And yes, Saturday was our Lille shopping day! We seemed to find what we needed quite quickly, so after a lunch at Elisabeth’s, we decided to use our free afternoon hours to visit the Museum La Piscine in Roubaix (musée d’art et d’industrie André Diligent), a twenty minute drive from Lille, in the direction of Belgium. This museum has intrigued me ever since I planned my first trip to Lille. It started to rain, so what better way to spend our time than inside a museum. Roubaix does not look very attractive, and the museum seems one of the only highlights of the small city. The museum is located at the centre of Roubaix, not far from the town hall. There is a parking space, just in front of the museum, and since the museum is not so well known, you will most likely find a free parking lot. (and parking is cheap, for 2 euro we could stay the whole weekend, which was quite unnecessary!)
The outside of the museum looks quite industrial, but has been revamped with very modern touches, lots of glass and big modern sculptures. The entrance gate has become a work of art in progress, filled with colourful stickers,which you receive when buying your entrance ticket.
The entrance ticket to the museum gives admission to the permanent collection, as well as the temporary exhibitions. The entrance hall has been added to the original swimming pool. There is a free locker room to leave your belongings and coats.
The entrance of the museum is genious. You walk in through the former showers, where you would take a shower before entering the water.
Then there is a jaw dropping moment when entering the former swimming pool. The swimming pool has been built in art-deco style and has fantastic glass stained windows, that filter the light in beautiful hues. The swimming pool itself is still there though in a smaller version, so that part of the pool can be used to exhibit sculptures.
In the middle of the open area you walk past the sculptures with the relaxing noise of a small fountain that is placed in the water. The former dressing rooms, that surround the swimming pool area, are now used to exhibit the large collection of ceramics. There are quite a number of ceramic works by Picasso.
Every now and then you hear the sounds of children in a swimming pool, a fine touch of humour. One part of the central part of the museum is dedicated to fashion and textiles, another to design. There is attention for the small visitors, with toys and colouring materials in central boxes in the rooms with paintings. On the second floor is a tactile installation that will entertain younger ones. (as well as adults!)
Attached to the swimming pool on one side is a whole area with paintings, one is by Jean-Léon Gérôme, one by Jean August Dominique Ingres, Tamara de Lempicka and Louis Charles Spriet. You pass the former hot baths ( or cold baths, I am not sure which is was), and in the museum shop where you can still see the large boilers to heat the water.
The temporary exhibition showed paintings by Amédée De La Patellière, an French painter who lived from 1890 to 1932, painting in the period between the two great wars. He worked a lot with darkness and light in his oil paintings. You see influences by Picasso, Gaugain and Chagall, amongst others.
The coffee shop is owned by Meert, the one from the famous waffles in Lille. The coffee is shop is quite bland, the price of the coffee and tea on the contrary a bit high (5 euro for a coffee or tea…)
Do not forget to put your sticker on the entrance gate when leaving the museum ……
The museum’s permanent collection is free every first Sunday of the month. Open Tuesday and Thursday 11 AM – 6 PM, Friday 11 AM – 8 PM, weekends 1 PM – 6 PM
Ticket for the permanent collection: 5,50 Euro, ticket if there are temporary exhibitions: 9 euro
Roubaix, La Piscine; address: 23 Rue de l’ Espérance, 59100 Roubaix, France