Did you know? There's an abandoned "ghost" water park in the Yvelines department.

Published by Caroline de Sortiraparis · Photos by My de Sortiraparis · Published on April 23th, 2024 at 12:35 p.m.
There's no shortage of amazing sites in the Paris region. Such is the case of this "ghost" water park in the Yvelines department. Abandoned for more than 20 years and listed as a Monument Historique in 2009, the former leisure center was a popular spot for families from its inauguration in 1935, and remained so for several decades. Here's the story.

Residents of the Yvelines region are no doubt familiar withÎle du Platais. Nestling between the towns of Villennes-sur-Seine, Médan and Triel-sur-Seine, the island is as intriguing for its history as it is for the " ghost " water park, which has been abandoned for over 20 years. Today, this island - frequented in the late 19th century by writer Émile Zola and Cézanne - is a favorite with urban explorers.

It all began in 1927, when two brothers and doctors, André and Gaston Durville, decided to create one of the first naturist camps in France, known as Domaine de Physiopolis, on this 42-hectare island in the Paris region.

After the brothers left for the South of France, Rigobert Cromeck and Joseph Willem decided to build the famous Villennes beach. The beach was inaugurated in 1935. It features a 2,000 m² swimming pool, a giant slide and a long, liner-shaped building designed by architects Paul Edmond and Lucien Bourgeois, housing cabins, terraces and stores.

Unsurprisingly, Parisians flocked in droves at the time to enjoy the water park, located just 1 hour from the capital. Over the decades, however, the leisure center fell out of favor with Parisians, until it finally closed in 2002. Since then, the Ile du Platais water park has been abandoned, becoming a " ghost " site. The infrastructures have remained in place, albeit in a dilapidated state, worn down by time. Graffiti has covered some of the walls of the main building, and vegetation has reclaimed much of the site. Although Villennes beach is now privately owned and access to the island remains difficult (the crossing is usually by boat), this doesn't stop urbex enthusiasts from visiting to discover the remains of the past.

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Today, several parts of the main building have been listed as Historic Monuments since 2009. " The façades and roofs of the main building; two cabins in their entirety; the pool's large and small basins; the entire pier " are all listed as Monuments Historiques, according to the French Ministry of Culture.

Several rehabilitation projects have been mooted, such as the opening of a hotel and balneotherapy complex, according to a JDD article published in January 2023. For the time being, however, no concrete plans have come to fruition. The Villennes water park and beach therefore remain abandoned, to the delight of urban explorers.

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