We have a story for hu!

How can a covered pool touch thousands of lives?

You're about to find out!
We are going to tell you a story that shaped our present and that we hope will shape our future. Dig out your flares, platform clogs and floral dresses, because we're going on a trip back to the '70s. Are hu ready?

Once upon a time, the worst swimmers in the world made a big splash.

It all began at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. The French swimming team found themselves out of their depth, returning home with just one bronze medal. The whole country was disappointed. Joseph Comiti, the Secretary of State, decided to take action to help France learn to swim. All they needed was a thousand pools! A competition was announced, with a brief calling for affordable proposals that would be quick to make and easy to reproduce.

Any suggestions?

As it happens, Bernard Schoeller had come up with a very original idea: a bit like a flying saucer, a bit like a groovy sea urchin. He called his swimming pool Tournesol, the French for sunflower. The prefabricated structure was made from plastic to cope with both winter and summer conditions, and its unique design included a mechanism that allowed the roof to open, transforming it into an open-air swimming pool.

The concept proved popular and Bernard won the competition. Bring on the pools!

Schoeller's spaceship invasion

Is it a giant mushroom? Is it a spaceship? No, it's a swimming pool!

Between the '60s and '80s, a wave of chlorinated water swept over France. Schoeller's "spaceships" landed at more than 180 locations across the nation.

Kids and adults alike were excited to dive in. After all, the Tournesols were colourful, fun, and a chance to try something new.

To this day, around Paris and on the beaches of Biscarrosse, many parents still tell their children that they learned to swim inside a flying saucer.

The sunflowers start to wilt

Comiti's dream (more or less) came to fruition.

About 700 of the thousand swimming pools were actually built, and 183 of Bernard Schoeller's proposed 250 Tournesols bloomed across France. The pools were brimming with splashes, laughter and accidental gulps of water, not to mention freestyle, breaststroke and butterfly. In the early 2000s, while some Tournesol pools were deemed to be part of France's "20th Century Heritage", the old motto was coming back to haunt them: affordable, quick to make and easy to reproduce. Unfortunately, these pools were not built to last. The materials were wearing out quickly and the maintenance costs proved too high for many small towns. Many pools were dismantled, while others were converted to serve different purposes. In spite of their successes – record-breaking swimmer Laure Manaudou and Olympic champion Alain Bernard both learned to swim in a Tournesol – the fate of these quirky pools seemed to be sealed.

Reclaiming the Tournesols

A short story

Some towns decided not to abandon these monuments, recognising the true potential of the Tournesols. The pool in Lingolsheim was one of the first to bloom again. It was reinforced with stronger materials to make it safe and durable, while modern technology was used to ensure better insulation. The Les Abrets-en-Dauphine Tournesol was clad in white zinc and equipped with more comfortable facilities, and the one in Blois underwent a similar expansion. Groups of enthusiasts came together to scour the country for traces of these forgotten icons, rediscovering and sharing their heritage to make sure it does not get lost. But what about the swimming pool in hu Birkelt Village?

Schoeller's spaceship invasion
The sunflowers start to wilt
Reclaiming the Tournesols

Between you and hu

The large dome that covers the main pool is the first thing you see when you arrive.

The Tournesol in hu Birkelt Village is one of 183 dreamed up by Bernard Schoeller, a rare example of an original pool that is still enjoyed to this day. It is part of the Village's heritage, but it also belongs to the local area and the entire community. We are fully committed to supporting and collaborating with neighbouring organisations. Our relationship with the local area – and its traditions and specialities – is incredibly important to us. We want to create a community both inside and outside our facility. To really appreciate the beauty of our surroundings. To offer our guests a real, rich and authentic experience. That's why we want to protect, fix and maintain the Tournesol pool.

Our goal is to restore the beloved Tournesol

Our open-air destination is set apart by its attention to detail, welcoming ambiance and sustainability.

This is why we got busy.

We restored its shell, giving it back its former colour and lustre, strengthening its structure even more and modifying its opening mechanism. So that it can stay this way for another 60 years. And after the exterior, we worked on the heart of our Girasole, purifying its waters with purification filters that make them clean and crystal clear.

So we're all set for a new year of dips and dives in our private spaceship!

And that's not all.               

We’re still working for hu.

We know that there's still a long way to go before we bring Tournesol back to its original splendour. But we're ready to go, because we like to take care of the territory that hosts us. And take care of you.

We're rolling up our sleeves, because in the near future:
β€’ We will be building water games for kids.
β€’ We will be making the pool larger, also making it more comfortable and suitable for everyone, whether they want to swim, sunbathe or enjoy the whirlpool.
β€’ We will be moving the services outside and adding a corridor for easier entry as well as a divider from the car park.

Everything we do, we do it for hu!

Between you and hu
Our open-air destination is set apart by its attention to detail, welcoming ambiance and sustainability.
And that's not all.               

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