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Roubaix (France)

Welcome to Roubaix

Roubaix Roubaix is a small city situated in the Nord department in northern France, close to the city of Lille. Founded in the ninth century, it is the second biggest city in the Nord Pas de Calais region with a population of 98,796. In the Middle Ages, Roubaix was famous for its textile industry and wool production. Nowadays, the city is also well known for its policy on regeneration ‘Ville Renouvelee’, which seeks to transform this industrial setting into a sustainable city. Roubaix has undergone many changes which have transformed the facade of the city whilst maintaining its heritage and charm. An example of one such metamorphosis is an old swimming pool that was converted into a museum of fine arts. This and many other developments have made Roubaix a unique destination worth visiting.

Regeneration and revival

Local authorities in Roubaix see culture and heritage as the key to the city’s economic recovery and various sites have been given new life – from a garage converted into a theatre to a swimming pool which now functions as a museum. The swimming pool was built in 1932 by Albert Baert and was one of the finest and most sophisticated of its time. It was a strong symbol of Roubaix identity until it was closed in 1985 due to safety concerns. The community’s attachment to the building certainly saved it from being demolished. In 2001, following an international competition, the swimming pool was reopened as a museum – ‘la Piscine – Musee d’art et d’industrie’. The facade of the building was preserved, while the interior was adapted to host permanent and visiting exhibitions. La Piscine highlights the industrial past of the city, exploring its cultural heritage and offers visitors an insight into the city’s history.

Sightseeing tips

  • the famous Paris-Roubaix bicycle road race ends in Roubaix. See if you can spot the names of biking legends engraved in stone along the city’s cobbled roads
  • visit Roubaix’s fashion district and ‘A l’Usine’ – a former factory turned into an outlet store
  • Carolyn Carlson is the Director of the National Choreographic Centre in Roubaix, famous for its unique dancen performances
Last update: 04/10/2011 | Top