A day out at the beach in Paris
Every year Paris becomes a sauna, the heat baking those iconic Parisian cobbles and frying the residents. To combat this inescapable furnace the Mayor has decreed faux-beaches to be established along the Seine River.
Thousands of tonnes of sand have been pumped onto the boardwalks, and bold blue deck chairs, sun loungers and brollies have been scattered along the banks of the deep green river. These “plages” are intended to offer a welcome respite from the melting streets of the capital.
Though swimming in the Seine is prohibited and could earn you a 15 euro fine; rubber rings are absolutely fine to cool down from the heat of the Parisian streets (during the day, the night time ardour is another problem).
Activities along the water front abound, with beach volleyball, sandcastle building and hundreds of other traditionally coastal endeavours. Tai Chi classes and live concerts take place on the white sands. The festival also coincides with the Cinema by Moonlight event that sees screens put up throughout Paris to show the latest films.
Street fishing is a long tradition where Parisians use little poles to catch from the Seine, though now the fish, which are not fit for human consumption are thrown back to go on their merry way.
Children dance in the cool spray of water sprinklers, grownups enjoy the riverside bars that spring up and both relish the frosty relief of the temporary ice-cream vendors that patrol the strips of golden sand.
The beaches stretch from the Louvre three kilometres to Pont du sully, on the square facing Hotel de Ville and the Basin de la Villette in the North. The plages are open 9 am to midnight from mid-July to mid-August. And the best part is access to them is completely free.
So if you are headed to Paris this summer, amid the sparkling Louvre and the iconic Eiffel Tower a lazy beach day in the French capital might be just the ticket.