That’s Not a Beach

I don’t wish to disappoint the French, but they have been severely misinformed about what a beach is. From 21 July until 21 August, the Mairie de Paris has installed, on both the Seine and Canal Saint Martin, the Paris Plages. On Monday Tom and I walked down to the Seine to see what all of the fuss was about and to experience the Parisian tides. It was… well… interesting.

Paris Plage

Riverside beach

Basically a large amount of yellow sand is brought in and dumped into wooden boxes with umbrellas and lounge chairs strategically placed to allow for the best views of the dirty Seine water. There are then showers and mist-makers (I have no idea what you would call one of those things… a vapouriser? That sounds like something that would be used to kill ghosts) to ensure people can stay cool while lying in the middle of Paris in their bikinis getting a tan.

Water fountains

Cooling waters

Monday was a hot day (well, by ‘hot’ I mean it was 27 degrees and I was wearing a sleeveless top) and the sun was beating down quite strongly on that area of the Seine and the Parisians were loving it. Maybe I am half vampire because I shrivel if I stay in the direct sunlight and yet the folk of Paris will hunt out any inch of sunshine that they can, remove most of their clothes and soak up the rays. There was a lot of flesh. While most people had come prepared with their latest bikinis, lots of people were clearly there in their lunch break and underwear was passing as swimwear. Odd.

I will admit that it was an amazing set up. Walking along the Seine there huts selling ice creams and drinks intermittently all the way along the water. Once again it was an example of Europe being cool enough to sell alcoholic beverages in an area full of children. There were fußeball tables, sand sculptures, buskers, a pirate hut for kids to play in – all of this was set up for a month of enjoyment for the folk of Paris. The Mairie de Paris spends a lot of money on ensuring the lives of its residents are as fun and enjoyable as possible. It is very impressive and nice to be living in a ‘city that cares’.

sand castle

That's a big sand castle.

Since seeing an exhibition at the Hotel de Ville a few weeks ago about the history of life on the Seine and discovering that the Paris Plages have been around for quite some time, it was interesting to go and see what it was all about. I don’t think I will be spending any time there and I’m not sure I particularly enjoyed it as a place to visit, however it does bring some sort of bizarre happiness into the lives of the Parisians who don’t run away to the south of France during August. And that’s just nice.

Bikes

These two cool dudes were happy to have somewhere to roll

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5 Responses to “That’s Not a Beach”

  1. jean jacques says:

    jess a paris plage il manque que lq mer

  2. Nickerz says:

    Hey but I bet they had cafés, bars and restaurants nearby. And I bet there’s life after dark. Now that’s a beach. A proper beach. Not a WA beach…

  3. Jess says:

    That’s true! They have free concerts all the time and you could drink beer on the ‘beach’. I believe it closes at 9pm though. WA beaches last forever :)

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