As the last few weeks of summer approach, hopefully we are comforted in knowing that another great season full of warm memories was created.
The summer transforms Paris. The cityscape dons greenery and the riverside thoroughfares become car-free resorts. The Paris Plages (Paris Beaches) operation kicks off on or around 20 July and lasts four weeks. Tuesday marked the last day of Paris beach season this year.
A Seine-side holiday. That, in a nutshell, is what Paris Plages is all about – complete with sandy beaches, deck chairs, ubiquitous ice cream sellers, and concerts for French and foreign guests.
Holiday makers at the Bassin de la Villette (Paris 19) can also borrow books free of charge, play beach volley, take an aquagym class in a mini pool, or kayak around the lake – or, of course just chill and enjoy. The Seine’s banks become pedestrian and the beaches are spread across three spots (Louvre/Pont de Sully, Port de la Gare and Bassin de la Villette).
From the Louvre to Pont de Sully – This was the first [Paris Plage] beach that opened in 2002. It spans three kilometres through historical Paris, and features open-air attractions (rollerblading, tai-chi, wall climbing, boules etc.). Refreshment areas, play areas and deck chairs are available for your time out unwinding by the river.
Bassin de la Villette – is the latest addition to Paris Plages, and opened in 2007 round Bassin de la Villette (Paris 19). It stretches from Rotonde de Ledoux (nearest Jaurès Metro station) to the former Magasins Généraux (in Rue de Crimée) and features a proper water-sports complex (with rowing boats, kayaks, pedal boats and dinghies) alongside quaint quay-side restaurants and boules courts.
Every year, Paris Plages begins around 20 July and lasts four weeks. All Paris Plages beaches are open non-stop from 8.00 am to midnight.
I can’t think of a better reason to head to Paris in the summertime. For a more detailed account and audio tour of Paris Plages, listen to NPR’s segment from Monday’s Morning Edition broadcast. If you were lucky enough to visit Paris Plages this summer, tell us all about it here on WallSpin!