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In the summer of 2002, newly elected socialist Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoë transformed the banks of the Seine into a sandy beach. The philosophy behind this spectacular gesture? To provide an urban oasis and a gathering place for cash-strapped Parisians on a staycation as well as the hordes of tourists who flock to the city during the dog days of summer.
Now a summer in Paris institution, this year’s Paris Plages runs from July 20 to August 18, at the original site on the right bank near the City Hall and the Bassin de la Villette in the 19th arrondissement that opened in 2007. Car traffic is banished and the beaches are open for business and pleasure from 9 a.m. to midnight daily.
In addition to nearly a kilometer of sandy Seine-side beaches, complete with palm trees, lawn chairs and parasols, activities include tai chi and dance lessons, boules and mini golf, live concerts, riverside cafes, a lending library, water-based activities at the Bassin de la Villette and more.
All activities are free and open to the public. Note that topless sunbathing and swimming in the Seine are not permitted.
Photos of Paris Plages from previous years