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The beach comes to Paris at Paris Plages // In pictures

The beach comes to Paris

Boules on the beach, building sandcastles and relaxing in a deckchair – it’s your traditional French seaside holiday. But in the centre of Paris? In 2002 the mayor of Paris came up with the idea of creating an urban beach for Parisians who had to stay in the city over the summer, when most residents leave for the coast or countryside. ‘Paris Plages’ was so popular that it’s been running for four weeks each summer since. Along the banks of the Seine between the Pont Neuf and Pont de Sully there are parasols and loungers, sand sculptures, mini pools and fountains to cool off in, boules pitches, playgrounds and beachside cafés. It’s all free and open from 8am to midnight from mid-July to mid-August, with concerts and events along the riverbank in the evenings. So you can get your seaside holiday fix even in the heart of the city.

Sunbathers on the Paris Plages
Water spray fountains
Beaches alog the banks of the Seine
Beach life
Sand sculptures at Paris Plages
Paris' city beach

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The beach comes to Paris at Paris Plages – On the Luce travel blog

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33 Comments

  • Reply
    Arianwen
    August 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    This is a great idea. They do it in London too, but for some reason, I’ve never seen people in their bathers sunning themselves. Can’t think why! 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm

      No not sure the banks of the Thames are quite so inviting! The Parisians were getting very into the sunbathing though, but it was a bit too hot for me.

  • Reply
    Anita Mac
    August 29, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Urban beaches are popping up everywhere! Montreal has a really popular one! Can’t think of anything nicer that a spot of holiday in the middle of town!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 29, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      It’s a great idea isn’t it, especially if you can’t get away during the summer, at least you can pretend you’re on holiday for an afternoon!

  • Reply
    Tisha
    August 29, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Ha! I had no idea they created a mini-beach along the Siene… that’s awesome.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 29, 2012 at 7:36 pm

      It’s been going for a while now but I’ve always missed it in the past so I had to go and check it out this time – luckily the weather was suitably summery too!

  • Reply
    Kathryn
    August 29, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    I’ve seen photos of this before and always thought it was a great idea. Your photos really bring it to life though! Lovely!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 29, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      Thanks, it was great to walk along the ‘beachfront’ and see it all, you’d have to be there early to bag a prime deckchair spot though I think!

  • Reply
    Travelbunny
    August 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    A lovely idea and great pics – glad you had good weather 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 29, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      It couldn’t have been a better day – so hot I had to have a go in one of those water spray fountains to cool off!

  • Reply
    restlessjo
    August 29, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Trust the French to do it in such style!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 30, 2012 at 9:34 am

      You certainly can, and it seemed really popular from the amount of people there.

  • Reply
    Jennifer Avventura
    August 30, 2012 at 7:02 am

    I’ve never seen anything like this … what a fabulous idea!

  • Reply
    Madhu
    August 30, 2012 at 7:49 am

    I think they wind up by end August, we missed seeing this on our trip in August 2008. Beautiful photos Lucy.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 30, 2012 at 9:33 am

      They do, this year the dates were 20 July to 19 August. I’ve been to Paris around Bastille Day a couple of times and seen the beaches being set up but been too early to visit until now.

  • Reply
    Andrew Petcher
    August 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    The city authorities in Nottingham UK do something very similar every summer.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 31, 2012 at 10:20 am

      It’s a great idea, there should be more of them in the UK (not that we’ve really had the weather for it this year!).

  • Reply
    alasnyc
    August 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Love this. It’s amazing to see in dressy Paris.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 31, 2012 at 10:19 am

      It is a bit of a surprise isn’t it. Though the locals were getting very into the spirit – the bikinis and shorts were out in force!

  • Reply
    marinachetner
    August 31, 2012 at 12:37 am

    To an Australian, this is such a novel concept!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 31, 2012 at 10:18 am

      Yes I suppose most Australian cities aren’t too far from a proper beach! Though I do remember spending a few afternoons on the artificial beach by the river in Brisbane.

  • Reply
    Gerard
    September 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Lucy, I love your pictures. I’ve heard of this before. However, your post makes it more personal because you have some very nice pictures.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      September 3, 2012 at 11:36 am

      Thanks Gerard, it was great to see and I had such a perfect summery day for it too, it was really nice to see so many people enjoying it.

  • Reply
    f-stop mama
    September 3, 2012 at 12:26 am

    This is a very creative idea! I love it. We need something like this in Indianapolis!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      September 3, 2012 at 11:36 am

      Great isn’t it? I’d like to get one set up here in Cheltenham too – we don’t have a river to do it along but there’s a big pond I’m sure will work!

      • Reply
        f-stop mama
        September 4, 2012 at 6:22 pm

        We have a canal and I already know the perfect spot, now just to convince the city to invest x amount of money 🙂

  • Reply
    llafont
    September 8, 2012 at 12:52 am

    What a great looking man-made beach, in France. Love the Sand Art.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      September 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm

      Impressive isn’t it? About the best I can do is a sandcastle!

  • Reply
    John
    September 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Brussels also has its ‘Bruxelles les Bains /Brusselbad’ beach party for 4 weeks each summer. It is held alongside the canal. I always make a point of visiting for the party atmosphere and street food.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      September 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      Thanks for the tip, I didn’t know there was a Brussels version, I’ll have to try and coincide my next visit with it.

  • Reply
    Rachael
    September 17, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    What a splendid thing to do! I can’t believe I am saying this but well done the Frenchies!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      September 18, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      It’s a great idea, sounds like they are catching on in lots of other cities too.

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