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.