Monday, 15 August 2011

Paris Plages

Paris Plages is an annual summer event that has been active in Paris since 2002. The roads (les quais) that run along the Seine are closed to traffic and temporary beaches are opened to the public. This fabulous initiative was instigated by the Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoë. It lasts for 4 weeks from about the 20th of July to the 20th August. Initially there was only one beach located on the Rive Droite between le Pont Neuf and the Pont de Sully. Since then, every year new plages have been added in different parts of Paris, including on the rive Gauche and along the canal at La Villette.

I'm a big fan of Paris Plages, it provides a beautiful location for people to enjoy Paris and get a holiday feel, without spending a fortune. All the activities along the Plage like pétanques, babyfoot, a pirate sandpit, a swimming pool (!!!), massages to name a few, are free for all, you just have to wait your turn. The first year it started we lived 5 minutes walk from the Plage, we went there daily, in the early morning for quiet strolls to admire the views, in the afternoon to enjoy the entertainment put on for kids, and in the early evening to enjoy a beer and a barquette de frites while admiring one of the best city views in the world. 

The other day when we went to Paris Plage we started at the western end.
We then headed eastward, the first stretch is sandy, with mattresses, deck chairs and sand-pit toys available to anybody who is there early enough.
I never noticed these rather scary carved stone heads on Pont Neuf before. 
They have palm trees the whole length of the Plage, to generate the beach holiday atmosphere.
We passed a rather impressive sand sculpture.
A pirate ship.
Back in 2007 they had a climbing wall for kids. It is no longer there, I think it maybe had something to do with a 2 and 1/2 year old being spotted leaping from a platform 5 metres up. Yes, that's our son, and yes I cried after he jumped, and no, he didn't cry.
For me, I think it's the views you get of Paris that I like best. Unexpected views from unusual angles. Here's the Eiffel Tower walking with lampposts.
Here is Notre Dame peeking out between apartment blocks.
Three bent trees.
The sun came out and the water sparkled.
Boats went by.
People lounged on bright green bean bags.
They have fine water spray jets to cool you down if it gets too hot.
Then of course there is the mandatory ice-cream stop.
Here is a view from Pont Marie.
And here is a view from Pont de Sully. 
Paris in your finger tips.
More information about Paris Plages can be found here on the Paris Plages website.


  1. Sadly, it seems those who disliked the 'Plage' and the cost to the taxpayer have won over. We went for a visit today and it is a mere shadow, a terribly sad and small shadow, of previous years.:(

  2. It is true that there are fewer activities for kids these days at the main Paris Plage, though now they seem to have more stuff for kids at the Basin de La Villette. The crowds keep on coming that's for sure!