Paris Plages: There’s a beach next to Notre Dame!
Sparkling turquoise water matched with lines of cobalt blue umbrellas and warm golden sand between my toes (and inevitably, in my sandwich). I could see couples walking past holding hands, clutching even harder onto fast melting ice cream cones. There were even a few families enjoying Parisian Picnics– an absolute must for any sunny day in Paris!
No. I was in the centre of Paris.
Granted, I might not go for a swim in the water and maybe it only looked clear because of sun glare. But there’s still a beach in Paris! And while it may not be right next to Notre Dame, it’s still within 150m!
There are also a couple of rules to abide by that don’t apply to other beaches in France:
- No topless sunbathing.
- No swimming in the Seine.
The beach itself is called Paris Plages (‘plages‘ literally means beach in French- the singular being ‘plage’). Commissioned by the mayor, the artificial beaches are set up in the city centre for the summer months of July and August annually. Many of the roads running along the right bank of the Seine are closed off to cars to make way for makeshift beaches. There are also a number of other events organised by the city of Paris; these include concerts and festivals.
Traditionally in the summer, as tourists descend on the city of lights, many locals leave. Lots of shops and businesses close shop for the month of August. Inevitably, though, considering that Paris doesn’t just stop during the summer, many locals still remain in the city. As an initiative for these city dwellers, in 2002, the mayor of Paris began the summer beaches. Paris plages has been held along the banks of the Seine ever since and have proved so popular, that they now boast over 4 million visitors on a yearly basis.
When you do decide to go, make sure you get to the beach early in the morning as the best spots tend to fill up pretty quickly!
The beach is even open at night. One of my favourite things about evenings in Paris, is that it’s often warm enough to sit outside during the evenings without a jacket. When I lived in Canada, this definitely wasn’t the case!
How Summer evenings look in Paris:
There are other Paris plages locations too:
Since 2007, Paris plages has had multiple locations (hence the word ‘beach‘ in the plural!). The colourful tables, food stands and children play areas are set up between the middle to end of July each year along Bassin de la Villette.
Situated in the 19e arrondissement, this is not a natural river, but the largest artificial lake in the city of lights. It’s the perfect place to hang out with friends, go people watching or even get round to doing a little bit of work.
French Summer Vocabulary:
Sun: le soleil
Suncream: crème solaire
Ice Cream: crème glacée
Holiday: les vacances
If you want to learn some more interesting words in French, I’ve written an article here.
If you want to learn about some false friends in French, I’ve written an article here.
And if you want a ‘pinnable‘ image just hover on the picture below: