Want a beach holiday? Head to Paris

Each July the beaches of the French Riviera and those on France’s Atlantic Coast become packed with European holidaymakers searching for a bit of sun, sand and occasional surf.  France does have some highly regarded beaches, or plages as they are called, and most of these are found, not surprisingly, on either the Mediterranean or Atlantic coasts.

Now it is possible to combine that Parisian break with a day at the beach.  Paris is nowhere near the coast; in fact, Paris occupies the banks of the River Seine.  Whilst it is possible to enjoy the promenades by the side of the Seine, it doesn’t have a reputation for being a pleasant beach retreat.

That all changed in 2002, when the Parisian officials first banned cars from many of the riverside thoroughfares, imported truckloads of sand, and turned some of those roads into plages (beaches).

Now, each July for four weeks those plages re-appear as Paris embraces the beach spirit.

Not only do you get sand, but you get some of the accessories like deckchairs and ice cream stalls.  There are three distinct areas that get turned into plages each season.  The first is a three kilometre stretch from the Louvre to Point de Sully, which also has concerts and outdoor activities such as rollerblading and climbing walls.

Port de Glare, by the Francois Mitterrand National Library provides more intellectual pursuits for you day at the beach, for here you can borrow newspapers, books and enrol in art classes.  The latest beach to open is at Bassin de la Villette where aquatic activities like rowing, kayaking and pedal boats are the order of the day.

Due to the fact that the River Seine is not renowned for the cleanliness of its water, swimming pools are now suspended above the Seine for those that want a dip.

The Annual Paris Plage is free, and very popular, so if you want a prime spot outside the Louvre, you may have to get their early to grab your spot.

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