No. 352: The Paris Plages
Okay, so it is not quite the Côte d’Azur, but I think it is one fantastic idea to transform a 4-kilometer stretch of the Right Bank of the Seine into a free fanciful faux beach for one month of the year. We have spent a couple of great afternoons on this urban beach enjoying the sand, sun, and gorgeous setting. It seems a bit strange to be lying out on a comfy beach loungers staring up at the Pont Neuf and the Conciergerie contemplating the fate of Marie-Antoinette, but then, this is Paris.
Some pretty great designers must have been involved in developing this concept and the enthusiastic support of the city government doesn’t hurt. Personally, I love all the different types of seating options available. You can choose from blue loungers on a white sand beach to huge colorful bean bags nearly spilling into the river, to large sail-like sun beds made for two, and café chairs on a freshly laid lawn. There are no shortage of things to keep you occupied: ballroom dancing lessons, swimming pools and misters, trampolines and dirt biking, art studios and playgrounds for kids, free massages for adults, foosball and pétanque, and of course, beachside cafés. The street entertainers run the gamut from classical Chinese zither players to opera singers to in-your-face hip-hop troops. If you can’t figure out what to do, you can ask one of the extremely friendly “plagistes”. Or you can simply admire the professional sandcastle builders as they sculpt their masterpieces while you enjoy your speculoos glace.
Ice cream, sand, friends and sunshine equals a perfect day in Paris.