What Would Summer in Paris Be Without Its Beach?:
Inaugurated in 2002, Paris Beach (or "Paris Plages" in French) is a free summer event that transforms several spots in Paris into full-fledged beaches, each with a distinct theme. The brainchild of Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, well-known for launching ambitious municipal events, Paris Plage, which was initially criticized by some as costly and frivolous, has become a permanent fixture in the Parisian summertime scene. From sunning in the sand to swimming in pools suspended over the Seine, kayaking, or enjoying free evening concerts, Paris Plage offers activities that everyone will enjoy-- and is especially ideal if you're visiting Paris with kids.
2014 Locations and Hours:
The beach will be open daily between July 19th to August 17th, from 9:00 a.m. to midnight. In 2014, Paris Plages has three main locations: on the right bank of the Seine stretching from the Louvre to the Pont de Sully; along a stretch of the southern part of the river near the Port de la Gare metro station, and along the picturesque canal called the "Bassin de la Villette" (near metro Jaures/Stalingrad), in northeastern Paris (19th arrondissement). Scroll down for more details on each of the beaches and their highlights, from activities for kids and adults, dining, drinking, and entertaining.
Accessibility to the Beaches:
All Paris beach sites have been designed to be as accessible as possible to visitors in wheelchairs or with limited mobility. Ramps allow easy access to beaches. Water fountains, swimming pools, and some boats at the Villette site are also accessible.
The "Plages" in Pictures:
Every year, a score of free concerts are held in tandem with Paris Plages, bringing an exciting lineup of contemporary artists to liven up the evenings at the makeshift beaches. The FNAC Live festival will take place this year in front of Hotel de Ville from July 18th to 21st.
Activities and Ambiance:
"Traditional" Beach (Pont Neuf to Pont de Sully:: This is the most traditional of the three Paris Beach locations and features sand and grass beaches, and stretches for some three kilometers along some of the most-coveted stretches of the Seine. Here, you can relax on under parasols and on chaise longues (free rental), splash around in fountains and mini pools to cool off, and enjoy a variety of sports and games. Boardwalk-style cafes and snack bars line the beach (beer and wine are available for purchase at many), and at night a series of free concerts liven up the strip.
Water Sports and Boating at La Villette: Stretching from the Rotonde de Ledoux near the Jaurès Metro station to the former Magasins Généraux on Rue de Crimee, this is the beach to choose if you'd like to see a more contemporary side of Paris, and are interested in getting in the water. For water sports enthusiasts, the beach of choice will be at La Villette. Kayaks, pedalboats, sailboats, canoes, and more are open to the public at no charge until 9:00 p.m., with instructors on the scene to help ensure a safe experience. You'll be able to glide along over 53,000 square feet of water, and after boating, a cold drink on one of the beach's waterside cafes will be in order.