Throughout the summer the The City of Paris hosts Plages throughout the municipal for tourists including a 2 million euro man made beach along the Seine. It’s kind of hokey, yet fun. It’s a little sleazy and cheesy while is definitely not an insight to history or even to ordinary Parisian life.  

I would have avoided this hoopla all together. This is just not my kind of itinerary. But, Brian really wanted to see the Paris Beach. He has attempted to curb our orbit upon learning of this spectacle. Finally, I gave in as I reminded him if he “would like to see relocated dredged sand…we can visit St. Simons…120 short miles from home.”

I have to admit that the fine sand smoothed over a normally busy motorway is interesting. hmm…


The peculiar spectacle of misplaced sounds, smells, shows and dirt banked above the super polluted Seine IS a site.  At moments I questioned my location, “where in the world am I?” Quick flickers of answers zapped through my brain with a list of places including West Palm Beach and Panama City.

paris blague

Originally uploaded by Ol.v!er [H2vPk]

The palm trees spotted among the striped umbrellas are a distortion to my navigational scope.  `More, the plats of people winding through the plage resembles a Benetton ad.  In addition to brown people and black people and teenage girls in fabulously glittery tops, there are old people and fat people and scary-skinny people and middle-aged people. Right next to a five lane highway, there are people proudly strutting their stuff half-clad posing the eternally tricky question:  gay, straight, or European? 

It’s a foreign spectacle. And, it is a fun one!

Parisians know nothing of this and the Paris Beach is a prime example.The mayor shut off one of the main east-west express highways and trucked in 2,000 tonnes of sand, 68 palm trees, refreshing water misters, outdoor showers, public drinking fountains and turned a two-mile stretch of the Seine next to the Louvre into a beach.  Seriously, can you imagine this happening in the United States?

He built a swimming pool. Or two. He put up free sporting activities for every child , and brought in musicians and massage therapists. 

My original reluctance to follow Brian’s guide would have been the trajedy of a trip. I am thrilled of my surrender because I was able to once again see the French flair of orgnizing picnics, frolic, and fun even in the most unexpected locations like a city street.

My what these Parisians can do.