In 2002 the Mayor of Paris had the crazy thought to convert the banks of the Seine into sandy beaches during the summer: Paris Plages was born! The operation was so successful that it has been repeated every year, which makes local people and tourists very happy. Indeed what could be more magical than having a drink on a deckchair on a beach along the Seine with a view on Notre Dame. During the day Paris Plages is very lively and attracts many families with children and groups of friends; but not only: one can also meet single persons sitting on a deckchair with a book. The atmosphere is always relaxed and friendly.
This year I got the idea of going there at night rather than during the day or in the evening after work… and I can highly recommend it. I have walked at the water’s edge from one end of Paris Plages to the other on the Voie George Pompidou. And I have much enjoyed the amazing views on every bridge, from the Pont des Arts to the Pont Marie, and on every monument, from the closest -as Notre Dame- to the most faraway -as the Eiffel Tower.
At 10pm the Eiffel Tower starts sparkling…
… and all the bridges are beautifully lit up. In front of us, the Pont Notre Dame:
One goes on strolling on the river banks, highly secured:
It looks like we are elsewhere considering all the palm trees:
Many river cruise boats are passing by…
… and their passengers admire the beautiful views on the top of the towers of Notre Dame, just like us:
A little further one goes past six areas for playing boules, located between the Pont Louis Philippe and the Pont Marie. This is one of the most popular activities of Paris Plages during the day… but so quiet at night:
It is now 10.30pm and we have to leave the water’s edge. Back to the street level we cross the Seine on the Pont Marie and then on the Pont de la Tournelle from which the view on Notre Dame is just amazing!
I have been surprised by the peace and quiet of the place and was expecting more liveliness and a more festive atmosphere. I went there on a weeknight and shortly before the closing… and of course all the activities were already closed: beach games for children, areas for playing boules, table football,… as well as the pop-up libraries. Only the ice-cream makers and the riverside cafés were still open.
If you prefer a more festive and lively atmosphere you have better choose a Friday or Saturday night. Indeed on those two nights Paris Plages closes at midnight instead of 10pm during the week.
And to make the most of it one can also visit the two other areas where Paris Plages is taking place: The Bassin de la Villette, in the North East of Paris, which offers beaches and activities on both banks and on the water as well ; and the Parvis de l’Hôtel de Ville, close to the Seine, where four beach volleyball courts have been set.
Enjoy the summer in Paris with Paris Plages! I will be back in a month with new posts as I am leaving the city for a couple of weeks holiday. See you soon!
Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris B&B – www.goodmorningparis.fr
Practical information: Paris Plages 2016-Voie Georges Pompidou, on the right bank, from the Pont des Arts to the Pont Sully 75004, until 4 September- Parvis de l’Hôtel de Ville 75004, until 21 August- Bassin de la Villette 75019, until 21 August 2016