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Hit The Beach Without Leaving The City At Paris Plages

Picture of Jade Cuttle
Updated: 1 June 2018
The absolute highlight of travelling to Paris in summer is soaking up the sunny outdoors and there’s no better place to do so than at Paris Plages. From mid-July to mid-August every year, the river Seine is strewn with deck chairs and dotted with palm trees and sandy volleyball courts that whisk you away to the most beautiful of urban beaches.

Paris Beach (or Paris Plages in French) is a free summer event that has been transforming the riverbanks of Paris into a glorious seaside resort since 2002. The brainchild of former Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, well-known for launching ambitious projects, it’s become the hottest event of the season. Here’s everything you need to know about the 2018 edition of Paris Plages, set to be the best the city has ever seen.

The 2018 beach will be open daily from July 7 to September 2, 2018, and there are four locations where all the excitement will take place. The first site is along the Parc Rives de Seine, which spans out to seven kilometres from the Pont Neuf near the Louvre to the Pont de Sully near Hôtel de Ville (City Hall). The quay is known as the Voie Georges-Pompidou, nestled on the right bank of the Seine.

This location is generally the most popular and easily gets crowded, so make sure you arrive early if you’d like a sun-lounger. There are ‘hundreds of sunbeds’ set to be on offer, but the event always attracts more people than it can accommodate, with sunbeds actually scattered around like gold dust.

If Parc Rives de Seine is too busy, then you could try Port of Solférino and Invalides (Berges de Seine left bank). In the 7th arrondissement of Paris, Berges de Seine left bank extends from near the Eiffel Tower to the Musée d’Orsay and will feature in this year’s Paris Plages. There are dozens of deck chairs set to be on offer, as well as picnic tables, refreshments and ice cream stalls stretching right across to the Pont Alexandre III.

Paris Plages | © jasper_m / Pixabay

The picnic tables provide the perfect opportunity to enjoy the event without spending a centime, as you can stop off at a local crêperie or even bring your own picnic if the refreshment stalls are too expensive. That said, the prices are usually modest, catering to peckish appetites rather than offering fancy sit-down meals (usually, crepes from around €5, mains from €12 and ice cream from €3, though, it depends on the venue).

As part of Paris Plages 2018, the Parvis de l’Hôtel de Ville will be animated with several highlights. The ultimate gem on the list is the Fnac Live Festival, whose 8th edition takes place from July 5 to 7. The event, which has become a key part of the Parisian summer, will offer 30 free concerts on the forecourt of the Hôtel de Ville (previously, it’s welcomed the likes of Alt-J).

What’s unique about this year is that there are heaps of sporting activities linked to Paris’ bid for the 2024 Olympic Games. There will be an athletics track animating the area, football tournaments, pétanque and beach volleyball to get the competitive spirit brewing. There will also be tai chi sessions and dance workshops where you can search for your inner peace, as well as free pop-up book borrowing stations scattered across the palm-dotted landscape.

The picturesque canal known as the Bassin de la Villette (near metro Jaurès/Stalingrad), in the 19th arrondissement, will be the fourth hotspot of this summer resort. Open every day from June 16 to September 9, 2018 (except August 15) between 11 am and 9 pm, there will be a free swimming area where you can paddle to cool down from the sweltering Parisian heat.

As if all that isn’t already enough, there are plenty of workshops for kids including an abundance of board games, live music concerts and spontaneous dance classes. It’s simply one of the most fun and eclectic program of events to enjoy this summer in Paris.