by Malcolm Curtis|The Local France|July 19, 2013
Just as the heatwave warnings are issued and the French are told to try and keep cool, a huge beach party is set to open this weekend in the French capital.
Paris Plages will coincide with the arrival of warm weather that is set to see temperatures hit the the high 30s early next week.
The event brings the atmosphere of the Riviera to the banks of the River Seine, thanks in part to 5,000 tonnes of sand that has been specially trucked in for the month long event from the beaches of Normandy.
From July 20th to August 18th, residents and visitors to Paris will be able to soak up the sun — (for once, it looks like they really will be able to) — on artificial beaches not just by the Seine but also along the Bassin de la Villette, a stretch of the Canal de l’Ourq in the city’s 19th arrondissement.
Now in its 11th year, Paris-Plages is the invention of Paris Mayor Bertrand Délanöe who determined in 2002 that residents unable to flee the capital for seaside holidays should have the right to their own summertime fun.
Critics initially kicked sand in the mayor’s face but the event has become a popular fixture and this year will be even bigger than ever.
City authorities are promising new attractions, including go-karts, electric boats and a zipline that enables you to travel from side of the Bassin de la Villette to the other.
Evening concerts, boat parties, pétanque, beach volleyball and simply lounging on the sand — with drinks and apéros close at hand — are among the other activities on offer.
The beaches along the Seine extend on the right bank from the Louvre to the Pont de Sully, across from such famous sights as the Notre Dame cathedral.
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