In a few months, summer will arrive in Paris. The sun will shine brighter than ever before and the heat of the city will be at an all-time high. At this time of the year, it's a good thing that the city established the Paris Plages
, man-made beaches where people can cool off and hang out. But since these are the closest things that anyone can get to a beach in the French capital, these places can get pretty hectic pretty quickly. You'd do well to follow a few tips—such as arriving early, dressing up lightly, and staying near the water—if you want to enjoy your time in the Paris plages.
Get There Early
Don't forget that Paris has a population of over two million people. And those are just the residents alone! What more when you take into account the thousands if not millions of tourists who are also in Paris in summer? Perhaps not all but it's likely that a good portion of them will want to hang out in the Paris Plages. When that happens, you're left with little to no space of your own. So to sure a good spot for yourself, make sure to get there early. The Paris Plages are open from 10:00 am to 6:00 (18:00) pm.
Put On Your Sunblock
It's easy not to treat the Paris Plages are regular beaches. After all, they're only man-made shores in the middle of a big city. Though they get ample sunshine, they're not exactly the sunniest coasts out there. They're even nowhere near the likes of the French Riviera
either. So should you really waste your sunblock on the Paris Plages? Won't the nearby buildings give enough shade? The answer is no, they will not. Paris in summer is as sunny as ever. You'd do well to put on one or two coats of sunblock when you want to hang out at the Paris Plages.
Don't Swim in The Seine River
Since one of the Paris Plages is set by the Seine River, you're probably thinking that it's good to swim in it, aren't you? Well, hold your horses because the famous river isn't really part of the man-made beach. The sandy river banks are the main highlight of this part of the Paris Plages, so you're not allowed to swim in the Seine River. Swimming and other water sports are mostly done in the Paris Plage near Bassin de la Villette, itself a man-made lake in the 19th arrondissement
. This is also the more family-friendly artificial beach in the city.
Keep Your Eye on Your Kids
Speaking of family-friendly, make sure to always keep your eye on your kids when you go to the Paris Plages together. Even though these are man-made beaches, they're nowhere near as safe as natural beaches. You don't exactly have kilometer-long stretches of sand at your disposal. Here, anything can happen if you leave your little ones unsupervised. They might fall into the Seine River, venture off into the deeper parts of Bassin de la Villette, and possibly even worse. Don't forget that the crime rates in Paris
aren't exactly low. It's generally a safe city but there are still things beyond your control.
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Ken Eckert
Bring Your Own Snacks
Even though there are numerous refreshment stalls in the Paris Plages, you're better off bringing your own snacks and drinks. These man-made beaches might not be the most popular spots in Paris in summer but there are still tons of people who go there. Imagine how long the lines to these snack stalls would be, especially around lunchtime or early in the afternoon! To save yourself the time and hassle, just bring your own refreshments. Don't forget that this is Paris, after all. The food capital of the world. What you buy from any of the shops here and bring to the Paris Plages might just be better than what the stalls sell.
Always do your part and clean up after yourself when you hang out at the Paris Plages. Paris already has quite the garbage problem what with such a huge population and all. It doesn't need you adding to its stress. And though many people often forget, littering is actually illegal in Paris. You can get fined €35.00 if you're caught by officials doing the deed. It's just that the city isn't exactly strict in enforcing this law, hence its current garbage problem. Nevertheless, you don't need a law to tell you that littering is wrong and that you shouldn't do it.
You're Not Allowed to Go Nude
In France, as well as the rest of Europe, nude beaches are fairly popular. Europeans have become quite daring with baring it all over the years, and this carefree attitude has even spilled over onto the big cities. So does that mean you can walk around naked in the Paris Plages? Of course not! No matter how liberal you think the French capital has gotten over the years, this is still a line you can't cross. Women aren't even allowed to go out and about topless too. What more about going to the Paris Plages in the nude?
Source: Flickr.com/ Sharat Ganapati
When summer arrives in Paris, you don't have to escape to other destinations to stay cool and have fun. The season brings about the Paris Plages and you can hang out here to enjoy the sunny weather. Just follow these tips when you do.