Sunbathing in the Heart of Paris

“Paris Beach” has opened for action for the ninth year, with more than a ton of recycled sand poured on the quays of the Seine River. It was launched Tuesday and welcomes visitors until Aug. 20. Parisian Isabelle Bonin says the 2.5-mile stretch of artificial beach is “a different way to discover Paris.” Soyeon-Kim, a South Korean who has lived in Paris for a year, had thought a beach squeezed into the city center would be “weird.” But now, she says, “I see it’s beautiful.”

The event was started in 2002 by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe. It is aimed at giving those who can’t leave town a touch of summer fun.

Since 2002, the current mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe has closed the right bank auto way along the Seine and converted one of this city’s finest vistas from the Bastille to the Louvre into a gigantic street party as if you were on La Croisette in Cannes. Bring your suede dancing shoes or espadrilles.

Yesterday alone, I heard reggae a la Bob Marley, Rene Miller playing a steel guitar in honour of Robert Johnson, and a Chinese fellow playing traditional music.

Dance In The Garden Of Your Mind

There are palm trees gracing the quai, potted designer plane trees, a swimming pool, courts to play petanques and “Baby Foot”. The ambiance is right out of an Impressionist painting. One station features a permanent “Bal Musette” and was clustered with couples. Think Renoir in the Tuileries Gardens.

The French publisher, Flammarion has contributed an outdoor library and lounge chairs to read the latest best sellers. There are also make shift cafes to sip Pastis, ice-cold soda, mineral water or take an espresso. It is so civilised that you will pinch yourself as you gaze at the boats cruising the waters. The sky sports puffs of clouds and blue only seen in the Ile de France.

The credit and genius for this idea goes to the mayor. Traditionally “most” Parisians leave town for the holidays. However, with rising costs and more flexible holiday time at least 50% stay in town. Now everyone has a delightful place to stroll, eat, drink, and dance until midnight. The logistics, supervision and civic control are outstanding. There is a police unit and first aid cabin at each station. Every activity on offer from the swimming pool to the Thai massages offered is free.

Yes folks, you heard right. It is gratis to all the participants. This is Parisian city tax money put to a stellar purpose. Such funding would probably constitute heresy to an American city, but Paris is not the States.

As one of my dear French friends aptly says with a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth at the “boules” pitch, “Vive La Difference!” In all my life, I have never seen the banks of the Seine so well restored, tended and made available to the public. It is sustainability with a capital “G” for green.

Monet & Abstractionism

In addition to taking advantage of Paris Plage, you should squeeze into your visit an outstanding exhibit at the Musee Marmatton located on the fringes of the Jardin de Ranlegh in the sixteenth arrondissement. This small site, once home to a famous French industrialist has been converted into an exceptional museum featuring the Impressionists and Claude Monet in particular.

The current exhibit, Monet & Abstractionism highlights how old Claude was the “father” of the American Abstract Expressionists. Whether you subscribe to the theme of the exhibit or not is immaterial.

The exhibit highlights many sublime paintings from private collections or small European museums, which Monet executed during the last ten years of his life concerning the Japanese footbridge, water lilies, and his garden at Giverny in Normandy. The colours and creativity demonstrate true genius in art.

Cezanne once said about Monet that he was “an eye but what an eye”.

Coming from another artistic genius, this is quite an accolade. Other artists featured in the exhibit include Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko, V. Kandinsky, and de Stael. Unlike many exhibits in town, this one is well laid out and explained. You do not need to be an art historian to gain pleasure.apa

I might also add that the permanent collection is also worth the journey, which includes Berthe Morisot and Gustave Caillebotte.

It may soon become harder to find a short-term apartment rental in Paris now that the government is enforcing a 2005 law that prohibits renting residential properties for less than a year. By turning their apartments into vacation homes, owners can make up to three times the value of an annual lease even if their apartments are vacant a quarter of the year, but French officials say the practice has created a scarcity of residential apartments, especially in the center of Paris.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have Paris all to yourself? Imagine walking around the streets and museums without bumping into other tourists or having to queue to get tickets etc. Unfortunately, this will always be a dream. Paris buzzes all year round. It is the most popular destination in France after all. What you can do is book your flights to Paris for mid-August, as most of the locals leave the city to go on holiday. You can definitely notice that there are less people in the city.
There are even a number of events organised to help get you in holiday mode and relax. For example, enjoy a Seine-side holiday, as the right side of the River Seine near the Hotel de Ville and Pont Neuf, is converted into a beach, with deckchairs, ice cream stands and all that is needed to make you feel like you are on a tropical island. There are even concerts and sporting activities organised at different locations around the city.

Paris Plage

Paris Plage‘, an artificial beach in Paris is a delight for the people in the city, who do not have to go out in search of new beaches. The beach is ready to host people and will be open till August 20. Around 1.5 tons of recycled sand was poured on the Harbor of Seine River. This activity is being carried out for the previous nine years. The Parisians are happy with the beach and believe that it is beautiful.

The beach was started by Bertrand Delanoe, the Mayor of Paris. The beaches have witnessed a huge rush over the years and have been a favorite spot for the visitors. Tourists can also enjoy a ride in boats and cargo ships on the 2.5 m long stretch.

Isabelle Bonin, a resident of Paris, is of the view that the beach is “a different way to discover Paris.” Children enjoyed the cool water while the adult people passed their time reading books and lazing around. The sand in the area is recycled and reaches the shores by boat. For those people who cannot leave the town to enjoy summer holidays, due to some or the other reason, this beach is an ideal place.

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