For the last fourteen years, the Paris Plages festival has taken place along the banks of the Seine, and for the last nine years also along the Bassin de la Villette. Once again, the festival started up this year on the 18th of July, and aims to run through until the 21st of August. Each year, the festival aims to spread approximately five thousand tons of sand along its two riverside locations, also encouraging its visitors to participate in a variety of sporting and water activities as well as cultural events. As well as free entry, the Paris Plages festival may enable families, friends and people of all ages to enjoy summer in the city by offering watersports such as rowing, canoeing and pedal boating along the la Villette marina. Further to this effect, the festival encourages its guests to participate in its complimentary book borrowing program and refreshments, offering guests of all preferences the possibility to engage with this outdoors summer event.
Both the Seine and the Bassin de la Villette may be considered as historical monuments in themselves, with the Seine’s prehistoric formation supposedly having created the bowl in which Paris lies. Further to this, along its banks sit some of the historic buildings which form the cityscape, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Palais de Chaillot and the gardens of the Champ-de-Mars, which tourists may choose to utilise whilst experiencing the Paris Plages festival. Similarly, the Bassin de la Villette has allegedly been a site of relaxation and recreation since its inauguration in 1808 by Napoleon Bonaparte I, where ever since people may have walked, sailed or gone fishing with family and friends.
The possibilities in Paris seem to be endless in the summer, and even a weekend in the city may be enough to experience its potential. Paris itself is relatively small, yet its forty-one square miles do little to impair it’s cultural and travel potential. In addition to the famous monuments such as the Champs-Élysées, the Notre-Dame Cathedral and L’ouvre, there are a variety of activities which may maximize the summer sun in Paris. For example, tourists may choose to visit one of Paris’ ornate ice cream parlors, such as Il Gelato del Marchese, located just off of the Boulevard Saint-Germain on the south banks of the Seine. Or, if a larger meal is needed to start off the day, Paris’ selection of Al fresco brunch locations may be more desirable, such as the terrace of Le Bal Café or Chez Casimir.
Or, if tourists keen to remain in the Anglo-friendly festival scene, Paris is host to several other festivals over the summer, such as the Quartier d’été festival, which aims to explore dance, theatre, concerts and circuses from around the world through free or otherwise accessible events. If film is more desirable for Parisians or tourists, Paris’ biggest short film festival, the Festival Silhouette, aims to represent a variety of genres from the 26th of August through to the 3rd of September, as it has aimed to do since its conception in 2002.
Paris may be the closest travel opportunity for many British people, especially if they desire cultural exposition and experiences. In a little over two hours and for as little as £29, British tourists may travel from London or Kent to the European city for a day, a weekend or longer; depending on how much of Paris they desire to see. Festivals such as the Paris Plages seemingly aim to draw visitors to the city in the summer by offering activities, experiences and opportunities which may be exclusive to Paris otherwise.
What are the benefits of potential inner-city outdoor activities such as the Paris Plages festival?