Paris Plages, Paris

When it gets too hot in August, Paris empties out into the cool of the countryside, the restaurants close, the hotels drop their prices and the tourists replace the residents. We once went into a quite well-known restaurant in the Marais on the 31st July and found ourselves the only customers, as the place was winding down and closed from the following day for a month. The waiter cut into a quite beautiful mirabelle plum tart for our pudding, made that afternoon, knowing the rest wouldn’t see any customers. Delicious food but rather lacking in atmosphere.

The right bank of the Seine, together with Bassin de la Villette (Paris 19), are “made over” into a city beach resort – think city centre ice rink with sun and sand – and it all started in 2002. The Bassin de la Villette joined the event in 2007 and it stretches from Rotonde de Ledoux (nearest Jaurès Metro station) to the former Magasins Généraux (in Rue de Crimée) and features a proper water-sports complex (with rowing boats, kayaks, pedal boats and dinghies) alongside quaint quay-side restaurants and boules courts.

A Seine-side event. Deck chairs, pavement showers, ice cream, sandy beaches, volley ball, concerts – Paris celebrates the height of summer along the banks of the river. The café furniture is supplied by Fermob, traditional metal french bistro furniture in a bewildering range of colours. Bring a cushion.

Paris Plages 2014 : from 19 July to 17 August

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