Life's A Beach. In The Middle Of Paris.

Or at least a fake beach.  And in this weather, beggars can't be choosers.  Paris Plages is probably one of the coolest things I've seen done in a city.  Knowing that other cities have attempted this fun and unusual idea to set-up a faux tropical escape of the banks of whatever river runs through it, Paris does it best.

Every July and August, the powers that be (mayor and whatnot) block off a massive stretch of roadways and footpaths along the bank of the Seine starting at Hotel de Ville and running all the way down to the Louvre.  With winding edges created in decking to mimic the waves of the ocean they can unfortunately not also transplant, they bring in an ungodly amount of beautiful looking sand and suddenly, you question if you're in Paris or Nice.  Palm trees are planted.  Little huts offering snacks and ice-cold treats are dotted along the length of the man-made heaven.

When you take a walk down the beach, you not only get the sense that this is impeccably well-planned out (there is a monitored playground complete with pirate ship, bocce courts, a hosted wi-fi deck with lounge chairs and even misting machines to help you cool off) but also a really lovely family and summer tradition.  I guess instead of being a summer camp counselor like I was in my time off of school, teens here get to throw on matching t-shirts and work on the boardwalk.

I would say get there early to get your spot...somewhere where there is lounge chairs and umbrellas (honestly, you just have to show up with yourself and a good book)...but even just a stroll down the beach will make you happy summer is here.

For more details on Paris Plages, visit Paris Cheapskate.