Paris Plage, now in its 10th year, is a month long summertime investment by the local government, is a bit of a joke in Pairs and not secretly a bit of a frustration to the locals. In fact, most of them think it is ridiculous. The Georges Pompidou Expressway in the very centre of Paris, running alongside the Seine, a vital conduit for transport, is closed for an entire month to the derision of the limited remaining Parisian populace.
As such I was sceptical from the very beginning… it does seem unusual to try to recreate a beachside environment next to a dirty river running through the historical buildings of the most visited city in the world.
The weather during most of the month, reminiscent of winter, was certainly not conducive to sunbathing or swimming. Instead rain, grey skies, clouds and chilled winds were on the menu available for your afternoon jaunt along the Parisian Riviera.
The crowds defied logic, it was packed, and initially I just watched them from afar, unwilling to descend into this minefield.
When I finally made it down to the beaches I was pleasantly surprised. Walking home from work one day I was tempted by the fading light which provided he perfect lighting for some photography.
What I found was a line-up of masseurs providing a free 10 minute massage; which was ultimately soothing, a pleasurable experience, and convinced me to keep walking to see what else was in line.
The sand had been brought in by the truck load and the families were enjoying it fully clothed with picnics and drinks. Some braved the cool weather and stripped down to bake in the cold sun.
Pétanque, as a national obsession, was of course an integral part of the activities provided as were plenty of bars and ice-cream outlets.
Sunset too was a pleasure, once again glowing over the seine.
The final image burned in my mind was of a lone cloud glowing in the saturated orange sky, forming an image of a golden halo above the Paris skyline … she may pretend to be an angel but innocent she is not!