Paris Plages

Key Facts:

Project summary: During the summer the road beside the Seine is closed to traffic and converted into an urban beach

Location: Georges Pompidou Expressway, Paris, France

Programme: Beach, Sunbathing, Swimming Pool, Massage etc..

Initiator: Betrand Delanoë (Mayor of Paris)

Project Duration: The beach exists for four weeks in summer

Lead in Time: Variable (some new elements e.g. floating pool whilst others are reused annually)

Site Area: Varies

Client Team: Mayor of Paris

Project Team: Department for transport

Funding Sources: City of Paris, Corporate Sponsors (approx. 60%)

Project Costs (Build): £2.2 Million

Project Costs (Operation): Varies – programme alters each year.

Profitability/Loss: Unknown – initially entirely loss making, subsequent developments have had some small revenue streams.

Permissions / Permits: Road Closure

Local Links:

Publicity/advertising: Posters, web, press

Project Evaluation:

Site Details & Ownership:
The site is ordinarily a busy road along the banks of the Seine. The road is owned by the City who close it for this event annually.

Project Reach / Visitors / Target Audience:
The original aim of the Plage was to provide a summer beach location in Paris for citizens who were unable to afford a summer vacation to the coast. The beaches and venues have become extremely popular with all Parisians though, attracting around 3 million visitors annually.

Problems Encountered / Overcome:
Logistically closing a dual-carriageway for a month is challenging, however as the event has returned annually, diversions have improved and vehicle owners are less frustrated.

The latest incarnation of the beach has seen a small number of homeless people have pitched tents on the banks of the Seine close to the beach. City Hall has resisted the temptation to evict the squatters, whose tents were provided by their protectors, the group Doctors of the World.

Feedback from users / staff:
“This is a very well organised ‘beach’ experience organised every summer along the banks of the river Seine during Paris’ hottest period (mid-July to mid-August). You can’t go swimming in the river obviously and you’ll probably not find a deck chair to sit on as they’re all taken up very early by locals and early-riser tourists. However it does make for a lovely stroll along the river, grab an ice cream and meander under the cool, vapour-sprays that are set up along the route. Plus there are clean toilet facilities there too which is always so useful for tourists who sometimes end up paying for a coffee just to use bathroom facilities. Bravo Paris!”
2012 visitor comment

What next?
Though the month long road closure was initially unpopular visitor numbers have grown year on year and the event seems likely to continue, growing organically as it has done to date.

Complementary Programmes:
The programme grows year on year, the concept of urban beach has the potential to work alongside any number of summer leisure activities.

Project Website / Further Info:

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