There's no shortage of things to do on a trip to Paris, or iconic sights to see. Between now and September, visitors can add taking a dip in a canal to their travel bucket list — and while it mightn't initially sound all that special, it's the first time Parisians have legally been able to do so in nearly a century.
As part of the annual Paris Plages, a summer-long event that turns the banks of the river Seine into short-term artificial beaches, the Bassin de La Villette now boasts three temporary pools. Measuring 100 metres in length in total and 16 metres across, the trio of splash-tastic bodies of water is comprised of a shallow paddling pool for kids, a second shallow pool with a depth of 1.2 metres and a 2.2-metre deep pool for adults.
Given that going for a swim isn't just about jumping into some refreshing H20, with lazing around afterwards also part of the fun, the pool area includes a beach with huts, deckchairs and palm trees — aka a tropical getaway right in the heart of the city. And if you're wondering why it's all so novel, Paris' canals have historically been known for their murky state, making the fact that the Bassin de La Villette is now clean enough for people to soak in an event worth celebrating. While the pools will be dismantled at the end of the season, it is hoped they'll return next year.
Paris has further plans to open up its waterways, including in the Daumesnil lake in the Bois de Vincennes on the eastern side of the city, as well as part of its 2024 Olympics bid. In Australia, similar plans have been mooted for Melbourne and Brisbane, although neither have come to fruition yet.